Society

Making a living off YouTube

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Dimma Umeh a Nigerian beauty and lifestyle blogger. PHOTO | COURTESY

Summary

  • To make money online, according to YouTube Creator Academy, a site that offers free growth lessons to creators, the first step is to build an audience.
  • Further, creators can monetise eligible content on YouTube through the YouTube Partner Programme.
  • To join, channels need at least 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.

For a living, Dimma Umeh makes videos on the Internet that earn her a fortune. The Nigeria Internet personality with 306,000 online subscribers may be one of the YouTubers who has taught you how to apply make-up or what face product is a waste of money.

Dimma is part of a generation that is increasingly making money and a career out of audiences that watch posts on YouTube.

“I started doing it for fun, sharing beauty and lifestyle tutorials. I remember that when I started, I did not even know any Nigerian YouTuber. I was just making my growing followers and myself happy. Then, I did an eyebrow tutorial video and it went viral. The video had over one million views. I started receiving calls to review products and brands seeking to be associated with me. I knew that this had to be my pursuit. Now I am a fulltime YouTube content creator so basically, I earn a living through YouTube,” says Dimma, who published her first make-up tutorial on her YouTube channel in 2012.

Her parents were not happy with her career. Dimma graduated with a Bachelor's degree in banking and finance and a Master's degree in entrepreneurship and innovation, courses that her parents thought could afford her a good white-collar job.

“When I started out, my parents were opposed to the idea of me shelving a career in banking and finance to create YouTube content. Looking back, I understand their concern. They didn't know much about the platform. Now, they tell their friends to watch and subscribe on my channel,” she says.

“After my undergraduate studies, I knew that I wanted to be a content creator. But having content, a camera and a recording device was not enough. That is why I did entrepreneurship and innovation. I wanted to have a better understanding of the field and I was intent on approaching my YouTube channel as a business,” she adds.

Comfort zone

The shift from TV watching as a pastime or a conversation starter especially among young viewers has created demand for content for music, food, travel, beauty, comedy to religious teachings.

For this generation, their only source of information about the world has been the Internet and among them, there are savvy entrepreneurs benefiting from the clicks. Nowadays, practically everyone young person talks about wanting to be a YouTube star or influencer, but wonder how to make money as fast.

Dimma was recently in Kenya where she was one of the speakers at YouTube Kenya Creators’ workshop. Tens of Kenyan YouTubers asked questions on how to price their marketing services; others wanted ideas on how to grow their numbers.

While the number of YouTube creators has been on an increasing trend, thanks to the easy access to good phones, cameras like GoPro and the plethora of editing apps, on the background, the platform has been evolving.

“Now, it is not as easy as it was a few years ago when I started vlogging. I started by sharing make-up tutorials and the numbers progressively increased. After a while, I realised that the viewership had gone down. I had get out of my comfort zone and explore other fields,” one of the YouTubers attending the forum said.

To make money online, according to YouTube Creator Academy, a site that offers free growth lessons to creators, the first step is to build an audience. Further, creators can monetise eligible content on YouTube through the YouTube Partner Programme. To join, channels need at least 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.

The Academy offers creators various revenue streams to consider depending on location and channel features. They include adverts, channel memberships, among others.

To leverage, creators are collaborating with each other to increase their viewership and venture into unadulterated fields. On her channel, Wabosha Maxine, an engineering student who recently received a silver button award for attaining 100,000 subscribers, occasionally brings on board other brands to spice her content and “do things differently,” words common among YouTube creators.

“Do not look at the other person and say; I could start something like that. It will not work. Be authentic, be yourself and explore your creativity,” Dilma says. The result of these collaborations among brands has been diverse content, increased viewership and touch on topics that seemed a preserve of other platforms but YouTube. Creators are collaborating to talk on mental health, wellness, parenting and DIY skills.

Alex Mathenge, a comedian and a recipient of 2019 YouTube silver button award says that collaborating with other creators has helped increase audience in his platform.

“I have partnered with other comedians such as Henry Desagu (who also received the silver button award) and Tabitha Gatwiri, also a creator. Once you collabo with another brand, it is as if you are opening your doors to their followers. It has really helped grow my audience.

Dimma also spoke on using the platform for positive impact and being distinctive.

“How are you changing lives?” she asked.

Zakia Ali, a 25-year-old banker who has subscribed to more than 30 local YouTube channels says she gets overly excited when her favourite YouTubers collaborate.

“I am recovering from depression and two of the YouTubers I follow partnered to talk about mental health. It's like they were thinking about me,” she says.

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