Monetization and whiny, entitled YouTube Stars

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You may have heard lots of whining from YouTube Fitness Trainers about the changes to the monetization policy – Entitled millennials who think the world owes them everything. Lets cover a few points.

  1. You do not have some god given right to make tens of thousands of dollars for a clever video that it took you 3 minutes to make – get a REAL JOB and WORK like everyone else.
  2. YouTube is a business and its their responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profit. This is a free market, supply and demand determines prices. There are simply too many YouTube fitness trainers so they have taken the logical step of lowering the price they pay.   If you don’t like how much you earn from YouTube then take your video elsewhere.
  3. Its a PRIVILEGE to be able to reach hundreds of thousands of people and make significant positive effects in their lives.

I applaud YouTube and the monetization changes because it will weed out the people who are just in this for the money. When YouTube first started out, there WAS no money in it. I was making videos long before YouTube and had to pay 13 cents every time someone downloaded a video from my free website. When YouTube came along and offered to host my videos for free, I felt like I won the lottery. Us early folks at YouTube were in it because we were excited to help others. Then the partner program came, and the goldrush began as everyone rushed in to make easy money. Not that there is anything wrong with making money but when that becomes your primary goal, things head south quickly and you get the state of things we see today. I personally wish that YouTube would completely eliminate the monetization program.

How to make money on YouTube 2.0

For you YouTube trainers who have seen your google payments plummet, let me give you some advice – figure out how you can provide a valuable service for your fans at a price far cheaper than they would have to pay elsewhere.  In other words, find a win-win situation!  Figure out what your area of expertise is and capitalize on it. If you don’t have any area of expertise and your YouTube fitness channel was just for entertainment then put away your camera and GET A REAL JOB – you were lucky and had a good run but its now over.

  1. Method 1: Ask for Donations.   One of the most honest and straight forward way to make money is to simply to keep making your videos the way you are but make direct appeals for donations. I would MUCH rather see YouTube fitness trainers use this honest approach rather than be a dishonest supplement pimp.
  2. Method 2: Become a supplement pimp.  Supplements are the #1 money maker in the fitness industry bringing in far more money that all the gyms and fitness gadgets combined. So many YouTube trainers get greedy and become “sponsored athletes” which is just another way of saying that they are paid salesman who are expected to use their influence to get all their fans to buy their products. In other words they are expected to betray the trust of their fans in order to make a buck. Even worse when they sell supplements themselves because there is even more money in that. Its simply impossible to be unbiased with your videos when so much of your money comes from the supplement industry.  I would much rather see YouTube stars simply ASK for donations rather than being dishonest and pimping supplements.
  3. Method 3: Start a free website.  What is your area of expertise?  What is the best way to deliver this to people?  In many cases, when you sit down and think about it, videos are NOT the best means for a YouTube fitness star to disseminate their knowledge.  Probably less than 10% of “fitness” videos are actually illustrating exercises but rather just talking heads conveying information on nutrition or other topics.  If the video is a talking head then a webpage is a much better means of giving people the information!  Start a free website! Provide excellent, unbiased information and the traffic will come.  Once you have traffic, there are many ways you can monetize that while still being loyal to your fans and keeping their best interest at heart. Your YouTube channel should be just one prong of your multi-media offerings but they should all tie together [to be continued]
  4. Method 4: Start a paid forum.  There is another way to make money though which I referred to earlier and that is to capitalize on your area of expertise.  Let me give you an example. Lets say you are a competing, well respected powerlifter. Start a powerlifting forum where the focus is giving on line form advice for deadlifts, squats, and bench. People upload their videos to your forum so that you can critique them. To get an elite level powerlifting coach would normally cost $100 per hour but you are able to offer them this same service for just a few dollars a month – everybody wins!  Another example, lets say you are a mens physique superstar. Start an online forum where the focus is in helping people perfect their posing routines and coach them on the entire week leading up to the contest – the diet, the tanning, etc. Rather than be limited to working with people in your city, you can work with people all over the planet. Again, paying an IFBB pro for this would cost them over $100/hour but thru your forum you could do it for a few dollars a month, again win-win.  Setting up these online paid forums is actually a lot easier than you would think and if you are tech savvy, you don’t need to be a software engineer like myself to do it. If there is sufficient interest, I will do a DIY series on setting up these paid forums using open source software so let me know. [to be continued]

I am not saying that YouTube Fitness Stars do not deserve to make a living doing fitness.  What I AM saying is that they need to stop whining and start adapting to the new times. Just as Detroit autoworkers had to re-train for new jobs once the assembly line jobs dried up, YouTube fitness stars have to re-train.  It used to be that you could make a living by posting funny videos, not any more – that gold rush is over.  To make a living at fitness these days requires that you consider it a real business.  A real business figures out what its customers want and find a way of giving it to them for a fraction of what they would have to pay elsewhere to get it.  In other words, find a win-win situation!