'Stay in school', says popular vlogger Che Nom to aspiring young YouTubers

Normah posts cooking and baking videos on her YouTube channel. Photo: Che Nom

Cooking and baking YouTuber Normah Bakar, better known as “Che Nom” after her channel, advises aspiring young YouTubers not to quit school even though they plan on being a YouTuber full time.

Despite her success on YouTube – she has over 900k subscribers – her sensible advice is “don’t ever sacrifice your education as it’s really important to shape your future life”.

“You may think that just because you want to become a professional YouTuber, you don’t need to finish your studies but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My past working experience has contributed so much to what I’m doing today, ” says the 39-year-old former telecommunications engineer.

“Working in the private sector has helped me to be better and more resilient too, ” says the Shah Alam-based vlogger.

Normah, who posts cooking and baking videos featuring popular local dishes such as Ayam Masak Merah Berempah, Ayam Masak Kicap with Sambal Gesek, Ikan Bakar Air Asam, Cucur Udang with Kuah Kacang and Mee Bandung Sempoi to cakes and desserts like Kuih Seri Muka, Onde-Onde, Pandan Gula Melaka Cake with Swiss Meringue, Nutella Cheesecake, Cream Puff, and more, has been posting cooking videos on YouTube since 2006, but says it was "just for fun" then.

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Normah reveals that she has always been interested in cooking and baking. Before her YouTube activities, she already had her own website where she posts recipes once in a while.

But it wasn’t until May 2019 that she decided to seriously venture into YouTubing because she wanted to try something new and also spend more time with her family. Her work as a telecommunications engineer meant often being “on call” and working late nights.

“I started getting into YouTube because I wanted to try something new in life. I also thought that doing this full-time would enable me to spend more time with my family,” says Normah, who is married and has three children aged four, eight and 10.

When asked what does it take to be a successful YouTuber, Normah replies without hesitation: “passion, determination and originality”.

“You need to have passion and determination to survive. That’s what helps you get going and keeps you going even when things get tough,” she says.

“You also need to be yourself and be original. Don’t try to be someone else or copy other’s style or content,” she adds. “But of course, you can be inspired by others. There are so many talented YouTubers out there who can be inspiring and motivating. It also helps you set a benchmark to ensure your content is up to mark,” says Normah.

“My baseline for measuring my content – before I post the video on YouTube – is if I enjoy watching my own video, then it’s good to go online. But if I feel the content and quality is not up to my standards – during production time – it will not go to the audience, and I will look into how it can be improved,” she says.

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When asked what is a good YouTube video to her, Normah says she has several criteria.

“To me, a good YouTube video, especially a cooking or baking video, involves several things: the technical aspects of good audio and video quality, a good recipe, trust from the audience, and a strong reputation that can’t be built overnight,” she explains.

Normah’s videos are targeted towards viewers who are new to cooking and baking.

“That’s why in my videos, I explain everything in such detail for each dish I make so it’s very easy to understand and follow,” she says.

Normah’s Youtube channel is Che Nom. Other popular women YouTubers in Malaysia, include Bella Khann (over one million subscribers), Sugu Pavithra (over 800k subscribers) and Kathrine Kwa (over 700k subscribers).

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