There’s a lot of talk around YouTube and using it as a marketing tool for financial coaches. I use it as another place to distribute this podcast, but I’m far from an expert. So this week on the podcast, I invited Psy, a fellow financial coach and YouTube user to help me talk about who it’s for, how to get started, and what tools someone needs to use it effectively.

Q: Could you give us an idea of which came first for you, coaching or YouTube, and how did it go in the direction it went?

A: Yeah, so it started with coaching. When I started out, I had an idea of how I wanted to set up my business model; I wanted to help people. That was first and foremost: I need to have a purpose and my intention of how I wanted to help my clients. So the problem was that I really didn’t know how to market myself, especially for someone like me. I was living in Vegas. And I thought, alright, should I use YouTube advertisements? Should I use Google advertisements to market myself to see what kind of clients I actually get?

But I was in the military, I was active duty. So I was specializing in military finances. So I wanted to coach and help as many military members, retirees and disabled veterans on their finances as possible because when I was active duty, they never once taught us how to do budgeting, how to pay off debt and stuff like that. So I started with coaching and then second went on to marketing strategy.

A: I would say YouTube is best for everyone. I mean, starting with plumbers, artists, even Mr. Beast started with nothing right? He started with zero subscribers. And for my niche, we need more financial coaches. So financial coaches primarily go out there to help people with their budgeting, saving money and being more disciplined with money.

But what I quickly realized, even after over two years of doing YouTube, is that not everyone wants me. Not everyone wants me to be their financial coach. Reason number one, I’m not specifically in that niche. Maybe they may want a female coach instead of a male coach, maybe someone who wants to be more in a nonprofit, 403B, that type of financial coach or other categories, right. So when you talk about financial coaches, there’s so many niches that people want.

But YouTube itself has become the number two search engine in the world. And I read these earnings reports every month, because I’m a nerd. Right? But Alphabet, which owns Google, YouTube, and all those companies, have 2.7 billion monthly active users. So 2.7 billion people are on YouTube every single month. When I first read about that back in 2021, with YouTube, with the Google earnings report, I’m like, man, there’s some crazy space on YouTube. And the Creator economy, Forbes even published that there’s going to be about $22 billion generated in the Creator economy, just assets, affiliate marketing, and all that stuff, too. So the opportunity is out there. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a financial coach. You may have a different channel, you want to talk about how to make a shelf, how to do what working is for everyone.

A: I would say just dive right in. And that’s what I did in my first video. It was probably the worst video I’ve ever done. But it was a video on how to calculate your financial independence number. But the title itself had more clicks than I expected with zero subscribers because people were curious about what I was going to talk about. Now, there were a lot of pauses, ums, you know, all that stuff, too. But I use my iPhone to start recording. And I just started recording myself and I said, this is how you start how you calculate your financial independence number.

And then when I was done, I didn’t know much about editing. So I published it. It did okay, initially, I had like zero views for the first couple months. And then when people started searching for that, the views started to go up. That’s when I realized, maybe this is going somewhere. I got better one video at a time. So in the second video, I cut out the ums, in the third video, I cut out all the pauses in between. Because what people want is they want you to cut to the chase, and they want you to get to the point. Answer my question, how do I achieve financial independence? Here’s how to do it. Step one through step 10. When you’re done, then you move on. And you can even expand on that too. What is financial independence, right? That could mean investing in a 401k. That could be having a million dollars in net worth. That kind of thing. So you can expand that even more on YouTube. It’s just endless.

A: I started with YouTube when Tiktok wasn’t really that big of a thing. I actually repurpose my videos, turn them into shorts. Let’s say I had a 20 minute video about how to start contributing to a 401k. And I can cut a 60-second segment inside that. I can put it on Instagram Reels and TikTok now, drawing different types of crowds. And they come over to YouTube. And this is a key: you have to put your YouTube links on the other websites so that they can say, Oh, I just watched 60 seconds of this guy’s video. Interesting. I want to expand on that. I’m gonna click on this guy’s YouTube link and watch the full 20 minutes. Now I’ve got myself a subscriber, if that person got some value out of it. I don’t just make YouTube videos for YouTube exclusively.

I now have a video editor but they cut those specific segments to attract more subscribers and more views so that they can see the full breakdown.

