Yesterday, YouTube died.

Ok, that’s overdramatising it a bit, but there was a huge issue that affected a vast number of creators. For almost the entirety of March 22nd, 2022, YouTube steadfastly refused to process newly uploaded videos.

Let’s put this into context. If you tried to upload a video to the platform yesterday, It was impossible to actually publish it – unless you got lucky.

It was the first time in two years I’d missed a 3PM go-live for a video. On Twitter, I saw a fellow creator pleading with YouTube to help them publish their 464th consecutive video. Others were equally frustrated and genuinely concerned that their carefully curated brand was in genuine danger of falling apart.

Of course, in the great scheme of things, we all overreacted a bit. And it was fixed later that evening. But challenges like this always remind me of something that every independent content creator should have at the forefront of their mind: the importance of multiple revenue streams.

Here’s why you shouldn’t rely solely on YouTube for your creative business.

YouTube could disappear tomorrow

It’s unlikely, sure. But you don’t own YouTube; you have no idea what’s going on in the board room, or what Google’s plans are for the platform.

It could disappear, change significantly, or be hit by a catastrophic cyberattack. And if it’s your main source of revenue, you’ll be left in quite a deep hole when one of those events take place.

For some people yesterday, that processing issue will have been a big problem. Sponsorship deadlines could have been missed, embargo releases ruined, or vital announcements muted. All of those scenarios are capable of directly impacting cash flow, partnerships, and brand image.

Relying on one platform is a fool’s game. You need to take control of your brand by spreading its wings as far as possible.

Finding multiple streams isn’t difficult

This is the best part about being a content creator: the world really is your oyster.

My revenue streams look something like this:

  • YouTube
  • Medium
  • Affiliates
  • Sponsorships
  • Patreon
  • Online courses
  • Consultancy
  • Website AdSense

They’re all vastly different in terms of value and profitability, but they can all work independently of one another – and that’s what matters.

If Medium vanishes tomorrow, I still have the others to rely on. If a sponsor decides to drop their relationship with me, I have other forms of revenue to fall back on and maximise to make up for the shortfall.

It takes time to find these multiple streams and build them to a point where they’re self-sustaining and growing. Indeed, I’ve got a long way to go with some of the above – but making a start on all of them was super easy. There was no cost involved other than my time, and their gradual growth has been down to my consistency.

Your influence will spread wider

My YouTube audience sits at just below 60,000 subscribers, but my active monthly audience is over 100,000 people – and growing, fast.

How do I get to this number? The equation looks something like this:

YouTube subscribers + Medium followers + newsletter subscribers + podcast audience + website visitors + Skillshare followers = total active audience

Neat, right? And if the worst happens and one of those audiences is removed through no fault of my own, I still have those that remain.

Now, imagine if the equation looked like this:

YouTube subscribers = total active audience

That suddenly feels rather perilous, doesn’t it?

The more platforms you’re on, the wider your influence spreads. This is important for two reasons:

  • more people will discover you and grow to like, trust, and rely on you; and
  • you won’t be reliant on one audience.

Just a quick note: the most important element of that equation above is my newsletter subscribers. It’s the one audience I own and over which I have ultimate control. If you’re going to focus the bulk of your efforts anywhere – do it there.

You’ll maximise your earning potential

You’ll be able to scale your earning potential as an independent creator far quicker if you’re not relying solely on YouTube.

Every part of the equation noted above is capable of highly scalable passive income. It takes a lot of work, dedication, and consistency, but the power of multiple income streams like those above is impossible to underestimate.

If you’re getting into this game seriously, I assume you want to make a very good living out of it and work to a point where you have financial freedom. You can’t do that with YouTube alone.

You won’t fall into a rut

Creating videos on YouTube is a wonderful thing – I love it, deeply. But I couldn’t make videos and nothing else for the rest of my life. It’d get boring, and I’d inevitably fall into a creative rut.

That’s why I write these blog posts and record the podcast with Rob. It’s also why I experiment with different video formats, such as my weekly newsletter videos, and educational content.

Spreading your creative process across a variety of platforms and formats will keep your mind fresh, your motivation levels high, and help you build an enviable skill set.

Final thought

It’s easy to get lost in one platform and think that it’s your only route to find and retain an audience. But the opposite is true.

YouTube isn’t infallible. As demonstrated this week, they have problems like the rest of us; no amount of vast technical infrastructure, resources, or engineering talent can prevent outages that impact the user base.

There’s nothing you can do about it, either. If YouTube dies momentarily or permanently, you have to find another solution. The good news is that if you follow my tips above, you’ll find multiple solutions that extend your reach and earning potential further than you ever thought possible.

Learn How to Edit Videos Like Me!

My latest Skillshare class, Video editing basics in Final Cut Pro X (for YouTube success!) is live and free to try:

Learn how to edit a successful YouTube video