Last year I wrote a blog post about how YouTubers make money. Specifically, how I make money and my income breakdown. I took all my earnings from the 2017-2018 tax year and organised them by category: brand deals, adsense, writing, patreon etc. Then I did what anyone would do with a basic knowledge of spreadsheets – I made a pie chart! I was genuinely quite shocked by the results. I didn’t realise quite how much of my income was reliant on brand deals. You can read more about that revelation and last year’s breakdown in that post.
But here we are in 2019 and I thought it would be useful for myself to do the same exercise again for 2018-2019. I found a lot of value in doing this last year and it helped me set goals and figure out my work priorities. And I think there’s value in sharing that information too. There’s a lot of confusion, speculation and curiosity around how online content creators/influencers make money online and I like to be as transparent as possible.
This year I also made a video about how I make money online which gives a broad view of my income breakdown and I also discuss things like how brand deals actually work, demonetisation and expenses.
But it’s difficult to see the pie chart details in the video. So here we’re going to break down my income pie chart in more detail, similar to the blog post last year. And from there try to draw some conclusions about where I should focus my efforts this year.
My Income Pie Chart 2018-2019
So let’s break this down!
But first disclaimer: my income increased this year so the overall pie is bigger. But this is income only and nothing to do with the amount I spend on my business.
Brand deals (57.9%) – Last year my brand deal income was at 80% and I knew I wanted to redistribute my eggs into different baskets. It’s now much lower which I’m really happy with!
Adsense (12.8%) – This has gone up slightly from last year which means my YouTube channel is still growing (just). Praise be the YouTube Algorithm.
Writing (9.2%) – This increased from last year because I wrote my second book The Hormone Diaries so I got paid for that. However, you don’t get paid the advance all in one go. It depends on what’s negotiated in your contract but a common way is that it’s split into thirds for signing the contract, handing in the first draft and publication day. So I’ve got a little bit left to receive when the book comes out on 13th June!
Patreon (6.2%) – Last year my Patreon was quite low (1.6%). But since then I revamped my page and built a community through the private Discord perk. I’m really proud of growing my Patreon this year and the community we’ve built. And I’m planning another revamp soon!
Affiliates (10.2%) – This one increased massively from last year (1.3%) and I’m so chuffed because I was genuinely making a conscious effort to up my affiliate game this past year. The sex toy company, Lovehoney, is probably where I make the most on affiliates. You’re welcome for all the discounted sex toys! 😉
Merch (0.1%) – I’ve never really put the amount of effort into merch that is required for it to work financially. I’ve also found that as my audience have gotten older they’re less interested in “merch” and more interested in “products” like my books! Currently there is a 50% off sale on my merch store. Once it sells out, it sells out!
Media (2%) – Sometimes I get paid to do a bit of radio or TV but this isn’t a huge part of my income, the “exposure” is probably more valuable to me still. I’d love to do more TV but alas it has not happened for me yet.
Podcast (0.6%) – Somehow this is (0.2%) more than last year even though we put out less episodes of Banging Book Club and released the final episode in January. Even though Banging Book Club is over I will still be podcasting. I’m launching my new podcast soon and can’t wait to share it!
Other (0.8%) – Some mysterious payments that I couldn’t figure out. I think a small part of that might be Twitch. I started streaming on Twitch at the end of 2018 and became a Twitch Partner which means I can earn some money from ads, subscribers and “bits”.
What does it all mean and what’s next?
So I never actually created a strategy or plan. I just remember thinking I should try to increase my Patreon and affiliates income to offset brand deals. And that’s exactly what happened. For the next year I’m going to continue focusing on those things. Obviously I’ll keep doing brand deals but I’m still aiming for that 50% in 2 years now! I won’t be doing merchandise anymore but I’ll have my new podcast and there’s also the potential of my Twitch growing.
I hope this insight was interesting to you. Last year I really hoped that by posting my income pie chart other online content creators would do the same. But I’m still yet to see that happen, come on friends! I just love seeing how much revenue breakdowns can vary of people doing similar jobs! Thanks for reading!