Something I recently decided to do is to take an aggressive stance to transparency on YouTube. One of the things that makes it very hard to understand YouTube success is how much of it is shrouded in mystery especially when it comes to INCOME.
If you’re are not familiar with my channel definitely consider watching and subscribing.
So I’ve decided that as of 2020 I will be publishing monthly income reports to YouTube documenting my previous month’s income from YouTube in terms of Adsense Revenue, YouTube Memberships, and Super chats.
While this is not representative of ALL of my income related to YouTube (sponsorships/affiliate revenue/product sales) it will help put YouTube earnings into context in a meaningful way for most creators because the majority of full-time or aspiring full-time creators earn a substantial amount of income from YouTube Adsense on monetized views.
*UPDATE: Jan-07-2020, I’ve updated this to reflect full December 2019 Earnings and I’ve decided to include the Yearly amount I made through sponsorships and brand deals.
I may or may not choose to disclose other revenue streams in the future, and I don’t believe anyone should feel pressured at all to talk about money if they don’t want to.
There are plenty of reasons why it is personal and private.
Hopefully, this will encourage other content creators to be more open and transparent about their business and give them the outlet to share this type of information, if not on their own platform then I would welcome them to reach out to me if they are willing to share on the Podcast or in an article interview here!
But I want to do more than just post up numbers without context, I want to do a breakdown of what took place during that month such as the number of new uploads, number of live streams and also the monetized views vs the overall views to help people better understand how YouTube really works when it comes to monetization and the different things that impact a YouTube Channel.
This is largely inspired by my good friend and also a mentor of mine, Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome who has been a constant voice in transparency in the online business world. Thanks Pat for leading the charge and being a constant source of motivation for me in my own entrepreneur journey, and a tremendous friend!
The format for this particular income report will be different than the others because I’m new to this and because I’m consolidating a YEAR of information for 2019 because I can’t remember enough of the details of each individual month to break down the context in the way I would like.
JANUARY – DECEMBER 2019 YOUTUBE INCOME REPORT
|Month/2019||Est Revenue||Est. Views||No. Uploads|
2019 ADSENSE TOTAL APPROX INCOME: $31,118.19 USD
2019 SPONSORSHIP AND BRAND DEALS APPROX INCOME: $35,000.00 USD
2019 MERCHANDISE SALES $130.13 USD
*COMBINED YOUTUBE DIRECTED INCOME: $66,248.32
2019 EST AFFILIATE INCOME: $95,000 USD
COMBINED YOUTUBE INFLUENCE INCOME: $156,248.32
** This income total does not represent my entire full-time income from all available income sources and excludes product sales, public speaking, workshops, etc.
BIG CHANGES TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL IN 2019
In 2019 I made major changes in my business overall and many of those overlapped with my YouTube channel. I aggressively pursued my public speaking career and had to travel more, taking longer and more frequent extended breaks from uploading to my YouTube Channel.
I also started building #TeamRoberto and hiring within my business in a larger capacity beyond freelancers. It was long overdue and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to do so. But this meant adding many more admin days and hours to my schedule and I found that in 2019 I became more of a manager and CEO than a Maker and Creative Director.
It was a huge transition and it took a lot to balance and navigate, and much this came at the expense of not putting out nearly as much content, which definitely affected every single growth metric for my channel as you can see below.
By uploading for 40% less content it directly resulted in nearly 30%-40% fewer views and subscribers in return compared to last year, and that is in spite of improvements to quality in terms of both production and performance. The outcome was in fact proportionate to QUANTITY.
Now some additional context is also necessary. I took some long breaks not only to focus on my business but on some other things in my personal life including a personal weight loss goal where I focused for a few weeks and dropped 9LBS and found myself at a healthier weight and much happier with my appearance and overall stamina.
I bring this up because I think health and fitness are broadly overlooked as a priority for content creators and entrepreneurs and that self-care is something more of us can improve on.
KEY TAKEAWAYS GOING into 2020 FOR MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL
CONSISTENCY – one of my own fundamental principles is consistency and I didn’t put myself in a position to be consistent with my own upload frequency in any meaningful way. In 2020 I will at least put out videos 2-3 times every single week and batch record and have backfill content for when I travel. By uploading 3 or even 5 videos every week I can double or triple the results I had in 2019.
TAKE MORE RISK– The content that paid off the most was the content where I took more risk in being direct in the title and trying to get a point across and get people’s attention. Generally speaking, I play very safely when it comes to titles and setting expectations but I can afford to take a calculated risk as long as I am backing up what I am saying with data. My most successful content was not any different than any other video I made except for it was more emotionally compelling to initially click.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING – there are just some topics that can allow you to tap into a broader audience if you tap into them at the right moment and can help you breakthrough in a way nothing else will. One of my strongest abilities is to represent a point of view that people haven’t considered or already heard on a topic. And also there are predictable trends and patterns that exist in any given year, and so I can and should position to take more advantage of those.
DOUBLING OUTPUT DOUBLES REVENUE – realistically speaking simply doubling the output of my content has the benefit of reaching new viewers and quickly identifying what is and what isn’t working for the channel and being able to pivot. But it also means that it has a substantial chance of doubling the income to the channel in Adsense and the traffic I can take off of the platform for other revenue streams. It’s just logical. Production quality would remain consistent since my format is simple to maintain. QUANTITY does not always come at the expense of QUALITY, which is down to performance and down to the VALUE proposition. At least this is true in the context of information and commentary format videos. The predictability of this varies from channel to channel but for the past 3-4 years, my channel patterns have remained consistent.
MY GOALS IN SHARING MY YOUTUBE INCOME
Obviously I know there is an obsession with how much money people make on YouTube and that being a content creator or influencer is now the ideal career for many young people.
The truth is most people, especially young people have NO IDEA how any of this works, and frankly, there is a ton of misinformation getting their hopes up when the truth is harsh, YouTube is very hard and very hard to make a living at and most people lack the skills, experience or talent to make a career out of it.
It’s very hard to be a good video producer, video editor or on-camera talent, and YouTube requires you to do all of that and still understand how to build a brand and business. It’s very demanding and there are only so many people who can give qualified and accurate information about it.
The most popular videos for young people and new YouTube creators to watch are usually titled “My First YouTube Paycheck”, I’m not even kidding about this. The issue is that those videos do no offer up a lot of context on what making money on YouTube entails or how the ad revenue system works and why some content makes more money than others.
My hope is that by making these income reports and that by people sharing them I will be able to better give a realistic perspective around this topic and one that takes into consideration details rather than just aspirations.
In future Monthly YouTube Income Reports I plan to cover the following: