Hi Friends!! Ever since I posted on Instastories answering a commonly asked question about my advice on whether or not to focus on Youtube or blogging, I’ve received a ton of emails asking similar things so I thought I would put it in a blog post for those who are interested. I’m going to be 100% real and give you my experience with both platforms (Youtube vs. blogging) along with an honest response to each question. I’m not sugar coating anything:) I wish I would have been told these answers years ago!
^Also, kill me now Doug made me take this pic for obvious reasons…
“I have a question for you because I don’t know who else I can ask and I trust your opinion. My husband and I are both teachers. I have a ten month old little boy and it kills me to be away from him. We’re on winter break right now and I’m dreading going back to work. My husband says if I could generate more revenue than I make now through YouTube or some other method then it would be feasible for me to stay home with him. I’d need to make somewhere between 45-60k a year. I have a family vlog channel and a lifestyle channel with minimal views and minimal subscribers. Do you think if I keep it up I would ever be able to make enough to be able to stay home with my kids? Sorry to bother you but I knew you could give me an honest answer and help me more to understand what I need to do. Also, an advice is appreciated.”
Hi friend! First off, I can’t imagine leaving my little one to go back to work. That would break my heart and you are one strong Momma! I want to help you as much as I can and my goal is to help as many Moms work for themselves so they don’t have to leave their babies so young. First off, you CAN do it. You must believe you can work for yourself in order for it to happen. Everyone in your life will tell you it’s not possible, that you can’t make a real income online, or that you’re crazy for pursuing your passion. Forget them!! I feel SOOO strongly about this. No one in my life believed I could make the kind of money I am making now (most people have no idea actually) so you can’t let their opinions of you hinder your motivation and drive because you’ll need every ounce of that to succeed! The answer to your question is 100% YES. You can make that amount of money each year, but it’s not going to come without years of hard work, constant obsession, and HUNGER. I know this sounds extreme, but this is the truth. Bloggers/vloggers make it seem SOOOO easy. Like they wake up each day, get ready, put on a cute outfit, and film their lives. No. Just no. What you don’t see are the hours poured behind a computer each night as their babies are asleep pitching to brands for sponsorships in the beginning, learning how to edit, researching the best SEO strategies/Youtube algorithm “hacks” (there aren’t any really), and honestly just the hustle and grind for sometimes years. Yes, there are those that make it in one year, but let me tell you, they are the 1%! The majority of us hustled our way to that kind of income. At this point in my blogging career, I make more than what you’ve mentioned above. I don’t say this to brag, but if I knew the potential 5 years ago, I would have worked that much harder. You DON’T need 1 million subscribers to bring in an income. You need loyal followers who will buy from your suggestions/personal brand, engage with you on all platforms, and follow you wherever you go. I also want to add that of course money isn’t everything. I truly love what I do. I’m obsessed!! I think about my brand constantly. It’s actually 11pm on a Wednesday as I’m writing this post with Annabelle sleeping next to me and Doug working in the kitchen on Belle & Baby. Trust me, if I didn’t love my job, I wouldn’t be pouring so much effort into it 7 days a week and into the night. You need to love it because it consumes your life. For some people that doesn’t sound appealing, but for me it’s absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. My job doesn’t feel like work and the opportunities are endless!
As far as making an income vlogging…this is another subject in itself. Vlogging is a lot harder to gain an audience in the beginning unless you are employing some serious clickbait strategies. I sometimes use clickbait, but I feel inauthentic doing it in every video. My biggest advice would be to somehow bring value to your subscribers. Do a mixture of value based videos (how to’s, guides, series, informational videos, etc.) and then also family vlogs. My biggest goal for this year for my brand is that I need to MAKE SEARCHABLE VIDEOS! It’s so easy to title a video “Baby’s First Bath!” and expect it to get 100000 views, but it won’t! Now, I could have spent that effort creating a series of videos on “How To Prepare For A New Baby” and gone into detail about ways to save for baby, nursery tour, big baby items you need, 10 things to do before your baby arrives, pregnancy essentials, etc. and it would have receives thousands more views than a series of family vlogs. This is just my experience:)
*A great resource are the Video Influencers. Literally all your Youtube questions on gaining an audience/starting a channel can be answered with their videos.
^See this post on what equipment I use for photography/videography/vlogging:)
“I need some help. For about a year now I’ve been toying with the idea of beginning a YouTube channel.
I want to be my own boss. I have an office job and hate it so much. I often go home crying because I just feel so restricted. All in all, I need your advice – how do I create a life off the internet. I want to work from home and I am willing to put the work in but I just don’t know how to go about it or where to begin.“
Hi girl! First things first…you need to just DO IT!! Start a channel. Film a video with your phone. Edit using a free sketchy program. Upload to Youtube. Done and done. Trust me, you’ll thank me later! SOOOOO many girls email me asking where to start. The answer is, just start! I think people are so scared of getting criticized on Youtube, but I’m gonna be real…no one will watch your first 20 videos. Okay, maybe not no one, but you’ll probably only get 10 views and no comments. There’s nothing to be scared of if no one watches and that’s the honest truth! I also think people who watch bigger Youtubers complain about the hate they get online and get nervous about creating content, but that’s just because those people already have big channels! At first your videos will be a tiny spec in Youtube land and you won’t be as nervous to upload after you see that there’s nothing to be afraid of. That might sound negative, but it’s the truth and actually, it’s a good thing! You have time to perfect your editing, learn how to talk to a camera, and create a clear niche for yourself. This took me yearssss and I’m still just a small fish in a big ocean!
