For every millionaire YouTuber, there are thousands of YouTubers just making enough to live comfortably; and for every full-time creator, there are thousands of part-time creators. Possibly millions. Honestly, this writer is quite terrible at numbers and comprehending how many people are in a small room, let alone on the largest video-sharing platform in 2019.
Becoming a part-time creator is a path that many budding YouTubers have considered. You’d have time for your other job, studies and personal pursuits, all while exploring the exciting medium of video content creation and building a community online. At Vidcon Australia, a part-time creator panel was held to help answer questions and give some insight into the experiences of five successful people smashing it on YouTube while also pursuing other career paths.
Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t have different leagues.
So, you’re just a wannabe?
There are many motives for becoming a part-time creator. It’s not as cut-and-dry as “everybody wants to be a full-time creator but they’re not good enough”. This panel saw a wide range of creators who all have different reasons. Some have careers that they enjoy pursuing alongside YouTube. Others are studying and would consider dropping YouTube when their formal education is done. A number of creators start businesses alongside their YouTube content, and some start businesses unrelated to their videos at all. And, of course, some creators wish to go full-time but haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet.
It’s not easy to be a part-time YouTuber
Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t have different leagues, and you don’t get to only ‘compete’ in the algorithm against other part-time creators. You’re up against people who have all the time you use on work or study to create new content. This can affect a channel’s performance on YouTube, as the algorithm favors accounts who upload regularly. It can also limit the creativity and production scale of each video. You may be uploading every single week; however, it might not be the innovative, on-trend or technically-advanced content that you could put out if you had more time.
Another stress of being a part-time creator is the guilt that you’re not doing enough. It can be a struggle to prioritize your own mental health and personal goals over being successful in both YouTube and your other hustle. The kind of person drawn to taking on more than one major project (project here meaning “incredibly time-consuming hobby or financial endeavor”) is likely to hold themselves to high standards. It’s difficult to avoid the pressure of performing your best even when you’re stretched thinner than your full-time counterparts.
Friends and colleagues
Telling your workmates about your YouTube channel is a personal decision. It boils down to the kind of company you work for, your relationship with your colleagues and the content you post. Some YouTubers find it easiest to never mention that they create videos online. LGBTQ+ creators may not be out at work. Some YouTubers make content that might not be appropriate for that workplace, such as dramatic storytimes that don’t paint the creator in a professional light). And others simply don’t like the idea of colleagues being able to look that deeply into their lives. After all, some YouTubers have been posting for over a decade. Having the guy you work next to know every past version of yourself can be an unappealing concept.
Juggling it all
Part-time creators all have different methods for juggling their many balls. If your other job is with an employer that determines your work schedule, it’s a matter of organizing your time and creating videos around that. This could result in late-night filming and editing on lunch breaks instead of spending full days each week working on your channel. The same goes for students who need to ensure they are attending classes and studying around their YouTube upload schedule.
Part-time creators who own their own businesses have a lot more flexibility when it comes to putting time aside to create videos. For these creators, it is entirely up to them to determine what kind of routine and approach to content creation works best for them. Some content creators prefer a strict routine, with time for YouTube and social media planned out in advance. Others will wake up and see what they feel like working on. It’s just a matter of figuring out how your brain works, and what makes you the most productive part-time creator you can be.
It’s not all bad
Being a YouTuber can actually help your career, even if it doesn’t end up being your sole source of income. Many find their video production skills are desirable to future employers. Others have been able to capitalize on their ability to use social media effectively. Those who run blogs have years of copywriting experience under their belt, and being an influencer gives you a unique perspective on influencer marketing and how best to work with influencers from a brand’s perspective.
Most part-time creators agree that doing YouTube on the side has been fundamental for their now outstanding time management skills. When you have something you’re passionate about but another thing paying the bills, you need to figure out ways to fit it all in. This results in creators who are hyper-aware of how much can get done in a day, and how to maximize their time effectively.
Is it worth it?
With all the difficulties and sacrifices that come along with being a part-time creator, many considering this path ask “is it even worth it?” While it’s impossible to speak for every part-time creator, many believe it definitely is. Having a creative outlet and a platform to speak out on is invaluable; it’s something not many have in their other jobs. The biggest driver, however, is the community that grows for many creators. The subscribers that comment on every video, the followers liking every post, and the people befriending each other in the comments is what makes it all worthwhile.