Are you curious if being a YouTuber can be a career? Have you ever wondered is YouTube a job? If so then you are in the right place.
Over time being a YouTube content creator has gone from a random hobby to a potential job and even the path to fame and fortune for some. These days many kids say they want to grow up and be a YouTuber.
But is being a YouTuber a realistic career choice? Can you make YouTube your job or should people settle for more traditional careers?
As a YouTuber who made YouTube my job, I’m happy to share what I know about this topic.
Let’s look at everything you might want ton know about doing YouTube full time.
Can YouTube Be A Full Time Job?
When people ask is YouTube a job what they really want to know is can YouTube be a full time job?
Can you really do YouTube full time instead of working a typical 9 to 5 job?
The answer is YES! YouTube can be a full-time job.
As a platform YouTube generates as much attention as many TV channels and it is continuing to grow. There is a huge audience on YouTube that is always looking for new content to consume.
These days you can create your own full-time job on YouTube without even being a huge star. There are many small but passionate niche communities on a variety of topics. Within these smaller communities people have found a way to create enough income to make YouTube their job.
While the media likes to focus on YouTube stars who have become wealthy, there are many more of these creators who have simply made YouTube their job.
Unfortunately even with many more people making YouTube their job there are many more who fail to do so.
The majority of YouTube creators never make enough money for it to be their full-time job. The income they make from YouTube simply isn’t enough to cover their expenses.
Success is not guaranteed on YouTube, but it is possible. With creativity, strategy, and consistency you can earn a full-time income on YouTube.
Is YouTube A Good Job?
Another thing people usually want to know: is YouTube a good job?
Even if someone manages to make a “full-time income” on YouTube, is it actually a good job? Are YouTubers happy? Is it a career worth pursuing?
The top YouTube stars make it look like a glamorous career similar to being a Hollywood star. However, there are also many downsides to doing YouTube full time.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of doing YouTube as your job. These can help you decide if YouTube would be a good job for you.
YouTuber Job Pros:
- Unlimited potential: There is no limited to how much money you can earn.
- Potential fame: Depending on your success you can achieve fame in small or large ways.
- Semi-passive income: You can continue earning more for work you did months or years ago.
- Off camera opportunities: Successful YouTubers receive many opportunities.
- Many career spin-offs: You learn many skills that can translate to other jobs and careers.
YouTuber Job Cons:
- Stress: Creating on YouTube can be stressful for a number of reasons.
- Judgement: There is a lot of negative feedback on YouTube. This does not work for some people.
- Heavy workload: Until you can afford outsourcing you have to do a lot of jobs yourself, from being on camera to editing to promoting and more.
- No guaranteed income: There is not a guarantee of income and your income can dry up overnight.
Like with any career path, your personality will likely determine whether YouTube is right for you.
You might be able to overlook the downsides and thrive with the possibilities. If you have a thick skin, love to work hard, and love unlimited opportunity then YouTube might be the job for you. If that’s the case then your happiness is possible in this job.
Most successful full-time YouTube creators I know are like entrepreneurs and treat their channel as a business. If you go in with that mindset you are more likely to enjoy YouTube as a job.
What Skills Do YouTubers Need?
If you want to make YouTube your job, what skills do you need? YouTube is more than just shooting quick videos on your phone.
Creating a successful YouTube channel that produces a full-time income will require many skills. All of these skills are actually jobs in their own right and professionals specialize in each. Knowing how to do all of these things is one reason YouTube is so hard for people.
Here are some skills needed by content creators on YouTube:
- Video planning
- Video production
- Video editing
- Audio editing
- Graphic design
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
You will find that learning these skills takes time and a lot of hard work. You likely won’t be good at all of them but they are all required to succeed on YouTube.
When you look at all of the things you need to know and do to succeed on YouTube it is easy to understand how it can be a job.
How To Make YouTube A Career
Maybe everything so far sounds amazing and you want to make YouTube your career. How do you actually do that?
I’ve seen people waste a lot of time trying to make YouTube their full-time job. There are a lot of activities that feel productive but lead to no progress. If you can avoid those you can make YouTube your job within 1 to 2 years of hard work.
Here are some steps to make YouTube your career:
- Choose your direction
- Research your niche
- Define your brand and USP
- Create good videos
- Optimize your content
- Build relationships
- Publish videos consistently
Now we will look at all of these in more detail and how to make them happen. If you want a guide to help you, the YouTube success workbook I created has worksheets for setting up a successful channel and planning your videos.
Choose Your Direction
Choosing your direction is the first step to making YouTube your job.
What does this mean? It means sitting down and thinking through what type of creator you actually want to be.
What audience will you create content for? What topics will you cover that they want to see? How will you serve this specific audience with your videos?
A lot of creators want to create either a variety of videos or focus on their lives. The problem with these types of channels is that honestly… no one cares. When you are new and don’t have an audience and these types of videos will get you a few random subscribers but little traction.
Choosing a niche and an audience to serve will give you direction. It will allow your channel to grow faster and become a job quicker.
This can obviously change as you start creating and find out what really works for you. However, you are more likely to succeed if you have some direction when you start.
When your goal is to earn an income to live off of you will have to know what audience you are serving so you can monetize quicker and more efficiently.
Not sure what niche to serve? Check out the most profitable niches on YouTube.
Research Your Niche
Once you’ve chosen an audience to serve you need to research who is already serving this audience.
That means you need to research the competition within your niche. You will learn a lot about what works and doesn’t work by examining what your competitors are already doing.
When you start to research your niche you should look at the biggest creators and also the biggest videos from smaller creators.
When you study the big creators in your niche you will be able to see how they succeeded. You can determine what they did to succeed and they try to do it again for yourself.
