Instead of relying solely on digital platforms for building brands, content creators need to expand beyond these online outlets into the real world if they hope to build a sustainable, profitable business and turn their video creation efforts into long-term careers.

In the last issue of YouTuber, editor Mike Wilhelm wrote about the problem of overreliance on YouTube ad revenue as a sole income stream. He pointed out how content creators should do their best to have audiences across multiple digital platforms.

However, I’d like to take this a step farther and argue that relying on any digital platform is a dangerous game to play in your video career — especially if you want it to be you full-time business. In fact, some of the best ways to earn a living as a content creator are actually offline.

To understand the issue with depending on digital platforms, let’s take a moment to look at Vine. Twitter’s recent announcement about shutting down or selling the six-second video platform came as quite the surprise to some video creators. But it shouldn’t have. When any business is struggling to pull in revenue, it either has to make some major changes or shut down, no matter who was relying on its platform or services.

This situation proves why relying only on digital platforms to maintain your creative career is unwise. You never know when a platform might implement more restrictive rules, be bought by another company or shut down entirely.

When you don’t own and operate your own platforms, you run the risk of losing the impact and presence of your brand, both online and off.

As such, looking outside the digital realm to improve your revenue is a wise business decision. This move will not only diversify your income options, but also improve the chances your business will remain stable should a digital platform decide to shutter its doors on you.

Here are four proven, timeless ways you can expand your brand beyond digital platforms:

Speaking Opportunities

While you can speak for free to build credibility and network within your chosen niche, paid speaking gigs are another way to pull in some extra cash while also establishing yourself as an expert. YouTube sex educator Laci Green, for example, is routinely hired by schools and universities to teach their students about safe sex, rape culture and gender issues.

Consulting/Services

Similar to speaking opportunities, you can build up your expertise in your industry by offering consulting or services to your own clients. If you are a content creator who focuses on creating how-to videos for car repairs and upgrades, you could market these same services to attract paying customers in real life.

Gumroad and other similar services can help you sell physical merchandise to help support your creative work.

Merchandising

Selling products related to your videos or brand is a relatively easy way to create another income stream with little effort and upkeep. Partner merchandising with live events and you have an even better opportunity to earn more money offline as a content creator.

Live events

Speaking of live events, no one’s holding you back from setting up an in-person appearance where you charge tickets for attendance or different levels of VIP experience. If your brand is strong, a good portion of your audience will likely pay to meet you in real life — really, it’s no wonder events like DigiTour and Fullscreen Live are becoming more prolific.

With all of these income streams, you’ll likely have some digital element involved. For example, you might go through a service like Gumroad or RedBubble to sell physical products. Or you may need to have some sort of website set up to show when you’ll be doing live events.

For the most part, however, these offline opportunities don’t depend on a digital platform you don’t own. Expanding beyond these platforms gives you more control over your business, your income and your career trajectory. And isn’t that ultimately what you want, anyway?

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