A: Yeah, it was YouTube for a while. The shorts weren’t really a thing until late 2022. When Instagram Reels came out, they became a big thing for Instagram. Instagram used to be just pictures, some videos, and not a whole lot of reels. TikTok became a huge thing during the pandemic. That’s when I started to realize that not everybody wants to watch the 20 minute videos or 15 minute videos or 10 minute videos, but they want to get that 60-second information and say, that was a lot of good information in 60 seconds.

So I started with YouTube, and then slowly expanded to Instagram. I have subscribers on Instagram and TikTok followers. They’re different types of crowds too.

A: Yeah. So at the beginning, as I said, I used a smartphone. I used an iPhone, it had a 4k capability. I started with 4k, 30 frames per second. I’m not very good with cameras, but that’s what that channel that I mentioned, THiNK Media was saying that everybody should use 4k, 30 frames per second. And that’s what I’ve been using. So I use my iPhone, and I got a tripod I just mounted on there. It was a $5 tripod from Amazon. I already have my phone mounted on there. I just started recording right then, but get a good microphone.

Your producer actually complimented me earlier saying that, “Wow your microphone was really good”. Microphone matters. If your audio sucks 50% of the time, people will click out of it because most of the time people are not watching what you’re saying. They’re listening to what you’re saying. Okay, so invest in a good microphone. I did that and at the beginning it was like a $20 microphone that you could plug into the AUX cable into my iPhone. I did that and it sounded okay. But you know, what I realized is that there was too much background noise. So, I’ve probably gone through 20 microphones in the past two years, just to test everything out because good audio matters to me.

So right now, what you’re hearing, right now, this is a microphone that’s just pointing at my head. And it’s pointing down to me. So you can hear me loud and clear. And that’s one investment that I’m like, man, well invest it because people always come back and listen to what I’m saying, instead of watching me. They don’t really care what I look like, right? And as far as video editing goes, probably the most labor intensive one is iMovie. If you have a Mac, iMovie is free. So if you already have a MacBook, it comes with iMovie. Just export your video, import it and then my first video, it took me all day to do it. Hours, and just trying to get it right. And it still didn’t come out great. But every video I used, I just started to improve even more. And once I got really good at iMovie I upgraded to Final Cut Pro and I spent 300 bucks on that software that I purchased with the YouTube money that I made. So that was really cool.

Now, if you’re not really good with video editing, there are so many YouTube videos that give you a full tutorial on how to edit that video. So I will recommend that and there’s a lot of videos that can guide you on like, this is how you cut a video. This is how you connect the video. This is how you transition from one clip to another. It’s all there again, YouTube.

A: Yeah, so I have a content calendar that I share with my other contractors, people who work with me. It’s months out, I am planning months out in advance for certain content. I look at the Federal Reserve like earlier today, I was on Livestream. Just watching Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman, talking about the interest rate and how he was holding steady. That was on my content calendar for months in advance because I knew that the FOMC meeting was happening today. And people on my channel are really interested in hearing that and my perspective on what’s going on with interest rates, how that’s gonna affect our debts, student loans or credit cards and all that stuff too.

For the live streams, I know in advance what I’m going to talk about. For specific content videos that I’m going to make, those are kind of planned out about two weeks in advance, so that I can make sure that I do the research. Because the numbers constantly change, I want to make sure I get the right information when I put it out. I also hold myself accountable. If I say something wrong, then I will put it in the comments and say, “Hey, look at this minute, at this second, I said the wrong number. I want to correct myself.” And that’s accountability, that’s really huge too.

So once I script it out, and I have an outline of what I’m going to talk about, I just hit record. When I finish recording, I export it to Final Cut pro. And I just edit my video. It takes me about four or five hours to do it. Then post or schedule a video a week out so that I have more room to reschedule my videos if I have to. That’s really the key if something happens, like the government shutdown happening during November. A lot of my audience is either federal employees or military members. They care about that kind of stuff. So I moved some of the videos around and got on the unscheduled livestream and talked about what to expect during the possible government shutdown. So that’s a lot of work. I have to schedule things out. And I know what I’m going to do. And I kind of have a system in place, but at the beginning, it was very, very overwhelming.

A: So you can be monetized with YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. I will say YouTube pays the most for all the ad AdSense and how many advertisers they have. They just came out with the new YouTube monetization requirements back in October 2023. In order for you to get what’s called a super chats, super thanks, or channel membership, you need to have at least 500 subscribers, 3 public uploads in the last 90 days, and then 3000 watch hours in the last 12 months. The most difficult part is the watch hours. I think I got to 500 subscribers in like, probably four months. But getting 3000 or 4000 watch hours took me over a year and a half to get.

