How much YouTube do you watch every day?
I remember back when YouTube first came out. It was basically a place where you could share cat videos and short clips of people accidentally hurting themselves. Kind of like an online version of America’s Funniest Home Videos, but online! Today, however, YouTube is an entirely different beast.
There are countless creators on YouTube, generating incredible amounts of content that fuels their business. And yes, I do mean BUSINESS. If you’re a content creator on YouTube, then you’re an entrepreneur. And that means you could probably use a little advice when you are first developing your channel into a successful business and brand!
There are lots of people who start on YouTube without any plan or strategy. They put some effort into a few videos, but their output soon drops off if they don’t get an instant viral hit. As you can only start monetizing your videos after 10,000 views, many people don’t have the stamina to build their audience. To be honest, this reminds me of a lot of would-be amateur entrepreneurs.
Those are the people who go into a business venture without having a well-thought-out plan. They think that they have a million-dollar idea, but aren’t willing to put in the work to make it a success. Businesses like that tend to flame out without very much fanfare, not unlike amateur YouTubers.
Whether you are starting a sales business or creating content on YouTube, you need to come up with a detailed business plan that will provide you a roadmap for the next year (or more). You can’t count on overnight success. Creating a viral hit with your first video a little bit like winning the lottery. It can happen, yes, but it’s super unlikely. That’s why you need to research your target market, figuring out what kind of “products” they want to watch.
Believe it or not, there aren’t tremendous costs associated with creating a YouTube channel, depending on the type of content that you want to make.
If you’re planning on basically sitting at your computer and talking to your audience, then you are going to need a high-quality webcam and a solid microphone. You can get each of those for a hundred dollars or less. Once your YouTube channel starts to grow, you can then upgrade to better equipment.
If you are planning on doing any filming, you might consider buying a professional camera. However, in the early days of your channel, you could use your cell phone (provided that it has a great camera). If you go back and look at some of their earlier videos of many million subscriber channels, they can look pretty rough! They only got to making polished, professional content because they learned with each new video, buying new equipment as they could afford it. You should follow a similar example.
The amount of content created on YouTube daily is jaw-dropping. Over 300 hours of footage are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
So, how do you break-in? The same way you do anything in entrepreneurship: you must build a customer base.
There is an audience out there for the type of content you’re creating, but they need to be able to find you. Striking it lucky with a viral hit isn’t a viable method to get the word out for most people, so you need to rely on good old-fashioned digital marketing.
You should have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page to go along with your YouTube channel. Using them, you should be promoting your content daily. Engage with similar content creators in the comment sections of their videos. The more methods you use to get your content out there, the more people will watch and potentially subscribe.
Which reminds me, don’t forget to ask your viewers to “like and subscribe” after every video. Some people feel awkward about asking for that kind of support, but it’s the only way you’re going to build up a loyal audience.
Of course, the reason why anyone starts a business is because they want to make money. In the case of YouTube, making money is a little more complicated than charging people for your content.
YouTube puts ads before (and sometimes in the middle of) videos. If your videos are monetized, that means you will make a specific amount of money per each view and click of the sponsors’ ads. You don’t get a say in what they are charging. For many YouTubers, this model doesn’t provide enough of an income to make their channels financially viable. That’s where sponsors come in.
How many times have you watched a YouTube video, only to have it end with the creator talking about SquareSpace, or Curiosity Stream, or a free-to-play video game? Those sponsorships are paying the bills! Landing a company that wants to sponsor you isn’t easy, as they want to get a decent bang for their buck. That’s why you need to work to build up your audience to make your channel into something potential sponsors will see value in supporting.
The harsh reality is that you likely aren’t going to be able to live off your YouTube business in its first year. It takes time to build a channel, content, and an audience. In the first 12 months, you might only bring in a few hundred dollars.
The moral here is that you shouldn’t be starting a YouTube business to get rich. You’re starting a YouTube business because you have something you want to say, content you want to share with people. Doing the legwork is a part of that. Most YouTubers’ channels are labors of love, done in their off-hours. Some of them who gain traction are lucky enough to make it into their full-time job and business. The only way you’re going to reach that point is to put in the time and effort. In that way, it’s just like starting any other business!
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