29 year old YouTube star Markiplier earned 18.5 million dollars in 2018 playing video games. Jeffree Star earned over $18 million with his makeup tutorials, and the five man Dude Perfect team made over $20 million on intricate trick shots, turning everyday activities into complex maneuvers.
Before the explosion of YouTube millionaires, there were people like Bethany Mota, the teenage fashion mogul who managed to leverage her YouTube channels into a fashion line at Aeropostale and a spot of TV’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
In September of 2014 we profiled Grovetown’s own Eric Jordon, who had turned his love of remote control vehicles into a money making business.
The idea, while not exactly quaint at the time, was quite a revelation to many Augustans who had no idea you could actually get paid by the popular video sharing website.
By Eric Johnson
“I joined YouTube in 2007 because I wanted to contact somebody on YouTube and talk to them about a helicopter video they made, and you can’t contact anybody unless you have a user name,” he says, which explains why his user name is Joehandsome99 and not something a little more RC appropriate.
But he talked to the guy, started posting some of his own videos, and not only did people watch them, they were asking him a lot of questions, which led him toward reviewing the RC products he was flying.
After reaching a certain level of popularity with subscribers and a certain number of video views, users can apply for a partnership with YouTube, which Jordon did. From there, he was able to monetize his videos.
“It’s kind of a win-win situation for me,” he says. “It’s my hobby. I get to share it with everybody in the world. And I get paid.”
And I get paid. Those, of course, are the magic words.
He won’t give an exact amount — he calls it second job money — but according to Social Blade, a social media ranking site, his estimated yearly earnings could approach $15,000. He has more than 23,000 subscribers and 23.1 million video views.
And that’s with niche content, not cat videos.
In the last 30 days he’s had a little over 3,000 video views and a net subscriber change of 460. From the computer in his backyard workshop he can track the popularity of each video. A video posted at the first of the month has been viewed 1,600 times in a total of 67 countries. His video flying the USS Enterprise has over 2 million hits, and a later video flying a lighted Enterprise made it on Ebaumsworld and break.com, two sites that share video content to a wide audience.
Through experience he’s discovered what he feels is the proper formula: seven to 10 minute videos, with three minutes filmed in-house and four or five minutes testing the product in the field.
It sounds easy, but he says each video takes about 20 to 40 hours to make.
“Think about it,” he says. “You’ve got to count your time from the second you put the box on the workbench until you click okay and make it a public video.”
Though he says he’s invested about $2,500-$3,000 in equipment so he can post the highest quality videos, he insists that’s a relatively low threshold to get started in something that allows him to make money — and get free products.
“Sponsors are sending things to me and I’m doing all the work for them,” he says. “They’re not having to pay anybody to do any in-studio advertising or video. It’s cheap advertising for them and it’s a hobby for me.”
Columbia County resident Greg Poole isn’t on YouTube, but he did manage to use technology to turn his love of the Georgia Bulldogs into a money making proposition through his “Leather Helmet Blog,” which he sold last year to Athens-based “Bulldog Illustrated.” Poole is now running the web portion of the media outlet, which publishes 14 print editions a year.
“We did 1.2 million page views in August, so we feel like we’ve kind of crossed a milestone,” Poole says.
Though he is no longer master of his own fate, the upside is that the “Bulldog Illustrated” has always been an accredited UGA media outlet, which means he now has access to firsthand information, where as an independent blogger he had to republish what other publications were putting out there.
“The most we ever did with the Leather Helmet Blog was right around 400,000 page views a month,” he says. “I realized I’d taken it about as far as I could without access to the program.”
Poole expects the blogging landscape to remain about the way it is for the foreseeable future, mainly because most fail to realize the amount of effort required into translating private passion into a public success.
“There are people starting blogs every day, but for most people it’s just a hobby,” he says. “After three or four months, instead of posting every day they’re posting every other day and then it’s every week and then every two weeks and then they stop. To work, you’ve got to go from posting once a day to twice a day to as much as you possibly can. When people come to you and they see the same thing they saw the last time they came, they don’t like it.”
Jordon expects the video industry to remain a fertile place for entrepreneurs.
“I think it’s going to continue to grew and get better,” he says. “I might not be interacting with the same social media websites, but I’m sure we’ll be doing something out there.”