I’ve been on YouTube for years now and I’ve been asked some basic questions about becoming a YouTube Creator several times already.
Just last December, 3 people (1 of them was a former colleague) approached me to ask some of the frequently asked questions yet again so I decided to create this article to share my answers in case anybody else is looking for the same (but too shy to ask).
Those 3 were interested in putting up their own respective channels at the start of year 2022 that’s why they asked me to share my own experience as a YouTube Creator.
So in this article, I’m going to share the most frequently asked questions that I get and the answers that I would normally provide to them.
My YouTube channel: SimpliciTine Simple Vlogs
DISCLAIMER: I’m just a small-scale YouTube Creator who runs a channel as a creative outlet. I’m not an expert in any way and my actual profession is not related to the Entertainment Industry. Everything which I’m sharing in this article is simply based on my own experience as part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and may not apply to other creators in general. This post is not sponsored.
QUESTION 1: Do you need a big budget to start a YouTube channel?
Actually, it’s really not what you expect because I know most of us think that all creators who have a YouTube channel spend a lot of money in creating and producing contents.
Well, this isn’t true in my case because I only do YouTube as a hobby and I only produce very simple videos that won’t require rocket-science production behind them.
Furthermore, I do not require a huge amount of budget mostly due to the following reasons:
1. I only use a Smartphone to shoot videos.
I didn’t really need to invest on expensive video cameras because I never intended to create contents with cinematic feels because my niche doesn’t call for this.
All I needed was a camera that could take videos with good enough quality so my viewers can have something decent to watch.
Having a set of high-quality equipment would be great to have but not required, especially if your channel is just starting out.
2. I only use a Smartphone to edit videos.
All the videos I’ve created to date and uploaded on YouTube were only edited using FREE phone editing apps.
I never edited my contents using a laptop because I am more versed and comfortable in using a Smartphone when editing videos.
Since I’m just using phone editing apps, I don’t need to spend money by purchasing any editing software licenses.
Besides, I don’t feel the need to use professional video editors because I tend to keep my videos simple, therefore, it won’t require any complex video editing which the phone editing apps can’t cover.
Some FREE phone editing apps might require you to get the premium version so you can remove the watermarks to make your videos look more professional.
In such case, you would need to pay a little extra to purchase the premium version, which could either be a one-time payment (i.e. Videoshow) or a monthly subscription (i.e. Kinemaster).
But good thing, there are other apps that don’t require this (i.e. Capcut).
3. I don’t spend money on music.
Music is a very important element in most types of videos because it sets the mood.
However, due to the strict copyright provisions and policies, our options are always limited when it comes to the type of music that we can use without the risk of getting copyright strikes in our channel.
You have the option to purchase licenses and royalties in order to protect your channel from these risks but there is another cost-free option which is using free music that some phone editing apps could provide.
Just be wary that some music may be offerred for free but would still flag a copyright claim once you’ve uploaded them.
In case this happened, you just need to replace the music to lift any violations.
Also, YouTube Creator Studio offers a library of free music that you can use (with certain provisions).
4. I don’t spend money on any 3rd Party services.
My SimpliciTine YouTube channel houses very simple home videos because that’s part of my niche.
And like what I mentioned earlier, YouTube is only a creative outlet and I don’t do it professionally so it won’t be a surprise if I won’t need a bunch of people working with me and doing any piece of work for me in order to produce my contents.
Therefore, I don’t need to pay extra for talent fees because I do all of the work.
This means I am the one who:
✅ creates the video concept
✅ writes the script
✅ shoots the video (or my mom sometimes—I just buy her merienda😊)
✅ does the voice-over (which I try to eliminate as much as possible because I cringe at the sound of my voice LOL!)
✅ edits the whole content
✅ uploads on YouTube
✅ does the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when creating the title, video description, and tags
✅ creates the video thumbnail (huge shoutout to Canva!)
✅ posts on Socials
✅ manages the content library
It really sounds like a lot of work but these are the things that I enjoy doing, anyway, that’s why I don’t mind doing them all on my own (at wala lang talaga akong budget so walang choice LOL!)
Besides, it is important that you enjoy what you’re doing in order to sustain your channel, especially since you have to put on a lot of work in order to get approved for monetization.
Yes, your videos won’t instantly earn revenues once you’ve uploaded them because you have to apply to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) first in order to get approved for monetization.
That brings me to the next question…
QUESTION 2: What do you need to do in order for your videos to get monetized?
ANSWER: You have to get approved on the YouTube Partner Program for your channel to start earning revenues through ads.
But before you could apply, you have to meet the following minimum requirements first such as:
- Your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers
- Your channel must have more than 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months
- Your channel has no active Community Guidelines strikes (or violations of YouTube’s Community Guidelines)
- You should have a linked Google Adsense account
Once you have met these requirements, you should be able to submit your application (the application option would become available in the “Monetization” section of your channel).
