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When you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up their answer is usually influenced by what they see every day or their vast imagination of the future. A little girl might want to be a singer after hearing that Dua Lipa song for the 1,000th time on the radio. A young boy might picture himself being a doctor because that’s what his older brother is and he wants to be just like him when he grows up. One of the best things about being young is that the world hasn’t tainted your dreams and the concept of a saturated job market or “worthless” degrees isn’t even a thought in your mind yet so there isn’t a quarter life crisis on the horizon. In this current internet era, content is king and people from all ages and backgrounds are using platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Twitter on a daily basis and the younger users are seeing that being a YouTuber or content creator can be a legitimate career choice.

With over 300 hours of video being uploaded on the platform every minute and 30 million daily visitors, YouTube is bigger and more influential than television, radio and movies. A person can grab a camera or their smartphone, prop it against a stack of books and start a YouTube career with the potential to quit their day job and make millions working for themself. College students, teens and tweens alike contribute to massive followings of YouTube stars like Casey Neistat, David Dobrik, or Tana Mongeau and when you see someone gain success doing something that’s completely accessible to you, it kind of makes sense to veer onto that path as well. Until you realize that the top three percent of YouTube channels get 90 percent of the traffic, according to Inc. Yes boys and girls, just like the real world, the people with the highest social and financial ranking receive more money, views and opportunities to make a fortune off of content that might not even be worth the millions of views it receives.

Even if you’re a part of the elite club of YouTubers that have a couple million subscribers and tons of views; to be able to make solid checks your videos have to be hitting millions of views to earn enough to make YouTube your sole source of income. The New York Times profiled a rising YouTube star named Olga Kay and noted: “Roughly, a video creator will earn $2,000 for every million views, and then YouTube takes 45 percent.” With millions of channels fighting for that ten percent worth of traffic, not only does your content have to be top tier, you’ll have to master the art of digital marketing to get eyes on your work (or pay a team to do that for you, which defeats the purpose of making content for profit but “scared money don’t make no money” I guess) and by the end of that week of filming, editing and promoting your video, you still have to deal with the daily bullsh*t of real life. That’s why being a YouTuber is almost like being a popstar, anyone could work toward that career field, but not everyone will be Beyoncé. An American dream for the internet era. Aside from nepotism or winning the Mega Millions jackpot there isn’t a quick path to getting rich or famous.

Most of the creators you see grinding their life away online or the mainstream artists you’ve been following since you were a kid, started their careers out of a genuine love for what they do and the success eventually followed. An “overnight” long term success isn’t a thing but that doesn’t mean you should delete your YouTube channel and stop posting on IG. Very few people are surviving off of one source of income and even if someone is making a ton of money that doesn’t automatically equate to happiness. So for those future generations scrolling away and trying to determine the CPC (Cost Per Click) of their channel so they can sign up for sponsorships and be flown out to Coachella, good luck on that long term goal, it won’t be easy and most of you won’t make it past 1,000 subscribers and 100 videos but remember life is short and the journey is the best part. Live to live not just to post about it later.

Article By: Marcel “The Messenger” Jeremiah