How to Grow on YouTube - an HONEST Review of Ali Abdaal's Part Time YouTuber Academy CourseOct 12, 2021
Ali Abdaal is a YouTuber who has grown from 0 to over 2m subscribers in just 2 years, and earlier this year I took part in his Part Time YouTuber Academy course. Today I'm going to run through his course and tell you if it is worth the $1,500 to $5,000 that it costs to sign up.
Firstly, this course if for those of you wanting to grow a YouTube channel, but it can also help you significantly improve the quality of videos you are producing either as a business owner, or as someone like me, who has already been creating videos for the best part of 2 years.
If you're new here then hi my name is Pete, and like Ali, I've also been doing this YouTube video thing now for a couple of years, and I've not grown to 2m, but grown from 0 to 20,000 subscribers on my main channel, whilst only actively working 2 days per week on it.
Also for a point of reference, at exactly the same time of signing up for Ali's course, I also signed up for another YouTube coach for 1:1 sessions so I'd like to think I have a good basis for comparison.
Now the first thing that I will pick up on is when Ali says this [that by being consistent and putting out regular videos every week for 2 years can be life changing], well, he's not kidding, it's changed my life and hopefully you'll discover the same too.
Fundamentally the 6 week course is broken down into 2 main sessions per week which are run by Ali himself where he focuses on a specific area of the YouTube journey, and during those sessions there's also typically a few break out rooms which are where you can meet your fellow cohorters and have plenty of time for Q&A at the end.
I'm going to run through each weeks sessions and my takeaways, and after that I'll talk a little about my experience of signing up for the Exec level tier and whether that was worth the extra $3,500.
Week 1 focuses on getting started with a bit of an overview, the gear you'll need and by the end of week 1 you'll have shot and uploaded your first video - it really is that quick. This week is incredible for those new to YouTube and just those who need a leg up in getting good quality video with the talk around gear.
Personally for me as someone who had been doing this for 2 years already, it was less interesting from a learning perspective, but great to get to know Ali and his team as well as others taking part in the cohort.
In the first week and as each week goes on, you get homework set to focus on a specific area of your own videos, and you can upload them to the PTYA community where other community members, house masters and student supporters will leave their feedback to help you up your game further for the next video.
Week 2 moves you on to your Niche and Idea generation, which again is great for the new creators - I did personally pick up some value from these sessions particularly around Niche as I was going through this conundrum of whether I should be niching down or sticking fairly open with my niche whilst the channel grows.
Again for most new to YouTube, this is all fantastic stuff - but for me honestly, it was around this week where I started wondering whether this was a good investment for me since it was fantastic information for those new to YouTube, but wasn't anything that new to me. But more on that as we continue on...
Week three is around getting that initial click, and once you have got the click then how to keep viewers engaged. This started to get really interesting to me as it was interesting to see what real world stats people were seeing on their channels - again it was stuff that I semi-already knew, but there were some useful nuggets of information throughout here for me personally.
Week four was where it got a little more interesting for me as Ali talked about how to control the aesthetic of your channel and his thoughts around the image that you portray in things like your thumbnails, the language you use - and the second session was around really getting a solid process in place so that you can scale up what you are producing.
Week 5 was where it really started to get interesting for me. As someone who had been doing this for 2 years already, this week was where Ali talked about scaling your audience across not just YouTube but multiple platforms with some of his techniques, whilst sharing his results very openly and honestly, which then led to the second session which talked about outsourcing and building his team. Which, if anybody has seen the Graham Stephan video where he talks about Ali and his costs for hiring team members....
Well, there's a reason why Ali can put out so much content, and able to scale his businesses so quickly, and that's by investing in a great team. So here you learn how to mainly outsource your editing as that is one of the first hires that any content creator should be making, and Ali gives you some great insights into how much you should be paying and the quality of work you should be getting - that I found really insightful.
That brings us on to Week 6 which I think at this stage Ali said most newbies should probably skip if it wasn't making sense, but for me this was probably the best week.
Ali digs into monetisation, speaks in depth about brand deals and even gave away some figures for how much he earned from various brands - probably some that he shouldn't be telling us in public but again, it's so nice to hear some honest and real world figures from someone who has been there and done that. For the end of this week it's really just wrapping up the 6 weeks to ensure you have everything you need in place to make this YouTube thing a success.
Fundamentally that is the 6 week cohort, but wait - there's more!
Alongside these 2 sessions per week, as a normal member you'll also be invited to a raft of other events which can be even more useful than the main sessions themselves.
There's the weekly house call where you get to meet your housemaster who isn't Ali himself, but is one of his team or hand selected experts to ask questions to.
There are also social sessions which are purely just to meet your other peers and to help with anything they might need.
