Annagjid “Kee” Taylor makes a million dollars a year from posting on YouTube. She almost missed out by never starting.
“I didn’t know much about YouTube in 2015,” says Taylor, a celebrity hair stylist. “I was on Instagram and had gotten popular with hair pictures and videos. And so many people would be in my comments saying ‘Do you have a YouTube?’ This was back when Instagram videos were only 15 seconds long.”
Taylor decided to give YouTube a try, and launched her channel Deeper Than Hair TV, a reference to Rick Ross’ 2009 album Deeper Than Rap. In seven years, she’s grown her channel to 1.32 million followers and generates an average of $92,000/month in payouts. Taking her craft online has helped her reach financial independence.
Here’s the advice she has for anyone curious about turning their online side hustle into a full-blown career.
Give People More of What They Want
Taylor was hesitant to embrace YouTube. It seemed as though longer videos would require divulging trade secrets and techniques the stylist had used to become an in-demand expert and land celebrity clients over the years.
“I was like, ‘I’m not getting a YouTube and sharing all my secrets with the world,’” she says. “It didn’t seem like a fit. I do silk presses all day. I don’t do enough styles where I felt like people would want to see me do the same thing over and over again.”
Then, a client of Taylor’s mentioned how posting to YouTube was how they paid their bills each month. “Her husband is a music video director. She told me that YouTube pays you to post. I was sold from that moment on.”
Taylor’s client was referring to the YouTube Partner Program, a monetization tool in which YouTube creators are paid a cut of ad revenue from the ads that run on their channel. Any account can sign up for the YouTube Partner Program, but to be approved you need 1,000 channel subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of total watch time on your channel in the last 12 months.
A Bumpy Start
Taylor grabbed her smartphone, filmed herself doing a client’s hair, and published her first video. The video immediately went viral – so viral, in fact, that YouTube shut her account down.
“I was getting 2,000 views an hour,” she says. “YouTube shut my channel down instantly because they thought that I was doing something to manipulate the views. I had to send in all these emails and talk to them and prove to them that, you know, these were organic views. That’s how deep it was – YouTube didn’t even believe it.”
Once Taylor was back online, however, she was hooked.
How She Makes All That Money – and How Many Views You Need to Go Full-Time
Many YouTube creators develop a variety of income streams: leveraging Partner Program payouts, making brand endorsements, and driving viewers back to their website to make sales.
Related: How To Make Money On YouTube
Taylor’s monetization approach is different: currently, 100% of her channel revenue comes from payouts from Google AdSense, the advertising tool used by YouTube partners for monthly payments. (Reminder: Google owns YouTube.) She likes to frontload the filming whenever she can.
“[In] the first week of the month, I’ll record at least three to four videos,” she says. “That way I’ll have footage.”
Batch the actual filming process so you can edit videos whenever you want and be more productive overall.
If you want to start or scale a YouTube channel, think carefully about what (and who) you’ll need in order to film and produce your videos successfully. Taylor notes that since relocating to Los Angeles from Philadelphia, she’s had to amp up her recruiting efforts to find hair models for her channel.
“It’s harder to do in Los Angeles because all my friends and family and old clients are still in Philadelphia,” she explains. “I really get way more people to film when I’m in Philly. Out here I have to recruit people. But for the first week in any given month, that’s what I try to do; I try to get at least three or four videos’ worth so I can just sit home and edit for the rest of the month.”
How Many Views You Need To Create on YouTube Full-Time
To go full-time on YouTube, Taylor recommends that your channel be consistently clearing 800,000 video views per month.
“I had two or three viral videos early on,” she notes. “When that was happening, I was getting a nice check, but I wouldn’t say it was enough to quit my day job. I wasn’t able to really quit my day job until I was consistently getting 800,000 to a million views a month.”
She also differs from other professional YouTube creators in that she doesn’t post every day. Once a week is her current video publishing cadence.
“I notice some people post [a new video] almost every day. If you can get 60,000 to 100,000 views every few days, you’ll for sure hit a million views every month. I never really posted that often because it was a lot of production. Doing YouTube videos is a lot – especially when you’re filming them yourself.”
Taylor posts a new video every Sunday, unless unforeseen circumstances arise.
“I don’t post if [there are] award shows or something going on, or if it’s Easter, you know, because people aren’t going to sit in front of the TV on Sundays. They’re with their family. So I try to be strategic.” Taylor adds that she often gets more views when she posts less often, because viewers go back and watch past videos again to get their fix.
3 Tips for Getting Started on YouTube Today
If making money online with YouTube sounds interesting to you, Taylor has three tips for how to set yourself up for success from the jump.
No. 1: Use Your Smartphone to Film if You Have To
It can quickly feel like you need all the best camera equipment to make it on YouTube, but Taylor says this is not the case.
“Your camera’s not the problem. Your mindset’s the problem,” she says. “My first ten or 15 videos were on my phone without a microphone or anything. It was just me and my ring light. A lot of people overthink it.”
No. 2: Treat Your Channel Like a Bank Account
Taylor suggests setting yourself up to know your numbers in real time. YouTube studio is the backend reporting tool that lets creators see all their numbers at a glance, and it has a corresponding app to check your metrics on the go.
“I look at my YouTube studio numbers every day. It’s just like how I look at my bank account – when you are literally watching the numbers grow every day, it makes you want to post more, talk back to the people in the comments, and grow your channel at a faster rate.”
No. 3: Don’t Let Subscriber Numbers Ruin It for You
It’s important to set goals when starting any new project. Remember that YouTube is a long game compared to other platforms.
“I tell [people] not to worry about the numbers at all and to just stay consistent, because worrying about the numbers will make you quit before anything. If you have 30 subscribers, count those 30 subscribers as an accomplishment. That’s 30 people who are watching you and who can potentially tell somebody else to watch you, too.”
Growing pains aside, Taylor is reaping the rewards of doing the work these last seven years and wouldn’t change a thing.
“YouTube really changed my life.”