Sweating it out
> Joanna Soh integrates her experience in TV production and fire for fitness to work out an enviable YouTube career
WHEN Joanna Soh left her home in Kuala Terengganu to study in Kuala Lumpur, she was another ordinary student fending for herself. However, eating out quickly became a norm and led to her gaining weight. Determined to shed the extra pounds, Soh signed up at a nearby gym and got a personal trainer to guide her towards weight loss. But Soh soon realised that fitness wasn’t about achieving a certain body type; she found herself religiously hitting the gym simply because it made her feel good inside. She continued working out when furthering her studies in the UK.
Upon graduation, she landed a dream job as a TV producer in London for a local talk show.
“At that time, I really enjoyed my job and I learned so much in regards to the industry but I knew that I wanted to eventually do my own stuff,” she recalled.
Combining her passions for TV production and fitness, she decided to quit her job and launch a YouTube channel (joannasohofficial), uploading quick beginner workout routines to start with. Like fitness, it took time and consistency for results to show and sure enough, she snagged her first 100,000 subscribers within the first year.
Today, she has over 770,000 subscribers and her own fitness clothing line called Fit & Feminine.
Quitting a stable job is a risky thing to do! What went through your mind back then? It was scary because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. A lot of people were telling me, “You’re working in London and you have a secure income from a job that everyone wants, and you’re leaving it?” I said, “Yeah, it felt right.” I knew that I could not continue doing TV production and do YouTube at the same time because once you’re back from work, you’re too tired to focus. I spoke to my parents and asked them to give me a year to explore this. By that time, I made sure I had enough savings to sustain myself for a year.
How did you deal with nasty comments? Until today I still receive nasty comments, and sometimes you can tell that they’re expressed out of jealousy. They did affect me at first, but I would not reply. I believe that replying would feed energy into the comment and haters want to see that. What are the top three qualities that a YouTuber needs to have? Discipline. Whenever I tell people that I’m working for myself, the first thing they’d say is how nice it is that I get to wake up at any time. Yes I can do that, but that’s not how it should be because when you’re working for yourself, it requires more discipline. You’re accountable to your own schedule and the deadlines you set for yourself.
Consistency is very important as well. Don’t expect something to happen overnight; it takes time and effort to repeat the same thing before audiences would start noticing you.
It is also important to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. I know people who do make-up videos
I want to start a network that empowers women. Right now I’m just doing fitness and I want to start a network where I can combine beauty, lifestyle, fashion, relationship advice and so much more. I’m not an expert in these fields so it’ll be great to work with different talents and creators that have different ideas and passions.
She is a certified personal trainer under FitMalaysia and holds an American Council of Exercise Certification.