To most people, Yudy* looks like your average, newly-married, frum young man. And he is. He went through the system. About two years ago, he married Shevy,* who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in speech therapy, and they had a beautiful, healthy baby boy a few months ago. Yudy goes to kollel during the day, and tutors struggling yeshiva students in Gemara in the evenings.
And he loves gaming.
“I’m not sure when I got into it,” he says. “My parents were definitely not happy about my gaming hobby. And that’s putting it mildly. They believed it was a waste of time, and they were probably right. At the time, I think I just needed something to unwind. Some people cook. Other people do sports or go to the gym. And I do gaming.”
He started uploading gaming videos on YouTube shortly after his marriage.
“I discussed it with Shevy beforehand,” he assures me. “And she encouraged me to do it. She knows how much I enjoy it, and how good I am at it.”
The gaming community is large and diverse, and Yudy had to spend the time and energy finding the right niche and creating content his subscribers connected to and appreciated. His videos now mainly consist of reviewing games and doing walkthroughs, something he is passionate about and well-versed in.
“I’m pretty good at these games,” he explains. “And so I also give my subscribers hints or tips. You’ll never see my face in my videos, although you will hear my voice. The most important thing? I make money from it, and it helps support my family.”
It’s not easy to garner an income from YouTube. To start earning money, YouTube content creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year. Once content creators reach this milestone, they become eligible for YouTube ads. YouTube takes 45 percent of the ad revenue. Even with ads, only a very small percentage of content creators make enough to support themselves from ad revenue.
Yudy admits that he isn’t getting much from YouTube. Although his channel grew rapidly, he says he makes at most a few hundred dollars a month, and there are some months that he sees less than that. To work around it, he got his own ads.
“It took a lot of hustle,” he confesses. “I approached a few companies, showed them my stats. Most of them slammed the door in my face, figuratively of course. And then, I found a few smaller companies, people my family knows personally, who saw me grow up, who believe in me and were willing to take a chance on me. I guess it’s like any business when you’re starting out.”
Yudy isn’t alone in using YouTube as a platform to supplement his income. YouTube is filled with creators uploading videos on cooking, life hacks, beauty, doing product reviews, travel vlogs, and more. Some do it because they enjoy having a creative outlet, while many others have their eye on the dollar signs.
“In the end, I’m doing this because I love gaming and I want to share my hobby with others,” Yudy tells me. “Don’t make a mistake. Creating high quality videos is time consuming. You really got to love this to invest in it.”