A long way from its scrappy beginnings in 2005, YouTube is now a platform that launches the careers of internet celebrities.
From the outside it looks pretty easy to become a YouTube star – you only need to film a challenge or vlog, edit it on iMovie, and just like that fame and fortune is coming your way.
But this is a common misconception, and in reality becoming a successful YouTuber is much harder than you would think.
Today he has over eight million subscribers, has appeared in films and television and has even set up his own production company.
Despite having a leg-up thanks to his internet famous sister, Joe admits he was always unsure whether he could turn his channel into a full-time job.
He told UNILAD:
It got to the point where I had around 1.6 million subscribers on my YouTube channel and I was still working five days a week as a roof thatcher.
I was always very sceptical that I could turn it into a job but it just kind of grew and snowballed.
It’s now become a full-time career, but not just YouTube.
There are a lot of other things, other avenues I’ve been able to go down after starting my channel, like publishing and having my own production company, things like that.
As Joe points out, being a YouTuber isn’t all about the channel, as you have to run it as a business in conjunction with other projects.
Mike decided to start a channel to show people how to avoid common gym mistakes but it soon became much bigger than he expected.
Now he runs his channel alongside his online coaching business with the two intertwining.
Mike told UNILAD:
My channel has been really good for advertising and exposure. It has helped get a lot of clients and then with YouTube itself I can make a living out of the revenue from videos.
Right now I have two days assigned to creating content for YouTube but at the rate it is growing I will have to put more time aside for it.
The problem I have is I do a lot of online coaching and because of my Youtube channel getting a lot of views, business and demand for my services has gone up.
Taking on more clients though means I have less time to create content.
Chef Ian Haste runs Haste’s Kitchen on YouTube, a channel he started four years ago in a small kitchen in his home and is now his business.
His channel is only a ‘very small part of the general day and business’ though, and he sees it more like ‘a way of proving that I can present and cook’.
Like Mike, most of Ian’s other work comes through this channel, but he has had to learn many different skills he thought he would never have to in order to succeed.
Ian told UNILAD:
I always say it’s never just working on one platform (YouTube), it’s about all the other parts that help your YouTube channel grow, like running Facebook, your publicist, presenting, Twitter, Instagram, your blog etc.
All of this is the recipe to making something work or fail.
I’ve had to learn to work with the constant change in Google algorithms, present and overcome nerves when cooking in front of thousands at festivals or live shows, film, light, sound and edit in TV quality.
But the hardest part is balancing a working life with two of my children being under five and a wife in the same hectic industry.
For all YouTubers the ability to balance everything is a necessary skill to learn.
For Sammi it’s sometimes hard to live up to the expectations her viewers have of her.
It is something that looks easy from the outside but once you do it for yourself you realise how much time, energy, effort, backbone and willpower you need to have to succeed.
I have had countless nights where I am sat up editing until the early hours because I have certain upload days and times and people expect videos to be up when you’ve promised them.
It puts a strain on my personal life sometimes and maybe I’m just a workaholic. But even during those hard parts in the end I’m doing it because I love my job.
Being a YouTuber means you are always in the public eye and so it can be hard to keep your personal life separate, another challenge these vloggers encounter.
Joe explained to UNILAD:
It’s more psychologically difficult rather than physically.
I could sit there all day and record videos but it’s the psychological side of making sure everything is the best it can be.
When do you switch off? When do you find time for yourself? How much of your life do you put out there? How much do you keep private?
Although it seems like viewers don’t understand how much goes into running a successful channel, YouTuber Caspar Lee believes attitudes are now changing.
Caspar started his channel in 2009 when it was ‘just a hobby’ and now has 7.5 million subscribers.
He explained to UNILAD:
I do think people are realising how difficult it is to run a YouTube channel, otherwise everyone would be doing it professionally.
Sometimes the media or certain people will look at us and what we put out and feel like they could do it – but what they see is just the very tip of the iceberg of the work that goes into making the videos.
It’s obviously a very desirable place to be right now for everyone who wants to get involved in creative content – it’s very competitive.
Everyone I spoke to admitted the question they get asked the most is ‘how do I become a YouTuber?’
Of course this isn’t exactly an easy question to answer, and on top of that it’s not the most reliable job either.
It is a big risk, particularly if you are giving up a reliable job to pursue a YouTube career.
You can’t predict how people will react to your video and so it’s better not to rely on that revenue, putting all your eggs in one basket.
You should do it on the side while working another job and it if does take off then you can start looking at making it a full-time profession.
Of course being a YouTuber is fun and everyone who is one loves their job, but next time you click on a video think about all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes to make it possible.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.