The first rule of selling video online: there are no magic formulas
Making money by publishing videos online is not easy. I know the internet is full of videos of:
- idiots doing idiot things
They get millions of views and they seem to be only content that can have success on the web. What normal people don't know is that you can't make money with that kind of content.
So, unless you are the owner, or at least a shareholder, of:
or other businesses that have become billionaire companies due to user-generated content, if you want for online video to become your full-time job, you have to find another way.
First of all, you need to understand how to monetize your video content (YouTube partnership? Selling products with your videos? Producing stock footage?).
Once you understand what you need, you have to professionalize the production. Otherwise, if you don't believe me, I'm sorry to say that I think the best you can do with online business is becoming the next:
- Foodora rider
- Uber driver
With that job you will earn more than you would publishing the videos that typically have millions of views on YouTube.
Why the stock footage business can be an option
I know I sometimes sound arrogant, but that’s because, by publishing videos online, I earned enough to change my life. I didn't use any tricks to do it; I studied and then worked hard. That was my magic formula.
Since 2006, I have been a producer of stock footage. With that business, I have brought home more than 100 thousand euros, first by producing in my spare time and then, for a period of my life, as my main job.
The stock footage is a video clip, generally 5 to 10 seconds long, that content producers like:
- television executives
buy for their projects. Once, those videos were produced by companies that invested a lot of money in the equipment they need to shoot. Now, technology has helped freelancers to become 99% of the contributors uploading footage on agencies.
As a video maker, you can record footage with your reflex or mirrorless camera, or even with your smartphone, and then sell it on websites like:
Everyone who loves to make videos can enter this business. The problem, both for beginners and for professionals who previously worked offline (especially for those who are great photographers but have never worked on the web), is that the micrsotock market has his own rules, and it's a completely different business than others related to photography and video making.
Adapting to the new scenario is difficult. That's why so many people say that making money with stock footage is impossible.
As happens with any other job, if you want to get good results, you need someone to explain what to do. Even if you started taking pictures in the 1970s, you need to be humble and start again from scratch to learn how to make money, and sometimes you have to watch beginners who make more than you do because microstock is not just photography – it is online business.
The story of a beginner who started making money with stock footage
My personal story as a stock producer is not helpful to understand how things work as I started contributing in 2006 and the microstock business is completely different today. To understand what happens nowadays, the story of a producer who started selling videos online recently is far more interesting.
Domenico Fornas is an amateur computer expert I met both because he wrote a very detailed page about computers for editing videos in 4K for my Italian blog and because he is one of the students of my course.
Below you will find a diary of his first results.