Your parents and high school guidance counselor would probably tell you that being a YouTuber is not a job.
They’re right to some degree. Most people who start YouTube channels do not become famous or earn a life-changing income. That doesn’t mean becoming a YouTuber isn’t profitable or worthwhile.
If you’re passionate about your topic, enjoy sharing your expertise or opinions, or like entertaining others, YouTube offers a free platform for creating and sharing video content. However, there are pros and cons of being a content creator on YouTube.
10 Advantages of Being a YouTuber
There are several advantages of being a YouTuber, most of which have nothing to do with making money or quitting your full-time job. For example:
1. YouTube Gives You a Creative Outlet
Sharing your ideas, knowledge, or skills on YouTube is free and convenient. Having a creative outlet gives you a sense of purpose. Authentically expressing yourself can also help you relieve stress or anxiety if you have feelings or ideas bottled up.
2. You Can Make an Impact
Whether through teaching or making others feel like they’re not alone, being impactful is incredibly gratifying. If you’re searching for a way to give back or make a positive impact in the lives of others, your YouTube channel could help you accomplish both. You could also find meaning in your life by reaching others.
3. Starting a YouTube Channel Builds Your Authority
YouTube isn’t all about entertainment. You can also build an audience through education. You can create tutorials or explainer videos in your area of expertise.
Becoming an authority on your topic or being thought of as a business leader or industry expert could be game-changing for business purposes. You would have a competitive advantage and could gain new opportunities. Building a YouTube channel as part of your marketing strategy could completely reshape your business.
You could generate leads, become a sought-after consultant or speaker, secure a new job, or land a book deal. Establishing your expertise through your YouTube channel could open all of those doors and more for you.
4. A YouTube Channel Expands Your Comfort Zone
Running a YouTube channel will likely have you leaving your comfort zone. Putting yourself out there opens you up to scrutiny and not-so-constructive criticism. It also has the potential to open doors that wouldn’t otherwise be available without venturing into new territory.
When you expand your comfort zone, you can reach your full potential eventually.
5. You Develop a Thick Skin
If you’re overly concerned with what people think of you, owning a YouTube channel can quickly cure you. You’ll almost certainly encounter a negative comment or a personal attack at some point, no matter what kind of content you put out. Developing a thick skin is practically a requirement.
Being more thick-skinned will help you in other areas of your life. You’ll take less offense, focus more on what matters, and others will feel free to speak their mind around you.
6. You Can Build a Community
Building a community is one of the perks of having a successful YouTube channel. Having a community of people who support you and look forward to every new video you publish can be a fantastic feeling. It could also lead to genuine friendships or business opportunities.
7. Creating A YouTube Channel Is Free
Perhaps the biggest advantage of starting a YouTube channel with an eye toward making it a business is that it’s free. YouTube is a low-cost side hustle without almost no barriers to entry. Anyone with an idea and a way to create videos can start immediately.
Unlike other online businesses, you don’t have to pay for a domain name, web hosting, web design, or software. All of that is free or not needed on YouTube.There are no monthly fees or recurring charges.
You might want to upgrade your equipment and video editing software or outsource tasks at some point, but high startup costs are not an issue.
8. YouTube Works Around Your Schedule
If you value flexibility with your time, you won’t have a set schedule as a YouTuber. You can create and publish videos whenever and as frequently as you want.
Being consistent with uploading content does help you build an audience, though. You can create multiple videos at once, upload them to YouTube, and then schedule them to go live when you want.
9. You Are in Control
You are the boss of your YouTube channel. Complete creative control over the content you produce is yours. You don’t need anyone’s blessing or approval.
Everything from the script to the final edit is your decision. You can choose to implement suggestions from others or ignore them.
10. YouTube Can Be Lucrative
YouTube stars like Mr. Beast and Jake Paul make millions from YouTube. They have capitalized on their YouTube fame by branching out to other lucrative endeavors and businesses. You don’t have to be in the top 1% for YouTube to become a reliable source of income.
You have a chance at making extra cash or even a full-time income from YouTube. Getting your channel monetized through the YouTube Partner Program requires 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of video watch time. Once you reach those milestones, you can enable ads on your videos and share the revenue with Google.
