Today, it's Simon, a reader from Zürich, who shares with us his Swiss side job. He started his first online side-hustle on YouTube while studying. Now it brings in more than his full time job as an airline pilot! — around 3-4x as much currently 😱
When I first received his email, and skimmed his YouTube channel, I was like: "Yeah, cool story bro, but no thanks. I don't like myself people showcasing the tools that bring the most affiliate revenues like Bluehost. So I won't showcase your story on my blog."
A few months afterwards, I stumbled upon one of his videos. Then, I took the time to watch it in full. And I felt a real authenticity in his review. I realized that he was earlier than I am in his journey, and that for his needs, what he recommended was my own choice for other projects years ago.
"Only fools don't change their minds" as the saying goes :)
So let's see what we can learn from his experience in order to generate additional income in Switzerland ourselves too!
MP: Salut Simon! Welcome and thanks for agreeing to participate in this interview. Can you introduce yourself in two or three sentences: demographics, single or family, location?
Simon: Ciao MP :) Thank you for inviting me! I'm currently 27 years old (almost 28). No family yet, but I have a wonderful girlfriend, whom I spend a lot of time with. And I live in Wallisellen, ZH.
MP: Thanks for the intro. Then, explain to us: what does your side gig consist of, concretely?
Simon: It's basically my YouTube channel(s) (Metics Media & Collection Crypto). I uploaded my first video in March 2018. Back then, it didn't make me much money.
But I quickly realized that YouTube videos can stay relevant for years. This means that once a video is uploaded, and indexed in the search results, it can generate passive income for months and years to come. I still earn today from videos that I made over 2 years ago.
The revenue comes mainly from YouTube ad revenue, and affiliate commissions.
I mainly create reviews, explainer or tutorial videos, which is the perfect kind of content for affiliate marketing. So every time someone uses my affiliate link (aka referral link) in the video description, I will get a commission if this viewer who clicked becomes a customer.
For example: I've created a video on how to set up email marketing automation using the platform getresponse.
When people type in "getresponse" or "getresponse tutorial" in YouTube, my video will come up on top. Then, if people use my link in the video description, and become a paying customer, I'll get a $100 reward.
And below is a screenshot of my getresponse affiliate account: 11 paid accounts so far in September, so $1100 in affiliate commissions. Pending earnings is higher because I have to wait like 3 months until the commissions are paid out via PayPal.
MP: Nice! I'm not going to surprise you with my following question, since we're here to talk about money (!): how many Swiss francs do you make per month since you started? Has it changed over the years? And will it continue to increase in the future?
Simon: No, I'm not surprised haha! When I started I wasn't making any money from ad revenue, because you need at least 1'000 subscribers and 4'000 hours of watchtime in a 12 months period in order to apply for the YouTube Partner Program. However, I was making some commissions with affiliate links, maybe a couple of hundred Swiss francs per month.
When I reached the requirements and got accepted for the YouTube Partner Program, I made 90 Swiss francs my first month (February 2019). In August 2021, that same channel made a bit over CHF 10'000 from YouTube ad revenue. Next to ad revenue, it also generated roughly CHF 8'000 Swiss francs from affiliate commissions.
So currently, I make around CHF 18'000 from my main channel, and roughly another CHF 3'000 from my new channel that I've started in March 2021. So currently around CHF 21'000 per month from my online business overall, about 50% from ad revenue and 50% from affiliate commissions.
So yes, it did change a lot over the years, and it definitely has potential to go a lot higher if I put in the work.
MP: That's for a freakin serious side gig you got here! Congratulations!
Can you describe when in your life you first had the idea of becoming a YouTuber? And how did it come to you? And also why (need for more cash, need to do something else than your actual job, other)?
Simon: I was studying to get my Bachelor in aviation, and become a pilot. I wanted to work and make some money on the side, but I could find a job right away. So I started looking for online jobs, and ideas on how to make money online.
The first thing that has worked was building up Instagram theme pages, and monetizing them either by selling promo posts, or selling the entire account. So I would just start Instagram accounts and reposted viral content in different niches like travel, fitness, luxury, cars, etc.
Depending on how many followers the accounts had, I asked for $30-$100 USD per promo post. And I sold accounts that had 30k-500k followers for $200-$3500 USD per account. My income was fluctuating a lot from month to month. Some months I made $1000 USD and others I made $5000+. My best month during that time was $20'000 USD when I sold some big accounts.
During that time I made some videos for my clients on how they can keep growing the account they have just bought from me.
After a couple of months I realized that I could also make money on YouTube, and that it was a lot more passive than my original Instagram business. At some point I gave up my Instagram business, and started focusing on YouTube only. So I kind of fell into it like that.
MP: So, tell us how you got started, step by step, from the idea to the first time, and especially in parallel with your job?!
Simon: My studies and my job were always my priority. So I've invested my free time to build my business. Luckily, I did have a lot of free time and gaps in between my studies. Even now that I'm working full time theoretically, due to the corona crisis, I wasn't flying for over a year which gave me a lot of time to work on my business.
The cool thing with the kind of content I'm creating on YouTube is that it's pretty much “evergreen". Which means I don't have to stick to a schedule to make sure I don't lose views on my channel. For example, now that I'm flying again since July 2021, I haven't uploaded a single video but my views and revenue stayed the same (and even increased a bit).
MP: And in the future, what are your next steps with this side project (developing it further, stopping because it takes too much time, other)?
Simon: Building an online business definitely opened my eyes to what is possible in entrepreneurship vs. having a regular job. Currently, I'm flying again and my time to work on creating more content is limited. I'm thinking about taking a break from my job to fully focus on my business and see how far I can take it.
MP: Finally, what would you recommend to my readers who maybe hesitate to start their own side gig? And particularly how to start a side hustle on YouTube?
Simon: Building a YouTube channel or any business for that matter takes time. In the beginning you don't see any results. This is the hardest time in my opinion, and it's where most people fail. So you'll have to commit yourself to a certain amount of time where you'll keep going, even if you don't see big results.
I also recommend finding people who are already successful at what you're trying to accomplish. Study them and find patterns. Try to understand why they are successful. Adopt what works and try to make it even better.
Specifically for YouTube: there are many different types of channels having success on YouTube. There's also many different ways on how to monetize a channel. I think it's important to have a plan, execute on it, and then readjust based on the feedback you get. Don't keep doing something that doesn't work, but double down on what's working. That's how I made progress on YouTube and in online business in general.
For those of you who would like to start a YouTube channel, here's a video of mine that might help you. It's basically breaking down my process on how I get videos ranked for YouTube search.
That's quite an incredible story. I mean, 21kCHF/month, that's not even a side hustle anymore!
So if you now hear another parent telling his son/daughter that YouTuber is not a viable business, you can point them on this article :D
I should add, for the younger readers here, that this is true if, and only if, you do so with authenticity and the will to add value to people lives on the long run. This includes not accepting very (very!) interesting monetary proposals from some shady brands. Else it's called BS useless marketing!
Last, I relate a lot with Simon when he says that's in the beginning that most people fail. Because they think short-term instead of long-term. I think that's the most important learning you should take away if you wanna follow a similar path.
Finally, if you too are interested in participating in this series of "How to make extra money on top of my salary through a side hustle in Switzerland?", then please contact me via the following email: contact [at] mustachianpost.com