Thirty percent of US and UK children chose to be vlogger/YouTubers.
The title of this blog is a play on a 1967 song by The Byrds, So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star. To be a rocker (or rapper) was the youthful ambition until the debut of YouTube in 2005. Now the kids want to be YouTubers.
On a stand next to my desk sits my bass guitar. My amp is to my right, tucked under a table. One of my cats is sleeping in front of it right now. Every so often I pick the guitar up, plug in it and play quietly because I don’t want to disturb the peace. Youthful 1980s me was going to play in a band. That was going to be my career. Now, it’s a hobby.
Partly it was due to lack of skill but also lack of serious commitment; I was also interested in art and writing. By college in the 90s I had decided upon writing as a career. I would be the next Great American Novelist. But I realized I had bills to pay because I like having food, shelter, and electricity.
This is what jobs are for: the unavoidable basics of life. Hobbies, in most cases, are for their own sake.
But can a hobby become a job? And it the case of autistic individuals, can that special interest turn into a career?
That depends. Let’s take our Business Insider survey above as an example—we have roughly one thousand aspiring future YouTubers here alone. And we’re not even online yet.
There are 12 million channels on You Tube. Of these, some 40 thousand YouTubers are full-time because of their subscriber base and ad revenue. As estimated by Morjax of Medium.com, one-third of one percent of You Tubers make a full-time living at content creation.
For the remaining 99.66%, YouTube remains a hobby. Assuming some have a large and loyal enough subscriber base to monetize their channel, YouTube is a side-gig of sorts. And more than likely these YouTubers have a day job if they’re not living at home.
Is this indicative of failure? Black-and-white autistic thinking, with its insistence on all-or-nothing would likely say yes. Don’t let this happen. The good is not the enemy of the perfect.
Focus on questions to ask yourself instead of the odds. What is your plan? What will your channel bring to the table that is different? Are you unique? Insightful? Highly engaging?
Does your special interest have a viewer base already built in? If it is niche, how do you plan on follower creation?
Are you ready to put in the time and effort involved? Because behind every success story is time and effort, a degree of luck—and perseverance in the face of failure. Often much failure.
And most importantly, what’s your backup plan? That dull day job of yours is what enables you to pursue what you want to do in life, and it will be your safe port should the water get rough.
It’s like John Lennon said, life is what happens when you’re making other plans. But plan ahead carefully, manage expectations, and what happens just might make your life.
Written by: Mike Minnis, Guest Blogger