One of the best things to do when trying to grow on YouTube is to re-create videos that blew up for small creators. In your research you will likely find small channels with a few videos that have many views. These video topics are a good start for videos to create.
Knowing what has actually worked in your niche with your audience will save you a lot of time. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. You just need to recreate what works with your own unique spin on it.
Need some help getting started? Check out the best books for YouTubers.
Define Your Brand
Having your own unique spin is what will allow you to go from a failure to a success on YouTube.
This unique selling point for your channel is how you will differentiate your brand while still making similar videos to your competition. Deciding on your branding and unique selling point is a good way to show your audience you are serious and plan to be a full-time creator.
When you are creating your brand you will consider many things.
You’ll have to decide things like:
- style of presentation
- video settings and backdrops
- your clothing
- props in your videos
Then you will also decide your branding elements like:
- channel banner
- profile picture
- in-video elements
- video editing/transitions
All of these things will come together to create your brand. It will steer how your audience thinks of you and your videos.
If you want to do YouTube as a job you’ll want to take these branding elements seriously.
Create Good Videos
YouTube videos don’t have to be cinema quality production but they do need to be good content.
This means you need to create good, entertaining content that is free from off-putting technical issues. No one will sit through your videos if you have bad audio or they can’t see you because of lighting.
Creating consistent high-quality videos is the way to create a full-time income on YouTube.
This means your videos need:
- educational or entertainment value
- high quality audio
- good production value
- decent editing
- consistent style
Doing all of these things will make sure your videos have value for your audience. You don’t have to film and upload in 4k or worry about nit-picky details but you do need to make sure your videos are good content people would want to watch.
Make sure to keep the style and quality consistent among your videos so your fans know what to expect. This will also mean new subscribers are more likely to go back and watch old videos.
Optimize Your Content
Creating a good video on YouTube is only the first step. You have to optimize your content for distribution as well. If you want to make money on YouTube then you must have more people watch your videos.
There are many elements of optimizing your content:
- attention-grabbing title
- eye-catching thumbnail
- relevant keywords for SEO
- promotion on YouTube & social media
All of these elements can intrigue viewers to click on and watch your videos. These are also elements you will constantly be working on and improving over time. Each new video is a chance to improve things like your thumbnail or title.
When you are just starting out on YouTube you will likely want to focus on gaining views by SEO. This is the easiest way to get consistent views as a beginner and it’s also a great way to build income for your channel over time. With good SEO YouTube will rank your videos in the search results and encourage people to view them.
When you are new it make sense to use a tool like TubeBuddy to help you with SEO. TubeBuddy let’s you research keywords to use for videos and gives tips on how to actually optimize your content.
The best thing I did when growing my own YouTube channels was to build relationships with other YouTube creators.
The relationships with other creators led to collaborations on videos, more views on videos, masterminds, opportunities, and even real friendships.
In the beginning you will have zero relationships so you have to build them. The best way to do this is to reach out to other small, newer creators. You can comment on their videos and reach out on social media. It’s best to start with smaller creators because large creators are often too busy and you can get overlooked.
There are also many groups on Facebook and other platforms where you can find people trying to go full-time on YouTube. Finding people with the same goal as you makes the journey to full-time YouTuber much easier.
It’s also a great idea to build relationships with your audience and super-fans. You will recognize people who comment on every video and responding to these comments is a great way to build relationships. You can also encourage them to follow you on social media or join your email list for more contact.
Publish Videos Consistently
The number one thing that leads to success on YouTube is consistent publishing.
When you publish videos consistently you learn quickly what works and what doesn’t. You also improve your skills and end up making better videos. Like Roberto Blake says, you will probably make 100 crappy videos before you start to succeed.
YouTube is a lot of work. Views will not roll in just because you made a video. You have to promote your work and consistently improve the quality of that work.
While YouTube can be a great hobby, the successful creators who make it a job treat it as a job. We have schedules and routines that allow us to create consistently over time.
Over time as you create and publish more videos you’ll eventually discover a schedule that works for you. You’ll improve your skills and work faster too!
The number one thing I recommend if you want to make YouTube your job is to be patient. It won’t happen overnight and it will take a lot of work and patience.
You will probably spend at 1 to 3 years working on YouTube before it becomes a sustainable job for you. can you be patient and work hard for that long without immediate results? If so then you can succeed with YouTube.
Is Being a YouTuber a Job?
Is being a YouTuber a job? A pipe dream? Or a luxury? You probably are still curious after reading about how few people succeed to make this dream into a real job.
Being a YouTuber is a job but it is more than that. It’s multiple jobs (creator, editor, social media manager) and also a lifestyle. It is being an entrepreneur and running your own business.
The reality of creating videos full-time on YouTube might be different than you expected.
However, if you have a passion for creating videos and are willing to work hard then there is no limit to what you can achieve.
YouTube Tips & Tutorials
Here are a few useful YouTube tutorials on Pennies Not Perfection:
- How To Grow A YouTube Channel
- How To Make Money With A YouTube Channel
- Most Profitable Niches On YouTube
Faceless YouTube Videos
- 40 Faceless YouTube Video Ideas
- Cash Cow Channel Ideas For YouTube
- How To Make Money On YouTube Without Showing Your Face
Youtube Tips & Tricks
- Entire YouTube Studio Setup On One Desk
- How To Get A Custom YouTube Channel URL
- How Long Does A YouTube Video Have To Be To Make Money?
If you want to say thank you, you can Buy Me A Coffee.
Here are some YouTube resources that can help you start, run, and grow your YouTube channel:
Learn how to grow a profitable YouTube channel while still working full-time. This course from lawyer Erika Kullberg teaches you everything you need to know.
Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.
Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.