Then YouTube would review your channel and should come back to you with their feedback (either you are approved or denied).
Nowadays, they say that it takes about 30 days or so for YouTube to come back with the verdict.
But in my past experience, they came back to me 48 hours after I submitted my application, therefore, it could be much earlier than 30 days.
QUESTION 3: Was it easy to get monetized?
ANSWER: No. It required a lot of time and work.
I know that there are some creators who make the process sound easy but, in my experience, it was not a piece of cake.
It took me a long while to qualify because I wanted to keep the growth of my channel organic.
Organic growth in YouTube Universe means you are finding an audience which is genuinely interested in your contents.
I never attempted to buy viewers and subscribers in order to artificially accelerate my stats (YouTube has a way to detect this and this could lead into a denied application).
I also never obligated anyone from my family and friends to watch my contents because I wanted my viewers to watch my videos because they genuinely like them, not because they love me or they are friends with me.
I knew that I was taking the long route by doing so but I also knew that doing the other way around won’t benefit my channel in the long run.
Instead, I took the Analytics seriously.
I engaged with my audience which I enjoyed a lot because I’m able to provide help in my own little ways.
And most importantly, I uploaded simple but helpful videos that could add value to anybody who might need them.
By doing so, I was able to finally hit the threshold which I thought would never happen.
I also did not resort into artificially inflating my views by watching them myself multiple times because I would always like to see actual results whenever I’m reading the Analytics reports.
I apply the same even in my blog that’s why I have an “Analytics blocker” installed in my device because I don’t want my own page views to get included in the report whenever I’m reading my own blogs or whenever I’m editing them.
Besides, I believe YouTube has means to detect if a creator is doing it on purpose, which may put your channel standing at risk of violating the Community Guidelines.
I just followed the basic creator rule of viewing your own content just once after uploading it and I do it from end-to-end in order to quality-check my contents because, mind you, you could still find flaws in your contents no matter how many times you have reviewed them before publishing.
In my case, I was able to meet the 4,000 public watch hours first before the minimum number of subscribers.
The process was painstakingly long but, in the end, it still happened.
QUESTION 4: Is it true that YouTube is an easy way to earn money? Can it make you become rich?
ANSWER: It depends on your scale.
If you are a big-time YouTuber who has massive following and views then, YouTube could probably be a lucrative option in terms of generating income and revenues.
But if your scale is just small (or even medium), I don’t think YouTube would be enough to sustain a living.
Keep in mind that your earnings through YouTube won’t be consistent because it depends on a lot of factors (i.e. views, impressions, clicks, etc.), therefore, it won’t be safe to rely on YouTube revenues alone, unless you are already a superstar.
In my case, I don’t only focus on YouTube when it comes to generating revenues.
I also explore other options like blogging, publishing books, selling books and digital products, accepting writing gigs, affiliate marketing, Social Media management, copywriting, and having online stores.
And I also do all of these things by capitalizing on my skills, not money.
QUESTION 5: How much should you earn before you could have a taste of your first salary from YouTube?
ANSWER: You need to reach the minimum threshold of $100 before you could withdraw any amount from your Adsense earnings.
QUESTION 6: Are you required to pay taxes as a YouTube Creator?
Keep in mind that revenues derived from YouTube are considered income, therefore, they are taxable (ouch!)
I know it is painful and a lot of creators are complaining about it but it’s always better to be on the safe side when conducting any business, regardless of your size and scale.
YouTube revenues are subject to US Taxes, and as a creator outside of US, my US Withholding Tax Rate is at around 30% of my earnings (24% if you’re within the US).
The amount that you receive upon withdrawal is already less the 30% US Withholding Tax.
But apart from that, I am also responsible in declaring, filing, and paying for the income taxes to BIR (for local income taxes) in order to avoid any violations which could lead into serious penalties and damages.
Becoming a YouTube Creator is not a simple task because it requires a lot of time and hardwork.
But contrary to what a lot of people might be thinking, you really don’t need to have a huge capital in order to start running your own channel.
It is possible for anybody to have a monetized channel as long as it meets the minimum criteria that YouTube has set in order for a creator to apply to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
Having your own team to run a channel is not necessary as long as you can perform all the basic tasks, especially if you have a simple niche that doesn’t call for complex production set-up.
Finally, maintaining a YouTube channel is not an easy task that’s why it is really important that you enjoy what you’re doing in order to sustain it.
Otherwise, if you’re only doing it for the money, there’s a higher chance of you getting really frustrated and disappointed, especially once you’ve realized that YouTube won’t make you an overnight Millionaire.
Are you also a YouTube Creator?
What type of questions do you often get?
What is your advice to those who would also like to become a YouTube Creator?