By: Heather Keys
Do you want to travel the world, but you don’t have enough money to make the jump?
It might feel like an unreachable dream, but it may be easier to achieve than you think!
Monetizing your videos is a fantastic way to earn extra income—if you’re a creative person and are willing to invest a bit of time and focus, you can find a great deal of success here.
Let’s look at a few ways that you can easily create videos across multiple platforms and earn enough money to travel the world.
Find a Niche
You may have thought about becoming an influencer—or at least that’s what we usually picture when we think about traveling and living off of income earned from social media. But on platforms saturated with content, how do you stand out? And how do you even get started?
There are some very fun ways to turn your digital presence into a job you love, and you don’t need to be a typical influencer to do it!
If you have some niche interests, you can develop a good following and reach people more easily than if you had a more general approach, or a scattered one.
Let’s say you love hiking. There are so many topics you can get into here, even if it’s a broad subject to start! A few things you could do:
- Film hikes along trails in specific destinations
- Discuss routes for hikers of different skill levels
- Share your advice for planning a hiking trip with friends
- Highlight clothing and gear that you rely on while hiking
Focusing on a particular interest will help you gain subscribers who want to be entertained, educated, and inspired. And continuing to share your knowledge and passions with the world will help you build a loyal and engaged audience. These are the people who will purchase products you recommend, or click on ads that you post.
Use the Right Platforms
If you’re a bit new to creating videos, it’s super easy to get started on the technical side. You don’t need a ton of expensive equipment—just a phone. And how you create and share your videos depends on the platforms that work best for you. Let’s have a quick look at how YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok can help you, and how they differ from one another:
YouTube: YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, so it’s a wonderful place to post longer videos, and more polished ones. The algorithm also makes it so your videos can be found any time, even years later—not for short, disappearing periods of time. It also has the largest audience of these three platforms, so you can build your own luck by creating niche content, because people of every demographic and interest possible are using YouTube!
Instagram: Instagram is fantastic if you want to have a mix of photos and shorter videos—though the platform lends itself to video more than still photos lately. Most Instagram users are Millennials and Gen Z, and over a billion people use the platform each month. That’s a lot of opportunity! Upload photos, post reels (these stay on your account indefinitely), and share stories (these disappear after 24 hours, unless they’re saved as highlights). If you have a particular aesthetic you’re going for, and if you want to share lots of shorter videos, Instagram is a great place to do it.
TikTok: This is a great platform if you’re trying to reach younger audiences through short, fun videos. You do need to produce a lot of content though, and Tiktok trends change way faster than the other two platforms above—if you’re more interested in viral trends and snippets of content rather than going into lots of detail, this may be exactly the right place!
Use Great Photos and Videos from Different Sources
You don’t have to immediately start taking videos on your phone, especially as you get started and need to develop a library of content—get creative with it!
Let’s follow the hiking thread: do you have photos or video clips you can share from previous hikes in a highlight reel? Do you have local hikes you can go on near you, or even weekend trips you can take to places a bit further afield?
Don’t be afraid to use stock photos and videos as well as you get started—there are a lot of resources for finding these, though I love using Canva and Pexels for both. Remember: stock photos and videos exist for sharing and marketing!
Just make sure that you understand the ins and outs of what you’re allowed to use for monetized videos—for example, you definitely shouldn’t just Google photos of hiking trails and use what you find there. Sites like Pexels allow you to use stock photos and videos for free, for commercial purposes (read the overview here). And Canva is a wonderful resource not only for finding great photos, but also designing them into marketing materials and videos to use for your channels.
Monetization Rules on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok
YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok all have built-in ways for you to earn money from your videos. Let’s look at each before getting into other ways to earn income.
(As a quick note, you won’t make money overnight. You will need to put some work into developing a solid following on whatever platforms you choose to work with, and have a plan and schedule for developing and releasing new videos regularly to keep your channels fresh and interesting.)
YouTube Monetization Rules
The YouTube Partner Program is the main method to monetize your videos. To qualify for this program you need to have at least 4,000 watch hours on your channel over the past year, at least 1,000 subscribers to your channel, link an AdSense account to your channel, and have no active Community Guidelines strikes against you.
Instagram Monetization Rules
Instagram’s monetization policy is relatively straightforward: you must follow the community guidelines and partner monetization policies—which have restrictions on the types of content that can be monetized (for example, you can’t monetize static videos, text montages, or slideshows), and requirements for numbers of followers and types of engagement.
TikTok Monetization Rules
To monetize your TikTok account, you must have a minimum of 10,000 followers, your videos must have at least 100,000 views within the past 30 days, you must follow the community guidelines, be 18 or older, and be based in a participating country.
The Best Ways to Monetize Your Videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s look at the real question you came to ask: how exactly do you get started making money from video content?
Enable Ads on Your Videos
This is available on YouTube and is one of the most popular ways to monetize your videos—apply to the YouTube Partner Program, and once you’ve been accepted, you can turn on ads for whatever videos you’d like on your channel. You can also choose which types of ads run on your videos—for example, you can enable bumper ads that play ahead of your video, or longer in-stream ads that play before or during your video.
Work with Other Brands to Sponsor Your Videos
Brands want individuals to vouch for them—it’s a better way to connect with shoppers than traditional ads. As you develop your personal brand and niche (as well as a solid following and engagement), make a list of the types of companies you want to reach out to to work with. Let them know you’re open to sponsorships, and keep your eye open for ones that come to you.
Join Affiliate Programs
This is a more passive opportunity than sponsorships, but can be lucrative if you have a lot of subscribers and followers, and if you have lots of new videos you’re creating on the regular. Rather than selling a specific product that a brand has asked you to review or share, affiliate programs let you add links or coupon codes to your content so that when a person makes a purchase, you receive a percentage or referral fee. See this article for recommendations on which affiliate programs to get started with.
Set Up a Patreon or Other Sponsorship Program
If you have lots of followers (and loyal ones at that), then joining a platform like Patreon could be an excellent way to earn extra income that’ll help fund your travels. Patrons can subscribe for additional content, merchandise, early access to new videos and other content, and more. Read about how to get started on Patreon.
When you enable subscriptions on Instagram, followers can pay a monthly fee to access supporter-exclusive content on your feed, including stories, badges, posts, reels, and more. This feature isn’t available to all creators yet—read about subscriptions on Instagram here.
You can also earn money from YouTube channel membership, which offers a tiered subscription option that you can set low, medium, or high pricing for, and that comes with perks for your subscribers. Perks can include exclusive live streams, live chat, and much more, as long as it’s exclusive to your members. Read this guide to YouTube channel membership.
Become Part of the TikTok Creator Fund
If you have a large following on TikTok, then you may want to join the Creator Fund, which is basically a pool of money that’s distributed to high-engagement content creators each month. Depending on your posting, reach, and engagement, each month you’re paid from the fund, with no upper limit to what you can earn. Read about the TikTok Creator Fund here.
We hope this guide helped you with laying the basic groundwork for monetizing your videos so you can travel the world—if you have recommendations and tips for other creators and travelers, join the Frayed Passport community and get the conversation started!
About the Author
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Heather is a writer who loves her two kitty cats, collecting books faster than she can read them, and of course—travel!