You Need to Start a Youtube Channel
I haven’t been on Youtube for very long. I initially opened an account back in February of 2014 just to subscribe to and keep up with a handful of channels I liked. It wasn’t until June of this year that I decided to start creating and uploading content of my own, but in that short period of time I’ve so far driven tons of traffic to my website, to my social media pages, this blog, it’s generating new leads every day, and most importantly, I’ve gained a lot of new clients – some of which are Fortune 500 companies.
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Believe it or not, there have been managers for Fortune 500 companies – companies you’ve heard of – that have found my Inkscape tutorials on Youtube, then contacted me and hired me for freelance work. If you would’ve told me that back in May, I would’ve said you’re crazy.
Placing a modest link in the description box is all it takes:
The “About” tab is also a hot spot:
A New Source of Work
Referrals and repeat clients make up about 50% of my income, but the majority of my new clients (the other 50%) are all coming from Youtube lately. It’s now getting to the point where I very rarely have to use freelancing sites, which is very liberating. It’s nice knowing that I no longer have to depend on someone else’s website and their marketing efforts to earn an income. I’m now standing on my own with my own website that is powered by my own marketing. All because of my humble little Youtube channel that hasn’t even cracked 100,000 total views in its 5 months of existence.
I always knew that Youtube was a good way to get your name out there, but I had no idea it was going to become this much of a marketing powerhouse. I would’ve started years ago if I had.
Bear in mind, my channel is still very small. At the moment I only have approximately 1,500 subscribers and 70,000 total views. Just imagine the amount of new business that could be generated with a larger channel. I’m really excited about where things are headed as my channel continues to grow.
Are You a Designer? Get on Youtube. Now.
Yes, freelancing sites are great. If you’re just starting out as a freelance designer, they are the perfect starting point. They give you a platform to offer your services to potential clients that are ready to pay, and you will use that experience to sharpen your skills even further. However, creating a Youtube channel in addition to that – that you can use to redirect people to your own personal website – is an opportunity you’d be foolish to pass up. Here’s why…
Graphic Design Is an Open Niche
Compared to some of the more popular niches on Youtube, like fitness, beauty, gaming, etc., graphic design is a vacant lot of real estate in a prime location. There aren’t many graphic design channels, and even fewer channels that upload content frequently on a regular basis. And there’s even less channels related to the open source software, like Inkscape, GIMP and Blender. Come to think of it, aside from myself, I can only think of 2 or 3 other channels that post Inkscape-related videos on a regular basis.
This market is wide open, folks. Come on in.
Youtube Is the 2nd Most Popular Search Engine
Aside from Google, there’s no other website on the internet that gets searched more than Youtube, and as graphic designers, this complements what we do beautifully. Think about it: if you’re searching the internet for graphic design help, wouldn’t you rather see a video about it than read an article?
Designers often stress about SEO and getting their website ranked high in Google. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a worthy cause, but as of today’s date, it’s significantly easier to get ranked in Youtube, and there’s no shortage of traffic there.
The old saying “if you build it, they will come” certainly does not apply to websites. Websites need to be promoted or they’ll just sit there and collect dust. If you make a Youtube video, however, they will come. I haven’t done anything to promote my channel. I just started uploading videos, and within days people started finding them.
You Can Charge More
On a freelancing site, you’re a product of their market and your rates generally have to reflect it. That isn’t to say you can’t charge premium rates (I do,) but they have to be within reason. If your rates are 1,000% higher than everyone else’s, you’re likely to struggle. This poses a potential problem, because on a freelancing site, you have no control over what your competitors are charging.
Inversely, when a potential client finds your Youtube channel and decides to reach out to you for a quote, you can quote them at what you feel is a fair rate and not have to worry about what everyone else is doing and charging. And if you eventually get to a point where you have more people requesting quotes from you than you can keep up with, you can gradually increase your rates and only choose to work for those who are willing to pay it.
In addition to all of the traffic, leads and client acquisitions you’ll be generating, you’ll also be earning some ad revenue from the commercials that play before your videos.
I personally haven’t earned very much from this yet. In fact, I just last month reached the minimum payment threshold ($100 US) for the first time and was paid for it, but that’s only because my channel is still small. As time goes on and my channel grows, that will only increase.
I look at this as nothing more than an added bonus, though. The real value in being on Youtube as a graphic designer is the exposure and all of the opportunities it affords you. I’ve already made thousands of dollars from my Youtube channel in the 5 months it has been up, and it’s not because of ads.
Eventually, in the not-so-distant future, you could reach a point where ad revenue alone is paying your rent or mortgage, or even more.
Designers just starting out tend to work for free to gain exposure, but Youtube also gives you exposure, and they pay you for it.
I’ve been a graphic designer for years, but I have never felt so much appreciation for what I do until I got on Youtube.
I’ve received comments, emails and messages thanking me for my tutorial videos. Because of my channel, people are learning graphic design and working towards building a career for themselves as freelance designers. Words cannot explain how awesome that is to hear and how happy and fulfilled I feel because of it. The feedback some of you give me has motivated me even more and given me an entirely new appreciation for graphic design.
Working for clients is great, but it’ll never give you satisfaction of that magnitude.
It’s Time to Start a Youtube Channel
You can post screencast tutorials that teach your style and techniques to others, or you could simply post time lapse videos of you designing something cool.
There are hundreds and thousands – maybe even millions – of people in the world who want and will appreciate what you have to offer. Youtube can connect you to them.
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Nick Saporito is a Philadelphia-based graphic designer who specializes in branding-specific design.All stories by: Nick
Hi Nick. I must say that your articles are very helpful.
Well do you mind giving me your feedback concerning this logo ?
I have made it myself to one of my best friends and I really do appreciate your opinion
I am so sorry, this is the correct link to my logo
Wow. Great to read you get a lot of work, Nick. Very usefull tips. Thanks.
Like i mentioned in a post on YT, Inkscape tutorials are scarce. Especially recent ones. You made me come back to Inkscape a couple of months ago.
Next to YT I would also recommand Vimeo, because there are ever fewer tutorials on there and there all older:
On Pinterest I could only find 2 (older) tutorials of yours that were linked to YT:
Perhaps I could help you out there? 🙂
“The Nick Saporito Promo Team”
Hi, Nick! Good night from Brazil.
I’m starting in this world of designer and recently I randomly find out inkscape and I’d like that you answer me about why do you prefer inkscape to the illustrator, i don’t know, don’t you? What do you think about those two tools? Which one is better to me to practice? I like inkscape because it is free and simple to use. But I have no much experience and I think that illustrator is more powerful. So, what you have to tell about this. Thank you! I love your tutorials videos.
p.s. Sorry for my english.