When my best friend Kong and I dropped out of college to start a YouTube channel, our friends and family thought we’d lost our minds.
I have to admit — starting a YouTube channel was Kong’s idea, and I thought it was idiotic at the time.
But after doing some research, we realized there were a ton of people who started successful YouTube channels without any experience:
No filming or editing skills.
No fancy equipment.
Nothing but an iPhone, a laptop, and an internet connection.
Yet they were able to build an audience of hardcore fans and turn their YouTube channels into profitable lifestyle businesses.
How? That’s exactly what we set out to discover.
This was way back in 2011. Since then YouTube has exploded:
In 2016, YouTube officially reported that the number of channels making $100,000 or more in annual ad revenue was up 50% year over year.
Today any given YouTube channel has the ability to reach an audience of billions, almost a third of all people on the Internet.
This means you now have the power to:
- Create meaningful videos about stuff you’re actually passionate about.
- Build an audience of adoring fans.
- Run a profitable lifestyle business without the stress of a 9-5 job or even needing a college degree.
As crazy as that may sound, I know this is possible because I’ve done it. And not only that, my business partner Kong and I have helped thousands of people build successful YouTube channels that take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Today, I’m going to give you a crash course on what it takes to launch your very own successful YouTube channel. This is the guide I wish we had access to all those years ago. It contains some of our most impactful, best-kept secrets on viral marketing, online business, and more.
Okay, let’s dive into it!
(If you’ve already started a YouTube channel, or are looking for more in-depth training, sign up for our FREE YouTube Influencer crash course here. This training includes over an hour of our top secret strategies we couldn’t include in this guide, including parts of our premium course, all in HD video.)
Who Are We?
I’m Jesse — and over the past 6 years, my business partner Kong and I have started over half a dozen profitable YouTube channels, including the one you may know us from, Simple Pickup, which has over 2.7 million subscribers.
In 2011, we were miserable college students looking for an escape route, who didn’t know the first thing about making YouTube videos. Even worse, we were making minimum wage at jobs we hated.
We had no special skills, talents, or film experience. That’s why starting a YouTube channel seemed impossible to us.
But we did it anyway, focusing on men’s dating advice, because what else are college guys into?
Within just a few months we turned SimplePickup into a profitable lifestyle business that allowed us to live how we always dreamed, with the freedom to travel the world and do what we want without worrying about money.
Take a look at our yearly growth:
Since then, our YouTube channels have driven over 500 million views. We’ve now been featured on the world’s biggest publications, like the New York Times, ABC World News, The Huffington Post, and TechCrunch.
Suffice to say, YouTube changed our lives and now we’re on a mission to show people like you how to break free from the traditional path and live life on your own terms through YouTube.
If you think that sounds crazy, check out the results some of our students have gotten:
After Jahtna was laid off from her 9-5 job, she restarted her dormant YouTube channel, this time focusing on DIY projects & beauty hacks. With our system, she gained over 320,000 subscribers in 12 months and is now making 4 TIMES what she made at her old job.
The Icing Artist
With our system Laurie gained 202,000 subscribers in 11 months on her cake decorating YouTube channel, The Icing Artist. She went from 20,000 Facebook followers to 300,000 in just 6 months!
David & Harshyt started a hilarious YouTube channel, RiffShop, that explains “life through death metal.” Since learning our system, their channel has gained over 8 million views. They went from seeing only their moms ‘like’ every video they published to being featured in IGN, Chive, and Esquire.
See what I mean?
Armed with the right system, you too can build your own raving fan base on YouTube and create a lifestyle business following your actual passion in life.
Now, you might be thinking:
“That’s great, Jesse, but I don’t have any good ideas for YouTube Channel.”
Or maybe you’ve never recorded a video before. And you’re worried about looking like a noob to everyone on the internet.
I’m about to show you why you can let these worries go, even if you are terrified of clicking the record button or don’t know where to start.
