In this article I wish to discuss the options I am exploring with regard to increasing my revenue from video related activities as I travel the world. My original plan of relying on an increase in youtube adsense income, due to increased video turnout, has not come to fruition. So to keep the travel show on the road, I have to explore other options.
I’ve written a few of these articles now, both on overlander.tv and other travel sites, where I give people advice on how I manage to travel and make money.
It’s funny but whenever I decide to write these articles, I always get chastised by my mother! She can’t understand why, with all the hard work and trial and error I’ve gone through to establish a career in the precarious arena of independent filmmaking, I would want to share my hard won secrets!
But for me, the sites I value the most in my own research, are those that cut the bullshit and are completely honest in their articles. I’d like to mention two that I regularly check up on, will video for food is the best resource for information on the changes in the online video landscape and nerdy nomad offers a great insight into how to make money online as you travel.
“and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can, and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use . . . silence, exile, and cunning.”
James Joyce, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
So here goes, some brainstorming on the possible directions I may consider in order to keep the overlander boat floating merrily on the seven seas.
- 1. Set up a 2nd youtube channel to increase adsense revenue. Tourism bodies around the world pay big money to promote their countries to the world. Unfortunately many of these campaigns get lost in the pure mass of video being released ever day. My idea is to set up one youtube channel that features all the tourism videos from around the world. The idea being to give viewers one location to see what the world has to offer. In theory it is a great idea, but in practise a little more difficult. Recent changes on youtube has reduced adsense revenue and written copyright permission must be gained from each country. I will persevere with the idea, but it is a slow riping fruit, so will explore quicker money making options first.
2. Set up a charity or cyber beg. Many film projects have gotten off the ground from funds raised on cyber begging sites like kick-starter and indiegogo. And many a ‘charity’ has raised funds for some worthy cause by traveling the world. Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with both concepts. Why the hell should anyone give money to help me travel the world. What do they get out of it? And if I did feel the need to raise money for some cause, why the need to travel the world to do it. Why not just raised funds at home? BUT maybe I need to forgo my uneasy feeling about raising funds with cyber begging sites and explore this option!
3. Sell Stock Footage I have a video production friend from New Zealand who makes a nice little side income by selling stock footage on sites like artbeats, alwayshd and footagebank. I’ve avoided this one, it involves shooting video in a way different from my current style (i.e. no handheld footage) Another longterm money earner that I would prefer to not have to do. It would mean changing my whole shooting style.
4. Sell dvd’s on amazon with createspace. As an Australian, the only way to get access to the American masses who use Amazon, is to set up an account with createspace but they take a hell of a cut. This is an option also used with success by my New Zealand mate. An option worth trying OR I could explore throwing money into online advertising to direct more traffic to my video downloads on my own website, thus keeping all profits for myself.
5. Produce video business profiles while travelling One of my main sources of income in Australia involved producing business video profiles. Without a work visa, I can’t offer a service in many of the countries I visit. But there is no reason I can’t sell a product online in these countries. This product could be charging a business to list on my website and youtube channel. And if that does involve filming at the business, this ‘service’ could be offered free. The benefit for business is they get high search ranking in google for their video because of my channel’s following and my SEO knowledge.
This option is a quick way to make money BUT requires time to market to business and more video production on top of the growing pile of videos I’m yet to complete. It is also less lucrative overseas than in Australia given currency and wage differences.
* 6. Branded Content, business ads. I could sell 30 second slots in my videos whereby as with the video business profile idea, business only pay for the listing, not the service. This would be an easy idea to implement, but may not always be easy given the nature of my content. My videos are not straight out tourism profiles of an area, and it doesn’t interest me to do ‘bog standard’ tourism videos.
* 7. Approach television for travel program funding. Despite my belief that online video is the future, television is still where the money is. I could approach Australian stations ABC and SBS or the travel channel with a travel show concept. This would most likely mean not being able to continue to broadcast footage on youtube and may involve some ‘pigeonholing’ of format. Worth exploring but not feasible as a one man operation. Television likes big crews, particularly the Australian funding bodies which would be involved in the deal.
* 8. Set up a global video business profile network. This is the idea I like the most. Because basically it involves me using my expertise in business profile video production, to help other producers around the world make money. I’ve already explored this idea with a Malaysian video producer, and have other video production friends around the world keen to be involved. I believe I have cracked the code on what works with regard to online video business profiles and I have devised a system that will allow any producer to copy this format. The benefit for business is they also know from the output what type of video they will end up with. Bookings would be made through a single website, prices would be determined on a country by country basis, in agreement with the local producers, and a 20% fee would be added to help maintain the website and cover marketing costs. This concept has already been explored in America, but not in a way that producers name their price. With my concept, everyone wins out.
Looking through the long list of possibilities, the options I have decided to explore RIGHT NOW are; the branded content idea, whereby business can feature a 30 second ad both in my videos and on my channel, and the global business profile video network. I like both these ideas because once they are set up, sales can be done online, I don’t have to do much extra work and they both represent good opportunities for future growth as they become more widely known. The 2nd option also gives me the opportunity to meet other producers as I travel, as happened in Ipoh.
So there you go, all my ideas laid out on the table!
One may ask why give away your secrets, with the chance others could copy them!
Well I have a belief that a lot of the problems in the world are due to a fear of scarcity of resources. That fear leads to people being greedy, hoarding things for themselves.
Now maybe there are too many people in the world, or maybe there are too many at the top of the tree not willing to share the fat around. Whatever the true story, I don’t want to play that fear game, I’m not going to make my life miserable now, to hoard for an unknown future, for who really knows which of us will even make ‘old bones’!
So for video producers, young or old, who also have a desire to travel, feel free to borrow, modify and test any original ideas you get from my own experimentation with exploring ways to make money with video. And if you do have great success, send me a note, love to hear how it all goes.
Mark Shea is a Travel Video Producer with 20 years experience, producing some of the first online documentaries for the ABC. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and traveling two years full time as one of youtube’s first travel vloggers. He is currently setting up two courses relating to travel and business profile video production. For more information visit http://www.overlander.tv/courses/