The Grass is Greener

Evidently making a living by video blogging is harder than it looks. Many of my favorite Vloggers are either taking time off, or are quitting completely. Most of the ones I subscribe to have hundreds of thousands and even millions of subscribers. Many of them celebrate when they reach a milestone of one hundred thousand subscribers.

In order for them to reach those milestones they have to post a video every week. Usually they are fifteen minutes long, and many are longer. The pressure to continuously video oneself during a standard life can be enormous. Add to that the work of editing the video into something that is viewable. In addition to making a weekly vignette that people will want to watch many Vloggers have an online home based business.

What the viewers see is fifteen minutes of entertaining content. What they don’t see is the hours spent taking the video, and editing the video. Most successful Vloggers pre-plan their content before they begin filming, which means more pressure. We the viewer don’t see all of this but we enjoy the fruits of their labor.

A couple of my favorites spent one episode explaining how they make money on Youtube. One young man, an engineer by trade, started his Vlog with a “watch me build this” theme. He set up a complete wood shop in the basement of his home to be his studio, and filmed every aspect of the build, while working at a full time job. He made videos of each of his building projects, like his work bench, saw table, shop lights, wood storage, etc. I came to his blog while searching for ways to reduce the amount of sawdust that I produced in my own shop. Being an engineer myself I thought this kid’s approach was pretty smart. For instance, he analyzed where the dust was coming from on his chop saw, and then began experimenting with collectors that he designed on his computer and made on his 3D printer. His before and after videos of successful dust collection proved to me that he knew what he was doing. I used his approach to build a similar collector for my chop saw. I don’t have a 3D printer nor computer aided design software to use in design, so I Rube Goldberged a simple collector and cobbled it out of wood. It worked pretty fair, and I use it all the time.

About three months later I watched this guys video on how he makes money. My mouth dropped open and didn’t close for the duration. He compared his earnings on Youtube against his earnings as an employed engineer and after several years he quit his job to go into Youtube as his full time business, and more than doubled his income. The dust collector he designed for the chop saw was a product that he offers for sale on his channel. He showed us how he uses twenty-five 3D printers to keep up with the demand. The financially successful Vloggers make money by adding a store to their site. So he gets income from advertising that comes with a huge subscription following, from patrons who send him donations to keep going, from his online store, and from a commission on sales of items he features in his store. The bottom line is that he rented a shop space outside of his home, and turned his hobby into a full time business. There are others who video their travels living in a camper van. One girl from Poland set out to document her trip around the world alone, and I picked up on her at her five year mark. Shortly after I got interested she stopped because of burn out. Of course by then she was substantially richer that she was when she began. In a period of one month I witnessed six vloggers who stopped filming to take time out for themselves. Each gave the same reason, the pressure of producing content for Youtube was too intense, and they needed to relax.

The reason for this post is to let people know that vlogging on Youtube is not as easy as it seems. So many young people today follow their dreams and post video’s to their channels hoping to strike gold. I commend them, but also advise that they have an alternate plan to make a living if the pursuit takes too long to achieve.