Even though YouTube is becoming more mainstream these days, there still aren’t a lot of people who understand what being a YouTuber means. Questions you’ll get as a YouTuber might be: “How much do YouTubers make?” or “What do you even do?” And the answers… aren’t short, to say the least.
How much do YouTubers make? Questions You’ll Get as a YouTuber
Want to watch the video version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
If you’re a YouTuber or want to be one, you’ll get questions all the time that catch you off guard and are probably just weird. As someone who lives in a small town where I’m the only person considered a YouTuber, I’ve been met with a lot of questions and assumptions about being a YouTuber.
How do you make money? How much do you make? Is that even a real job? What do you do? What does your day look like? Why are you putting videos on the internet? (I could go on, ha)
I’ve even had people wince and make some wild faces when I tell them I’m a YouTuber, as if it’s not a real job or it doesn’t make any money.
Anybody who does an internet business in general will get me here. There are a lot of elements involved that are hard to explain, and people might not understand the elements.
So if you get these questions or might get them some day, this is the post for you.
If you’re a creator, I want to give you a pep talk
I live this every day. When someone asks you what you do for a living and you mention YouTube, you know that’s going to open up the floodgates. You’ll get a ton of questions and even the doubts and assumptions that go along with that.
I know there are reasons for those doubts and assumptions. It isn’t the kind of job that our parents grew up with, or that most people have. So there will be weird questions about our job.
If you’re anything like the current me, you might skirt around the answer. I tend to tell people I’m in the education space for entrepreneurs and teach online courses, which isn’t everything I do, but it works. Sometimes, I’ll throw in that I have a YouTube channel, but nobody takes that seriously.
If you’re like OLD me from 7 years ago, you might even downplay it. You could have 50,000 subscribers on your channel and when someone asks you what you do, you’ll say “oh, I’m dabbling in YouTube” without making it a big deal.
OWN what you do!
Here’s the deal. YOU have to own your success and achievements. You need to take pride in the fact that you’re a YouTuber. Having to tell people you’re a YouTuber isn’t going to change. It’s not until people are EDUCATED about what that means that they’ll stop looking at you like you have seven heads.
Start matter-of-factly saying you’re a YouTuber. And if that opens up questions, you’ll answer them honestly and explain your job to people. Sometimes, that’s necessary.
OWN the fact that you’re a creator! Own your expertise. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you do. If that comes with negative assumptions, oh well. Who cares what Sally from high school thinks about you? She’s probably miserable at her job anyway.
If telling someone you’re a YouTuber comes with questions, that’s a GOOD thing. There are definitely job titles where people get what you do immediately. But if your job title is less self-explanatory, that isn’t a bad thing. It can lead to some great conversations.
The questions you'll get as a YouTuber
How does that make money?
You'll ALWAYS hear – “how do YouTubers make money?” There’s this assumption that people on YouTube are just doing it as a hobby and there isn’t a way to make money from it. That’s SO far from the truth.
Absolutely, YouTube makes money. YouTubers make money from Google AdSense revenue that they get from running ads on their channel. They can also make money from sponsorships, where brands pay for ad placements in their video, and from affiliates, where the creator shares their favorite resources/products/services with their audience and makes a commission from that.
I would also tell people I sell online courses that go more in-depth than my YouTube videos, and in non-COVID times I speak at conferences about YouTube and business. That’s generally my answer, but you should craft an answer that feels good to you and is true to your work.
Is that a REAL job?!
I think this is a question that EVERYBODY with an online, work-from-home business will get. It isn’t specific to being a YouTuber – people just don’t understand this online realm. Which is totally fine!
So, is it a real job? Absolutely! I usually say I make more money doing this, by far, than I made in corporate America. (That usually shuts people up)
Your answer will depend on what you feel comfortable saying here.
Okay, but WHAT do you actually do?
THAT is the million dollar question. Your answer to that will be based on the purpose behind your YouTube channel. If the point is to build an audience to sell something, your answer here might be different than if you consider yourself a full-time creator.
I would just let them know that you create content for a living. That involves a lot of camera time, a lot of strategy, a lot of editing, and things like that. I’ll typically expand into the fact that I teach online courses and host memberships here. But this answer is all about what you do every day!
We can shed light on the fact that YouTube isn’t some “floofy” job here, and I think that’s pretty cool!
There are definitely people in my real life who have just seen my Instagram stories and don’t get it. They’ll make off-handed comments about how I “video everything I do” or “take pictures of myself all the time.” People see that stuff and don’t know about the work that goes into it – like SEO research, title research, thumbnail strategy, editing, and all the things. This is a great opportunity to explain how “in-depth” this job is actually.
The truth is, once you answer a question you’ll get more
You tell someone you make money from affiliate marketing and they’ll want to know exactly how that works – repeat with another word, and repeat again.
Here’s the thing – you are in charge of your own boundaries and your sanity! It’s TOTALLY okay for you to say “that’s complicated for me to explain,” “hey, I have to go,” or even just changing the subject. You can tell people you aren’t comfortable with answering a certain question.
The whole time I’ve been on the internet as a business owner, I’ve been pretty open about money. So anytime someone asks me how do YouTubers make money, or how much I make with YouTube, it doesn’t feel super invasive for me. Still, I’ll say something in those situations that stops that conversation because that would be a LONG conversation.
I might say something like:
“I make money from a few different income streams, but last year, I made more money just from YouTube than in my final year in my corporate job.”
“I make money from several different avenues and it definitely isn’t all from YouTube. But my business is a multi-six-figure business.”
If you don’t feel comfortable telling someone that, then say that! You can have your own boundaries and don’t have to tell anyone anything.
If you are a YouTuber, I hope this helped you so that you won’t be caught off guard with questions. And if you aren’t, I hope this gave you some idea of what it’s like to do this thing for a living!