It’s no secret that YouTube has become a place where creative people from all walks of life can make a living. Many people immediately jump to someone like Jenna Marbles, who quit her job as a promo girl in Boston to move out to L.A. and pursue YouTube and has been reported to be making six figures. Or Philip DeFranco, who started out making videos on his webcam and just recently had his YouTube ventures acquired by Revision3 and Discovery for reported millions.
However, there are thousands of other creators who may not be making millions of dollars but they are able to make anywhere between $30,000-$75,000 a year like most of the rest of America and live solely on their YouTube earnings. This was always a dream of mine to be able to quit my job and live on YouTube earnings alone. I just announced today that I’m leaving my job at Fullscreen as their social engagement strategist (where I’ve been for over a year) to become a full-time YouTuber. I want to share with you how I made it to this point, how you can do it too and why this is something that is important for the YouTube ecosystem.
Where Do I Begin?
I started making videos in March of 2010 knowing the potential YouTube had to become a full-time job. Fast forward to nearly 4 years later and we’re finally able to make the jump to doing it full time. The growth of any YouTube channel is always unique to the creator, but let me share a few tips on how we grew.
First, I made sure everyone knew about us. While I started out as a spammy, annoying guy, I quickly realized that if I genuinely look to have conversation via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube comments, etc. with major players in the YouTube space and connect with them as a respectable creator, many of them eventually took notice and saw me as a dedicated viewer and supporter. Even if people didn’t watch us, they usually knew our name. This eventually led to a connection we made with our inspiration for even starting YouTube, Shaycarl, who gave us a shout-out that helped us gain some traction and from which we grew, etc.
While the shout-out from Shay was nice, it would have been worthless if we weren’t already making quality, consistent content. One of the hardest things on YouTube is sticking to a schedule. When viewers know the days you upload and when you stick to that schedule and don’t let them down, you will grow leaps and bounds, assuming you’re making quality content and always trying to become a better creator. This was true in our case. We already had a small, dedicated audience, and more people came and stuck around.
Lastly, I have always been a strong proponent of engaging your audience as much as possible. When you do this, you create a sense of community and it strengthens your brand as a YouTuber. Responding to comments, tweets, emails, messages, etc. creates “super brand ambassadors” who become part of your channel, in a way, and tell their friends about you, which leads to more organic growth, etc. Between our main channel and my wife’s channel, we have just over 100,000 subscribers. However, the percentage of those subscribers who are active and passionate about our brand is much higher than many YouTubers with 200K, 300K and even 500K subscribers I’ve seen who have little engagement. Engagement leads to brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors lead to growth. Growth leads to more money.
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