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A personal-finance YouTube creator, who would film videos in his car, shares how he turned his channel into a business that earned $220,000 last year in ad revenue

A personal-finance YouTube creator, who would film videos in his car, shares how he turned his channel into a business that earned $220,000 last year in ad revenue

Ryan Scribner

Ryan Scribner started his YouTube channel in 2016 by talking to a camera that he attached to the steering wheel of his car.

Today, Scribner is a popular YouTube creator with 623,000 subscribers. He now treats his channel as a full-time job, sharing tips on the best investing apps and stock market advice with his audience online.

Scribner went all-in on YouTube in June 2017, moving $5,000 from his savings account into his checking and never looking back, he said.

“I had my mom’s support,” he told Business Insider. “But everyone else was seeing this kid making $65,000 at 21-years-old walk away from a job to make videos on the internet.”

He decided to start making videos as something to do during his work breaks, he said, and personal finance is a subject he has always been passionate about.

Talking about money on YouTube can make creators a lot of it, and sometimes more than many other subjects.

YouTube creators like Scribner can earn money through YouTube’s Partner Program, which allows them to monetize their channels with video ads placed by Google. Creators with at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year are eligible to apply and start monetizing their channels through ads, subscriptions, and channel memberships. These ads make a certain amount of money, depending on factors such as a video’s watch time, length, and viewer demographic.

Once Scribner joined YouTube’s Partner Program, he started to earn around $7 every day from his videos, he said. As his channel grew, he developed an ebook and began working with affiliate programs and brands on sponsored content.

How Scribner makes money as a YouTube creator, and what helped him reach an audience online

In July 2017, right after Scribner decided to leave his stable job and focus on YouTube full-time, one of his videos went viral. His compound interest video titled, “How to become a millionaire with $5 a day,” gained 500,000 views in 2 weeks, he said and earned him $700 the day he uploaded it.

“That video validated that I was on the right path,” he said, adding that the viral video helped his channel jump from 10,000 subscribers to 45,000.

Now Scribner posts around 4 to 6 videos every month, he said. Over 10 of his videos have surpassed 1 million views.

The rate influencers get from Google’s AdSense program depends on a number of factors, from the place in the video where viewers normally drop off to the type of advertisers the video attracts. Many creators have ad-placement strategies for earning the most money possible.

In 2019, Scribner’s YouTube channel earned $220,000 on 17.4 million views, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider. Monthly, Scribner earned $25,700 (1.8 million monthly views) in March, and in April he earned $33,000 (3 million monthly views), according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider.

How Scribner’s YouTube business has been impacted by the coronavirus

In April, YouTube creators experienced a decline in direct-ad-revenue rates from the platform, likely due to shifting ad budgets.

Outside of YouTube ad revenue, Scribner said he relies on money earned through course sales, the stock market membership site he runs, and affiliate commission.

In 2018, he took over someone’s blog and turned it into an additional place to share content and monetize with affiliate links. He hired a friend from high school to help run the website, he said.

“It’s only when this becomes a business do you have to think about what happens when affiliate goes away or demonetization hits,” he said. “I always think about YouTube as rented space. You are relying on the algorithm to push your videos out. Even if tomorrow I woke up and YouTube was washed away I still have this secondary business.”

Some affiliate marketers saw spikes in ecommerce sales in March as consumers spend more time at home and shop online.

But even with recent gains from e-commerce sales, some major retailers like Macy’s, Ralph Lauren, and Victoria’s Secret have suspend or lower commissions on affiliate programs to save on costs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I did lose some revenue and some affiliate income,” he said. “I lost AirBnb, that’s probably around $3,000 lost a month. But I have a dozen others to fall back on.”

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