In 2014, I was fresh out of college and thought I had my whole life planned out: going to medical school, getting a six-figure job as a doctor, and making my parents proud.
None of this worked. I realized that I hated blood and needles and was rejected by more than 15 medical schools. My parents weren’t that happy.
From 2014 to 2019, I started tutoring, did some modeling gigs, started a drop shipping business and even worked as a real estate agent. But nothing was consistent in earning me a steady stream of income.
After several attempts at work, I finally found something that worked: posting financial advice on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. In 2021, my content creation business generated $ 1.5 million in revenue and my mom stopped sending me job advertisements.
How I built a $ 1.5 million a year business
Post on YouTube since 2006, but the content was haphazard and inconsistent. So I decided to stick with the topic that excited me the most: money.
Growing up in a painfully frugal family, I’ve always been interested in finding ways to be smarter in terms of income, savings and investment. In 2018 I created a new YouTube channel dedicated to financial advice. I posted almost every day, as well as on Instagram and TikTok.
My first videos received about a dozen views each, half of which came from my mom. I still made most of my money on odd jobs and side jobs.
But in April 2020, about a month after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, I’ve noticed a spike in interest in stimulus-related content. That month, I posted 20 videos on YouTube about stimulus and relief efforts. One of my videos went viral, earning me $ 10,078 in ad revenue and 30,300 subscribers.
In May, I posted 19 videos and earned $ 15,791 in ad revenue. And in June, I got my first sponsorship deal with Foundr, an online training company; they paid me $ 250 to create a post on TikTok.
I kept experimenting with different types of video content to see what was most effective in growing my audience and attracting interest from brands.
By November, after securing another partnership deal and reaching around 200,000 subscribers, I decided to launch my first online course to teach people how to start their own successful YouTube channels.
In 2021, I added affiliate marketing to my income streams. I made $ 86,000 in January, then averaged $ 150,000 a month in 2021.
How to build multiple streams of income
Today, I have over 650,000 followers on YouTube. So far this year, I’ve made about $ 197,700 a month across five streams of income, many of which create passive income. At one point, I made $ 245,000 in one month.
What I love about the business I’ve built is that I can choose when and where to work. Some days I will work zero hours and other days I will dedicate 12 hours. On average I work 35 hours a week.
Here’s how I built each of my income streams:
1. Affiliate Marketing: 40% of the monthly income
With affiliate marketing, you earn commissions for promoting another brand’s products or services. I post affiliate links in my YouTube video descriptions and on my website, so I get paid every time someone is directed to a brand’s product page or makes a purchase.
To get passive income through affiliate marketing, you need to include links to targeted content in a niche that people are looking for. This can lead to clicks for months, even long after you’ve posted. For example, I link captions based on popular search terms, which I find using the Google Trends tool.
I get most of my affiliate deals through partnership management platforms like Impact Radius, Partnerstack, and Share-A-Sale. Creators with any audience size can use these websites to find and participate in affiliate linking programs.
2. Brand sponsorships: 25% of monthly income
With brand sponsorships, companies essentially pay me to mention them in one of my videos or on my website.
Brands typically contact me via the email address on my YouTube profile, but I also work with agencies like Spacestation to secure more sponsorship.
Finding a niche has helped me grow a loyal and authentic audience, which has been critical to my success. I answered financial questions related to Covid that no one else was addressing. Then I took the concepts with the highest audience engagement and followed them.
Find your niche by asking: What is a specific problem that I can solve with my story and my unique knowledge? Understand the details of your audience, such as their age, location, and general interests. During the negotiation process, remind brands why that audience is valuable to them.
3. YouTube Ads: 25% of monthly income
I earn another quarter of my revenue from YouTube Adsense ads that appear before or during my YouTube videos.
To join this program, you must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours in the past 12 months. Once you’re part of the program, it’s important to post consistently and create videos based on what your audience responds to well.
4. Online Course Sales: <5% of monthly income
My “6-Figure YouTube Academy” and “Personal Brand Masterclass” courses are both hosted on Kajabi. These courses took months of planning, research, shooting and editing.
For YouTube Academy, I outlined what I would teach in each video using Notion, an online workspace organization tool, then created slides to play during each video on Keynote. It took me a week to shoot over a hundred videos, which I edited myself using Final Cut Pro X.
From there, I organized my videos on Kajabi and started marketing the course on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. I don’t spend money on advertising.
5. Coaching: <5% of monthly income
I meet with clients one on one to consult on how to increase the success of their businesses. This is a great way to connect with my audience and get to know them on an individual level.
My coaching sessions are done through Zoom, which allows me to meet anyone from anywhere in the world. Charge $ 500 per 60-minute session.
Recently, I started creating StartupWise, a resource platform for new businesses and entrepreneurs. I’m also working on a company called Side Hustle Mastery and its complementary newsletter called Hustle Club.
Charlie Chang is a content creator and serial entrepreneur whose mission is to educate people about personal finance and entrepreneurship. He is a graduate of UCLA and founder of StartupWise. Follow him Instagram And Youtube.
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