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How to Make 6 Figures on YouTube and Keep Your Day Job

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You’ve probably heard of PewDiePie, the most subscribed-to YouTuber in the world, with more than 100,000,000 million people following his channel and an estimated net worth of $40 million. I wanted to find someone in my own sphere who had been successful on Youtube. So I interviewed my colleague Sydd, who works full time at a consulting firm and also makes six figures from his YouTube channel, which has just over 100,000 subscribers.

Here are 5 ways you can make 6 figures on youtube and keep your day job:

1. Know your reason why 

Starting a YouTube isn’t the fastest way to earn money, so it takes commitment to get results. As of 2020, you need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last year to monetize your channel. 

The reason I started my channel was to have creative freedom after a reorganization at work. I realized I never wanted to rely on someone else for my future and freedom. He says, “I also wanted to hold on to my employer benefits and salary because even in the best of times, my Youtube income fluctuates a lot. So for me, the challenge became how to balance both things.” 

Syd says that habits like waking up at 5:00 a.m. every day for a year to work on his channel are what helped him to grow so fast. To new Youtubers, he recommends posting “3-5 times a week to get momentum.” He still posts 4-5 videos a week and says you must be consistent to make big money on YouTube. 

2. Create a business strategy with multiple streams of income 

Can I let you in on a secret? The smartest YouTubers don’t rely only on Google Adsense revenue to make money on YouTube. If you don’t already know, the main way most Youtubers make money is by getting paid for advertisements being shown on their channel. 

Rates can vary from $2-$10 per 1000 views, depending on the video topic (finance has one of the highest payout rates on YouTube.) Think about your channel topic and other ways of making money that fit with your niche.

For example, beauty channels can make money through affiliate marketing and brand partnerships. Life coaches can make money by promoting a course or 1-on-1 coaching. So think bigger than just relying on Adsense for your income. Better yet, focus on building a few different revenue streams from the very beginning. 

By coming up with a simple business model for your channel, you can start making money before you even hit 1,000 subscribers, and if one revenue stream falters, you’ll still be bringing in income. 

3. Just get started

When I first started my channel, I didn’t expect to be making a 6 figure income in a year. I just committed to making videos almost every day. Here I am, a year later, with over 100,000 subscribers and a six figure income. My biggest piece of advice would be to focus on taking action every day to reach your goal. 

I started out with just my desktop computer and free editing software. Even though my early videos weren’t the greatest, they were enough to get me my first subscribers, and that motivated me to put even more time and effort into each video. 

Now I have a professional editor and project manager on my team, and I focus on coming up with video ideas. I also hired a YouTube consultant to review my business model about 11 months in. As you grow, make sure to get support so that you can keep your creativity going and not get slowed down by administrative tasks like editing and uploading videos. 

4. Learn from the comments (and ignore the rest)

No matter how much time you put into making your video perfect, you will at some point get a cruel or hateful comment. Syd says that “in the early days of my channel, the sound quality wasn’t the greatest. I used to get upset when people would comment on it, but then I upgraded my sound set-up. Guess what happened next? People started watching my videos for much longer and I earned more.” 

It’s hard to not get upset about it. Here’s the thing, you must learn to tell the difference between a comment from a troll and a comment that you can genuinely learn from. If you can find the constructive criticism in the comments, you can learn a lot. Remind yourself that your self-esteem (and success) do not depend on what you read in the comments section of your videos. 

5. Choose the right niche – and don’t be afraid to change course

This is my third attempt at starting a successful YouTube channel, since I got started on the platform in 2014. My first channel gained 3,000 subscribers and my second got 48,000. If I would have quit after my second channel plateaued, I never would have gotten to the point of making a full time income. 

“I looked at other channels in my niche, and looked at what they did well, and what I felt I was still missing as a viewer. Then I tried to fill that void.” says Sydd. Persistence pays off in business. If you can reframe failure as one step closer to success, you’ll eventually succeed. 

You’ll want to find a niche that’s broad enough to offer plenty of video ideas, but narrow enough to attract a specific type of viewer. My advice is to research an area you’re interested in, and see if there is at least one channel with 100,000 subscribers in that category. If this is the case, it’s probably the right size of niche. 

Another decision you’ll want to make early on is if your channel is going to be information or personality-based, Sydd sayd “I made the decision early on that my channel was going to be based around storytelling, not myself.”

If you don’t get it right the first time, or aren’t seeing the subscriber growth you’re aiming for, don’t be afraid to start over or change course. You’ll take what you learned on your first try, and everything will move along much faster the second time. 

Creating a full time income on YouTube doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. All you need is a computer, some creativity and the desire to keep improving. If you want to accelerate your success, do some basic research on niches and revenue streams, and you’ll find that making a full time income on YouTube is definitely achievable, even while keeping your 9-5 job. 

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