How a print-on-demand/side hustle channel hit 68K subscribers & $10K/mo

Dec 7 2022
Case Studies

Channel Overview (at time of writing)

Name – Shimmy Morris
Niche – Finance/Print on Demand/Online Business/Side Hustles
Subscribers – 68K
Watch time – 367k hours (lifetime), 6.9k hours (monthly)
Revenue – $10K/month (USD)
Videos published – 586
Date of first video – July 20th, 2016
Employees – 0 (solo)

Why did you start this YouTube channel?

I never went to university and wasn’t a strong student in school. I loved creative arts like photography and videography. Alongside that, I loved finding cool, irregular ways of making money.

Making YouTube videos seemed to be exciting. Even after years, it never got boring or annoying. I love it. 

I have a burning desire to succeed. I think that’s key for YouTube since it can take so long to see any returns. You just have to keep going.

I started many side hustles during and after school. Eventually, I decided I’d just start documenting them on YouTube. 

I never planned to make any money from the channel. It just happened as the channel grew. 

How did you get started?

I taught myself Premiere Pro using YouTube videos and through trial and error. I didn’t take a course or anything like that. 

Then I just started filming. I started with just a simple talking head video (nothing fancy). Paired with my Canon 6D (which I had from being a professional photographer at the time), I used a Rode Video Mic Pro for clear audio.

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Some of Shimmy’s first videos were talking head videos

I produced some of my first videos in London, my garden, and eventually my office/studio. 

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

I hit 10 subscribers on September 27th, 2016. I posted very erratically at the beginning. There wasn’t really an aim or any fluidity to my videos or schedule. Eventually, I stopped soon after starting because I wasn’t getting anything out of it. 

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Shimmy Morris’ first videos on YouTube (~2016)

I was barely hitting 100 views per video and YouTube didn’t seem worth it.

I hit 100 subscribers on June 26th, 2017. To get there, I started posting again, but still very randomly. Randomly posting content without an aim got me to 100 subscribers within a year of starting.

I hit 1,000 subscribers on December 28th, 2017. This time, I started a 100-day challenge where I’d post a video every single day, which went on for over 250 days. 

It was daily consistency that got me from 100 to 1000 subscribers in 6 months.

I hit 10,000 subscribers on May 18th, 2020. It was a painfully long process to get from 1000 to 10K. To get there, I did another 100-day challenge and then started focusing more on video quality (vs. quantity) and editing skills. 

I spent a lot of time focusing on thumbnails and titles to draw people in and get them to watch. I studied other YouTubers (particularly MrBeast). Through this, I learnt to use bright colours and place images so that more people would click and watch. My click-through rates went from 3% to 15%!

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How Shimmy’s thumbnails changed over the course of a year

I also started following an exact script. I stopped repeating myself and was brutal in editing. If something didn’t fit, I cut it. 

Getting to 68K subscribers has been hard and slow but it’s paid off. I think this growth eventually came by sticking to a niche and building a fanbase of people who are always coming back for more. 

The plan: find a niche and become an expert in it. 

How much money are you making (and how)?

Revenue is different (and fluctuates) every month. On average, the channel earns $10.5K per month from:

  • AdSense – ~$2.5K/month
  • Affiliate marketing – ~$1K/month
  • Sponsored content – ~$7K/month

AdSense tends to increase a lot when I increase posting frequency and video length (since more ads are placed throughout the video).

Affiliate marketing income mainly comes from the links in my video descriptions. They’re mainly links to print-on-demand resources, courses, and tools. Occasionally I’ll mention a brand in my videos (but it’s quite rare). 

Becoming an affiliate is simple. Usually, you can just apply to various programs yourself and wait to be accepted. On occasion, they reach out to you with a slightly better offer. 

Sponsorships are where I make most of my money. I will only work with companies I use and like myself. They usually reach out to me. Occasionally if there’s a tool or service I like and use a lot, I’ll reach out and offer to make them a video at a discounted rate. 

I try not to create more than 2 sponsored videos a month. I prefer to post fun, educational, and entertaining videos that don’t have sponsors. 

What does your content creation process look like?

It can take me around 25-50 hours to make a video depending on its complexity. 

I research my ideas online through YouTube, Instagram, and Google. But most of my ideas come from sitting quietly and thinking with no distractions. I brainstorm a handful of titles and associated thumbnails. 

Then I validate them online by checking other YouTube channels to see if anyone’s done similar videos. If they have, I think about how I can stand out. I also check keyword data on Google Keyword Planner (and similar tools) to see how popular a particular topic would be.

I write my scripts using Notion and Google Docs. I try to include hooks, and sentences to draw viewers in so they keep watching. Writing a script can sometimes take days of revisions. 

I create a box where on the left is the script and on the right is the associated b-roll. I used to draw out scenes for the b-roll, but now I just describe them vividly in this box. Because I film close to scripting these b-roll ideas are still fresh in my mind and are easy to create.

I currently use a Sony A7S3 and Premiere Pro. I have a couple of Godox and Amaran lights too and a Rode Video Pro Mic.

To create thumbnails, I use Photoshop. I generally make a few variations with different facial expressions, different colour clothing, and different backgrounds. 

The overall aim of my thumbnails is to increase clicks without making the thumbnail clickbait. There’s a very fine line and it’s easy to cross. 

Most of the time, I don’t promote my videos anywhere. Occasionally, I’ll post on my Instagram but I mainly rely on the YouTube algorithm and my existing audience. 

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

Watch many YouTube videos and take notes of successful YouTubers in your industry. See what they’re doing, learn from them and do it better! 

Your video’s thumbnail and title are unbelievably important. You can spend months on a video and if the thumbnail and title aren’t great, it can flop. On the flip side, I’ve made awesome thumbnails on videos that only took me 3 hours to make and they’ve blown up. 

Listen to great podcasts focused on creating on YouTube. Listen to Colin and Samir, Ali Abdaal, and any podcast episode that has Mr Beast giving advice in it. He knows his stuff!

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

Aside from my YouTube channel, you can find me on Instagram (@shimmymorris1)LinkedIn, or on my website.

My parting advice is to go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? 

YouTube is the new media and it’s growing every single day!

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