Vlogging is one of the newest jobs to surface and is becoming an increasingly popular career path worldwide. But is it a viable option? From the outside, it seems easy – all you have to do is video yourself doing the things you love. This could be make-up and fashion, gaming, cooking, travel, art, and more. But how do you then start to make a living from a job like this?
Rumour has it that a successful vlogger can earn up to £50,000 a month. That works out at £600,000 a year – that’s around 9 times that of a GP! While vloggers like Zoella, PewDiePie, and James Charles are able to make that sort of money, it’s not the case for everyone. As there is no regulation or minimum wage for vloggers, it is hard to estimate how much you could earn. There are some calculations you can do that will give a simplified salary. Why not have a go at calculating your favourite vlogger’s income:
- Find out how many subscribers they have and divide that number by 1,000 (you get paid per 1,000 impressions)
- Multiply that number by 1.1 (£1.10 is the average payment per 1,000 subscribers)
- Now find out how many videos they have uploaded this year and multiply by that number
So, if the vlogger has 820,000 subscribers and posts 60 videos a year, their estimated annual income would be £54,120.
This calculation is rough and will change depending on the brand sponsorships involved and how much of a cut the platform, such as YouTube, takes. Once a vlogger gets more popular, they are often invited to events and onto TV shows and find that this can be a steadier way of making money.
The nature of the internet means vloggers have the opportunity to talk to a huge audience and will often have fans from across the globe. This means the opportunity to find viewers that have the same interests as you, however niche, is high and you have the potential to grow your number of subscribers. It can feel rewarding to see nice comments from your fanbase and see that you are catering well for your audience. Unfortunately, this has downsides too. Posting publicly on the internet can be very exposing and people who share different views to you will be able to access your content. Many vloggers have come under fire and receive hateful comments and messages. It is important to always be aware that this is the reality and it could happen to you.
If it’s something you think you’d like to try, here are some tips to give you a head start:
- Be yourself. Don’t try to emulate a vlogger you really like – they’re already taking that approach, and they’ve got the subscribers for their style. People can tell if you’re being genuine or not and doing something just to create drama can put people off, especially brand sponsorships.
- Collaborate with people who have a similar number of viewers as you – you will both benefit by gaining each other’s followers.
- It’s likely people starting a vlog are still in their teens and so have never experienced going into a big meeting and making a pitch. It could be useful to have a manager on board to help you in these situations and help put across your ideas.
- Stick to a theme. Viewers like to know what to expect from an account they’re subscribed to. If your account is about being vegan, don’t start talking about sports cars just because that subject is trending or getting lots of views right now. That’s not to say you can only stick to one subject. You could, for example, talk about electric cars or cars to avoid if you aren’t using animal products to put a vegan spin on things. Your vlog is a brand and if you stick to that brand, it will be a lot easier to market yourself.
- Talk to your favourite brands – these days it is hard to make money out of pre-video ads. Your best chance of making money is by pitching to brands you use regularly. Make sure it is clear how it will benefit them, not just you.
- Make a plan. It’s a good idea to plan what kind of success you want from your channel. You might decide that you want to gain 10 new subscribers a week, or you might even set yourself a target of having 500 new subscribers in 3 months. Whatever the aim, make it realistic.
- It is useful to do some research so you can find out how much your content is worth. This is usually determined by your subscriber and viewer count.
- Don’t spend too much. When you’re starting out you really don’t need too much flashy video gear, such as expensive cameras and editing software. It is likely your smartphone or a fairly priced camera will do. You don’t need specialist lighting, either: before filming, simply spend 10 minutes testing which part of the room is best lit. If you can, always opt for natural lighting.
- Enjoy yourself! If you start an account and it feels like a chore, you’re unlikely to be able to generate viewers.
While it is possible to make a career by vlogging, you need to be ready for a lot of uncertainty and an inconsistent wage. If you make it big, it’s likely you won’t have to work another job, but for most vloggers, this is a side-job that can help boost your main income.
Jessie Parker joined the team as Editorial Intern in 2020. After completing a degree in Creative Writing and Publishing, Jessie has recently had her creative non-fiction book published.