Tech YouTuber Reveals How He Made $1 Million a Year
Making a million dollars is undoubtedly a dream for the vast majority of people, but with a solid plan and the drive to put in the necessary effort, the odds of achieving such a feat can only get better over time.
This is exactly what software engineer Patrick Shyu accomplished after leaving his jobs at Google and Facebook to focus on his YouTube channel, which has grown to more than half a million subscribers.
Shyu, better known as TechLead, explained how he made $1 million in a new video, which opens with him joking that he made all of it while sipping coffee in his toolshed.
“Something interesting happened to me recently. My income has surpassed a million dollars this year,” he said. “I’ve just been sitting around here in this toolshed drinking my coffee while you’ve been prancing around in a business suit, your Banana Republic clothing, driving your Jaguar cars, acting all self-important.”
According to Shyu, he managed to generate the amount from two primary sources of income: (1) YouTube, which he now considers his main job, and (2) Facebook, his “side hustle gig” where he used to work as a staff software engineer.
At Facebook, Shyu made more than $500,000, which consists of a $220,000 base income, a 20% bonus, and equity.
Meanwhile, as a YouTuber, Shyu made “an equivalent amount or more,” which consists of $240,000 from ad revenue over a 12-month period and the rest from affiliate sponsorships.
“So when you add up these two income streams, over $500,000 at Facebook and another $500,000 from the YouTube stuff, it’s like a million-dollar income per year,” he said.
The reality is, however, that both jobs forced Shyu to render 80-hour workweeks, which effectively included Sundays.
“I was working morning to night, like 8 a.m. to midnight, every single day plus Sundays, [which] I’ll have to devote to filming YouTube stuff.”
Shyu acknowledged that not everybody may want to follow in his footsteps, but having a second job will likely boost one’s income.
“You can pick up contracting on the side, you could do some consulting, you can even drive Uber cars [and] maybe get paid $30 an hour.”
Shyu also suggested rooming with other people to cut down on rent costs, if one has decided to ditch their house or apartment. He still has his own place though, which costs him $4,000 a month.
“One key thing here was for me to pick up a second job and to just put a bunch of time into this stuff. I did not personally see this as something that was sustainable for a long term,” he said.
“It was more of a short-term burst and just see how far that could go. And if it really did turn out well, then I could always find ways to optimize that, streamline things, automate it, maybe get some help, hire people and that could make it more sustainable over the long term.”
Shyu also stressed the importance of taking advantage of occasional bursts of inspiration and motivation. To him, this would be the best time to hustle.
“Maybe you see a business idea, you see some opportunity, and that’s when it’s time to hustle for a few months,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to last that long, you can see where that takes you. And during that burst of time, you may be able to generate a lot of income. Maybe work hard one or two years, get a lot of money that way and then go back to doing what you were normally doing.”
Ironically, the pursuit of more income takes a huge amount of one’s time, disabling the individual from enjoying it in the first place.
“The funny thing about generating this amount of money/income is that you don’t actually have time to enjoy it,” Shyu said. “I was pretty much working all the time. I had given up games, movies, the time I spend with my family.”
The YouTuber pointed out that he still tries to make time for his family, having dinner with them every night.
“But even still, since I had to give up Sundays, the weekends would be halved for me,” he said. “I just viewed that as me having a six-day workweek, whereas normal people have a five-day workweek. It’s just the way I thought about this for myself.”
Shyu concluded the video by emphasizing the importance of establishing a business.
“When you work in an income [-based] job, salary is capped. Even after a decade of working in the industry and climbing that career ladder, there’s still always going to be someone who’s going to say, ‘There’s somebody else willing to do your job cheaper, so we’re just going to hire that other guy instead.’ Your salary is capped that way.
“When you work for yourself though, there’s nobody there to cap your salary. You can generate as much revenue as you want.”