This guide reveals our step-by-step roadmap for starting YouTube channel without any money, equipment, or film skills.
All we started with was a desire to live life on our own terms, and that’s all you need to start with too.
Now let’s take a look under the hood…
What You’ll Get In This Guide
Sound good? Let’s get started!
First I’m going to reveal the mindset pro YouTubers bring to growing their audiences every day.
The YouTube Success Mindset
When I talk to people who want to start their own YouTube channel, I hear the same excuses over and over again:
“I don’t have any money to buy fancy video equipment.”
“I don’t have any free time due to my job, school, etc.”
“I’m not an ‘expert’ in anything, why would people listen to me?”
It’s like my own personal version of Groundhog Day.
The truth is, you can create content that looks just like your favorite YouTube videos with just $20 worth of equipment and your smartphone. I’ll show you how this is possible in Section 3.
And you only need to spend about 5 hours per week to start building an audience on YouTube. We started Simple Pickup as a side hustle.
And we certainly didn’t consider ourselves “dating experts” from day one. But as young, single guys it’s what we were constantly reading about and practicing when we went out.
As we made more and more videos and gained the trust of our audience, we were considered experts by our fans. You just have to be more knowledgeable than your audience and show them how passionate you are.
Now after creating multiple successful YouTube Channels with millions of views and helping thousands of YouTubers start their own channels, there’s one common thread I’ve seen with every one.
I call it The YouTube Success Mindset. And if I could sum it up in one word, it would be Persistence.
Let me show you why with a quick story.
One of my favorite YouTubers, Marques Brownlee, has 4.5 million subscribers on YouTube and consistently gets millions of views on each of his videos.
But if you go back to his earliest videos, you’ll see he had over 100 videos that had less than 100 views. If he quit before he gave it his all, he would have had nothing now.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what he said in a Reddit AMA:
“… If you shoot 800+ videos over the course of 7 years, you’ll eventually start getting pretty good at it.”
Look, building an audience on YouTube isn’t easy, but if you follow the right strategies, and put in the work, you will succeed.
The question is, what are you going to do when you put out videos and don’t see the results you expect? Will you throw in the towel? Or will you stick with it because you know it will get better?
With Simple Pickup, we tested all kinds of content ideas from a talk show to animation and motivational videos.
Guest what? Most of them bombed, but the ones that worked got us millions of views and helped us build our channel into a multi-million dollar lifestyle business.
That’s power of persistence.
Now that you know what it takes, let’s find the perfect idea for your YouTube channel.
Your Profitable YouTube Channel Idea
Right now you might be thinking:
“How do I know if my idea is good or doomed to fail?”
“I feel like there’s way too much competition out there. Hasn’t every topic already been done?”
Let those worries melt away.
Too many people think their channel idea must be so brilliant that no one has thought of it before (or else they’ll fail). This fear causes aspiring YouTubers to freeze up and never get past the idea stage. Because it creates an unrealistic standard that almost no one can reach.
But I’m not going to let that happen to you.
After YEARS of trial and error, we’ve devised a shockingly simple strategy for consistently finding winning channel ideas. And honestly, I can’t believe I’m giving this away.
It’s called the “YouTube Channel Idea Scorecard”.
Here’s how it works: The first thing you’re going to do is take out a piece of paper and make a list of at least 20 things you love.
Why are you doing this? Because when you create a YouTube channel that excites you, creating videos for it won’t feel like work.
So if you love going to the zoo, write it down. Juggling? That too. Fantasy football? It’s on the list.
The more, the better. Again, try to have a list of at least 20 things before you finish. Here’s an example of what it should look like:
Keep in mind, right now, there are no bad ideas. You’re just writing down things you care about.
Got your list?
Okay, it’s time to run your ideas through the Channel Idea Scorecard. It’s a three-step formula to find which of your ideas is best suited to become a profitable YouTube channel.
Question 1: On a scale of 1-5, how big is the audience for this topic?
