Gameplanning the Road to 10k MRR
Making money as a content creator ain't easy. Sure, every one in a million "makes it" off their first three videos (looking at you Michael Reeves), but the chances that this happens to you are slim to none.
For some perspective, I only make $600 a month on advertisements for the 82 total videos I have in my YouTube library. Of course, I make money through other ways such as selling premium courses, but as you can see, even with 100k+ subscribers and a growing YouTube channel, making something like 10k MRR is no walk in the park.
Even though it's an seemingly unconquerable hurdle to get over, I do believe it's possible with smart planning, consistency, and discipline. So what's my plan to get there within the year of 2023? The first answer is: consistency.
If I were to rate myself in this department, I'd give myself a fat 1/10.
Look at the last time I posted on either YouTube or Chris Courses and you'd see that it's over three months ago. Why haven't I posted in so long? Well at the time, I just didn't have much direction nor desire to take things further in life. But recently, things changed, and seemingly out of nowhere I found my inner fire—the same one that burns deep and motivates me to do great things in life.
Consistency obviously helps boost your channel with the YouTube algorithm, but I think the most important thing to recognize is that consistency drives respect with viewers. People aren't going to want to keep up with your channel unless they respect you. That's just the way it works. Think about who you'd respect more: the person who shows up every week and posts a video when they said they would or the person who posts sporadically and never actually meets any deadlines.
Realistically, I'm the second person at the moment, but I'm a firm believer that your past doesn't define you. With consistency, the goal is to get at least one high quality video out each week on YouTube, it's as simple as that.
Credibility is another great way to gain viewer respect, though typically, it comes from past achievements. I already have a bit of credibility now that I have 100k subscribers, but still, I feel like this is a place I can improve. Some of the first thoughts that come to mind for improving my credibility include:
- Obtain a masters degree in computer science at a good school
- Become a part-time professor at a good school
- Release a popular video game to an app store like Steam
- Get a job at a well-renowned tech company like Google
I think every one of these is realistic, but the most approachable and interesting to me are getting a masters degree and releasing a popular video game to an app store.
I've already taken a great first step towards getting my masters by applying to NYU's Tandon Bridge program which acts as a "bridge" for non-computer science majors looking to gain entry to computer science masters program. I have a bachelor of arts from the University of Tampa, so this seemed like a great first step for me to get some official schooling in the field. I already know many computer science related topics since I've been a professional web developer job for the past eight or nine years, but looking at their curriculum, there's plenty of topics I've never bothered to look at which I think will be very helpful towards my overall success.
In addition to the bridge program, I'd like to create my own indie game and release it to the world to play. I know I have it in me, I just have to sit down and actually do the dang thing. The steps to complete this goal will focus on obtaining knowledge, sharing updates, and posting about it via blog and video posts to the world.
All this talk is great, but it means nothing if it isn't backed up by well-defined steps and action. By combining consistency with credibility, I have no doubt that I'll reach my goal of making $10,000 a month through my own business.
Here's how I'm going to do it:
- Release one video per week on YouTube (every Tuesday at 7:00pm)
- Finish my library of premium courses on chriscourses.com
- Tower Defense
- Build and release video game to steam
- Blog and teach entire journey
- Obtain masters degree in comp. sci.
These serve as a more general idea of how I can get from point A to point B, but I'll need to be even more specific if I want any chance at success.
First, I need a list of ideas for future YouTube videos:
- Three.js game
- Remake awesome Three.js websites
- Online multiplayer game
- Personal development goal updates
- How get JS games on the app store
- How to monetize JS games
- How to fix a terrible landing page design
- How to create the firewatch landing page
Could use some refinement, but not a terrible first list.
Now, to choose the video I'd like to release by Tuesday at 7:00pm... which'll be the "Three.js game." Pretty obvious choice for me since my audience responds best to games and Three.js.
That takes care of the first week for YouTube videos, but I also need to finish my library of premium courses. I think it's best not to rush these, but action still needs to happen consistently. Therefore, I think three lessons per week is a good initial pace until the course reaches completion. So why not make the deadline no other than every Tuesday at 7:00pm?
This should be more than enough time for both YouTube and the premium courses, really it just comes down to putting in the work and actually getting things done.
This'll help build consistency, show that I'm still active, and build some new courses to release in the process. I believe the growth from YouTube and Chris Courses will equate to a $500-1,000 per month increase after being consistent for a minimum of two months, but we shall have to wait and see the actual results. Bumping up from my current MRR of $2500 to $3500 would be quite huge for me, and once I get all my courses up and running, then I can focus on more credibility building by working on my own game for release.
