Can you make a living online?

Can you make it big as a YouTube sensation? Can you ever quit the day job, the one that purportedly causes you grief, and replace with a seemingly more interesting career, such as singing or posting internet videos?

Lots of people – women, in particular – seem to think so. Internet video sites – chief among them YouTube – are awash with videos of people posting on any topic of interest, and music videos of them performing their favourite song.

How is it possible to make a living from posting videos? That probably goes against what many people in traditional jobs have been brought up to believe.

The underlying dynamic about maing a living from posting videos is this. You are trying to get people to watch your vidoes. And it is not just about watching your video, but making them watch the entire video.

People that supposedly make a living from YouTube videos get paid depending on how long people watch their video for. If someone clicks on your video link and then clicks away after ten seconds, you’d have earned less that if someone watched three minutes of it.

Making a living from videos is also about making money from advertising. You can monetise your YouTube channel so that ads appear, perhaps at the start or somewhere in the middle, and if viewers are interested in your video enough to tolerate the ads you allow for, then you are rewarded for both.

What really helps if you have large viewership. If one thousand people watch a three-minute video each day, you could be raking in the cash. But you won’t get one thousand fans overnight, like a newspaper, readership is something you have to cultivate. Which is why a lot of people start working on their YouTube channels while they are still in other jobs, so that the moment they decide to take the plunge making a living online, they have paid their dues.

Making videos is one of the ways you can make a living online. Another is writing and starting up blogs. Both pretty much rely on readership and advertising, and on building up large numbers of readers. And for that reason, you’re going to have to read or blog or video-log about topics that people are going to be interested in, in the first place.

This is why you see an abundance of make-up videos and beauty tips in videos. That is a good starting point for women. After that, you can branch out to other fields. Zoella Suggs started out with beauty tips, got even more interest from her participation in The Great British Bake Off, secured a book deal and moved on to being an author. It is about leveraging interest in one field to springboard to another.

Most women blogs and YouTube channels deal with make-up, beauty tips, home-working, early retirement and travelling on a budget. Starting a YouTube channel with one of these themes is usually a good way to begin.

Sometimes people also start blogs or video channels to market their products. What products? Some may be beauty products, from which they earn commissions from. Or if you are looking for a digital product, an online course (usually on “How to make a living from YouTube”) is usually quite popular.

If you have not got the patience or time to build a big readership, there is another alternative you can try. You can make covers of other famous songs and hope that someone out there will notice your video and offer you either a singing job, or a contract. After all, young Justin Bieber was discovered when he was little via his videos on YouTube. But if you don’t like singing, or like to be videoed singing, and have a talent playing an instrument instead, you could make a cover of the song on your instrument. Piano covers seem to be popular, because on the piano you can play the tune and accompaniment at the same time.

In both cases you can also register your covers to be sold. Now, there are strict rules about selling other people’s work as your own, but in the case of music, you can apply for a mechanical license to market your covers. Really? Yes! You can apply for it via the Harry Fox Agency, indicate whose song you are covering and how many copies you intend to sell, and then the right to market it is dealt with for you – the royalties you pay to the original artist are taken care of you.

Thinking of becoming the next YouTube sensation? Start while you are still in education, or still in your existing job so that you develop a fan base that you can sell advertising to. Use your channel to sell advertising and secondary products, such as courses and music covers. And you never know, when you become well known enough, something else may come out of it – singing contract, book deal or theatre or movie role!

Why are women attracted to the idea of making an online living? Unfortunately this arises from having to balance work, family and children – and guilt. During the normal working hours we have to be responsible for children, so we have to look for other ways to restructure work around it. An online income offers another means of flexible living.

Want to work flexibly? Consider freelance writing

If you are one of the many women with children then it is likely that the work life balance is one of the challenges that has crossed your mind. How do you work while you have children? Do you place them in childcare while you work? Do you encounter guilt, and if so, could you face it? If you are one of the fortunate women whose husbands earn enough for you not to work, then good for you! But most women at some point will have to figure out how to balance work and children without going mad in the process.

Many women may decide to work flexibly. Now, flexible may take on many meanings. One woman’s flexible may not be the same as another’s. To some women, working flexibly may mean working three out of five days every week. To another, it may mean a five day working week but shorter hours each day. To a third, it may mean the complete freedom to choose the hours of work. To a fourth it could mean being renumerated on a per piece basis, meaning being paid on the production of an article or completion of a job rather than on an hourly basis. The possibilities are endless.

Most women have to work flexibly in order to accomodate their children. The other alternative is to place them in childcare (which, to be honest, is fine if the level of play is stimulating enough) or with an au pair, but unless they have really high-powered jobs that they cannot really give up then most women will seemingly reduce the hours at work in order to focus on their children or try to work flexibly from home.

What kinds of jobs allow you to work flexibly? The first type is a traditional job where you are not required at the office every day, or one where you go in one or two days less but still catch up with the work at home on the other days. Employers siometimes prefer this arrangement because it means you work for free for them, but at the same time you are benefiting from being able to spend time with your children.

The second is one where you work shorter hours at your traditional job, or do a job share. A job share is one where your work is paired with another colleague, so that you both do the work but there is a certain amount of liaising to make sure that the handing over of the job is as smooth as possible. There might not be any significant impact to the employer, in terms of cost, but some women prefer that because it is a way of keeping your foot in the door, of holding on to your job while working reduced hours in the expectation that your hours may increase in the future when the children have grown up and are back at school.

Does your job allow you to pick the hours you work? If so, you are possibly self-employed, or your job is computer-based, and you have a relatively forgiving employer and that speed is not an essence in your job. Such jobs may be such as accounting, or conveyancing, where immediacy is not really a crucial factor. Some people rationalise that the more flexible your work, the more project-based or managerial it is.

But what if you are fairly junior in your company and your boss would not entertain the idea of flexible working? You may decide to strike it out on your own. Many women have gone down this path and one of the popular choices, supposedly one where you can make a living, is blogging or writing online. It is a complete career change’

How do you make a living from writing? Is it even possible?

It might not be as easy or as difficult as you think it is. You can write and develop a large readership, then leverage on your fans by advertising on your site, and getting kickbacks in the process. Some companies may pay you if you write a blog post about their product and then publish it. It is a different form of establishing an advertising medium.

How long should a blog post be? According to the website www.searchmechaniks.co.uk, the typical blog post need to be long, it can be around 500 words long. Now, 500 words is not as difficult as you think it is. By the time you’ve read this, you’ve arrived at nearly 700 words already.

But building up a blog and developing a readership in order to use it as an advertising medium takes time and commitment. And there are times when you will question why you are doing it. Writing about your life may not be the theme to start from. After all, every one has a life and not everyone may necessarily be interested in yours. Rather than writing about your own life and then hoping you will build up a large readership – because there will always be celebrities and others in the limelight whose lives are much more interesting – write about things people are interested in. It may not necessarily be what you are good at. But people will always be interested in things such as finance, business, working from home, making income – and these are useful starting points for a blog.

Having children may force you to make career changes, and if your job does not allow you to work flexibly a whole new career change may be in order. A popular avenue is blogging because writing is a career you can easily fit around the demands of looking after children. Being successful in your writing means building up a readership large enough to sell advertising. But it doesn’t necessarily end there. You could write content for websites for companies who are too busy to do it on their own. It takes time, but you may find the balance of being your own boss, a freelance writer and spending time with your children all meets with doing writing as a new career. It may sound like a big step, but it may be one you may find works well for you.