1 is like you and your grandma are the only people in the world interested in the topic, and 5 is like the audience for The Walking Dead.
For example gaming, beauty tips, and yoga would be a 5. They’re extremely common interests, with millions of people interested in them around the world, which means they are a huge potential audience.
Question 2: On a scale of 1-5, how much do people who are into this topic care about it?
For almost any topic, regardless of how niche it may seem, there’s probably a passionate audience for it. But don’t just assume this for your idea. Do the work and make sure there are raving fans for your topic.
For example, there is a League of Legends esports channel with over 2.5 million subscribers. Their fans are way more likely to watch a YouTube channel dedicated to esports because they play video games themselves and are passionate about their growing sport.
Question 3: On a scale of 1-5, how much would you enjoy making content about this topic?
If you’re insanely passionate about what your YouTube channel is all about, it’ll never feel like “work” building your channel. So let’s make sure you’re REALLY into your channel idea.
1 is like you’d enjoy it as much as getting a root canal.
5 is like it’s your birthday and you won the lottery and you fell in love on the same day.
Now run all of your ideas through this framework. And afterward, tally up the score.
Once you’re done, you should have a number — between 3 and 15 — for each one.
Now, draw an X through all your ideas OTHER than the ones with the 3 highest scores.
Those are your finalists. They should all be above 10 points or so. If not, you may want to run more ideas through the scorecard.
Now, one of those finalists is going to become your channel idea.
Think hard about the idea that you can envision yourself sticking with for the long haul — then select your favorite. Once you’ve done that… it’s time to celebrate. You just come up with your profitable YouTube channel!
But if you’re still searching, don’t worry.
Here are three tips for coming up with your channel idea if you’re stuck:
- Look look at channels outside your selected topics (even outside YouTube) for inspiration: If you only look at one niche, you limit yourself to what you can come up with.
- Talk to your friends: Brainstorming with other people is an amazing way to come up with channel ideas you would have never thought of yourself.
- Let it simmer: You don’t have to force it. Give your ideas some time to simmer and see what bubbles up to the surface. Studies show giving your brain time to decompress can aid creativity. As you go through your day jot down any new ideas in a journal or your phone. Trust that your channel idea will come.
With your YouTube channel idea ready to go, now it’s time for the fun part, creating your first YouTube video.
How to Record Your First Video (Without Any Fancy Equipment)
Take a second and think about your favorite YouTube videos. The ones that you love to re-watch.
What would you say makes these videos so great?
Maybe you have a similar sense of humor. Or you like their point of view. Or they’re great at teaching you stuff while keeping it interesting.
As you think about this I’m willing to bet none of the reasons you come up with have to do with the camera equipment they used. Right?
This brings me to one of the most important truths about starting a successful YouTube channel:
Your equipment doesn’t matter.
Here’s the deal: Like it or not, many of your favorite viral videos have technical flaws that would make your average film student weep.
How is that possible? It’s because people watch your channel for your ideas, humor, and entertainment… not because your lighting is perfect.
Now, with that said, here’s what I recommend you use to get started:
First, you need the smartphone you have in your pocket.
Then you need something called a lav mic. These run for about $20.
And that’s it…
It’s counterintuitive, but sound is way more important than video quality.
Even if your video quality is amazing, bad sound will irritate your viewers so much they’ll click away with lightning speed.
The mics in most smartphones are actually pretty good. But if you want to shoot something from far away or in a place that’s noisy, you’re going to need a microphone that picks up voices well.
This is where the lav mic saves the day.
You plug it into your phone and clip it onto your shirt, just like on TV. You can record the audio to the voice recorder app that’s already on your phone.
It’s what we used (for a long time) when we started our YouTube channel. We didn’t upgrade to wireless lav mics until we had hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
Here’s quick pro tip: You know when you see the white and black slate clap to start scenes in movies? Do this before you start scenes to make audio/visual syncing easier. So right after you hit record, say something like, “Cooking while blindfolded, take 2, clap.” This will save you tons of editing time.
