Happy 2022. Since we’ve entered a new year with a bunch of new faces, we thought it’d be a good time to tell you a little about us (if you want to catch up on past issues, see here). This newsletter is a project by Colin and Samir that curates the most important news stories from the business of creators and provides context to why they matter.
Our goal is to educate and empower the next generation of creators. And we want you to be a part of it—hit reply and let us know what you want to see in The Press.
In Today’s Issue 💬
Ali Abdaal shares why he quit working in medicine
Crypto investors aim to take a VHS movie store to the metaverse
Why one creator tweeted their TikTok revenue numbers
Going All In
Most doctors don’t have 15 revenue streams, or count their medical work as their second-lowest source of income, but for YouTube creator Ali Abdaal, that was the case in 2021. Last year he only worked two shifts, for a total of ~$600, and in December he decided to leave the field entirely to create content full-time. ”I was continuing down the medicine route out of a misplaced sense of risk aversion and fear,” Abdaal said. ”The business is now sufficiently profitable that continuing to work as a doctor didn't make financial sense.”
Since starting his channel in 2017 his subscribers have grown to over 2.5 million. He hired his first full-time employee in 2019, and last year his business pulled in over $4.1 million, with a staff of 18 editors, videographers, and producers. Abdaal has let viewers in on how his company operates, revealing its revenue streams including brand deals, stocks, and podcast sponsorships, as well as his expenses for the year.
Abdaal’s 2021 Income By the Numbers
$2.5 million → from Part-Time YouTuber Academy.
$800,000 → from Skillshare.
$430,000 → from brand deals and sponsorships.
Over half of his revenue came from his Part-Time YouTuber Academy, which teaches students how to run a successful YouTube channel starting at $1,495. “I think it's been successful because we've built enough trust with the audience through 4+ years of (hopefully) high-quality content with minimal selling-of-stuff,” Abdaal said, “but also, I think it's been successful because it's a genuinely good product.”
Being a creator is not a guaranteed career path, but it has a greater potential to be if you treat it like a business. Abdaal was able to make the jump once he built the foundation of his business with diversified revenue sources.
Read more about Abdaal’s income streams and how he built a million-dollar education program in our exclusive Q&A at the end of this newsletter.👇
Movie Making in the Metaverse
Crypto investor group BlockbusterDAO is aiming to raise $5 million to buy the iconic video rental brand from Dish Network and turn it into a decentralized streaming film studio, which would operate like Netflix except users could vote on which movies get made.
In a tweet last week the DAO explained its plans to raise money through an NFT minting event. Each NFT will be valued at 0.13 ETH, which equates to about $505.
By following a similar campaign strategy to Constitution DAO, BlockbusterDAO appears to be tapping into the Twitter-led desire to bring back memestock brands, such as GameStop and AMC, to make community-owned movies on web3. We’ll likely see this pattern emerge on YouTube channels as well, where the community owns the channel and votes on what gets made.
Sponsored by Jellysmack
7-Year-Old YouTube Phenom, Like Nastya signs with Jellysmack
The Russian-American creator has built an audience of over 250 million subscribers across 15 YouTube channels. Nastya is leading the kids category on YouTube and has now partnered with Jellysmack to bring her content to Facebook.
Jellysmack works with over 400 creators to edit and distribute their content on platforms like Facebook and Snapchat to unlock new audiences and new revenue streams. Jellysmack generated over $100,000 in incremental revenue for two-thirds of its creators last year.
Jellysmack is trusted by creators like MrBeast, PewDiePie, Phil DeFranco and now, Like Nastya.
What Victoria Paris Gets Paid On TikTok
The confessional lifestyle creator tweeted her TikTok earnings over a ten-month time period through the platform’s Creator Fund program. Paris has 1.6 million TikTok followers and posts 2-4 times a day. According to the post, she earns anywhere from $78-$300/day, totaling over $42,000 in 2021.
The tweet was in response to Colin and Samir sharing their annual YouTube AdSense earnings since 2018. They received 107 million views and earned over $103,000 last year.
Creators supporting creators is what we’re all about, and pay transparency helps level the playing field—empowering creators with information to build a stronger business strategy. Platform revenue is a small piece of the puzzle, and creators building their brands as media companies, like Ali Abdaal above, will see how focusing on diversification can lead to growth.
🔥 In Other News
Mark Rober and MrBeast’s #TeamSeas campaign exceeds their $30 million goal.
YouTube updates its Studio app to allow for video monetization appeals.
Photography YouTuber Peter McKinnon aims to take more creative risks on his channel.
Podcast critic Nick Quah shares 2021 podcast industry highlights.
Graham Stephan reveals how much he made on YouTube in 2021.
Acquired podcast interviews CAA founder Michael Ovitz.
Q&A: Ali Abdaal
The productivity YouTuber shares more about his Part-Time YouTuber Academy and advice for creators. (The following interview, conducted via email, has been condensed and edited for clarity).
Last month you announced that you were leaving medicine to become a creator full-time—can you talk us through that decision? What gave you the confidence to go full-time as a creator?
The short answer—going full-time as a creator is making a ton more money, and is a lot more fun than medicine. You can find the long answer here, which was based on five things that we broadly get from a career: money, fun, helping people, purpose/meaning, and social status.
In terms of what gave me the confidence—at this point, my internet 'career' and the skills I've built over the years of being a part-time creator are hopefully enough of a safety net that even if I did lose everything, I'd be able to rebuild and make a full-time income doing what I love.
Was there a leading business factor in the decision to go full-time?
In a word—profit. The business is now sufficiently profitable (mostly through courses, but also partly through brand deals and AdSense) that continuing to work as a doctor didn't make financial sense. Shoutout to Lewis Howes for pointing this out to me–I was interviewed on an episode of his School of Greatness podcast, which turned from being a discussion about how to build multiple income sources, into a therapy session where he helped me realize that I was continuing down the medicine route out of a misplaced sense of risk aversion and fear.
Now that a large part of your business is tied to the Creator Academy, has that changed your vision and plan for the rest of your content—YouTube videos, podcast, newsletter, etc.?
Yeah—we're thinking of our business strategy in two strands. Firstly, we're hoping to build out the Part-Time brand in a way that isn't necessarily directly tied to my own personal brand. We're launching a new YouTube channel based around this, hopefully early 2022, and more courses further down the line. I really like what Matt D'Avella's done with Slow Growth Academy so we're using him as inspiration for the new project.
The second strand is the Ali Abdaal personal brand side of the business, which isn't really changing—YouTube channel, second channel, social media, Deep Dive podcast, and the book I'm currently struggling to write. This is more the infinite game that I want to play - where I can do my best to explore what it means to live a good life (through books, interviews, experiences), and document the learnings from that along the way for the audience.
What advice would you give to creators who want to leave their full-time job for content creation?
It's super fun, but it's a lot less fun if you haven't got the money situation sorted. I'd probably continue with the full-time job and do the creator stuff on evenings and weekends, until the point where the creator stuff is making enough money to justify quitting the day job. If you're also risk-averse like me, doing it that way makes it feel much safer to switch to being a full-time creator.
For more advice and productivity tips, check out Abdaal’s newsletter Sunday Snippets.