Now, the second part to this question. How to create an income on the internet? Well, that truly depends on your interests and it boils down to how real you want to get with yourself. Self awareness. It’s something I’m learning and I truly believe it’s a real skill. Since this discussion is in the realm of blogging vs. vlogging, I’ll stick to these two options. Ask yourself these two things:
- How willing are you to work for a life of semi-passive income, making your own schedule, being your own boss, and getting paid to talk about the things you want to talk about?
- Are you so completely uncomfortable in front of a camera that you think you could never warm up to it?
These two questions are the key to knowing which category you belong to. I ask these things first and foremost because in my opinion, blogging is saturated and hard to break into. I really don’t want to discourage any new bloggers out there because I had that dream for YEARS. I was addicted to becoming a blogger in college. If I had the self awareness to know that 1. I was crap at taking pictures and couldn’t afford the equipment and programs needed and 2. I couldn’t afford outfits to showcase! and 3. I actually liked being on camera (I’m a terrible writer), then I would be so much father along than where I am today. You really need to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Are you a great photographer? Do you have a strong voice and compelling ideas for a blog? Or are you just going to write a post about “5 Makeup Favorites” and expect random people to read it? (Not knocking you, I write those posts for fun;) Or are you going to post fashion photos shot in your street wearing clothes from TJ Max that you can’t earn commission on? I KNOW. I sound terrible writing this, but YOU GUYS I’m being REAL! I would tell my best friend these things and she would be better off for it! I wish someone had told me.
Now, if you are willing to research the best SEO methods, learn how to rank in search results for trending topics, be a boss on social media and take amazing pictures, then blog away!! Now, for my raw advice on which one I would do. Well, you already know my answer:) Youtube is the way! Youtube truly is amazing. It’s a “smaller” search engine than Google (which is where you’ll be fighting your way to the top of the search results for your blog post to get seen), it has much more interaction, and it is a lot easier to make a living in a much faster amount of time. Getting past the stage fright of being on camera is 100% doable and 100% worth it. How many times can I say 100% in this blog post? Probably a few more.
I’m so excited that you are starting a brand of your own! I get this question a lot and even though it wasn’t asked here I want to say that it is NOT too late to break into Youtube or even blogging. I know I talked blogging down a bit in the question before, but if it is truly a passion of yours and you have unique ideas then you can do it 100%!;) To answer your questions:
- How do I get sponsorships: In the very beginning when I had hardly anyone watching (ie: under 1,000 views per video), I would pitch to brands. If you aren’t a graphic designer, go on Ribbet, get a blank page started, and create an awesome looking media kit. Send it to shops online that are smaller in scale like you (ie: Etsy shops) and exchange product for high quality imagery (for blogs) or social posts and video (for Youtube videos). Then, build a portfolio of brands you’ve worked with to include in your media kit so when the day comes and you have a real paying sponsor, you can show them your past work. It also helps to understand the whole process. Currently, 90% of my sponsorships come directly to my email, but I’ve used these in the past to apply: Famebit, Grapevine, Shopstyle, Revfluence
- For editing videos: I recommend whatever is easiest. The biggest hurdle in the beginning is just getting started! I use Final Cut Pro now, but it’s taken me years to switch from iMovie because I just got comfortable. I wish I would have learned how to better edit a long time ago!
- #ad: Does it mean it’s sponsored? Yes! Check the FTC guidelines on how to tell if something is sponsored!
I get asked all the time so I’ll just briefly explain how vloggers/bloggers get paid:
- Sponsored videos or blog posts
- Sponsored social posts
- Affiliate links (i.e. ShopStyle/RewardStyle/Amazon Associates)
- Google Adsense or Banner ads on websites/blogs
“How I can optimize my social media accounts and go a little more in depth with how to improve my blogs and youtube videos? I appreciate all the videos that you put out and the video that actually caught my attention was the one on SEO.”
Definitely use this resource to find all your answers, but here are a few pointers I’ve learned along the way:
- Improve your imagery on social media: This is a BIG one! I use presets in Lightroom and shoot almost every photo in Raw format on my DSLR. I’m not a pro at social media at all, but I did notice a huge spike in followers when I started to do this!
- Improve Youtube videos:
- Invest in good equipment. If you are serious about doing this as your business, you need to treat it like one. Don’t go half in. Go all the way! Good audio and lighting are key.
- Have something compelling to talk about. Talk about what you’re actually passionate about. People will see straight through you if you are faking it. Trust me, I know:) Be engaging and lively! You’ll be awkward at first, but in no time you’ll feel comfortable in front of the camera once you have an audience to talk to. Even if that’s 10 people. Those 10 people matter!
- Post REGULARLY. The Youtube algorithm favors posting at least twice a week. I know that seems like a lot, but you have to put in the work. If you are busy, batch produce content. Take a Saturday morning and film your two videos for the week to get it done.
That’s all I have time for in today’s post (I have to get to sleep sometime;), but let me know if you want me to continue and if so, leave your questions down below in the next post! I’m really interested in starting a “Mom Boss” series on my channel talking about all the potential ways of making money online. Let me know if that’s something you’d like to see!:)