Notes on the Creative Process: Monetization
As I approached the two year anniversary of the channel (September 12, 2020), I started putting down my thoughts regarding the lessons I have learned about balancing creativity, passion, and business.
I am blessed and lucky. Three years after publishing my first book and two years after launching the Creo Parametric YouTube channel, I have found how to support myself from YouTube. I never expected that to happen; when it did, it was a shocking moment of clarity. “This is how you do it.” The financial independence gives me the freedom to pursue my creativity full time.
This is not a “rise and grind” story. The path that I took will work for everyone. I got very lucky along the way. Someone could work longer and harder than I and not wind up in such a fortunate position.
One key step that worked for me is putting myself out there. Each time I did, it was another step towards financial and creative freedom. The world did not want or need a book on Design Intent. It still does not.
Writing my first book led to my blog writing gig. The blog writing gig led to my first conference presentation. My first conference presentation led to my first conference keynote presentation. That, combined with my YouTube channel, led to more steps.
As I have said many times before, I never expected to qualify for monetization on the YouTube platform. Even now, it is only a couple hundred dollars a month from YouTube. It is nothing to sneeze at, but far from enough to support myself. It is less than what I call the “one sigma” number. That is the additional money to earn to make a significant difference in your quality of living. An additional sigma of income means you can take more vacations. You can hire people to handle your home chores, providing you more time to create and relax. You can accelerate your savings, becoming financially independent from the day job quicker. This amount is different for each person. I strongly encourage you to calculate your one sigma.
As I have said before, if you have been in any field for ten years or more, write a book. That will give you immediate credentials in your field. Few people will read it, so it does not even have to be a good book.
If you are thinking of creating a channel, here is my recommendation. Do it. Seriously, just do it.
If you create a channel, inevitably you will research the same topics that every creator does. How do I get more subscribers? How do I get more views? How do I qualify for monetization? And most importantly, how do I support myself from YouTube?
Many websites and YouTube videos will tell you that the road to financial security via YouTube does not lie with views or subscribers. A channel with a thousand subscribers can make more money than a channel with a million subscribers. The trick is figuring out how to make more money with the subscribers you have. When it dawned on me (Friday, August 21, 2020; I will never forget it), it was one of those moments that changed my life.
Will I return to a regular job at some point? I do believe I will. There are still things that I want to accomplish in the corporate world. But for now, I am lucky enough that I do not have to have a regular job and can devote most of my time to creative pursuits.