Now let’s talk video.
The smartphone in your pocket is already set up to record high-quality videos for YouTube.
There’s absolutely no reason you need an expensive video camera to get started.
Remember, you don’t need fancy equipment.
However, if you have some cash lying around, here are two options to consider:
Canon Powershot 190 ($150): A point and shoot camera that’s good for vlogging, workout videos, and cooking videos — pretty much anything you’d need a portable camera for.
Or if you have dreams of being the next Spielberg (and have a trust fund), consider getting a DSLR.
Canon 70D ($800), Lens ($300): This is what pro YouTubers like Casey Neistat use. I recommend pairing the 70D body with an 18-35mm lens. The 70D is also versatile for both still photography and video, plus it has a fast autofocus feature for on-the-go shooting.
Finally, let’s talk editing. This another thing people agonize over, but shouldn’t.
If you don’t have a budget, use free editing software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.
These programs give you more than enough features for you to put together great videos.
If you have some cash to spend, I recommend Adobe’s Premiere Pro, which is the industry standard. If you use a Mac, Final Cut Pro X is another great option.
It’s great you can use free software, but you’re probably wondering how the hell you’re going to learn how to edit video.
Don’t worry, basic video editing is something you can pick up quickly with a few tutorials. And the more you do it the faster you’ll be able to churn out great content.
There are a TON of great tutorials online that will get you up to speed. Here are a few I recommend for beginners:
Don’t forget. The most important thing is not to get hung up on equipment. Just press record. Your equipment doesn’t matter, the content does.
The Viral Marketing Secrets of the World’s Biggest YouTubers
Here is the first rule of viral YouTube videos:
No one can guarantee a video will be seen by millions.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of crap.
However, there’s one key thing you can do to significantly increase the odds of reaching a massive amount of people.
Eliciting a strong emotion from your audience.
The best YouTube videos ALL do this.
Happiness. Sadness. Anger. Nostalgia. Hope. Laughter. Awe.
Every YouTube video that is shared by millions makes its viewers feel an emotion like this.
This isn’t just my opinion.
Jonah Berger, the professor who wrote THE book on virality, agrees.
In Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he says, “If you make people feel something, they will remember better. You can’t help sharing something highly emotional — it’s what humans do.”
So when you create your content, always ask yourself one question: “What do I want my audience to feel?”
After a few years of making viral videos on YouTube, we realized we were using the same three strategies over and over again to elicit an emotional reaction from our viewers.
We even put them on posters in every room of our office. That’s how important they are to making create videos.
Here are the top 3 ways to elicit emotion from your audience:
- Challenge assumptions
- Have a unique perspective
- Tell a compelling story
These 3 traits are responsible for hundreds of millions of views on our channel.
And the most popular YouTube videos have shown time and time again that incorporating these traits results in shares and views.
Here’s the proof: Go to your favorite channel and look at what’s most popular. All these videos use at least one of these traits.
Now let me explain how you can bake each one of these viral traits into your content.
#1 Challenge Assumptions
Challenging assumptions is powerful because it shocks people into questioning their own beliefs about something.
When you challenge a person’s assumptions, they’ll want to share it with their friends because they just discovered a new way of thinking (plus they get to look smart).
Now this doesn’t mean you should turn into a shock jock like Howard Stern.
Or that you need to expose celebrities or hypocritical politicians to get attention.
Instead, think about what you believe to be true that most people don’t. Or something you want to take a stand on.
For example, we did a video where we took a confident guy and gave him an aesthetic handicap. Then we had him ask random women out on dates.
And guess what? He was successful.
What assumption did this challenge?
That looks are the most important thing in a potential mate.
These kinds of videos are popular because when people hear they might be wrong about something, their ears perk up.
And if you make them think differently, they are more likely to share what they saw.
#2 Have a Unique Perspective
There are 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
How is your content going to stand out in a sea of sameness?
