With all the buzz going around about the highest-earning YouTube stars for 2017, you would think — and you would be correct — that to strike it rich in the 21st century Digital Age, you don’t need to start a tech company in your garage like Steve Jobs did.
You also don’t need to be a college student for that to happen, either — as was the case for Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg.
For that matter, you don’t even need to be school-age.
You just need to be a cute, photogenic three-year-old with a mom and a dad as your technical crew (and sometimes supporting actors). You just have them start shooting home-brew videos of you checking out your new toys and “commenting” on them as you play. Then have them edit and post the videos over the next three years on your family’s YouTube channel.
You sit back and watch the avalanche of advertising revenue roll in like snow tumbling off the Alps. Then, your parents can quit their jobs, move to Beverly Hills, buy the biggest mansion they can find — paid in cash — and enroll you in the finest private schools for the next 12 years, finally sending you off to Harvard for undergrad and post-grad studies, with all tuition and fees prepaid, while you garner enough insider connections in your network to last a lifetime.
You might, instead, need to first get through school — probably including a non-Ivy-League college — while learning all you can about business and making money and success through serving customers and employers in the marketplace: your career — and quite possibly also finding success in a unique, non-monetary, non-commercial activity that leaves behind a lasting legacy impacting the world in a positive way long after you are gone: your calling.
At least, that’s the way most of us have to do it.
But let’s go back to little Ryan the Online Toy Reviewer for a minute.
You can read all about Ryan and his family’s rocket-ship ride to online financial success here.
Yes, Ryan’s cuddly antics onscreen have been a huge windfall for mom and dad. But here is what Ryan’s parents ought to do for him in terms of planning for the rest of his life, especially Life After YouTube Superstardom.
That is not to say that Ryan can’t continue his success online by simply transitioning and adapting what he is doing to a different type of content to keep his audiences engaged (and the revenue rolling in) as he gets older.
But, let’s face it. What is happening with Ryan and his family and to the other YouTube stars who rise to fame and fortune almost as fast as bitcoin prices, only to fall just as fast when the ride is over, is akin to winning the lottery. Suddenly, you come into a lot of money. Now you’re living “lifestyles of the rich and famous”. But, then, when the view counts go down and the ad revenues do, too — i.e., the snow pack melts — you then find yourself out a lot of money.
And so it goes. Prince one day. Pauper the next.
Here is what Ryan’s parents ought to do.
A Contrarian Game Plan
After their due diligence and financial planning are completed (for now), they ought to enroll 6-year-old Ryan in a challenging and success-oriented K-12 online homeschool curriculum. Yes, I said homeschool curriculum. Stay with me. This will save them a ton of money that they would otherwise be tempted to spend enrolling him in fancy-pants private schools. He will also get a better education.
He would not only learn the traditional subjects like math, reading, history, science, etc., but he would also learn personal finance, business and also free-market economics, as well as pick up some valuable, marketable skills like public speaking, writing and even blogging and website building. (Don’t forget the YouTube channel.)
Does this kind of a program exist?
Yes. It’s called the Ron Paul Curriculum.
For Budding Entrepreneurs Only
Now, there are two reasons why I know about the existence of this unique sort of K-12 homeschool program: (1), I heard about it when it was first launched in the Fall of 2013, as a 6-12 program; and then, (2), a year later after it was expanded to include K-5, when I was asked to develop beginning arithmetic courses for it–which I now teach for grades 1 through 4.
The fact is, I was completely convinced of the academic uniqueness and content superiority of this curriculum right from the get-go, just because of what I knew about it, who was putting it together and what I saw as it was being “rolled out” the first year. Since then, my conviction about its superiority for preparing smart, motivated young people for academic and career success has only gotten stronger!
Likewise, there are two reasons why I think bright kids like Ryan — who have a mom and a dad actively engaged in his life — should immediately be enrolled in a curriculum like this: (1), because it promotes self-directed learning and entrepreneurship, training students for both academic and career success; and, (2), because it nurtures and promotes a healthy worldview and philosophy of liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom. That is a very big deal because, the way I see it, personal liberty and economic freedom are fundamental to achieving personal success. Especially now, given our rapidly advancing, Internet-connected world.
So far, I have not seen anything else, on or off the Web, quite like the Ron Paul Curriculum. So, Ryan’s parents should make a New Year’s Resolution: “Get that kid enrolled RIGHT NOW!”
If Ryan and his parents stick with the program from beginning arithmetic and reading and all the other subjects through middle school, he can then dive into some really cool practical courses (especially for teenagers) like personal finance, economics, and (the big enchilada), two years of business courses: Business I and Business II–which are designed to teach youngsters (and adults) about starting a business and serving customers (and employers) and achieving long-term financial success. Plus there are some fun and useful courses like WordPress and public speaking and some truly unique courses on government, Western Civilization, History and Literature, as well as higher math (calculus) and science (chemistry, physics).
And if Ryan wants to go to college, he can opt for getting a degree as fast and as cheaply as he can by adopting the methods he will learn through the Ron Paul Curriculum. (His parents will be forever grateful for the many thousands of dollars he will save them by doing this!)
YouTube Hero: A Success Case Study
As far as what you can learn from Ryan’s experience and what it has to do with your achieving financial success, especially with regard to your ability to make money online, first, it is obvious that Ryan’s phenomenal success, in terms of how much money he, that is, his parents have made from YouTube ad revenue over the past three years, is explained by a fundamental law of economics: when supply is low and demand is high, the price will go up. In this case, WAY UP. First, there is only one Ryan: low supply. Second, millions of viewers are interested to see what Ryan is up to with his new toys: high demand. Since the free market is an auction process, what has happened is that this huge disparity has, over time, “bid up” Ryan’s price to an astronomical level: $11 million. Now, Ryan (and his parents) can honestly say: “YouTube been berry, berry good to me!”
Now, can everyone else duplicate this? More to the point, can anyone else duplicate this?
As we’ve seen, a few people can. Most of us can’t.
But I think most of us can make some money doing something similar. The fact that there is at least the potential to make this kind of money means all kinds of people will try. The lesson is clear: videos sell. The question is, what kind, how much, at what price. That is where the uncertainty of the marketplace comes in. You just don’t know exactly how everything will turn out beforehand. But the basis of entrepreneurship is to try and accurately forecast demand, and figure out if you can deliver your product or service at a price the market will accept, at a cost that you will accept, and make a profit from the whole deal that you will accept. I think most people would accept a $10.999 million profit from a year of YouTube videos, don’t you?
Some people are attracted to the idea of making a fortune by putting themselves in the limelight for their 15 minutes of fame. This can happen by accident or not at all. Others are drawn to the idea of providing a product or service for clients and customers on an ongoing basis as the basis for making their fortune. The free market makes room for both.
Financial success can come in the short term or in the long term. Or not at all. Chances are, you will need to do something other than reviewing mass-market consumer products online to make your first million. Or your first ten million.
But then again,… you never know.