Ashley Garcia (@ashleyogarcia) is a 21-year-old student and self-confessed shy girl. But sheâs also a content creator with a YouTube following of over 300,000 subscribers.
"I have been creating content on YouTube for two years now (going three in October!)," Ashley shares. "I can definitely say that the content I initially made is similar to the content that I do up until today. I focus more on lifestyle vlogs, fashion, and a bit of beauty."
Like any other typical college student, Ashley didn't have a set of professional equipment when she started out as a YouTube content creator. "The term 'vlogger' didn't even exist back then," she says. "I stumbled upon foreign YouTubers who used webcams for their videos. I didn't have any equipment back then nor my own laptop which is why I didn't start right away."
But after she finally decided to go for it, she was able to build a steady set of viewers through the video content she makes.
Below, Ashley shares how she started out as a vlogger—from the first platform she used to the first set of equipment she had.
Because she was a bit shy, she started with blogs.
"After years, I made a blog and thatâs where my passion of creating content began. I thought it was the perfect stepping stone for a very shy and timid girl like me for expressing herself because it was only through typewritten words and photos that you can definitely tweak or edit. But as time passed by, I finally mustered up courage that has been bottled up for so long and I decided to post my first video in YouTube."
Her first equipment: Her family's DSLR camera
"[It] has a very dysfunctional auto-focus feature and no flip screen. It was such a struggle. I remember I used to re-film multiple times because majority of my clips were blurred. I saved up for my laptop through hustling and auditioning for commercials and ads. I just wanna be honest, I was a broke high school student who canât afford Final Cut Pro but I found ways."
In under two years, she was able to garner 304k subscribers.
"It took me one year and five months to score the Silver Play Button aka 100k subscribers. There were subscribers (aside from my family and close friends lol) who were there from literally day one but I also gained more along the way whom I call now as my famley. I love and owe so much to them!"
Ashley is still hard at work on not letting her shyness stop her from making content.
"I was such a shy and timid girl," she admits. "I can't even speak in front of a crowd before and I also had my share of embarrassing moments on stage like crying in front of a crowd because my stage fright kicked in.
"Over time, I exposed myself through different experiences especially when I was in high school like engaging myself in organizations, acting for our schoolâs drama play, hosting in front of thousands of people and joining our school's radio broadcast team. I also auditioned and had commercials so I can be comfortable in front of a camera. It all starts with baby steps and it will lead you towards your goal eventually."
YouTuber tip: Stick to what you're really interested in.
As with any newbie content creator, Ashley was tempted to do what was popular and trending in the YouTube community. But after a while, she learned that sticking to what she's really passionate about is what worked best for her and her channel.
"It took time for me to come out of my box and focus on affordable fashion. Back then, here in the Philippines, makeup content was the usual trendy topic and I had to jump on the bandwagon. It didn't work that much for me because, honestly, people see through you if you're genuine with what you're doing and my channel started to grow when I focused more on my real passion, which is fashion, and I'm really happy I get to share this to others."
YouTuber tip: Just start, and keep learning along the way.
"It all starts with the courage of putting up your first video and youâll be able to build up the confidence along the way. It all continues with consistency and your keen interest in improving your craft. And it all ends with the right mindset and attitude of keeping your feet on the ground while reaching for the stars."
*This story originally appeared on Candymag.com. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.