There's training sessions put on by Ali and his team with notable people who have found success on YouTube. Whether it's training on how to become a better speaker, and telling better stories, to finding your niche, growing your other social platforms and monetising your community there were sessions for everybody - and I personally found some of these sessions were really useful to attend live, as you can ask your own questions towards the end of each one. Oh, and if you miss any of the sessions, whether it's a main session, the group calls or these workshops, they're all stored in the PTYA website for you to re-watch later, so that's a big bonus just in case the sessions are running whilst you're asleep or perhaps you're putting the kids to bed.
Also a quick mention to Power Hours, there were also twice daily sessions where you can just sign in to a Zoom call, have a quick catch up and then everyone collectively just focuses on their work whilst on a call together - I didn't have time for this personally but I heard very good things from others.
For those of you who want just that little more attention and help with everything, then there is Ali's Exec level membership, which costs an additional $3,500. This is what I signed up for, and after speaking to Ali's team they gave me a full promise of my money back if I didn't find it useful - spoiler alert, I didn't ask for a refund. That convinced me well I might as well give this a go, and if it's crap then I'll just ask for a refund.
For the exec members, by far the best benefit is the two calls per week for additional face time with Ali, in a much smaller group where I got to chat about my specific challenges around Niching, monetisation, sponsorships and anything else that cropped up.
You also get a separate slack group where you can chat with Ali or his team directly, as well as the other Exec level members, and typically Slack was used as the place to ask questions which Ali would then run through on the group calls.
There are a few other benefits of going up to the Exec package which we'll get to in a moment when we talk pricing, but first let's talk Life after the Cohort.
At the time of writing this post, we are around 2 months after it finished, and since it's finished, there are a few things that live on:
Firstly the community page is still there and accessible, which means you can still chat with other members, post your videos and comment to leave feedback, as well as re-watch videos from the cohort, guest sessions, workshops, Q&A sessions, all of the things!
There are also STILL regular sessions where Ali brings in certain people to chat about their success, or their area of expertise, which is great to keeping up to date with everything, and in these sessions there is still time for Q&A and Ali will still share his up to date stats on what he's seeing across YouTube.
There was also a WhatsApp group created for my house group which is still semi-active, and there's also from my understanding a much bigger slack or WhatsApp group for all PTYA'ers, though I didn't join that as I felt that would be just overkill with too many messages flying about my already busy social channels.
As an Exec member, the Slack group is still there although I will say that Ali isn't really active on it anymore, Ali's right hand man, Angus most certainly is and for that I'm really quite grateful as it's good to have access to someone to ask questions when I have specific questions, and he responds back pretty quickly. I think that's an important part to keep after the cohort for Exec level members because it's just delivering on that value of what the course cost.
IS IT WORTH IT?
So overall, what you're paying for in the course isn't just those 6 weeks, it's also what comes after - and what's been put on for us so far has been really interesting and useful - though I will say that it would be nice for the session times to be later because 6pm UK time is a really bad time for those of us here in the UK and with kids... but as with everything here, all the sessions are recorded and posted in the PTYA community for you to watch later if you want to, and the sessions for the cohort itself were at a better time for me. Though those times are subject to change of course.
Pricing is worth a mention here, as currently the course comes in 3 flavours.
Essential, Premium and Executive, and those are priced at $1495, $2495 and $4995 respectively.
Primary differences are that with Premium you get access to future recordings as well as LIVE access to the next cohort, so you kind of get 2 for the price of 1. Then with the Exec level you'll get free live lifetime access to all future courses.
Now it doesn't take a genius to work out that with over 400 people signing up to each cohort all paying at minimum of $1495 per person, is a very profitable course for Ali. And with that kind of revenue I wouldn't be surprised if these cohorts aren't run more often because, if you find something that brings in decent income then you just rinse and repeat right - that's just good business. I do think that there is some work to be done to reinvest some of that cash into the course to make it more valuable particularly for the Exec level members.
But the overall question is, is it worth it, or rather was it worth it, for me?
The answer is a definite yes. For the weekly sessions, the separate sessions with Ali himself where I could ask him my own questions and get good answers back without feeling rushed.
For someone who is new to YouTube and wants to become a YouTuber or perhaps do what I'm doing which is running YouTube as a business which can earn you an income, then it's definitely worth signing up to any of the tiers.
If you are an established creator who already has a decent number of subscribers but perhaps have some specific areas you want to work on like earning more money, niching down, outsourcing your editing, then I would really recommend the Exec level as I felt this was definitely where I got most value with the kind of 1:1 face time with Ali. But realistically, only sign up for the one you can afford. Don't go getting yourself into debt.
Always remember that Ali is happy to give a refund if you aren't happy with the course, so I always see that as a risk free investment.
Sign up for Ali Abdaal's PTYA: https://geni.us/PTYA
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