I don’t know when I first saw Dana. I guess I came across her videos when I was looking for content about Munich some years ago when I started my blog about Munich. Dana is the owner of YouTube Channel Wanted Adventure which has 223 K subscribers. (July 2018 when I am writing this)
I got to meet her personally when I was invited to speak in the Expat in the City Fair in Munich and she was hosting the blogger’s session. She is exactly like she appears on her videos: super friendly, energetic and positive.
I was curious about her journey. Being a YouTuber seems like a new trendy career path but the competition to get the mindshare is quite high. What topic would you pick? And who knows if you can make enough money to call it work? Many of us do not even try to start it because of these thoughts. What was she thinking when she started? How did it become a career for her? These were the questions I asked to Dana on a summer day in one of the beautiful beer gardens of Munich.
Here goes the interview with Dana Newman:
How did you start with Youtube?
I always liked to tell stories, talk with my hands. As far back as I can remembers I always wanted to get a message or experiences across. I didn’t know where, how or what to talk about. Before Youtube I didn’t know where to do that. I considered journalism but it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
After coming to Europe I started a blog and writing experiences – like story telling – writing where I could be a bit creative. At some point I told my husband Stefan about the idea of making videos to promote the blog posts. We made a handful of really short videos telling people about the blog. There are still some of them on Youtube. (Isil’s note: Below is an example)
The videos were more like “Here we are in Norway, if you wanted to find more information check out my blog.” and that was the whole video. That was it. We didn’t edit them, it was just done. We did them for a little bit then stopped doing the videos. i did the blog for a while and then after some time I decided to wrap up the blog. I just went back to normal life, I was just living life. After some time I got the creative urge again, I wasn’t doing the videos, I wasn’t doing the blog. t got to do something. Stefan was interested in photography and he had a camera. One day looking at his camera I said “Does that thing make videos?” He looked at me a little scared and said. “Yes, why?” and I said “We are making videos”. So we started. He was asking “What are you going to talk about?” And I said “I am just going to share my experience, how it is for me ,what I experience, the cultural difference, the language.” It was June 1st 2014 when I started sharing my experiences on Youtube.
Before you started with Youtube, what were you doing?
I worked at several different things for a while in a company as an assistant.
I was just curious because you recognised your talent or your passion of storytelling probably really early in your life.
So your first job choice was not really fulfilling that passion.
No. When I first moved to Munich I was an English teacher. That I really did enjoy but I found it hard to get enough classes, it wasn’t a 9 – 5 job so I wanted to try a job and worked as an assistant.
While you were working, were you writing your blog and then starting making videos at the same time?
When did this become a proper work for you?
What was it that made you say “Ok this is it, I do this now.”?
I guess because I was spending more time doing it, I was putting more time into it, I was concentrating on it more; I decided that’s where I am gonna put my thoughts.
Ok, but it feels like it was more of an internal measure. “I am focusing there so that’s what I am going to do” Was there also anything you were looking outside, measuring income or reach?
Obviously I made videos because I really liked making videos but it is also some feedback when people are subscribing to the channel; it means there are people who like this, I am going in a direction which might be working. And also working with the Bayerischer Rundfunk – they were pretty established. It was more than just working for myself. It was an amazing experience. When I went there to film with BR there was a director, a light person, cameraman, stylist and a make up artist…. It was really wonderful.
One thing that I really appreciate about Youtube is that I was able when I didn’t know about filming, I didn’t know about sound, I didn’t know about editing, I didn’t know about writing scripts or hosting. I was able to learn by doing and figure it out as I went. Something I still appreciate about Youtube is that I can throw myself in it and say let’s just see what I can do, put it out and hopefully get better as I do stuff. Doing all these different roles, I learned about all these things. Even though I now have learned to edit, to do bunch of other parts, the thing I love the most is still hosting.
What made Bayerischer Rundfunk work with you?
A friend sent me the job advert they had placed. They were looking for someone to fill this role.I applied for the job and sent my Youtube channel to them. By this point I had been making videos for a year. They invited me to a casting type of thing.
I thought they saw your videos and approached you. But it was actually you finding about the possibility.
May I ask who showed you the possibility to work with BR?
It was just an acquaintance of mine. They saw it and said “Oh she can be interested in this”.
Back then did you tell people you were interested in possible collaborations?
Yeah, do you know EasyGerman?
Rings a bell but I am not sure.
There is a great Youtube Channel called EasyGerman. They were my first collaboration. They go out on the streets, speak German with Germans about lots of topics and you can watch them to get real, every- day-German spoken on the streets which is different then in textbooks. They subtitle the videos in German and English. I was watching the videos while I was learning German and I noticed sometimes they had guests on the show who were doing interviews with them. They were much bigger channel than mine. It was in my first year, I did not have yet 1000 subscribers. I reached out to them saying “How about if I join you on one of your videos and interview people and then you can come to my channel and I interview you. “
They came to Munich and I went around Munich with them and I asked people questions in German. I was quite nervous about it but I did it. Afterwards I had an interview with Cari from the Easy German. That was the first collaboration and it was really great. After the videos went live, I noticed they watched the Easy German video and came over to my channel to see Cari on my video or just come check out my channel. Since then I have done several collaborations.
What was your motivation to reach out to Easy German for a collaboration? (Jokingly)What were you thinking?
It seemed like a perfect match, it seemed like a good idea. I reached out to them and since then we have done several videos together. That’s the other thing. Part of why I started Youtube is that I like telling stories, I like interaction, coming here and talking with you. I like this but what I didn’t think about is that doing Youtube often means I am alone in front of a camera, maybe with Stefan, maybe not and that can be a little lonely. So getting to do collaborations with other YouTubers is really fun. It’s really nice coming in front of the camera together and interacting together.
Thank you so much Dana for taking time to answer my questions. I loved your journey, your courage and the love & effort you put to your work and your life. You inspired me and I am sure the readers will also be inspired by you. If you want to catch up with Dana, subscribe to her YouTube Channel Wanted Adventure. Dana can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @WantedAdventure.
Wow! I took so much from interviewing Dana!
- She always knew what she wanted to do (storytelling) but didn’t know how to use this passion.
- She tried to use her passion on blogging but decided to wrap it up. Youtube was just a promotion tool for her blog back then.
- She got the creative urge and wanted to start doing videos. She didn’t have a plan, she just gave it a go and learned along the way. (You can see the evolution in her videos)
- She was proactive in creating relationships and collaborating. She reached out to YouTube channels who were much bigger from her to cooperate. This brought her the happiness to work together and new subscribers who learned about her channel due to the collaboration.
- For her first collaboration she did something that was scary: talking German but she did it anyway!
- She let her friends know about her endeavours and a friend let her know about a huge opportunity with the huge TV Network of Germany : Bayerischer Rundfunk
- Not every part of being a YouTuber was as she imagined. She wanted interaction but some parts of it were totally lonely. She didn’t get depressed, she took action and reached out to other YouTubers for collaboration. She increased the parts where she enjoyed.
Now it is your turn! What is the biggest insight you are taking away with you from Dana’s words? And which action will you take about it right now?