And there’s another program that YouTube has, it’s called a YouTube Partner Program. So for that one, you’re required to have 1000 subscribers, 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months. And if you only do shorts, you need to have 10 million views on YouTube shorts in the last 90 days. So that one is really difficult. A lot of people stick to the long form content because that’s a lot easier than doing 10 million views on shorts. Once you get to 1000 subscribers, you still have to wait until you get to 4000 watch hours. So for those people watching, you probably know that when you go on YouTube, you’re gonna see the advertisement in the first 30 seconds. The creators make a certain portion of that advertisement. So the advertisers pay Google, right? And then Google or YouTube will pay YouTubers a certain percentage of that revenue and say, “Hey, thanks for putting out the content and here’s the advertisement.”

And there are a lot of requirements as far as what you can put out but since I’m talking to financial coaches, your content is not going to be demonetized because you’re not talking about anything that’s controversial. I know if you do certain content, you could get demonetized. And you also have to be careful with music. If you choose to do background music, you get demonetized if you don’t have the copyright free music. Stuff like that. But once you make money from advertisements, after you hit that 4000 watch hours, it just starts to grow from there.

I remember, my first paycheck from YouTube was like 100 bucks. And I’m like, Whoa, I made it. It was a really good moment to have. But then I had like, maybe pretty close to 2000 subscribers at the time. And I had just hit 4000 watch hours. But what I realized too, though, you can make money in so many ways like affiliate marketing, right? I put the Millionaire Next Door on my shelf. It’s my favorite book. I started my financial journey by reading that book. And there are other financial coaches who want to learn how to become a financial coach through “I got your book in the back, too.” So they can go to affiliate marketing, and say, “Alright, here’s the book that you can purchase.” So when someone purchases a book, you get a cut from that too. From Amazon, mostly, they do a really good job on that. So if you don’t have a lot of subscribers, you can still make money from affiliate marketing. And then once you hit more subscribers, they’re gonna reach out to you sponsorship deals, brand deals.

One time I had a wallet company that wanted me to review their wallets. That has some to do with finances, right. So there’s more correlation to it. But I’m not going to do sponsorship with shoes, because that has nothing to do with my channel. So you have to pick and choose what you need to do.

A: Chances are, if you’re already thinking about starting a YouTube channel, you already have some ideas in your head. Write those down. I wrote it down on a piece of napkin and I had an idea of what I was going to do. The second step is really to go to youtube.com and start a channel. It doesn’t matter what the name is. You can have the weirdest name. People don’t pay attention to your name until way later on. So just create a channel, and then start making educational videos. Think about your first idea. What do you want to deliver to the people who might need to hear you? Student loan repayments or credit card debt, that kind of thing. You can start with the title. Say “How I Got Out of $10,000 in Credit Card Debt.” I have a $10,000 credit card. I’m interested in hearing that right?

Make a good thumbnail. Make a good title. And here’s the most important thing. Make a video that answers a specific question that people seek. If people are curious about what you’re doing, and how you did it, people keep clicking it, that’s all you have to do. Number one, start a YouTube channel. Number two, make a video. Number three, publish the video. Even if your editing sucks, it’s okay. Invite your friends and family. And that’s what I did. I invited my friends and family to watch my channel. You’re gonna get a lot of feedback from your friends and family. And they’re like, “Alright, this video was pretty good. But cut the arms out that was annoying”, or something like that, but make it better one video at a time. Provide value, and in the middle of it say, “If you want to reach out to me, this is how you can reach me.” I do that. And I say the same thing in every video and say, “If you’re interested in joining my private client program for financial coaching, you can go to visit me at my website.” People always remember that from every video. So five videos later, they reach out to me and say, “Hey, I watched like 20 of your videos, and I’m here. I’m interested in becoming your client. So what do I need to do?”

Step number four, I know there’s only three, but four is to invest in a good website. That’s where they will go to reach you. They want to see that you are credible. That’s one thing that I learned in my first year is that they want to see that credibility from you. Okay? You got a lot of good credibility, you provide good value in the videos. But now I want to see what kind of financial coach you are outside of YouTube. So that’s really the most important thing too.