I recently came across a video of a CNN news broadcast in which they talk about how you can use YouTube to make a living. The title of this video is “Quit your day job and make a living off YouTube.”. They interviewed a couple successful youtubers, including the amazing Joe Penna (aka MysteryGuitarMan) and asked them to tell their secrets to success, and let me tell you something: It’s still a secret. If it wasn’t, everybody would be doing it.

The CNN report misses the whole point of YouTube. The CNN seems to think that YouTube is some get rich quick scheme, and that making a living off YouTube ad revenue is easy, fast and anyone with a bit of talent and a video camera can simply upload a few videos and make enough money to sustain themselves. None of this is true.

Of the millions of YouTube users out there, a tiny fraction of them are able to make any money off their videos. Of that small group, a microscopic number of them are able to make enough money to “quit their day job”. Off the top of my head, I can only name Philip DeFranco, Toby Turner, Joe Penna, and Cory Williams. The list isn’t very long.

The second false promise of CNN is that making yourself a YouTube money-making sensation is easy. Wrong. For example, Joe Penna says he works an 80 HOUR WORK WEEK to produce 2 videos. He’ll spend 12 hours a day or more just on EDITING. If you follow him on Twitter, you’ll certainly know the pain, stress and lost hours of sleep he has to go through to bring his next video creation to the world. This certainly does not sound like a piece of cake to me.

One thing this reporter mentioned is the idea of YouTube being “only in America”. Only in America? YouTube is a worldwide community. There are users from every country under the sun uploading great videos to the site. Also, as far as I know, the Adsense and partner programs are not limited to Americans.

Mainstream media treats YouTube like it’s some new fangled invention; like it’s some sort of secret club. For a lot of people  (like Joe Penna who makes a living off it) YouTube is a large part of their lives, especially for entertainment. Mainstream media doesn’t realize that YouTube is a community. It’s a social network like Twitter or Facebook, except instead of exchanging text we exchange videos. Most users don’t go there to get rich and famous. They go there to find like-minded people who share their interests and passions, and connect with them. YouTube is about having fun!

I’ve embedded a video below where I talk about these same points. I don’t like how mainstream media is misrepresenting YouTube. Please share this with as many people as you can, because I believe this is an issue that everyone should know about.