By offering a unique point of view.
One that doesn’t view the world through the same lens as everyone else.
This isn’t as difficult as it sounds.
It just comes down to presenting your message in a way that isn’t immediately obvious or cliche.
Here’s an exercise to test the point of view of a video idea:
Ask yourself, “How many times has this exact idea been done before?”
The fewer people, the better.
For example, this video is titled “How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps.” But it’s actually about dealing with a breakup. It takes a common type of YouTube video and plays with the audience’s expectations.
The key to having a unique perspective?
Don’t be afraid to get weird. The internet likes weird.
#3 Tell A Story
This one might seem obvious, but most people get it wrong.
See, most people assume they know how to tell a story, but they never actually stop and think about what makes storytelling so powerful.
Stories make people take action because they tell a narrative that helps us relate to each other and process the world.
And there’s no shortage of creative ways to tell them.
You can create an underdog story, a surprising plot twist, a tragedy, a comedy, a rags to riches tale. The list goes on and on.
So make sure every video you make tells a compelling story that has a beginning, middle, and end.
A great example of this is a scene in the Pixar movie Up which is able to tell a couple’s life story in about 4 minutes.
To become a better storyteller, break down your favorite movies, TV shows, or YouTube videos.
What are your favorite elements? What is the plot (beginning, middle, end)? How does it play with the audience’s expectations?
By pulling great storytelling elements from your favorite content, you’ll be able to incorporate it into your own, increasing your chances of reaching a wider audience.
If you bake these traits into your first few videos, you will be miles ahead of the competition.
To learn more about creating viral videos, sign up for our FREE YouTube Influencer 101 crash course.
You’ll get exclusive access The Remix Strategy, which we use to know which videos ideas are winners…and which ones are losers. You won’t find it anywhere else because we literally created this strategy.
Advanced Strategies for Explosive YouTube Growth
No matter how great your content is, you will still have to hustle to get it in front of as many people as possible. Especially when you are first starting out.
The reason people get this so wrong is so-called experts have been saying for YEARS that if you make good content, people will find it.
So now we have an entire generation of people that think if they make amazing stuff, an audience will magically appear.
I’ve only seen, “If you build it, they will come,” work once. And Kevin Costner was listening to a baseball playing ghost in Field of Dreams.
It is true anyone can produce their own podcast, web series, or album and instantly put it on platforms like YouTube that serve billions of people.
But if you want people to see your content before you’ve built a fanbase, then you have to get it in front of bigger audiences so they can spread the word for you.
This might sound daunting, but it’s not. Here’s why.
You don’t need to get your content in front of everyone on the Internet. Just the people who are already into what your channel is about.
The question isn’t, “How do I get everyone on YouTube to see my video?”
Instead, it’s, “Where do people who like what I do hang out online?”
A smaller crowd that’s hungry for your content is way better than getting it in front of a big crowd that’s indifferent to it. Because they’re much more likely to enjoy your video and share it.
Lucky for you I’m about to reveal exactly how to do this.
These are two advanced strategies we’ve used to get our videos in front of HUGE audiences already primed for our content:
- Seed your content in niche online communities.
- Get your content featured on relevant blogs and media outlets.
Let’s talk about online communities first.
A big reason why you should create a channel based on what you’re passionate about is that you probably already have relationships in that community.
If you love playing guitar, odds are you’re already in a guitarist online community.
If you’re obsessed with baseball statistics, you probably know all popular baseball writers in that field.
Here’s what I mean by online communities:
- Reddit subreddits
- Facebook Groups
They’re places where people go to talk about the stuff they’re passionate about online.
And you can use them to your advantage by following these three steps:
1. Make a list of online communities in your niche.
Search for Reddit subreddits, Facebook groups, forums (google [your niche] forums), etc. and make a list of about 10 communities that fit your channel topic.
Put them all in a spreadsheet that looks like this:
2. Create an account and participate in them.
There are hundreds of ways you can add value.
