Making money

Interview with a YouTuber: Sophie

Today’s post is about making money from YouTube.  Sophie has a successful YouTube channel, Great Birthday Ideas, from which she receives a regular income, she has very kindly provided information on how she has built a successful channel and tips on how you can too.

1) What is your YouTube channel about?

My YouTube channel is about birthdays! There are how to videos such as how to say happy birthday in Hawaiian, how to draw a birthday cake, how to play happy birthday on the piano. Most of the videos though are video greeting cards.


2) How many subscribers do you have and how long did it take?

Today I have 49,706 subscribers, and I started my channel on 18th September 2010, so that’s an average or 21 subscribers a day. It started small and grew faster though, at the moment I’m gaining around 80 subs per day.

3) How did you get started with YouTube and what inspired you?

It was a complete fluke. I started website a year earlier, Great Happy Birthday Ideas, after a friend told me how she made £1000 a month from her interior design website. I picked birthdays out of thin air, I thought it would be something that was easy to write about, and it’s never going to go out of fashion! I read that YouTube was a good way to promote a business, so I created a channel and started to upload videos. Some of the early ones are so embarrassing! However, one of them went viral, I didn’t notice until I found an email from YouTube asking if I’d like to be a partner and monetise* my videos as they were getting a lot of views. That was nearly a year after I started my channel.

4) On average, how much money per month do you make from YouTube?

In the past year I’ve made around £6500. This year I started doing a lot more work on it, and my income has jumped up to over £1000 per month. Advertisers spend more at this time of year, I fully expect the income to drop in January, one year it halved overnight in January!

5) Which video has gone the most viral? Did you expect it to go viral?

This video has the most views with 14 million over 6 years:

However this video is probably my ‘most viral’, is has 3.7 million views in just over a year:

No I didn’t expect any of it, I knew nothing about YouTube or what a viral video was, I just got lucky I guess and then grew it.

6) Was there a turning point where things came together, and your channel took off?

Yes in 2012 when the cat video took off and I was asked to be a YouTube partner. That was the start, it escalated very quickly. Since then it’s been up and down. The income is not guaranteed, I would never rely on it.

7) What have you learnt?

I’ve learnt that there are no shortcuts, no quick wins. You must be consistent and patient. I’ve also learnt the technicalities of uploading videos, how the title, description, keywords and thumbnails are really important. Keywords are important, I research them first, I find keywords that have a high volume of searches, so I know lots of people are looking for them. Then you must work these key words organically into the titles and descriptions so that google can match the video with the search.

However, there’s no substitute for good content, you have to ask yourself honestly, would I want to watch this, is it offering something that people want to watch and share?

8) What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a YouTube channel?

It’s hard work! I started mine 7 years ago, there are many more people uploading content now and it gets increasingly difficult to get a share of that revenue, so patience would be my first advice, it’s not a get rich quick method. My other words of wisdom would be…

  • Pick your theme carefully. What do you enjoy doing, and what can you create lots of content around that people will want to watch?
  • Pick an ever-green theme. I.e. one that will keep on getting views in years to come. If you create videos on current topics they will be come irrelevant in years to come.
  • Pick something that you can monetise in different ways other than just AdSense, do you have a product or service to sell? Most Youtubers (not me!) make more money out of affiliate marketing than they do AdSense.
  • Be consistent, work out an upload schedule 2-3 times a week and stick to it.



9) What are your future plans?

My future plans are to keep creating more content, but be consistent about it. I’ve figured out my best upload times are Thursday and Saturday at 4pm, so I will schedule content for that as far ahead as I can.

I am also looking to see how I can make more money through other streams, such as affiliate marketing. At the moment my eggs are very much in one basket.

10) Do you have any other side hustles?

Yes, I still have my original website, but that only brings in £50-£100 a month, I don’t have much time to do anything with it!

I also upload videos to Daily Motion and 123 Greetings, both which pay a monthly income.


*Monetise is where adverts are running on your videos, and you receive a portion of the revenue from the advertiser

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