CNBC College Voices 2020 is a series written by CNBC summer interns from around the country about age, starting a new career, and finding a job during a global pandemic. They find their voice at a time of great social change and hope for a better future. What money problems do they face? How do they browse their student loans? How do they gain work experience, make connections, and apply for jobs when so many opportunities are taken away or postponed? How important is diversity and company values to job seekers at Gen Z?
Covid-19 shook the economy in ways the world has never seen before. Many people, including students, have turned their lives upside down. I now know that many students find themselves in difficult situations. Many are stuck at home, lost a summer internship or can’t find a job. But even if the way forward isn’t clear at the moment, it’s important to remember that you can always do something to move forward – even when you’re stuck at home!
Jennifer Frick, a career counselor at the Center for Career and Professional Development at Karnegie Mellon University, suggests using this as an opportunity for students to focus on their professional development. There are many ways students can implement this. Students can:
- Do distance learning or coursework to continue your studies. A good source for this is LinkedIn Learning.
- Write a blog on a topic you are passionate about – so you become an expert yourself, instead of waiting for someone to offer you the opportunity to become an expert.
- Start a YouTube channel based on what you find interesting or enjoyable.
- Add freelance articles to online publications.
- A network of online forums that discuss your passionate topics.
For me, the choice was a YouTube channel. When I was a high school student, I decided to go my own way – and not wait for someone to be served me in or out of college.
Where to start?
I have always been fascinated by consumer technology. Ever since I was a small child, I would have been incredibly thrilling to release a new phone or tablet, and would do everything I could to get time to interact with them. So I had the idea to create a YouTube channel where I should learn about all the latest consumer technologies and review them for others to see and learn. Especially after seeing other fellow tech enthusiasts like Marques Brownlee and Unbox Therapy, the platform is getting so much success.
The Catalyst was a new printer that I received that year as a holiday gift. I thought it would be a great time to launch a YouTube channel where I could talk about the printer and other future technologies I could get. So, I offered my phone, sat down on the floor of my bedroom, and walked through the box and settings of this Brother MFC-J450DW printer. You can really say I’m a newbie!
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But the more I worked, the better I got at creating videos. I saved money on a variety of small jobs and birthday gifts and bought myself new technology to buy the channel. I became more and more interested in the production aspect of these videos and wanted to make myself each new video better and more compelling than the last one. For a few hours, I watched YouTube tutorials on lighting, sound, editing, and storytelling so I could continually improve my craft. This not only allowed me to improve my videos, but also allowed me to gain valuable experience as well as experience in the process.
At the same time, I have improved my production skills as well as my SEO (search engine optimization) skills. I would consistently explore the analysis YouTube provides to my audience. I learned that the majority of people watching my videos are men between the ages of 20 and 34, so I started looking for product and video ideas that were more in line with demographic interests. In doing so, I noticed that the natural flow from YouTube recommendations began to grow. I continued to refine and optimize my videos to get the most natural traffic possible.
I finally realized I had something when I made a video of an iPhone 7 box that could be seen in 100,000 views in the first month! Over time, I’ve been creating more and more content, and I’m lucky that a few videos have performed very well on the YouTube platform. I was extremely excited when I reached the 10,000 subscriber stage last summer, just 5 years after I started building the channel.
Not only do I do what I love, but the YouTube channel also acted as a kind of portfolio for my work and was a key factor in getting me to the university of my dreams, landing an amazing first internship, and purchasing my first video. customers when I started my own production company, Boxer Video Productions.
My YouTube channel also acted as a form of passive income, allowing me the flexibility to focus on my studies and other hobbies, such as music, without having to worry so much about working to fund the channel. After many years of accumulating YouTube advertising revenue, supporting sponsorships, and generating Amazon affiliate links, my channel earns about $ 15,000 a year, which I use to cover the cost of the products I watch in my videos, as well as reinvesting in my arsenal . a filming tool I use to create even more movies for the channel and my company’s clients.
Launching something like this, the mechanics have been pretty simple and are definitely a repeatable process for any beginner on YouTube. I simply:
- I understood what I was passionate about and wanted to create content – a new technology.
- Set up accounts on YouTube, Amazon affiliates, and AdSense.
- You ordered an affordable tripod to start filming videos on my phone (this is for beginners).
- Learn how to edit iMovie (a free part of the editing software included with your Mac) through the many free tutorials available on YouTube.
- I shared the new videos with friends and family to get an initial preview that helped the algorithm pick up my videos and share them with a larger audience.
- Provided links from Amazon Affiliate to the products I spoke about in the video description to generate revenue to fund future videos.
It wasn’t until I was really comfortable doing this initial setup that I gradually started buying more professional film tools and experimenting with different mounting techniques. It was a process that took time, perseverance and dedication. It didn’t happen overnight.
It’s not like, “You should go start a channel like I did.” I’m trying to say you shouldn’t wait for someone to give you a chance. And there is no age limit when you can start! Can’t look at it. Find what interests you and just log in. If that doesn’t help or you don’t like it – you can stop at any time. Trying new things and learning during the process is valuable. No matter what you do, you never know where this will take you in the future! At least you have your own life experience that you can talk about in a job interview. And it shows that you have the initiative. This will set you apart from other candidates – and it can give you a fantastic job.
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors Acorns.