Share other content you like. Comment on other people’s posts. Answer questions you know the answer to. Reference older, popular posts and add a new take on them.
Here’s an example of someone getting 909 upvotes on Reddit, just by mentioning bird-watching as a cheap, unusual hobby (it’s from this great post from Si Quan Ong about participating on Reddit):
You only need to spend an hour or two a week doing this. But you should be contributing a few times a week for about a month before you start doing any self-promotion. That way you can introduce yourself and show you’re a valuable member of the community BEFORE you ask for anything in return.
The bottom line: be genuinely helpful any way you know how, big or small.
3. When the time is right, share your own content.
The dumbest mistake people make with this strategy is spamming.
They’ll go into a forum and start spamming it with their content without adding any value to the community first.
The moderators of these communities are quick to spot spamming and they’ll be more than happy to ban you from the community for doing it.
When you add value first, you’ll build up enough trust to post your own content without people feeling like you’re taking advantage. A good way to do this is to ask for honest feedback when you post, people love giving their opinion on topics they’re knowledgeable about.
Let’s move onto our second strategy, getting blogs and media outlets to feature your content.
Getting your content in front of other audiences is crucial to growing your channel. You’re essentially borrowing someone else’s audience and turning them on to your stuff.
Here’s how you do it.
1. Identify your targets.
These are sites you want your content to appear on. Search Google or Facebook for sites in your niche (e.g. search Google for “dog training blogs”).
In the beginning, don’t shoot for huge sites like Buzzfeed or the New York Times. Aim for smaller, relevant sites that are more likely to take a chance on you.
Remember, the right audience is better than a big audience. 20,000 views from the right blog will produce way better results than 200,000 views from a general news site.
You should have at least 20 targets and create a spreadsheet to keep track. There’s really no such thing as having too many targets.
2. Find email addresses for people at each blog so you can pitch your content.
The easiest way to do this is to look for submission links, social media handles of writers, and about us pages on the sites you want to pitch.
On Facebook, you should look for the “message us” feature or contact info in the “About Me” section.
If you still can’t find contact info, you can use free software like Rapportive, Clearbit, or Email Hunter to track down emails of the writers and editors you want to pitch. Put all the contact info you find into your spreadsheet.
3. Pitch…and then pitch again.
The biggest difference between a pitch that gets a response and one that doesn’t is empathy.
Put yourself in the average editor’s shoes.
Editors are pitched hundreds of stories a week. 99% of these pitches are never even read because they’re sent by robots at PR agencies.
Your job is to stand out from all the other pitches by making their job easy.
Keep your email short, credible, and not spammy. You want to seem like a respectable, interesting person, and give them a reason to actually watch your video.
Here’s an example of a good pitch email. Feel free to use it as a model for your pitches:
Subject line: Why the Tesla Model 3 could suck – big fan
My name is Jesse, and I’ve been a car enthusiast my whole life. I noticed you post great content about luxury cars, so I thought I’d share my new video out about “Why The Tesla Model 3 Could Suck.”
I figured your audience would love it, given the viral success of your last article, “Review of a Tesla Model X.”
Anyway, thanks in advance for checking it out. I’m a big fan of your blog and would behonored if you featured my video.
[optional] Car and Driver magazine featured my last video, “The Chevy Cruise’s big problem” just two weeks ago, and they drove almost 50,000 views to their site from it, so I think this would work great for you as well.
All the best,
Pitching takes persistence.
But it only takes one feature for all your unanswered pitches to be worth it.
Of course, when someone features your content, be sure to follow-up and thank them. If their audience likes your content, that site can become a consistent source of views for your channel.
5 Ways to Make Money Off Your YouTube Channel (Without relying on Adsense!)
How do the VAST majority of people think YouTubers make money?
Ads. Specifically Google Adsense.
The typical thought process is Zillions of Views + Ads = Baller status.
