The amount of content uploaded on YouTube daily is staggering. Let us suppose you want to watch all the content uploaded on YouTube in a day. Did you know that it would take you over 80 years to finish watching it all? By the time you finish, you will still have over 2.3 million hours of content waiting for you that would have accumulated over the 80 years. In just 60 seconds alone, over 300 hours (12.5 days) of content is uploaded on YouTube. I am telling you this to show you how active people are in uploading content on YouTube. Why though? It is simple – there is money to be made. Let us discuss how you can start a YouTube channel as a business idea.
Starting a YouTube channel is all about one core approach – content creation. It is your homework to figure out which content you can create. Other variables do come in e.g. your knowledge and expertise on the subject matter, plus quality and consistency. It is also vital for it to be an area you are passionate about. It can be anything really – comedy, short films, tutorials, podcasts, talk shows, lectures, music, demos, and infinitely more. Through insights drawn from YouTube show that some content types are more engaging, there is no formula per se. For instance, personal development and personal finance content tend to be highly sought after. That does not mean you have to jump in and do that; it might not work for you. You must discover your zone of genius and start working with that; consistency is what is key.
You need a wide range of ICT hardware and software. It is, however, possible to start with just basic things e.g. your PC and smartphone. You can find some free but effective video making or editing software and then you are good to go. With time you can then scale and get more sophisticated tools to use. Some of the most notable YouTube channels have offices covering 2 or more floors in a building. I have seen YouTube channels that have state of the art production studios. Such levels are reachable if your channel continues to grow. You can also keep costs minimum by outsourcing wherever possible; this works quite well in running YouTube channels. You can start solo and with limited costs – start with and from where you are.
There is market potential that is mostly yet untapped in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, most Zimbabweans cannot afford to regularly be on YouTube. There are many constraints some of which are data costs, phone limitations, power cuts, and internet infrastructure just to mention a few. Thus you have to be strategic about how you roll out your YouTube channel. If the content is not relevant and engaging then forget about your channel growing. If truly your content is top tier, people will make it a point to get online and watch it.
Important To Note
Getting To Monetization
You must know that you do not just start making money right away. There are minimum eligibility requirements for you to get to that point. It will be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with YouTube’s monetization policies. I will not detail that here but I will just highlight 3 of some of the basic requirements you must know. One, you must have more than 1000 subscribers on your channel. Two, you must have over 4000 valid public watch hours within the last 12 months. Three, you must have a linked Google AdSense account (only one). Bear in mind that monetization can be disabled for inactivity. For example, that can happen if you do not post a video for at least 6 months. I will detail YouTube monetization in some future articles.
Tailor Your Content For The Global Audience
Another pertinent talking point here is tailoring your content for the global market. Zimbabwe is a small country with not that many people. The number is even smaller when you look at those who can access the internet regularly. This tells you that you cannot rely on the Zimbabwean market alone. You have to think bigger and wider to increase your prospects. One of the ways you can use to have a wider reach is using English subtitles if you are using native languages. I always wonder when I see good home-grown YouTube content say, in Shona or Ndebele, but without English subtitles. How do you expect to reach a global audience and possibly earn more money? Many YouTubers in Zimbabwe overlook this and I wonder why. YouTube is an interesting platform and some assumptions you make can be way off. For example, do you know that it is often the case that most of your views can be coming from countries other than yours? Be smart and do the needful.
There is considerable progress in the emergence of YouTube channels in Zimbabwe. A lot more still has to be done though; we have barely scratched the surface. We, for the most part, hear of millions of views only when it comes to music videos – not even all of them. It is not yet commonplace in Zimbabwe to see YouTube channels with at least a million subscribers. No wonder I am saying we have barely scratched the surface. The prospects are enormous and any one of you can be the next best thing on YouTube in Zimbabwe. In 2021, the highest-earning YouTuber in the world earned over US$54 million; 23-year old Jimmy Donaldson (commonly known as MrBeast). This all came from the over 10 billion views he garnered in 2021. A YouTube channel can be a rewarding business idea even here in Zimbabwe. All the best!