You can further monetize your channel by adding affiliate links in your video descriptions. You could also create an additional revenue stream with info products like e-books or courses and promote them in your videos. Once you build a following, brands may approach you and pay you for created sponsored videos or product reviews.
13 Disadvantages of Being a YouTuber
Having a YouTube channel isn’t all fun and games. It’s not a license to print money, either. While the success stories are inspiring, you don’t hear much about the struggles of being a YouTuber. Some negatives to consider:
1. Being a YouTuber is Hard
Behind every superstar vlogger or overnight YouTube sensation, there is probably a long journey of hard work and failure. You’ll need to be patient, produce good quality content, and upload new videos regularly. It could take a year or two before you make your first $100 from your YouTube channel.
Not getting positive feedback or generating any revenue for an extended period can be highly frustrating. Can you stay motivated and keep grinding away until you find success? What if you never manage to earn an income from YouTube?
There are no shortcuts to creating an engaged and loyal audience. There is no quick path to a YouTube career. You could be in for a long, challenging, and possibly fruitless journey.
2. Competition Is Tough
If you are thinking of jumping in now, you are competing with well-established YouTubers. Some channels in your niche might have hundreds of thousands of subscribers and a catalog of videos going back several years. That is quite a hill to climb, but it’s not impossible.
Finding ways to stand out among the crowd will be crucial for gaining a foothold. That could mean creating more in-depth or entertaining content or having higher production values than your competitors.
You might also gain an advantage by optimizing your videos for search. YouTube functions much the same way dedicated search engines do. People type in keywords associated with the kind of content they want to watch, so appearing at the top of the results will get your videos seen.
3. Your Skills Might Need Upgrading
Modern camera equipment and smartphones make capturing video somewhat easy. The hard part is shaping your footage into an interesting story that gets lots of watch time. You might need to sharpen your existing skills or learn new ones.
You don’t have to be a professional video editor, but you should have basic video editing skills. You should be familiar with other aspects of video production, including lighting, producing clean audio, and adding transitions or other effects.
YouTube is purportedly the second largest search engine after Google. Studying YouTube SEO, so your videos appear in the search results could be well worth your while.
You might also need to learn an app like Canva or Photoshop. Showing up in the search results is half the battle. Getting people to click on your video requires eye-catching thumbnails.
4. Growth Takes Time
Being a content creator can be a grind, especially when starting out. Your first few videos might get very few or no views. That can be demotivating.
Marketing video content is not like marketing a physical product because you are the product. You need patience and persistence. Building an audience online takes time.
Keep making videos. Promote your channel across all your social media channels. Spend extra time reviewing your analytics and do more of what works.
If you start your YouTube channel expecting overnight success, you will likely be disappointed. To have a chance at success, keep creating content, keep learning, and most importantly, don’t give up.
5. Privacy Concerns
Being the star of your own YouTube channel comes with some risks if you value your privacy.
Showing your face on camera, sharing your opinions, and putting your life out there can make people want to know more about you. Sometimes people go too far with this. Issues can range from less privacy than you would like to unsettling issues with privacy invasion.
Keeping things private does not always go hand in hand with running a successful YouTube channel. There are some precautions you can take.
Consider using a fictitious name or your first name only. Be cautious about divulging your location or other details in your videos. Watch for anything visible in the background of your videos that could reveal information you want private.
You can also start a YouTube channel without showing your face, which could help you get around the lack of privacy. You could specialize in software tutorials, video game content creation, unboxing videos, or other types of faceless content.
6. Controversy Can Cost You
Not everyone will agree with everything you say or do on YouTube. There could be severe ramifications when someone you know or work with finds one of your videos.
It doesn’t have to be a video of you expressing an unpopular opinion on a hot button topic or ranting about your employer to find yourself in hot water. People hold different beliefs and points of view. Almost any issue can generate controversy.
If you start a YouTube channel, understand that it might impact your relationships. It could also get you fired from your job.
7. Copycats Will Find You
Success leaves clues. When you create a popular video, you can expect other creators to use it as inspiration. At worst, someone might repost your original content on their channel and present it as their own.
Unfortunately, ideas are not copyrightable. If you do a how-to or a top 10 video and a competitor posts a very similar video with their take on the same topic, there’s nothing you can do.
Stealing is another matter. YouTube allows you to flag a video that has infringed your rights. YouTube will investigate your claim and take down the infringing video if it’s in violation.