But guess what?
Adsense is just a small slice of the revenue pie for true YouTube entrepreneurs.
In fact, I’ll go as far as saying ads are the absolute WORST way to make money off YouTube.
You see, YouTube entrepreneurs treat their channels as a business. And entrepreneurs don’t make millions by following conventional wisdom.
And I have the receipts to prove it, as we’ve been using a method that beats that pants off advertising revenue. I’m going to peel back the curtain and show you how our first YouTube channel, Simple Pickup, really makes money. You’ll see what I mean when I say it has NOTHING to do with Adsense.
This is how ad revenue much Simple Pickup made in January 2017:
….and this was what our total revenue looked like that month:
Big difference, right?
And this discrepancy between ad revenue (and total revenue) has been consistent since the first month we’ve been in business.
Ad revenue is just a small slice of how the most successful YouTubers make money. If ALL our ad revenue disappeared from YouTube today, it would have literally no impact on Simple Pickup’s business.
Making money off of YouTube isn’t even the hardest part of running a channel. Growing a channel is, which is why I’ve waited to talk about making money until now.
Once you have a dedicated fan base, there a plenty of ways to start bringing in revenue.
And you don’t need 500,000 subscribers and millions of views to do it.
Instead, all you need is “1,000 true fans,” or a core following of people that LOVE what you do. Created by Kevin Kelly, the 1,000 true fans theory has been cited by some of the world’s best entrepreneurs as the most critical piece of advice for anyone looking to start a business.
So if you want to make a good living as a creator — all you need to find is 1,000 people who will say, “Just take my money!” whenever you release a product.
Every YouTuber has a number of “true fans” in their audience. For instance, if a channel is getting around 50,000 views per video, there are probably AT LEAST 1,000 true fans in that audience.
Keep this in mind as I explain how you can bring in that cheddar.
If you sold a t-shirt for $25 to your 1,000 true fans, you’d earn about $25,000 in revenue just from ONE sale.
Obviously, $25K in revenue doesn’t mean $25K in profit.
But here’s the thing. If you sign up for a service like TeeSpring.com, you can sell t-shirts without doing 99% of the work. They handle manufacturing, inventory, customer service, shipping, etc.
They aren’t your new intern, so they don’t do this for free. Here they’d charge you about $8 per shirt, so your profit is still $17.
So $17 x 1000 true fans = $17,000 in profit. That’s you’re getting bottle service at the club this weekend profit.
Now think bigger with me.
If you can sell a new shirt every other month, then $17,000 x 6 months = $102,000.
On just t-shirt sales alone your annual income would be more than 89% of Americans.
Plus, you can slap your logo on all kinds of gear, from hats to coffee mugs and posters. Not to mention the free marketing you get by turning your fans into walking billboard for your channel.
If you’ve seen a YouTuber give a brand a shout out — it was probably a brand deal.
Brand deals are simply when a business pays you to talk about them in a video for a fee.
Going back to our example, let’s say you were average 50,000 views per video. Today brands are willing to pay about $20 per 1,000 views for a 30-second shout out at the end of a video.
And given how big the market for brand deals are for YouTube, it’s surprisingly easy to get these deals.
So in return for a quick message at the end of a video you can make about $1,500 per video.
Here’s the math:
$20 per 1,000 views comes out to $1,500 if 50,000 people (your average) watch it.
If you create 4 videos per month, that’s $6,000 per month.
$6000 x 12 months = $72,000 per year.
Of course, you need to build a decent-sized audience to start getting brand deals. But having 4 deals a month once your channel starts growing is VERY doable.
This is just ONE revenue stream. Imagine if you stacked a merchandise revenue stream on top of this? Then you’d be cooking with gas.
Info products are things like books, online courses, coaching, seminars, podcasts, etc.
In other words — premium information your fans want to pay for. Something above and beyond the videos you give them for free on YouTube.
Why do I love info products so much?
