Maybe you have a substantial audience, but you haven’t earned your first Play Button yet. You could have consistent views every week, but you’re not quite at a million subscribers. Whatever the case is, as a small creator, you probably want to put all your eggs in the YouTube basket, but you might be worried your audience isn’t yet big enough to support a full-time content creation career.

However, you don’t actually need a massive audience to justify becoming a full-time YouTuber. Plenty of creators with small but dedicated audiences have built successful careers. Here are a few tips for making it as a full-time YouTuber with a small audience.

Prioritize your crowdfunding supporters.

Crowdfunding enables creators in any niche to make a living through the support of their most dedicated fans. In exchange for a small monthly donation, supporters receive exclusive perks and bonus content. YouTube’s crowdfunding feature, which is only available to channels that meet certain criteria, is called Channel Memberships. If your YouTube channel isn’t yet eligible to enable Channel Memberships, however, then you should set up a Patreon.

Your Patreon or Channel Memberships will be divided into tiers. Higher tiers cost more for supporters but come with more perks. You can even send gifts, such as postcards, pins, and t-shirts. However, for many fans, the draw of a crowdfunding campaign isn’t the stuff they get in return; they give their support so they can engage more with their favorite creators.

In order for your crowdfunding campaign to be successful, you have to prioritize engaging with your paying supporters. Involve them in important channel decisions, such as what video to film next or which merch designs you should use. Give them access to bonus content, including behind-the-scenes videos and bloopers. You should also set up a way to chat with them, such as periodic live streams or a Discord channel.

Set sponsored content rates that are a proper valuation of your worth.

Because of your smaller audience, your videos might not generate enough ad revenue to support your lifestyle. However, you can further monetize your videos by working with sponsors. Like many influencers, you can also make sponsored posts on other social media platforms.

To ensure sponsors compensate you fairly, you need to set your own rates. The amounts will depend on both the size of your audience and the kind of content you’re making. Your rates should also increase as your audience grows.

You can allow room for negotiation, but having flat rates gives you a baseline to work from. It shows brands that you know your worth, and it protects you from getting low-balled.

Grow an online business out of your channel.

Merch sales are an important source of income for creators of all sizes, but as a smaller creator, you have the unique opportunity to start a business where you’re involved every step of the way. Choose a product that’s related to your content niche, such as resin charms for a DIY creator or vintage clothing for a fashion vlogger. You can use Etsy or build your own commerce site to launch an online shop.

For example, a lot of creators in the slime community have their own online shops for selling handmade slime. They design, create, and package the products all on their own, which makes every purchase even more special for their fans. Some slime creators even vlog the process of shopping for supplies or making their giant batches of slime.

Your shop will be even more successful if you feature your finished products in videos. 

To make it as a full-time YouTubers with a small audience, you’ll depend on direct support from both sponsors and your fans. Focus on increasing your audience engagement so that your crowdfunding campaign, online store, and sponsorships will be successful.

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