You can also submit a takedown request, which is a more formal legal process. YouTube explains that process here.
8. Haters Will Find You Too
Every social media platform, forum, and website that allows user comments has its share of trolls and haters. YouTube is no exception. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to deal with haters on YouTube.
Ignoring your haters is always an option, but that won’t be easy. Thankfully, YouTube includes a feature that lets you hide people from your channel. You can also set up a blocked words list, remove comments, report users, set your default to hold all comments for review or disable commenting altogether.
Whatever you do, don’t engage. Feeding trolls is a bad idea. It usually only encourages them and could cause your subscribers to see you in a negative light.
9. Being a YouTuber Can Be Stressful
Being a YouTuber can be just as stressful and overwhelming as any new job with many responsibilities. YouTube is as much a social network as it is a video-sharing platform. Your audience will expect consistency and frequency.
The pressure to produce more content, be available to your fans, and engage with your subscribers can cause stress, fatigue, and burnout. You want to generate additional views and make money on YouTube for your efforts, but not at the cost of your physical and emotional health.
10. Being a YouTuber Can Be Lonely
You can build a community that cares about you on YouTube, but being a YouTuber can be a lonely job. Spending long hours in front of a camera or computer might result in neglecting human contact. While the pressure to constantly create can be intense, take breaks and socialize to fight loneliness.
11. You Don’t Own the Platform
Building your business on virtual real estate you don’t own is risky. YouTube could delete your content, demonetize your channel, and ban you from their platform. They could also make significant changes to their business model that affect you.
Maybe some or all of those things are unlikely. A non-zero chance is still a chance. You might need a Plan B in case the rug gets pulled out from under you.
12. You May Never See a Dime
If you’re looking at YouTube as a career option, understand that you might never make any money. You need engaging videos, a large audience, and a topic with good earning potential.
YouTube’s business model relies heavily on advertising. Before they give you a cut, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time.
An audience of hundreds won’t do if you want to make YouTube your job. There is no guarantee you’ll hit those numbers despite your best efforts at creating valuable content and attractive videos.
Of course, Google AdSense revenue isn’t the only way to monetize your channel. Additional streams of revenue could include sponsored videos, putting a link to an affiliate product in your video description, or promoting a product or service you provide, like info products or one-on-one coaching. Your viewers are your potential customers, but turning a viewer into a customer is not easy.
13. Failure Is an Option
You don’t have to look very hard to find abandoned channels and viral video one-hit wonders on YouTube. There are also plenty of channels that struggle to get more than a handful of views despite pumping out new content regularly.
You have no chance of success if you quit, but you can learn from the mistakes of others. The reasons a YouTube channel might fail include the YouTuber not being patient enough to build a following, poor audio and video quality, failure to improve or learn from mistakes, and making content for themselves rather than their target audience.
Is Being a YouTuber Worth It?
Being a YouTuber is worth it overall. While there are pros and cons of being a YouTuber, if you can exercise patience, create good content consistently, and continue learning, you can build an audience and benefit from YouTube personally, professionally, and financially.
The Pros and Cons of Starting a YouTube Channel Summarized
Here’s a quick look at the top 10 pros and cons of being a YouTuber:
|Starting a YouTube Channel Pros||Starting a YouTube Channel Cons|
|Being a YouTuber is fun||Being a YouTuber is hard|
|You can make a lot of money||You might not make any money|
|Starting a YouTube channel is free||Starting a YouTube channel is time-consuming|
|You might get famous because of YouTube||You might get no privacy because of YouTube|
|YouTube could lead to new opportunities||YouTube could lead to stress and burnout|
|YouTube is a platform to express yourself||Expressing yourself on YouTube could get you fired|
|You can build a large community of subscribers||You can start to feel isolated and lonely|
|YouTube works around your schedule||Subscribers want you to upload consistently|
|You have complete creative control||You don’t own the platform|
|You can make an impact on others||Haters will try to bring you down|
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash
Jerry is a personal finance enthusiast, side hustler, and freelance web developer who began his career in financial services. He co-founded KindaFrugal.com, a personal finance and frugal living blog. His insights have appeared on MSN, Newsweek.com, HerCampus.com, Mashed.com, and many others.