In an age of oversharing online, there is something alluring about getting paid for the content you create on social media. Many flock to YouTube, hoping to recreate a monetized version of their TikTok or Instagram success. But is transitioning into YouTuber life worth it?
Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has created its own form of celebrity with YouTubers. The popular platform has given creators a way to showcase their creativity, skills, and influence.
YouTube has also created opportunities for its stars beyond the website. Notable YouTubers include Justin Bieber, ChloexHalle, and Michelle Phan, who have all managed to build impressive careers outside of the platform.
With two billion monthly logged-in users, YouTube offers you the chance to gain an audience for your talents. But why settle for exposure when the biggest attraction to starting a channel is the potential to make money. Some of the most popular YouTube channels have made millions from ads and sponsorships.
While becoming the next big name on YouTube seems like a dream come true, there is a negative side to “living the dream.” So before you start packing your bags to move to Los Angeles, here are a few things to consider.
If you search for ways to make money on YouTube or how much YouTubers make, you could easily be convinced to quit your 9-5 in favor of recording videos from the comfort of your home. But what is often overlooked in the search for YouTube fame and fortune is how hard it is to monetize your content.
After the Logan Paul suicide forest video, YouTube demonetized smaller channels and changed their requirements for joining the YouTube Partner Program. This change caused outrage for creators who were not career YouTubers or had smaller followings.
While some believe that the newer requirements will motivate content creators to create more content, the question becomes, how much time do you dedicate to producing content for free?
Even if you complete the requirements for YouTube Partnership, your account still has to be reviewed to make sure your content is ad-friendly. Upon approval, you will have to maintain specific standards, even to remain monetized. After all of that, you still may only be getting a few pennies for every 1,000 views.
Working for the Algorithm
A big draw to YouTube is “being your own boss” and creating the content you want to make. However, unrestricted creativity can have its drawbacks. While some content can not be monetized on YouTube due to community guidelines, sometimes the content doesn’t even get the attention it deserves due to YouTube’s algorithm.
As most content creators will learn, social media often feels like a losing game of trying to figure out the platform’s current algorithm. YouTube is no exception.
While there is debate on whether you can beat or even figure out YouTube’s current algorithm, many content creators find themselves working more for the algorithm than themselves. That is why you see so many YouTubers creating similar content and constantly reusing themes in their videos.
The algorithm for getting your videos into recommendations seems to be determined by several factors, including your videos’ click-through rate and the length of time people watch your content. This can be difficult to overcome and discouraging when you are trying to compete with YouTubers with larger subscriber counts and views.
Depending on your level of commitment to starting your YouTube Channel, finding the right balance between work and free time can be essential for your mental health.
YouTubers ThioJoe and Ryan Scribner have talked about the ups and downs of creating content as a full-time job. Both men have shared their experiences on the isolation that can come with building your channel and the amount of time spent focusing on growth instead of a social life.
More content creators have come out in recent years, discussing the pressures of maintaining a successful channel. Bigger audiences create more expectations for YouTubers. Viewers expect consistent and new ideas, thus creating anxiety in the newly successful channels
Matt Lee of VideoGamerTV told The Guardian, “It’s not enough to simply create great things,” he says. “The audience expect consistency. They expect frequency. Without these, it’s incredibly easy to slip off the radar and lose favour with the algorithm that gave you your wings.”
The constant demand to stay relevant not only on YouTube but also through other social media platforms can cause many content creators to burn out.
If you decide to make the leap to a full-time to YouTuber, you abandon the given safety net of a 9 to 5 job, such as a regular paycheck or benefits.
Creating a profitable channel is difficult, but there is added pressure when you are not a 16 year old making videos in your parents’ house. The phrase “no days off” has a new meaning when your income is based on your videos’ success.
To become a successful, full-time Youtuber, you have to learn how to manage your time differently. Your income is no longer influenced by you merely showing up to work for eight hours a day but by your daily relevance to your viewers. So it is not only necessary to frequently create content but also to create enough content that you can afford to take breaks or even sick days.
Managing your money properly is vital when you venture into entrepreneurship. If you have a monetized channel, it is not likely that your paychecks will be the same each month. You have to financially prepare for slower months or even another period of “Adpocalypse”
Don’t just save money for rainy days; you also have to keep it for taxes. Unlike a paycheck with a regular job, taxes are not taken out of your YouTube checks. Therefore, you are responsible for paying the taxes on your YouTube income and the higher taxes of self-employment.
YouTube gives you access to an audience that can lead to fame and fortune, but it also comes with its own unique headaches. While Forbes and Business Insider show us the successes of a few YouTubers, it is easy to forget how many people don’t achieve that same recognition level.
It is important to remember that the exciting things we read online are not always what they seem. Perfect social media accounts and article features often hide the struggles of becoming a successful content creator. To have a popular and profitable channel on YouTube requires much work, but the end result may be worth all the hardships for some.
The reasoning behind starting a YouTube channel and whether it is worth it is subjective. However, like any venture, you will never know until you try, and who wouldn’t want to try and make millions from their online content?
Would you like to meet some new people to talk to on a topic you find interesting?
Check out these Zoom mixer meetings to chat about your hobby or obsession.