Sylvia Ta never could have imagined four years ago she would be millions of viewers deep in a successful YouTube channel that would translate into a part-time job to pay her way through college. It’s the Justin Bieber effect. Back in 2009, Ta uploaded her first YouTube video, in 2009 as a way to teach her friend how to do her hair in a particular style.
YouTube is not just a place where you upload hilarious cat videos or home videos for your friends and family. For some, YouTube has become a way to earn a living, all because people are opting to forego their TVs and click into the easily accessible and interactive world of YouTube, that emphasizes the, you. It’s a way for individuals to express their creativity through a lens that allows the reaction to come directly from the viewer, essentially eliminating the middle man.
Ta’s story is not uncommon. Jean Francois Dupont Casselman, a freelance makeup artist started uploading beauty videos as a creative outlet. “I realized there was no one in the area who was making beauty videos and I thought I could do that so I made one,” said Dupont.
The beauty and fashion aspect of YouTube is among the most popular. Launching a new platform for many brands to advertise their products whether its through sponsorship deals or sending free products to beauty “gurus” in hopes they will offer glowing reviews on their product.
Dupont expresses though, that the best part of being a YouTube creator is that he gets the opportunity to meet new people and viewers, and experience things he may not have otherwise.
In 2013 Dupont partnered with Montreal-based cosmetics company Annabelle to create his own lipgloss. “They called me to come visit the site where they make the products and when I got there they asked me if I wanted to make my own lip gloss,” said Dupont. “Then afterwards they got so many emails for my lipgloss that they made more of them to sell.”
Both Ta and Dupont admit that through YouTube revenue they could make as much as full-time job, both agree that its important to have a safety net to fall back on. Dupont is dealing with inner struggle to quit is day job and commit full-time to YouTube and freelance makeup, while Ta always knew she wanted to get into marketing and brand management.
YouTube has such a cultural phenomenon that University of Ottawa professor Michael Strangelove wrote a book in 2010 entitled Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People exploring the dynamic of it.
YouTube has become not only a new way we create and consume media, but it also has created unexpected career opportunities for many, who may not have been setting out to achieve it.
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