- Andrei Jikh was teaching magic online but he found more lucrative work by switching to personal finance.
- One year later, he has 300,000 subscribers and earned six figures just from ads placed on his videos by Google.
- Jikh spoke to Business Insider about deciding to start a YouTube channel, how he maximizes his earnings, and how much he earned per month in 2019.
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Personal finance YouTuber Andrei Jikh grew up in a family of circus performers from Russia, and he moved to the US at age 9 when his dad got a job with Cirque du Soleil.
Jikh fell in love with magic and filming home videos. Ten years later, he was hired by a startup to teach magic online.
But when his parents acquired “crazy debt,” Jikh became obsessed with personal finance.
“We were immigrants when we came here,” he told Business Insider. “We didn’t really know how to manage our money, credit cards, so my parents got into crazy debt. It had a big effect on me when I was younger. At 19, I tried to teach myself, interviewing everyone I worked with to learn what they do.”
In late 2018, he quit his job, and with the roughly $200,000 he had in savings, started making personal finance videos for YouTube.
A year later, he has 300,000 subscribers and earned more than $100,000 in 2019 from ads that run in his videos — far more than the $60,000 he made at his peak year as an online magician.
“I never wanted to be in the spotlight,” he told Business Insider. “But if that’s not your goal, then magic becomes extremely limited, and there’s very few ways for you to earn money in that industry.”
Jikh’s monthly revenue quickly increased
In just a few months, Jikh was starting to make real money.
Creators with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours are eligible to have their videos monetized with ads by joining YouTube’s Partner Program. How much they earn depends on a number of factors, like a video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics. Some top creators have ad-placement strategies to maximize their earnings.
Here’s his monthly AdSense breakdown for 2019:
- January: $0. Jikh said he didn’t know how to create effective thumbnails and titles.
- February: $0. By the second month, he was starting to learn how to structure his videos.
- March: $90.48. You have to make a minimum of $100 for YouTube to get paid, so technically, he made $0 that month.
- April: $1,511.57, from one viral video.
- May: $1,923.07, another viral video called “How I made 781.47 with Robinhood Dividends,” where he shows his income from dividends. “This was the turning point in realizing that some videos pay more depending on your topic,” he said. “Personal finance, financial minimalism, finance, credit cards, brokerages, etc., pay a lot more money than most other topics on YouTube.”
- June: $2,558.13. He learned he could monetize his videos by placing ads in the middle of videos.
- July: $3,895.60
- August: $5,808.33
- September: $14,879.04, his first five-figure month. He started earning between $20 and $30 for every one thousand views (CPM).
- October: $11,622
- November: $30,782.18
- December: $41,080.62
- Total for 2019: $121,000 (after YouTube’s cut)
Jikh said he spent around $10,000 to build a studio and buy camera equipment and spends five to six hours per week doing research for his videos, three to four hours filming, and 10 to 18 hours on editing. He doesn’t have a talent agent or manager, he said.
Jikh said he learned to make more money by including mid-roll ads, which can run in videos lasting over 10 minutes. They can be skippable or non-skippable, and creators can place them manually or have them automatically placed by YouTube.
“You can strategically place ads wherever you want,” he said. “If you in the middle of talking about something important, place an ad before you say what it is. I try to place an ad every 3 to 4 minutes, just finding a natural break in the video to place it.”
He said he also earns money online through Patreon, Amazon links, affiliate marketing, and hopes to add sponsored content to the mix in 2020.
For more on how to become a successful influencer, according to YouTube and Instagram stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:
- A Harvard student with 302,000 YouTube subscribers breaks down how much money she earned in ad revenue in 2019 as a college influencer: Sienna Santer, a second-year student and YouTube influencer with 302,000 subscribers, shared how much money she made from Google’s AdSense in 2019.
3 YouTube influencers who made over $20,000 from a single video explain how — and it’s not just about view count: We spoke to YouTube creators Kevin David, Paul Kousky, and Alyssa Kulani who broke down how they earned over $20,000 from a single YouTube video.
Top YouTube creators explain the 4 main ways they earn money, and how lucrative each is: Creators on YouTube earn revenue a number of ways. We spoke with four creators who broke down how they make money.
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