Anyways, with the main goals in mind, let's get after the next steps:
- Release a "Three.js Game" video to YouTube by Tuesday, March 17, 2023 @7:00pm
- Release three Premium Pacman lessons to Chris Courses March 17, 2023 @7:00pm
Update: March 16, 2023
So how did things go with my last two goals of releasing four videos?
I didn't release a single one (classic). Similar to when I failed with one of my previous post's goals, I think it's best to analyze what went wrong so I can make changes and succeed more often.
One thing I noticed when attempting to record these videos was that I was anxious. I didn't have all of my recording gear, the audio was terrible, and I just thought to myself, "This isn't even worth it if it's just going to sound like garbage." To some degree, I agree with this sentiment, but it doesn't make me feel any better knowing that I completely missed the mark.
I think an important lesson to take away from this is to prepare at least a week in advance to setup your recording environment or whatever it may be for you to succeed in your goal. Trying to do everything all at once was incredibly stressful to the point I just felt paralyzed and didn't do anything.
As of yesterday, I've successfully set up the most important aspects of my studio, so I don't think that'll be much of an issue now, but still, the sentiment of giving youself enough time to setup for success is something I want to continuously keep in mind.
The second issue I had was biting off more than I could chew. I went to 7/11, took the fattest beef jerky stick I could find, and only finished a nibble. Four videos is a lot... just thinking about the amount of work required for these videos to be "good" stresses me out. Rather than four videos per week, I think one is much more feasible. I'm going to change my prior goal to one singular video per week with the option to do bonus videos for premium courses if desired.
I'm also going to be listing out the main process I have for YouTube tutorials so I can take each piece one step at a time:
- Develop end product
- Write blog posts on confusing topics
- Record first 10 minutes (repeat as needed)
- Edit video
Getting the end product developed while writing some short blog posts has to be the most important since the better my understanding of the end-product, the better the lectures come out (makes sense right).
Therefore, end product needs to be finished tomorrow, no exceptions (Friday latest).
Feeling much better about things this time around, so let's see how things go for Tuesday's release (will post video here as proof).
Update: March 23, 2023
I'm pretty dedicated to keeping up with this blog no matter if progress is lacking. I think recording my process on what works and what doesn't is an integral part of the journey towards reaching my goals.
Although I didn't complete my video, I made some really great strides. I developed the end product, created a course related powerpoint, finished over an hour worth of fully edited video (four completed lessons), and only have about three lessons left before completing the full thing.
Reflecting on this week's experience, I think I need at least two weeks if I'm going to do a full game tutorial from beginning to end. It's a massive amount of work that requires the utmost attention to detail and preparation. I'd still love to keep my goal of one video per week however. The only way that's going to happen is if I replace one video per week with a short, or if I change the video format for some weeks so I only require one actual week of work instead of two.
For now, the focus is on this one video and nothing else.
Goal: Release a video to YouTube by March 28
Update: April 9, 2023
Hey wow, I actually achieved this goal with the release of my Three.js Game Tutorial on the 28th of March:
It didn't turn out to be my best video stats-wise, but I'm still very proud with how much I learned and how much effort I put into creating this along the way.
Along with the video, I wrote a few blog posts (self-written, no ChatGPT), that helped me better understand 3D topics I struggled with prior to making the video. The main article detailed out how to use the different kinds of materials Three.js provides to get the exact look you want in your scene.
This took about 3-5 hours to learn, write, and revise in total.
How the posts are doing from a view perspective, I have no idea, and honestly, I don't really care, I'm just very happy with how well I've been able to retain the knowledge I gathered since writing the posts.
Either way, I can check off the following goal that I mentioned earlier in regards to what video topics I'd like to post about:
- Three.js game ✅
Relating back to the consistency issue, yeah, it's still not great, haven't produced a new video since that release two weeks ago, so I need to get back on track. I don't have any travel obligations until about a month or two from now, so this is the perfect time to put my skills and discipline to the test and see if I can keep a consistent schedule going.
Next I'm going to release a video that's a bit different, one that teaches viewers how to make their site instantly look better from a design perspective. Few people know, but I work as a senior frontend engineer who is also responsible for the company's UI / UX design. I have quite a few helpful tips that are super easy to implement that I think many people will benefit from. I plan on reviewing some of Thomas Frank's videos to see how he makes simple tutorials interesting, then I plan on getting this thing out the door next week Tuesday.
Less talking, let's go get it, starting now.