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Who would have thought that earning five figures in a single month in passive income would have been such an emotionally confusing experience? Well, it was and in this article, I want to share with you my recent experience of making over $11,000 in YouTube ad revenue in a single month and what we can all learn from it (it was shocking!).
As the kids say, “pics or it didn’t happen” therefore before I get into any of the back story or thoughts I have contemplated since this successful month on YouTube, I think that I am required to share with you the screenshots of my earnings. Here they are:
Now let's face it, I won't be getting any sympathy votes from people for making five figures in a single month online. Quite frankly, I don't deserve any but I would be remised to pass up this opportunity to share with you the deeper insights that this above average month provided me. However, before I get into these revelations, I want to share a brief history of my journey on this platform as I want to ensure I am not spreading the falsehood that making money online is easy or can be done overnight.
My journey on YouTube started in January of 2018 where I was haphazardly making and uploading videos onto the platform. From “how to read and remember what you read” to videos on health and fitness, I really had no idea what I was doing. After about a year of spinning my wheels and making no progress, I realized that I needed to get some professional advice if I was ever going to gain traction on YouTube. After sinking thousands of dollars into coaching and implementing the suggested strategies from my mentors, I finally started to gain some traction leading to my channel being monetized in October of 2019. For those thinking you can make money online overnight, keep in mind that it took me almost 2 years before I ever saw a dime from my YouTube efforts.
For those wondering what lead to my success on the platform, I would say it came down to picking a niche I was passionate about, improving the scripting and animations in my videos and increasing my upload frequency to cast a wider net on the platform.
After implementing these techniques, my YouTube ad revenue slowly began creeping up from a few hundred dollars a month to a couple thousand. Then, in October of 2020, in a year where financial struggles were vast, I was fortunate enough to somehow pull off a very lucrative month from an ad revenue perspective. Now I'll admit that this amount of YouTube ad revenue is a one off (at the time of writing this article that is). Not to mention, this amount of income really stemmed from having one video go viral which was the first video that I actually had reach and eclipse 1,000,000 views. Therefore a lot of the success that I realized in this month came from pure luck but also from putting in a lot of time for the past three years to generate enough authority on the platform to have YouTube surface my videos to a wider audience. So you would think that after three years of learning how to succeed on YouTube, hiring numerous coaches and uploading countless videos that making five figures in ad revenue in a single month would be a time of pure bliss however this wasn't the case.
Having an above average month on YouTube triggered numerous thoughts like “I am so happy I never gave up on YouTube” and “I can’t believe people can bare the sound of my voice”, the most impactful thought was whether I could ever rely upon this income stream as my sole source of income. I mean, if you were to annualize this income it would be roughly $132,000 a year which is a salary that I could easily live off of given my frugal lifestyle. But, besides the fact that I enjoy my job, the real reason I would never solely live off of YouTube alone comes down to a more meta concept. That concept is that no one should ever rely on just one source of income.
You see, during the pandemic there has been a lot of instability in many people's financial lives. Personally, I have had two very close friends lose their jobs. Sadly, in both cases, my friends primary source of income came from those jobs meaning that when they were let go, their income effectively dropped to zero.
When I look at this issue on a grander scale, it makes me realize that almost all of us are relying upon a single source of income and quite frankly the concept of “job security” just isn't what it used to be. Even my two close friends, both who are overachievers in their respective fields, could not avoid layoffs which solidifies the fact, to me at least, that job security as we used to know it no longer exists.
While I am definitely not the first to come to this conclusion and sadly won’t be the last, it makes me wonder why we are still sold the dream that with enough education and hard work, we will achieve financial success which these days I believes equates to barely remaining financially afloat. In fact, every single day I grow more fond of the saying that having a job means being “just over broke” but that’s a discussion for another article.
My hypothesis around why so many people rely on only one source of income stems from where most people gain their career and financial advice: their parents. I’d wager that you have or had at least one parent who worked the lion’s share of their career for one employer and this was likely not only due to the fact that they were treated well by said employer but because there was such thing as true job security at that time. Business wasn’t as cutthroat and squeezing every last penny of profit wasn’t a company’s primary goal therefore carrying a sizeable salary expense, even if a bit inflated, assured its employees career job security.
Obviously, this is no longer the world we live in. Businesses will try and maximize profits by keeping expenses (like your salary) to a minimum which means that if you follow the traditional path of studying hard, going to college and getting a good job, which worked for our parents, you won’t be assured career stability. However, without getting more timely advice from your parents or losing your job, the thought of expanding your avenues for earning income may never cross your mind.
In fact, I would be in the same position as my friends if I hadn’t had fallen backwards into a situation where I just happened to have built out multiple income streams during my YouTube journey. When I was starting my own online endeavors I only thought of the upside as being the ability to make more money. However as I began to gain a better understanding of the fragility of the working world, it made me realize that the true benefit of building something outside of your 9 to 5 job was to protect against financial uncertainty.
This income diversification becomes ever-increasingly important as you start to take on more financial obligations in your life. For instance, losing your job when you’re living at home can be hard on your self-esteem but it’s nowhere near as stressful as losing your job when you have three mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay. While you would expect that I would be pushing the adoption of secondary and tertiary streams of income as a means to build your wealth faster, I truly believe the real value comes down to managing financial risk and its associated stress. Chances are you will be a lot less worried about meeting your financial obligations if you have three lucrative streams of income than if you had just one.
At this point, I have to think that I’ve sold you on just how relevant having multiple sources of income is in the world we live in today. So, your next question is likely to be, “how can I start to build new streams of income?”. Well, I’m glad you asked!
A simple solution would be to just pick up a second job however I know that most people probably won't go for this suggestion therefore I won’t even go there. A couple options you should consider is building a personal brand online or cultivating a skill that you can offer as a freelancer. For instance, if you want to create a personal brand, you can start to write on a platform like Medium, make videos on YouTube or become TikTok’s next viral celebrity.
Alternatively if you have a skill or want to develop a skill that you can offer to clients then freelancing might be a better bet and can probably earn you money sooner than if you the personal brand route. For instance, I have personally used sites like Upwork to connect myself with clients that I've been able to offer my services to and that has allowed me to supplement my income reliably in the past. Freelancing is generally the means of making extra money that I recommend to people for two primary reasons. First, it forces you to learn or further hone a skill that you already have and as someone who always preaches the importance of self-improvement, this is a benefit not only from a financial standpoint but for your personal growth as a human being. Secondly, by offering freelance services, you can work as your schedule allows you to. One of the biggest drawbacks of working a second job is that your hours are dictated by your employer and if you already work a nine to five job then you are probably tired are being told what hours you must be manning your desk. With freelancing, you can slot in a few hours of work in the evening or maybe a couple hours before you go to work or during open hours you have on the weekend. Ultimately this means of making more money offers you a little bit more flexibility and can be quite lucrative depending on the skill and service that you have to offer.
Now this article isn't a guide on how to make money online therefore I'm not going to go any more in depth on this particular topic however what the key takeaway should be is that no matter what source of income you rely upon, having only a single source can be financially crippling and you will be doing yourself a massive favour by planting the seeds now that will bear new income sources for you in the future!