David Lewis Talking Tech & Audio
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Some home truths

Making money on YouTube is easy right?

The future for content creators

It’s almost an anniversary for me – come the 17th September it will have been two years since I published my first video on YouTube. It was a short diary piece from what I recall where I was just introducing myself.

That video, although cringe-worthy was the start of what I always planned to be one leg of my content creation business. It had been months in the planning and the idea was to turn a hobby into a business.

I’d always had an interest in audio gear and Apple and their products – so the seeds were sown for the ‘brand’ of talkingtechandaudio. I thought it was catchy and short enough to be easy to remember – and also fairly obvious as to what it was all about.

I’d write daily on Medium, record a podcast and also make YouTube videos. The idea was that across these various platforms, I’d make enough money to put some food on the table.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying this story  -  if you wanted to say ‘thank you’, the best way is simply to clap, highlight and get involved in the comments. And my promise to you…if you get in touch I will answer! So clap, highlight and comment away…

The podcast although currently growing quite rapidly is a long way from making money. While there is a chance of a Patreon paywall coming or courses that listeners & viewers will be able to buy, that is still a while off. Advertisers may come in time, but as I say, that is all for the future, which is fine. The podcast is almost a passion project.

No, the main ‘cash-cows’ the bread-winners were to be writing and YouTube. My goals were pretty modest – at least I thought so when setting out on this content journey. I had set myself 6 months to be making £1000 from writing & YouTube. If I managed that, then I’d be comfortable. I never had illusions of becoming the next Mr. Beast or Ali Abdaal – all I ever wanted to do was to earn enough…

I’m no spring chicken, but I thought it would be a breeze to hit my targets as long as I worked hard, and was consistent and passionate about what I was doing. In two years I have uploaded at least one video a week and never missed an episode of Minus Sixteen which is my fortnightly podcast and written on Medium, for the most part, five days a week.

So I’d say I’ve been consistent if nothing else.

Add to that list the weekly live streams I’m now doing and fairly regular shorts as well – I know I’m putting in the hard yards. Now, I’d be the first to admit that some of the content hasn’t been award-winning, but it’s always been the best that I’ve been able to write, record or edit at that time.

I came into this wet behind the ears with no knowledge of how hard it is to make money as a content creator. Maybe you’re thinking of starting a channel on YouTube yourself or writing content – so it’s time to spill the beans and give you some numbers.

I’ll preface this by saying that it’s possible I am rubbish at it all – useless at writing, telling a story or shooting interesting videos – it’s possible, but I’d defend myself by saying I’ve seen worse content…so whilst I may not be a genius, I think I’m at the very least, alright.

So to the numbers – and let’s start with Medium.

As I said, I have written there five days a week since January 2022. These stories are also published on my website talkingtechandaudio.com. Medium started to make OK money for me from around the summer of 2022 and steadily grew. It peaked in January of this year when one story took off. As you can see I hit a peak of $1024 in February, and although it has steadily dipped, writing has always been a banker for me.

As such, it’s been the first thing I’ve done every day – the businessman in me knew if that was paying bills, then that should be the priority. Makes sense right?

Well, as you may have heard, Medium is broken – totally stuffed. With Tony Stubblebine as CEO, things have changed. There are endless stories covering the demise in depth you can read elsewhere, but basically without a story being boosted you stand next to no chance of making good money. And those boosts are awarded arbitrarily by humans – there is no algorithm – you just have to hope you get picked up. It’s the classic needle in a haystack scenario…

My style of writing and presentation is more engaging than ever, yet I have dropped from earning $567 last month to barely $100 this month. I think you can understand why my enthusiasm is pretty low right now to publish on there. It may change, but if it does, it won’t be any time soon, that’s for certain.

So, that revenue stream has died – what about YouTube then?

I’ve struggled more on that platform to find my style and deliver quality content week after week. I have taken too long to learn, but I am finally seeing seeds of growth with over 300 subs in the past month – but not enough to live off, that’s for sure.

Before you can start to earn a penny from AdSense money, you have to pass the YouTube metrics of 4,000 view hours and 1,000 subs – fair enough. I finally ticked both boxes in January 2023 – but even then didn’t earn my first YouTube dollar until July.

As yet I’ve attracted no main sponsors so I’ve had to rely on AdSense. I make a tickle from my website which is getting about 2000 hits a month, so the money you see is from YouTube’s AdSense. I’ve published over 200 videos and have over 30,000 views in the last 28 days with 1600 hours of watch time. As you can see, AdSense doesn’t pay well!

How much do you think I earned this month? I bet you’ll be shocked…

Yup, my last payment from Google was for less than £100.

I’m not giving you these figures in a woe-is-me kind of way, but rather just to let you know it’s hard to make a living in content creation. But, now I am too far down the road and too heavily invested in it – I have no option B – this simply has to work.

I love all aspects of it and can think of nothing I’d rather be spending my days doing – but at some point, I will have to take a serious look at the future.

My goals have not changed – £1000 across the board would do very nicely – that’s all I need, but right now that seems a long way off.

Maybe it’s me – maybe it’s bad timing, the space I’m in, or the algorithms…whatever – it’s way tougher than I’d ever thought it would be. My energy and dedication to make this work are as strong as ever.

Luckily tenacity is one of my strengths – good job really.

Are you subscribed to Medium yet?

I am only one of a whole host of writers here on Medium, the premium blogging site. It is such good value, and you can join below.

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