How a language-learning channel hit 135K subscribers & $1K/mo

Feb 10 2024
Case Studies

Channel Overview (at time of writing)

Name - JuLingo
Niche - Education/Languages
Subscribers - 135K
Watch time - 8.1M views (lifetime), 200K views (monthly average)
Revenue- $1000 USD/mo on average
Videos published - 34
Date of first video - 14 July 2018
Employees - 0 (solo)

Why did you start this YouTube channel?

I love learning about all sorts of random stuff. 

That’s why I always loved YouTube. It’s *the* platform where one can indulge their curiosity on any imaginable topic. 

I particularly enjoy learning to speak different languages (I speak English, French, Russian, Latvian, Italian, and Spanish, and am learning Portuguese, Persian, and Japanese). There weren’t that many channels that were teaching different languages and very quickly I’d watched all of the videos I could find. 

That’s when I had a eureka moment. 

I though that if I wanted more language videos to exist, then why not make language videos myself? That idea got me really excited.

I wanted to concentrate on lesser-known languages because I was personally more interested in them. I’ve seen plenty of videos about French or Spanish but nothing about Georgian or Navajo. 

And that’s how I decided to do it – at some point, I just couldn’t not do it

How did you get started?

For my first videos, I tried to use what I already had as much as possible. 

For filming I used nothing other than my Canon 60D with a tripod I already had. I think I just got a cheaper microphone for $20-$30 and off I went. 

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I filmed in my room and tried to film on a sunny day so there’d be more light. However, you can see the lighting conditions change throughout my early videos and that wasn’t ideal. 

For editing, I got an Adobe Creative Suite subscription (at a discounted rate as I was a student at the time). I used Adobe Premiere for video editing and Adobe Photoshop for thumbnails (and still do). 

I spent a lot of time researching for my first language (it was Georgian) and scripting the video. Even today, most of my time is spent on research due to the nature of my videos.

How & when did you get to 10, 100, 1000 subscribers (etc) and to where you are currently? 

To be honest, I haven’t changed my niche, direction, or the way I do my videos since I started. I just tried to gradually improve the quality of my videos, but I always had a clear idea of what I wanted my videos to be.

I hit 10 subscribers in October 2018, 3 months after posting my first video.

I hit 100 subscribers in March 2019, after posting my second video.

I hit 1,000 subscribers in October 2019, after posting my fourth video. I wasn't doing anything specific at all to "grow" the channel beyond just making videos on topics I found interesting. I was focused on building a library and making all my videos conform to a similar style.

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I hit 10,000 subscribers in February 2021. At that time, I had 14 videos on my channel. One of the videos was about the Welsh language. Suddenly there was some kind of news about the Welsh language and my video was popping up on Google. I suddenly got a lot of views and subscribers. That was a turning point after which my channel started to really grow.

I hit 100,000 subscribers in March 2023. Throughout my journey, I didn’t do anything specific that made my channel grow. I just stayed consistent, kept my videos the same style, and grew my video library and that's what helped me grow most. My videos don’t lose value in time and bring in views years after release.

My biggest challenge was (and still is) just to keep releasing videos consistently and as often as possible.

How much money are you making (and how)?

The channel currently averages $600-1300 per month (+ one-off sponsorship income) from:

  • AdSense - $300-1000/mo
  • Patreon - $300/mo
  • Sponsorships - $1000-1500 per video

The revenue from AdSense varies from month to month, depending on the views I get that month. 

For Patreon, the main incentives for supporters are early releases of videos and getting to vote on the next video topic (language). I don't go out of my way to market or grow my Patreon.

I tend to get $1000-$1500 per video from sponsors, but I don’t get sponsors for every video. Sponsors contact me directly but I try to pick those that are relevant to my channel and my views. This meant I only did sponsorships for language learning or educational apps and platforms.

I don't want to promote just anything that comes around. It should be something I consider to be valuable and relevant to my channel's overall theme.

I'm considering other ideas for monetization (especially merchandise); I just need to sit down and implement my ideas one day.

What does your content creation process look like?

It takes me around 45-50 hours in total to create a video:

  • 10 hours of researc
  • 5-10 hours of scripting
  • 10 hours of filming
  • 20 hours of editing

Finding ideas

Finding ideas is easy – there are roughly 7000 languages out there, so I just pick the next one I like. In that way, I will never be able to run out of video ideas. A lifetime is not enough to cover everything.

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Researching and scripting

My research is very thorough and deep; I try to completely understand a new language in every single video, and that takes time. My research consists mostly of checking online books and grammar resources on the language I'm working on.

I don't think my research is particularly better than other language YouTubers. The thing is that there just aren't that many language YouTubers out there so competition is scarce and available research material is abundant. 7000 languages are more than enough for all of us to cover.

What possibly sets me apart from others is that I try to concentrate on rarer languages, on which there is no information at all, and I put a lot of emphasis on the historical development of a language.

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I then write my script in a detailed way and read it from a teleprompter.

The editing then happens in Adobe Premiere. For my thumbnails, I use Adobe Photoshop. Editing is quite lengthy because my videos require a lot of images, illustrations, and examples.

Promoting videos

I don't do anything to promote my videos. Only recently have I started promoting my videos on my Instagram (sometimes) so I can't quite evaluate the effectiveness of that just yet.

What are the key lessons you’ve learned from your journey?

📅 Consistency – it’s a rule that I sometimes struggle to stick to myself, but it is very important nevertheless. Consistency is defined by your determination and your discipline.

Consistency is primordial for success in anything – in your channel, your business, your life.

ğŸŽ¥ Quality – it’s always better to go the extra mile and bring the quality of your work to the highest possible standard. Viewers see it and appreciate it. High quality doesn’t always mean production quality or cool animations, but the quality of your message.

Don’t waste your viewers’ time, give them value and they will keep coming back.

👤 Authenticity – when someone is not being true to themselves, it is noticeable and it is not appealing. If you think you’re not like most Youtubers, then don't act like them. If everyone is going after trending topics/popular videos, that doesn’t mean you should too.

In our era of ChatGPT and Deepfakes, authenticity is of the utmost importance.

ğŸŽ‰ Enjoy the process – you never know when your channel will start bringing returns.

It might take months or even years for your channel to earn income. So at least do something that you truly enjoy and that you’d be happy to do for free. 

Where can we find out more about you? And is there anything else you’d like to add?

Check out my Instagram @julingo_channel, I’ve just recently started developing it.

I think being successful on YouTube means balancing two things: being serious about it and having fun in the process.

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