English with Lucy Earl
To or for? Miss or lose? Ask Lucy Earl, University of Wesminster alumni and creator of ‘English with Lucy’, the fastest growing language channel in the world with over 900 thousand subscribers! Although, it might seem like all she does is have fun on her channel, Lucy actually juggles a hectic schedule.
But before we moved on about the success of the channel, Lucy told me the story about how it all started. During her time at University of Westminster, she had a chance to do an Erasmus semester in Madrid followed by the placement year, also in Spain. “I’ve always loved languages. Well, not always actually, when I was younger I hated them, but then they suddenly clicked”. However, after missing her enrolment date for university, she moved down south to Seville, Spain and started looking for a job. “I needed money and I decided I could teach English!” says Lucy, who then did a teaching qualification and got a job straight away. However, as she described, she was terrible at grammar. “I could teach loads of vocabulary, I was great at correcting the pronunciation, but grammar was really difficult for me, because in the UK, we do not learn any grammar at all.”
Going back to her time in Spain, she read loads of grammar books but “it wasn’t going” as she admits to me. Lucy then started watching video lessons on Youtube but most of them were really boring: “I thought, Youtube is different now. I don’t think people want the classroom experience. So, I said to myself “I think I can do that”.” She mentioned she had always had this idea but was nervous to start the channel. However, with the help of her dad, who gave her a £500 loan, she started in January 2016, and in July 2016 graduated from Westminster with a degree in Marketing Communications: “And then I was thinking: do I go for a proper job or a graduate scheme, something I would have imagined myself doing, or do I carry on with this?”. She took the summer think about it, and just as summer was about to end, her video went viral and everything came in place. “The channel started blowing up and in October I took it full-time”.
However, you cannot describe Lucy as a vlogger: “I wouldn’t call myself a vlogger. I would say I’m a full-time creator”. Lucy says she knew that what she was doing is going to be useful for people. “I thought if there was a video of me explaining it, I could just send it to my students and they could go back to it anytime. A lot of the things you learn you just need to repeat and repeat them”, but she also admits she has never expected it to be so big. “It was kind of a marketing playground for me where I got to try different things. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t”. Even though she had also tried creating vlogs, they weren’t successful. Instead, she does Instagram stories where those who care can follow her: “I think lessons are something that everyone is at least a little interested in, but only people that really invested in you as a person care what you do on a daily basis.”
“I will never get used to seeing myself in the news”.
When I told her I saw articles about her on BBC News and The Times, Lucy laughed and couldn’t describe how amazing she feels. “I had a media storm in April last year and it all started because of Westminster. They did an article on the website and then BBC saw it! it got picked up by the Times and they interviewed me on page 3. Also, ITV news, BBC Radio 4. That was crazy!” she admits and adds: “I will never get used to seeing myself in the news”
The most important thing for me to find out Lucy’s creative process. As any other Youtuber, she has a list where she keeps all her ideas. Then she plans a filming day: “It would be an exhausting day when I drink a lot of diet coke, a lot of coffee and sometimes, in my last video, I would have a glass of wine, you know” Lucy laughs. She films between 4 and 8 videos and then goes through the next couple of weeks editing them and uploading each of her videos bit by bit.
“This year I’m looking to go back to myself”
In terms of support, we have also discussed working with Youtube as the company. As Lucy describes, they are really supportive for their creatives: “they give you so many opportunities: put in contact with press companies, brands, help you build business around your channel”. She also admits that without Marketing degree she wouldn’t be doing what she is right now and is also thankful to University of Westminster: “If you have an idea, university will grow it with you”.
Some of Lucy’s videos are sponsored. However, when asked about future plans, she says she’s focusing on building and promoting her own products: “I would really like to release my course by the end of this year and my first ever merchandise as well”. She also wants to continue making good content on her channel and uploading consistently: “I think last year I went too far with sponsorships. This year I’m looking to go back to myself”. Her plans also include meeting more of her subscribers!
And finally, I couldn’t help myself but ask her for advice to those students who might be thinking of starting a Youtube channel. And she gave some brilliant one: “In order to be successful on Youtube, you have to be one of two things or both of them: either better or different.” She suggests that whatever you do, you have to ask yourself: is your idea better? Is it different? “If you’re just doing the same as everyone else, I would be surprised if it was successful” Lucy admits. She also adds that no one should really go into Youtube to make money because your viewers can easily see it and they feel cheated: “Making money on Youtube is kind of like a privilege rather than a right”. She encourages students to go out there and do it because it is not a 9-to-5 kind of job. “All you need is couple of hours a week”.
Visit Lucy’s Youtube channel and follow her on social media for more updates!