Hi all! I have decided to revive my blog so that I have a space to talk to you about things that are on my mind more in-depth. Here I will cover life updates and in-depth parenting/mom topics like potty training, kids learning etc. If you don’t want to miss a post you can enter your email on the top right side of the screen to be notified via email every time a new post is published. Please take a second and do that now so you don’t forget!
After a lot of thought I’ve decided that this is the best medium for me because on my youtube channel I have this thing where I don’t like to talk too much (I always like to keep things moving and not ramble) so this is a safe space for me that I can express myself more fully and freely.
Today I want to share with you my thoughts on brand deals and the truth about making money on youtube. Why? Because this has been stressing me out lately (you will read why below) and I feel that it’s always best to be fully transparent. YOU, yes you reading this right now, are the reason I am able to do this at all. I am so grateful for you and I always want to be as open and real as possible. If you are new here and don’t know my youtube channel I make home and lifestyle videos (organization, cleaning, home hacks, budgeting etc.).
First, it needs to be said that I never got onto youtube for the money. Yes, I know every youtuber says this- but I can put my money (or lack thereof) where my mouth is. When I started I didn’t even know it was POSSIBLE to make money on youtube and crazy fact: I did not make one single penny off youtube for 3 entire years. I didn’t even have ads turned on my videos because I was worried if people saw them they would click off the video. So, no brand deals, no ads, no affiliate revenue for 3 years. Imagine working on something 30+ hours a week for 3 years and not making a cent. This should tell you where my heart is.
During that time I was able to get by working part-time for my mom’s company Vasseur Skincare doing her customer service and website. I was living paycheck to paycheck and typically would have about $200 dollars in my bank account left over every month. Once my channel started growing and taking up so much more of my time (side note – videos take a lot longer to put together than you would imagine, and I do every single aspect myself) I didn’t think it was fair to keep working for my mom when I didn’t have the time. I decided to focus on youtube and go full time – but that meant I also needed to make money.
Timing-wise, this all corresponded with moving into our home. Now, you may be wondering how we were able to afford this house if I wasn’t making much money. I had some savings but the truth is 80% of the down payment came from Ryan. So all of a sudden we were homeowners with a mortgage, a lot of bills and a house to furnish. This was the point I turned ads on all of my videos (the banner ads and pre-roll ads that run before the video) and I booked my first brand deal with ghostbed mattresses – we needed a new mattress anyway so it was a win-win (I still use and enjoy this mattress to this day!)
Now, a major point that needs to be noted here – as a self-employed person living in the state of California OVER 40% of everything I make goes to taxes, so anything I make basically gets cut in half. I also get zero benefits, paid time off etc. Luckily for me I was able to get on Ryan’s health insurance. So when you read below all these income streams, keep in mind that these all get cut by almost half.
Okay, so now how youtubers make money
- Ads. While watching youtube videos there are ads that run before and sometimes during the video. These are typically 5 to 15 second ads that you can choose to click or skip. I get a small portion of ad revenue each time someone clicks on these ads (pay per click). As far as I know, I only make money if someone actually views the entire ad or clicks on it and not when they “skip.” While I really appreciate this option from youtube, it is not a stable source of income. Ad revenue varies widely every month based on views and ad clicks and is extremely stressful and unreliable to base your life around. The only channels that can fully survive off of ad revenue alone have to be getting millions and millions of views per month, which is not easy to do, especially consistently. Only the very top tier superstar channels are able to pull this off.
- Affiliate revenue (for me, this is Amazon affiliate links). This is something I also want to de-mystify. This does not cost you as the consumer anything, this commission is from Amazon as a referral fee for recommending a product that somebody then buys. (Note: In the original version of this I put exactly how much I make but according to amazon guidelines I’m not allowed to disclose, but it ends up on average being under $1 per order placed through my link).
- My own brand/merch. I don’t currently have merchandise (though I’m thinking about it) but I did start my own company last year Vasseur Essentials. I put my entire life savings into it. Thankfully it did well but everything made has been reinvested into the business and I did not take/get a dime from it. If it does well in the long-term that will hopefully be a source of income. My long-term goal is to build my own brand and I have a lot in the works, which is very exciting. But, bottom line, building your own brand takes a lot of time and is very expensive to start.
- Brand deals. This is where most youtubers make a living. This is when a youtuber is paid to feature a product or service that relates to their audience for 1-3 minutes within a video. It can also mean a fully dedicated video promoting a product, though those are less common. For years, I have limited myself to 1 brand deal per month because I felt that was a good balance of not too much sponsored content while still allowing me to get by. The 100% truth is I could be very wealthy if I did every brand deal that came my way- or even half of them. Most people in my life don’t understand how I can turn down the deals/money that I do. It is far more important to me to have an authentic relationship with my subscribers than making money. But, I do also have to make a living and help support my family, so I have to find that balance.
Now, that being said, this is what leads me to my current situation that is stressing me out and why I wanted to share all of this. I had my next couple of months already booked out when an opportunity to work with a major, well-respected company came my way. They had specifically selected me out of thousands and it’s a truly a life changing opportunity for me and my family. Since I already had other deals under contract that I cannot move or cancel (I tried) this is causing my channel to have more sponsored content than normal the next couple of months. Specifically, I will have 3 sponsored videos going up between now and January 15th. It’s only 2 more than normal but it’s still stressing me out. Most of those are with one brand & will be shorter features (60-90 seconds) along with instagram posts. I just wanted to be transparent so when you see them you understand the context and what it means for me.
A couple other things to note in regards to brand deals:
- I actually use the products of the companies I work with and I am extremely picky. To this day, I still use the products of the brands that I’ve worked with. I listen to my audible books, use my Hello Fresh meals and get my rocksbox subscription every month – to name just a few.
- For me, when a video is sponsored I actually put more effort to make it better and more engaging so that I’m sure my subcribers are still getting value from it.
- For all sponsored videos I do, the mention is only 60-90 seconds out of a 10-15 minute video. (Only one time did I do a longer 3-4 min but that was an exception).
- When I do a brand deal, it really really helps me when you click through my link or make a purchase. More than you know. Even just clicking the link helps with engagement so I appreciate any support you show!
Something else that is very important to note here. I am very aware that what I do on youtube is not a long-term career. While I can make some money now it is not likely going to continue for much longer. Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t imagine this going past 5-10 years. I hope it will, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also living in reality. So I am trying to do my best and save what I can during the short window that I am able to. I am not flashy, I don’t buy fancy things and rarely go on vacations (Hawaii was my first vacation in 4 years!) My biggest worry is giving off the impression that I’m money hungry or selling out, because that could not be father from the truth. In fact, a good friend of mine just said to me the other day that it’s shocking how little I’ve changed since being on youtube. That was huge compliment to me because above anything, my integrity and staying true to myself means the most to me.
Okay, so I’ll stop there for now. I have to say, it feels good to share all of this. At the end of the day I work extremely hard and I deserve to be paid for what I do, but there is also a very clear balance because that is not what is most important. Overall, I see a lot of misconceptions and flat out lies about youtubers and I wanted to clear a few things up and share my experience. Beyond anything, I could not have any of this or get to do what I love if it wasn’t for you and your support so I can never say thank you enough!
P.S. Don’t forget to sign up to receive my blog posts via email on the top right of the page if you haven’t already! Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and for stopping by my blog. Let me know in the comments below what other topics you would like to see me cover here!