; Date: Sun Feb 24 2019
With news of a new YouTube Adpocalypse, it's a good idea to consider what a YouTube creator goes through to build their presence in the world. Today, Scotty at Strange Parts, whose videos have appeared on TechSparx several times, posted a video talking about his plans to develop the Strange Parts channel into a proper information production business. The Strange Parts channel started with what might have been a flash in the pan, showing how to build an iPhone 6 from spare parts, but Scotty has developed a vision of exploring the world of companies building the parts that go into the products we buy in stores. To implement that vision he has transitioned from a solo-enterprise to having employees, and in this video we are told a large part of the story.
On YouTube there are many "Channels" producing a video every day. We get to see those videos, laugh at the jokes, be informed by their wisdom, or whatever it is the channel produces. But... what does it take to produce a compelling well-edited video every day?
That's what Scotty talks about today. He went from producing 3 videos in 2017 (starting with In China you can build your own iPhone from spare parts) to producing 24 videos in 2018, and by the end of the year he felt burned out and needed to recharge. So he came back to the States, visited with his family, went skiing in the backwoods of Washington State, etc.
This morning my e-mail contained the following notification:
I thought "Oh No! Something happened, Scotty got sued, or he's sick, or something" and went straight to the video. Thankfully he started right into the story I just mentioned, including this:
I'm sure there are YouTube channel creators whose level of burnout caused them to simply quit. That's what Scotty could have decided, that making videos with the level of excellence he produces is simply too much and he had to quit.
Scotty explains in the video that to move forward in implementing the Strange Parts vision he has already done, or must do in the near-term future, these things:
- He has hired one video editor to handle video production
- He wants to hire another video editor
- He wants to hire an "Operations Supervisor" to help with planning -- for this he describes the problem of arranging visa's, hiring camera operators, translators, and more
That means hiring a staff of at least three people. He should also be looking at someone to handle finances, yes? That's four or five people in support of a YouTube channel that produces one video per week (Scotty's goal for 2019).
That could be 1/4 to 1/2 a million dollars in salary expenses, and then additional expenses for supplies and equipment used in the videos.
The other full time YouTube channels obviously also have a production staff and similar, if not larger, expenses.
Adpocalypse - or earning the revenue to support a small business
Let's consider the Adpocalypse
- New YouTube Adpocalypse, where YouTube videos demonetized by offensive comments
- The YouTube Adpocalypse enraged a YouTuber to randomly shooting people at YouTube HQ
- YouTube video recommendation algorithm reportedly preferences conspiracy videos
- Google possibly dooms YouTube by explicitly cancelling monetization for channels with low viewership
- A look into the YouTube Adpocalypse - Video Blogger shows how his revenue has dried up
- Non-censorable video platform DTube offers possible adpocalypse solution
- As Google commercializes YouTube, individual "creators" may be squeezed out
That's a series of complaints going back at least two years about the struggles of YouTube Creators in being paid enough in advertising revenue to pay themselves a salary.
My experience is not in the throes of producing video content. Instead I write blog posts and monetizing using Google Adsense and other advertising programs. Advertising revenue across the board is harder to earn every year.
About 16 years ago I had a few months where Adsense paid out $1200 a month, thanks mostly to another of my sites that at the time was very popular. Today Adsense pays out maybe $100 a month, despite having more sites and even more traffic than back when Adsense paid out $1200 a month.
I think a part of what's happening is the large "inventory" of advertising space. Every new website, or every new YouTube Creator, adds to the inventory. Advertising dollars are then spread out over this larger pool of places that advertising can be shown. And therefore each spot for advertising is worth less than it was 10 years ago.
Anyone relying solely on advertising revenue is facing this problem. Some YouTube Creators are calling this an Adpocalypse, but I've seen similar revenue drops over the years. Adsense used to be an excellent program that could fund a blogger, but no longer.
I think that it is necessary to build multiple streams of income. Do not just rely on Adsense or YouTube advertising, but work on other forms of earning money.
For example a Travel Vlogger video I watched a couple months ago talked about his methods of earning a living. Travel Vloggers are traveling full time, looking to earn a living by shooting videos and telling stories from different parts of the world. His YouTube revenue is only a small part of what he'd need for living expenses, despite having a popular channel. Instead of relying on YouTube revenue, he has a website design business, and he is earning money by uploading videos to stock video services. Simply by traveling to various places, he can shoot some video of those places and he makes sure to shoot "B-Roll footage" that can be used by anybody.
Many of the "How to make money online videos" stress shooting videos for YouTube. Each of those videos are made by folks who are making money posting videos to YouTube, so of course their mindset is in that area and that's what they'll suggest. I've learned after several of these videos that many of them are making more in affiliate sales than they are in the YouTube advertising revenue.
Scotty mentions this in his videos. There are a ton of folks posting product review videos, and pasting in an affiliate link in the show description. They earn affiliate commissions on every sale made through the affiliate link. Such videos focus on -- here's a product -- here's what it does -- you should buy it, or not.
Scotty says that is not his vision for Strange Parts, and I wholly support that decision. I would not be so excited over Strange Parts if that's what it became.
The need for a workable business, and work/life/balance
At the end of the day each of us needs our daily bread. Put another way, what's needed is the money and other resources sufficient to live.
Why quit the day job to make videos on YouTube or write blog posts? It has to in part be that you can make sufficient income this way. There also has to be a purpose/vision that drives you to success.
Scotty talks about Burnout. That's an important consideration because month after month of long workdays will take a toll on anyone, even if there's a large monetary payout.