How Erika Kullberg Grows and Monetizes Her YouTube Channel


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Erika Kullberg now has more than two million subscribers on YouTube and over 21 million followers across her social media accounts — but five years ago, she started off at zero subscribers, just like all new YouTube creators.

Kullberg makes personal finance videos for YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, with content focused on helping people get what they’re owed and sharing personal finance anecdotes from her own life, like why she quit a $250,000 job in corporate law.

She says of all the platforms she posts on, she makes the most money from YouTube.

Kullberg has made more than $353,000 from YouTube in the past five years, not including brand sponsorships and before taxes.

Credit: Erika Kullberg

It took her about three months of posting one YouTube video per week to get her first thousand subscribers and qualify for monetization. That’s pretty fast: For reference, data on the VidIQ channel shows that it takes about 15.5 months on average for YouTubers to get monetized.

Related: Here’s How Much Popular Influencer Erika Kullberg Makes

Kullberg shared the secrets behind her YouTube channel’s fast track to growth in an interview with Entrepreneur.

Entrepreneur: Was there a mindset or anything you did strategically to help your channel stand out and get monetized?

Kullberg: When I first started YouTube, I committed to putting out one video per week for one year no matter what. Because what I see a lot of times for YouTube is people put out five videos and then they’re so discouraged that they’re not magically at a thousand subscribers after five videos that they just give up. So 52 videos. That was a big mindset thing.

Another thing that I did was study and analyze YouTube channels before I launched my own. I realized the importance of getting the right thumbnail and getting the right title. It also has to be a topic that you’re super passionate about.

It took me three months to hit a thousand subscribers and that was after putting in one video per week. For each video, I was spending 15 to 20 hours.

How could someone find a YouTube niche that can rapidly grow? Are there any tools or research tactics you’d recommend as they scope out the field?

For the niche, I’d say don’t base your content on what has the chance to rapidly grow. Base it off of what you’re passionate about. I do think a good metric to understand how large the potential market is seeing how large the biggest people in that niche are… that will give you a rough sense of how big the niche is.

And then if you’re specifically thinking about how to build money through YouTube, how to use it to either supplement your current income or eventually replace your income, I’d also be thinking about how profitable that niche could be, not just in YouTube ad revenue, which is one way to earn money, but in other opportunities too. Could you become an affiliate marketer?

If you’re a gardening channel, then you could promote gardening supplies and maybe earn a commission off of that. That’s affiliate marketing. So, thinking two steps ahead of what is the potential for me to not only grow this channel and get subscribers, but to make money.

Related: ‘Pay Off My Debt’ TikToker on Money Made, iCarly Inspiration

The YouTube search bar is your best tool. There are paid tools that YouTubers use. The three paid tools that come to mind are TubeBuddy, VidIQ, and then

What kind of preparation did you do before you posted your first video?

I analyzed what other videos were doing. One of the exercises I would recommend everyone do is to go find the people who are talking about the same thing that you want to talk to.

List them out and then go to their YouTube videos and sort by popular videos. That starts to give you an idea of what kind of viral topics there are in your videos.

At the point you’re at now, how do you make sure your channel keeps growing?

For me, I think naturally if you keep putting out content, it will keep growing. It may not always grow at the same pace. Like, for instance, in the personal finance space, if you want to get the most views, you need to talk about things that are trending and stay on top of the trendy topics.

But I’ve kind of shifted to a different direction with my channel, so I create content that I’m interested in talking about instead.

Related: Harnessing the Power of YouTube SEO — How to Rank Your Videos Higher and Gain More Subscribers

How do you balance YouTube and other ventures, like your legal tech startup Plug and Law?

Once you start making money for YouTube, you can figure out what you are uniquely positioned to do, and then what you can hire out.

So when I first started YouTube, I was practicing as a lawyer full-time, and doing YouTube as my side hobby for 20 hours a week on top of that.

Credit: Erika Kullberg

I edited the first video myself and it took me 20 hours to learn how to edit. And then another 10 hours to edit that video. So then I hired an editor.

As I started to earn some income from YouTube, I was able to hire out different parts of it. So I was able to hire a person who designs thumbnails. I learned how to hire and delegate tasks. I have many people on my team now who help me, but it didn’t start that way.

You used to work in corporate law. What advice do you have for someone thinking about a career change?

Make sure you have enough money to do it. If you’re thinking about leaving or changing your career or quitting to become an entrepreneur, start saving up.

If you can start exploring your side hobby on the weekends, hopefully, that side hobby, as soon as it starts generating income regularly, can become your main thing and you can quit your job.

Do you ever regret leaving that corporate life behind?

I’ve never once regretted leaving the corporate world behind.

I became a lawyer because I wanted to help people, and I wanted to make a difference. But being a corporate lawyer didn’t fulfill that for me, and I didn’t love having my time dictated and controlled by a boss. I feel very, very lucky and I never regret taking the leap to be here. Leave behind the corporate life and the fancy paycheck.

Credit: Erika Kullberg

Do you have any other advice for entrepreneurs who want to start and grow a YouTube channel?

I’d say be clear on your mission, understand the monetization route, understand that results are not going to be fast, it is probably going to take you twice as long to get to whatever subscriber count you’re hoping for, and so be patient and understand that it’s a lot of work.

To give context, I forget the exact numbers, but it took me three months to hit a thousand subscribers, it took me another three months to hit 2,000, and then in a month, between months five and six, I went from 2,000 to 52,000 subscribers, roughly, and made $20,000 that month from YouTube.

That was a combination of YouTube, ad revenue, affiliates, and sponsorships. So, you’re just one video away from changing the trajectory of your future. Be patient and don’t give up.

This interview has been cut and edited for clarity.


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