YouTube is having a bit of a moment right now – to put it lightly. YouTubers are popping up on Netflix, on the big screen, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed larger-than-life YouTubers splashed all over London Victoria station. The world of YouTube is growing and changing and new faces are popping up on our sidebars every day without any signs of slowing. Some of these fame changers are making a killing – so for the curious, here are a few of the highest paid YouTubers and how they got there.
1. Tyler Oakley
Main Channel: tyleroakley
Paycheck: $6 million
How he did it: Tyler Oakley is one of the best-liked YouTubers, he is popular amongst teens and preteens and even had his face plastered on billboards in New York. His channel has been viewed roughly 314,000,000 times. He started his channel in 2007 while attending Michigan State University, to avoid calling all of his friends to fill them in. One of his videos got 100 views, which led him to start live streaming Q&A’s from his room. Five years later, he earned his first 1,000,000. His video on “National Coming Out Day” even inspired Ricky Martin to publicly come out about his own sexuality! It’s taken a long time for Tyler’s slow burning success to reach its peak!
2. Rosanna Pansino
Main Channel: RosannaPansino
Paycheck: $6 million
How she did it: Rosanna started her channel experimenting with a few different video ideas. She uploaded 3-4 videos per month testing concepts with her audience. Her eighth video was titled NERDY NUMMIES, and was a mash-up of gaming and baking. In 30 days that video gained 60K views. So Rosanna decided to forget the rest and make NERDY NUMMIES her main theme. She releases a video every Tuesday, her channel gets a huge spike in traffic on Tuesday and Saturday when her fans follow along with her bakes.
Main Channel: Smosh
Subscribers: 22,481,208 subscribers
Paycheck: $7 million
How they did it: In the early days of video content, two friends decided to make a stupid video of themselves lip-synching to the ‘Power Rangers’ theme song. They thought it was funny enough to upload to Myspace. When it got a big enough reaction there, they did it again with a different song. Back then their audience was in the tens, not millions. By the time they’d moved on to YouTube and were still making videos just for fun in April 2006, they had been labeled “viral video’s Matt Damn and Ben Affleck” by the New York Times, and featured in the “Person of the Year: You” issue of Time Magazine. But they didn’t stop there, they capitalized on their success to make more channels, a digital media company, blogs, websites, a movie and now even a TV show. The duo have over 7 billion views across six YouTube channels.
4. Lilly Singh
Main Channel: IISuperwomanII
Paycheck: $7.5 million
How she did it: Lilly has more than 1 billion views on YouTube. She won a Streamy Award for best first-person series, and in 2015 made the Forbes 2016 30 under 30 list and People’s 2015 Ones to Watch list. Before she was a YouTube star, she was working on an undergraduate degree in psychology, and planning on continuing her studies. After discovering YouTube, she uploaded a video of herself in her bedroom and decided she was passionate about it. Her channel seems simple, in 2010 she just started making videos in her bedroom, and from there grew into skits, and interviewing celebrities that her fans love.
So what have we learned? Each channel is different but the persistence pays off, whether they started in 2006 or 2010, none of these YouTubers started for money, but did it for fun.
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