Go Viral and Make a Living
What do shopping haulers, Nigahiga, and the Khan Academy, have in common? They are all accidental YouTube entrepreneurs. They started out as individuals sharing videos on YouTube just for fun or for a small group of friends and family. As their videos gained viewers, followers and fans, YouTube made them part of the YouTube Partners program. The popular video bloggers, or vloggers, turned their past-time into a money making venture.
Shopping haulers are one of the fastest growing trends on YouTube. Teenage girls and young women show off their purchases to the whole world on sites like YouTube, giving vicarious thrills to millions of fans. While some Shopping Haulers are addicted to spending the allowance on designer goods, others are savvy shoppers who share their methods of hunting good bargains and reviewing the quality of consumer goods.
According to consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, "Haul videos are the perfect marriage of two of Generation Y's favorite things: technology and shopping." Many Shopping Haulers have become young tycoons.
Blair Fowler, a teenager from Tennessee, who, along with her older sister Elle, is an icon of fashion hauling. In one video, she sits in on bed framed in medium close-up and shows off a new dress. Believe it or not, the video has gotten nearly a million views in just a few months on YouTube.
Not only do the more popular Haulers share the ad revenue that YouTube makes, they are also getting sponsors from big retailers, like Tide, Forever 21 and TJ Maxx that see an opportunity to market to the vloggers' followers and friends.
Ryan Higa, a.k.a. "Nigahiga"
In January 2011 at age twenty-one, Ryan Higa became the most subscribed to person on You Tube and held that distinction until June of the same year. Ryan started experimenting with his family's camcorder when he was 14 years old. He quickly realized that he had a knack for making people laugh.
Higa started putting short videos on YouTube just so he could share them with his friend in Hilo, Hawaii. Higa does comedy sketches with his friends, lip synching to pop songs, movie parodies, sometimes he will just talk to the camera about various subjects?feminism, awkward moments. Characteristic of the top YouTube stars, Higa reads the comments his viewers leave and tries to cater to their opinions when choosing subject matter.
His channel name, Nigahiga, is a combination of "Niga", which means "rant" in Japanese, and his last name, "Higa".
After becoming a YouTube partner, Higa used his income to study filmmaking at UNLV.
Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst turned online tutor, his Khan Academy Channel started when he began tutoring his cousin in New Orleans. The evolution to online videos came, Khan says, when it became difficult logistically to manage his work and the kids' soccer practice. Soon, his videos had gained a huge following.
By the end of 2009, the Khan Academy Channel was making about $3,000 a month, mainly through advertising. Khan was also getting about $1,500 a month through donations. The money went to Khan Academy Inc., a not-for-profit organization.
Covering a wide variety of academic subjects, Khan Academy is being integrated into a few public schools' curricula. In 2010 Khan Academy ceased to accept advertising. Also in 2010, Google announced it would give the Khan Academy $2 million for creating more courses and for translating the core library into the world's most widely spoken languages, as part of their Project 10.
So, if you can't get a job at the store, open your own store. Or better yet, open your own YouTube Channel. To become a YouTube Partner, start with doing something you love to do. Your passion coupled with good content will add value to your postings and that will attract viewers, followers, and fans.