1000 YouTube subscribers - how long does it take? My data

1000 YouTube subscribers - how long does it take? My data
Written by: Dexxter Clark
The honest answer is: it depends.
I took my DJ channel a year to grow to 400 subscribers, only a 6 months later I hit the 1000 subscriber mark.
With my gaming channel, it took me two years to get to 250 subscribers.
In this article I take a look at the typical growth curve of a YouTube channel, the different growth factors that come into play, and I’ll share my statistics and growth.

YouTube takes a lot of time, effort, patience, videos and skills.
When I’m talking about time, I don’t only mean the time that you spend per video, but also how long does it take for you to get a foot in the door of the YouTube algorithm.

My growth is not your growth
How quickly you can grow a YouTube channel depends on a couple of factors:
  • Upload schedule: how many videos do you release per week. Every new video you publish has the potential to drive more views and more subscribers. You have more chance to be found.
  • Niche: gaming channels are a commodity on YouTube, this is why my gaming channel grows very slow. DJing is a better niche, so it took me less to grow to 1000 subscribers.
  • Video traffic: if you choose video topics that drive a lot of traffic (or even a viral video), you will gain substantially more subscribers in a short amount of time.
  • Promotion: do you have a following on other social media, website, blog, fora, mailing list or are you a celebrity?
  • Experience/skills: if you have better editing editing, presentation, video editing skills or SEO (Search Engine Optimation) skills, you have an advantage above the beginner. I can grow the same channel within months that took me years before.
  • Quality of content: the content of the video is king.
  • Video quality: a better quality video with good sound will do better than one with a horrible quality. Don’t fixate on quality, the quality of content is far more important
  • Channel type: a vlogging channel probably has a longer traction curve than a tutorial channel because tutorials are searchable via YouTube search, vlogs not.
  • Content type: do you make evergreen videos? Videos that are relevant for a longer period are the best way to grow a channel fast.
  • Looks: if you are a pretty girl and wear bikinis in your video, you will gain more traction than an ugly dude in his sixties.

You see, many factors come into play, so there isn’t a uniform answer that fits every YouTube channel.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply lying.

Your first 100 subscribers

Your first 100 subscribers are the most difficult to get and takes the longest.
It can take a year or half a year, two years or five.
Then your next 100 subscribers are a little bit easier to get and take up less time than your first 100 subscribers.

The next big step is your first 1000 subscribers.
It takes forever!
Once you reached 1000 subscribers, your next 1000 take up less time than your first 1000.

This rules applies to 10,000 subs, 100,000 subs and a million subs.
Growth (and revenue) on YouTube is exponential.
With every video, you accumulate more watch time minutes and a little bit more channel authority which boosts your ranking a bit.

Growth curve

Let’s say, for sake of the example: you have videos that attract 100 watch time minutes each.
You would gain slightly more watch time minutes with every new video, because your channel authority is grown.
With more authority comes more promotion, so more viewers watch your video.
This could look something like this:
video # week wtm per video* total acc. wtm**
1 first week 100 100
2 second week 101 201
3 third week 103 304
4 fourth week 106 410
5 fifth week 108 518
6 sixth week 114 632
*WTM = Watch time minutes
*Acc. WTM = Accumulated Watch time minutes = channel authority

With your first video, you have no authority whatsoever, after your 10th video you start to gain a bit of traction, after your 50th you gain more traction, and so on.
You need a lot of watch time minutes to get a foot in the door.

You have to be in the YouTube game for the long haul.
Quick successes are rare on YouTube.
You can only judge if a YouTube channel is successful after 3 years of consistently uploading videos.
It is said that a business takes on average 5 years to make a profit.
So, do the math, 3 years is on the short side.

Most people get discouraged after a few months/years of no apparent success.
The only way you are ever going make it, is to persist.
Pull through to those first few years.
Most people quit before they even had the chance to be successful.
The majority of creators who start a YouTube channel, don’t make it to the 10,000 subscriber milestone, only a small percentage.
It may look easy, but most big creators had to work really hard to get to the point where they are now.
If you made to the 10K, congratulations! Most don’t get there.

My 10K mark

As I already stated, my DJ channel took me a year to grow to 400 subscribers, only a 6 months later I hit the 1000 subscriber mark.
I had 10K subs a year later.
The 20K took me again 10 months
When I hit the 20K mark, I had about 150 videos on the channel with a release schedule of once a week.

My gaming channel had 150 videos after two years and only 250 subscribers.
I had a release schedule of once a week, but I stopped uploading after 18 months.
This took a serious hit on my channel growth.

With my DJ channel I was lucky to bump into a subject that continues to draws views till this day.
I wasn’t that lucky with my gaming channel.
The gaming “niche” is saturated, maybe that is why it took me much longer to figure out which content got subscribers into the door.
I was only a year in before I knew what I wanted to make.


You are your own unique channel, with your own unique growth curve.
It is impossible to compare notes with someone else to see if you are on track.

The only way to figure out what growth curve you have is to actually do it!
Sitting on the couch and doing nothing didn’t get me there.

If you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my YouTube e-book.
The book takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a YouTube channel.
How to get more views, subscribers, make money with YouTube, go viral ... and much more.
Click here for more information about my YouTube e-book: "What Big Tubers Don't tell you"

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
YouTube consultant
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