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Periphery’s Misha Mansoor Talks About the Difficulties of Being a Professional YouTuber

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People like to think we metal bloggers have it easy. To be clear, I love my job and there are way worse / more difficult things I could be doing for a living, but it’s still a job. I’m at the computer every morning at 9am (sometimes earlier) and often barely leave my desk until 5 or 6pm, after which I often come back to finish working after a short break for dinner. On top of coming up with 10-15 pieces of (usually) cohesive original content every day, there’s a whole business side of things to run that our readers don’t see: exchanging emails with publicists, working on advertising deals, other administrative BS (payroll, insurance, etc) and so on and so forth. It’s often fun, and I’m not complaining at all, but it’s definitely a job that requires more than just banging my thoughts about metal onto a keyboard as I see fit. (And, contrary to popular belief, we aren’t stoned when we do it.)

Misha Mansoor was trying to make a similar point in a recent interview about professional YouTubers; it may seem like a swell, cushy way to make a living — and in some respects it is — but those men and women put a looooot of work into their craft, most of which the public never sees. In a recent chat with Music is Win [embedded below, transcription by Ultimate Guitar], Misha — who has always had a great sense of the business side of the music industry and recently found himself in the press regarding Periphery’s finances — spoke about that very thing:

“I feel like professional YouTubers – that’s what they do. It’s something I think a lot of people sort of glorify. Like, ‘Man, it must be so cool!’

“But I know what it’s like. Not from experience but from having friends. It’s work. It’s a lot of work and it’s something that you have to commit to. People are like, ‘Oh, it’s so cool, he has content coming out all the time.’

“Yeah, and probably for that five-minute video, there was like three days of work at least in that. So you’re constantly doing that. That’s what you commit to.”

On the discipline required to make it as a YouTuber:

“Absolutely. That’s one of those things no one prepares you for. And it sounds like first world problems, I know. Like, ‘Oh, I have so much free time! I wish someone would make me do something!’

“You have to learn how to manage your time. And it goes both ways, at least with me. There have been times where I was so stressed out because I was so used to saying ‘Yes’ to everything. Because you’re doing this, you’re hustling, you’re not saying ‘No’ to anything. And before you know it, you’re overworking yourself, you’re stressed out all the time. And then when you sort of cross over then it feels almost dirty to say ‘No.’ It’s like, ‘What are you, a millionaire?’

“But then you’re starting to make this calculation, the opportunity cost, the stress… Like, ‘Is this job I’m gonna do that’s gonna pay this amount of money that realistically won’t really make that much difference in my life worth all the stress that it’s gonna add?’ If the answer is ‘No’ then you have to learn how to say ‘No’ to those things. And that’s one of those things I’ve worked on in the past few years, to try to manage my time better. Because you only learn because you get overworked, and you’re like, ‘I hate my life right now.’

“We actually had to start doing this as a band when we would record. Because we’d burn out. We force ourselves to take the day off. Because in the beginning you’re like, ‘Man, we can just record every day!’ And then by week four or five everybody hates each other because you haven’t had a break. So we take a day off. If we’re feeling ourselves getting burned out we kind of own up to it and we’re like, ‘We need to take a day off.’

“But this is the beauty of a 40-hour work week – you’re forced to take two days off. And those days are important, whether you realize it or not. And when you lose those because you love what you do and you’re just obsessed with working, it feels so counterintuitive. Like, ‘I need to take a break from this.’ But it’s literally healthy.

“So when you make your own schedule you have to budget that time or you will drive yourself crazy.”

Misha, as usual, is right on the money (pun intended). As I always like to say, no one is getting rich in metal… so you better be doing it for the love of it, and anyone who’s able to make any kind of living working in metal — as a musician, in the industry, as a YouTuber, anywhere — should be grateful they have what they do.

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