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Jacklyn Dallas

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A tech YouTuber’s guide to building a brand

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Jacklyn Dallas is a technology YouTuber, public speaker, clothing designer, and businesswoman — but she’s still not old enough to vote.

Dallas, 17, is the face and creative mind of NothingButTech, a YouTube channel with 121,000 subscribers and more than 6 million views.

The tech-savvy teenager got her start more than four years ago making how-to videos for her grandmother. Since then she’s created and posted more than 260 technology and consumer electronic reviews on YouTube, including working with big names like Samsung and Apple. Dallas recently spoke at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, where she shared four ways she hustles as a content creator while still attending high school.

Manage your time

Filming and editing videos can take anywhere from eight to 16 hours, Dallas said, so she uses her weekends for the creative side of her business. Weekdays are for administrative work — responding to emails, contacting companies, and testing out new products.

“It’s not a perfect system,” Dallas said. “There is an occasional hit on sleep, which isn’t the ideal situation. I’ll create a to-do list of all the things I need to get done. Then I’ll prioritize a couple and those are the things that actually get done.”

As you grow, stay true to your passion

Growth for NothingButTech has been gradual, Dallas said, in part because while she does think about videos that are going to get followers, she also enjoys making videos that might not get a lot of views, but will be appreciated by smaller groups of people who find them interesting.

Dallas boasts 121,000 subscribers today, but when she was first starting out, it took nearly a year to reach 2,000 followers. Today she can amass that number in a few weeks, she said. 

Asked whether she ever thinks about outsourcing as her business grows, Dallas said she has considered it for work she currently does like business outreach or designing photographs. But she won’t be sharing the creative reins. “I don’t ever want to give up the creative aspect,” she said. “I love editing, I feel like editing is where the story comes alive. If a video is edited in a wrong way, it loses its entire purpose.”

From Jacklyn Dallas' 2018 YouTube tech review "iPhone Xs and Xs Max Unboxing and First Impressions."

Credit: Jacklyn Dallas, NothingButTech

Don’t fear feedback. Ask for it. 

Whether it’s a poll before a video or a casual question in an Instagram livestream, Dallas said she is always asking for feedback from her audience.

Unlike more traditional media celebrities, YouTubers can develop an instant, personal connection with their viewers. Because subscribers are the ones supporting her content and career, Dallas said she reads her YouTube comments section. 

“I actually really think that they're good and push me to be better; they bring my attention to things that I'm doing wrong,” Dallas said. “Last year I made a video and I tested out a new audio setup, and it just didn’t go well. And there was a comment that said ‘Hey it sounds like you're talking into a banana.’ Eighty people liked that comment, and I knew the audio was terrible, and I knew for the next video that I should not do that.”

When it comes to branding, keep it simple and stick to it

Dallas said the one message she sticks to is “creating informative and entertaining content.” 

In other words, when someone goes to watch one of her videos, they’re going to learn something and also be entertained along the way.

“If you're not looking to be a creator but if you're looking to be a brand, figuring out something very simple that people can attach to and go to your page to find out is super important if you're creating a product or something,” Dallas said. “Having that be the message throughout all your body of work is also important.”

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