Here are three reasons:
1. They cut out the middleman. It’s just you selling straight to your audience.
2. There’s a low rate of failure. Your content has already been validated by the audience you’ve built, so the odds are low any info product you create will bomb.
3. Amazing profit margins. The costs to create and launch info products are low, and they scale beautifully after you launch.
With our first channel, Simple Pickup, we were getting over 3 million views per month and only making $3,000 a month from advertising. Split between 4 people, we were basically slumming it.
But everything changed when we launched our first info product and had a $30,000 launch. Once we released our first info products, our costs to keep selling them were basically zero. All we had to do was keep marketing them to our audience. And since that first launch, we’ve gone on to sell over $10.8 million in digital products.
But it isn’t just us.
Zak George created a book based on his YouTube channel called Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution.
And Adriene Mishler, probably the most well-known Yoga personality on YouTube. She launched a video course called Find What Feels Good that her fans pay $9.99 a month for access to hundreds of yoga videos.
The key to selling information products is building an audience first. By the time you have a sizeable audience you’ll be bursting with ideas for information products your fans would love to buy.
Finally, here’s a revenue stream that’s recently blown up.
Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular with the rise of sites like Patreon.
These platforms enable your fans to contribute directly to you so you can make bigger and better content for them.
One of our students, RiffShop is now making $1,200+ dollars per video via their fans on Patreon. And that’s with only 27,000 subscribers. See what I mean about 1,000 hardcore fans?
Or check out Black and Sexy, a YouTube channel with about 100,000 subscribers. They give free content on their YouTube channel and sell “premium” content to their true fans.
In 2015, they made $35,000 in Google ad revenue from their YouTube channel. Guess how much they made from selling premium content that same year?
~$1 million. (source)
With platforms like Patreon, it’s undeniably true your audience = money.
What’s Next? Start Your YouTube Channel!
If you’ve gotten this far, I know one thing — you’re ready to start your own YouTube Channel.
What are you waiting for?
You now have the essential mindsets, strategies, and tools to build your own audience of raving fans.
All it takes to start is an idea and your smartphone.
Before you wrap up let’s do a quick recap:
- In Part 1, I showed you the success mindset that YouTube influencers bring to building their audiences, and the difference between those that “make it” and those that don’t.
- In Part 2, you learned how to find your first successful YouTube channel idea. Remember, focus on stuff you love, don’t limit yourself to topics you think are money-makers.
- In Part 3, you learned how to publish your first YouTube video without any fancy equipment. No equipment? No excuses.
- In Part 4, I explained the truth about creating viral content and how you can bake viral traits into your content.
- In Part 5, we talked about some advanced YouTube growth strategies you can use to add jet fuel to your channel growth.
- In Part 6, I showed you how to flip the revenue switch and start making money with your channel. Remember, ads are just one piece to the YouTube money puzzle.
If the thought of taking the “traditional path” in life terrifies you, here’s a golden opportunity break out and do what you’ve always wanted.
We’ve created a FREE video crash course that will show you how to become a YouTube Influencer. You’ll learn step-by-step how to build a successful YouTube channel, even if you’re a complete beginner.
This training includes over an hour of our best-kept secrets for building your own audience of superfans and becoming YouTube famous, all in HD video. We’ve even included material from our premium course, which you’ll also get access to.
If you’ve always wanted to turn your passion and strengths into a successful YouTube channel, it’s time to get off the sidelines and take the first step.
We’ve used the strategies and tactics in this training to drive 100s of millions of views to our YouTube channels and made millions of dollars as a result.
You’ll learn the quickest way to attract your 1,000 true fans, a strategy we couldn’t talk about in this guide. We’ll also walk you through step-by-step to find your “big idea” even if you don’t know what your passion is right now.
You’ll also get access to our newsletter, where you’ll receive exclusive content you can’t get anywhere else.
What are you waiting for?
Sign up now to learn everything we know about building your own audience of superfans and making a living doing what you love.