- author: Youri van Hofwegen
From Zero to Making $1 Million: My Internet Journey at 21
In this article, I will share the incredible story of how I went from zero to making my first million dollars on the internet at the young age of 21. It's a journey that took me from living in the Netherlands to now having a luxury Dubai apartment, being able to take trips wherever I want, and enjoying the freedom to do whatever I desire.
Discovering My Passion for Video Making
It all started back in 2014 when I was just 13 years old. As a football fan, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called "Free Kickers" that featured videos about football. Intrigued by their success in gaining millions of views, I became determined to get into their top five goals of the week series. This required me to film myself scoring impressive goals on the football pitch. Little did I know that this would ignite my passion for video making.
The Beginnings of My YouTube Journey
Before I even started my own YouTube channel, I began uploading football videos to the Free Kickers channel. Although the quality of our videos was subpar due to lack of resources and funds, my friend Dan (whom I met in high school) and I managed to garner a few hundred subscribers. We were just a couple of 15-year-olds cracking Sony Vegas in Dan's basement and building our own tripod.
A Curveball and a Turning Point
In 2015, our journey took an unexpected turn when Dan joined the channel. Our collaboration brought us newfound success, but it wasn't an overnight achievement. Due to our financial constraints, we had to make do with what we had. Despite these challenges, our love for creating videos propelled us to keep going. We celebrated every milestone, such as reaching 300 subscribers.
The Power of Sponsorships
Later in 2015, a close friend named Tim, who became our 500th subscriber, approached Adidas with a sponsorship request. Astonishingly, they accepted despite Tim having a relatively small YouTube following. Inspired by his success, we also reached out to Adidas and were thrilled when they replied positively. This sponsorship gave us a sense of validity and opened doors to other big brands like Puma and New Balance.
Shifting Perceptions and Growth
Our affiliation with major brands elevated our status in the eyes of others. People started to view us as cool rather than just losers filming football videos. As our Instagram page grew rapidly, with 10,000 followers by the beginning of 2017, we received numerous packages filled with shoes, balls, and invitations to events. This was the turning point when we realized the potential to make money from our online presence.
The Birth of a Profitable Venture
In January 2017, we sold our first Instagram shout-out for five dollars. Though not a significant amount, it proved the concept that money could be made on the internet. This sparked our motivation, and in the following months, our follower count skyrocketed. By May 2017, we had 50,000 followers. While we secured some deals, it was our involvement in telegram marketing groups that opened the door to substantial earnings.
Uncovering a Lucrative Opportunity
Through a chance encounter on Instagram, we discovered telegram marketing groups—a goldmine for making money online. These groups provided a platform to advertise and sell digital services. Initially, we used them to sell shout-outs for our Instagram page. However, one fateful evening, I experimented by copying and tweaking an existing advertisement in the groups. Within an hour, I had secured my first client—an astonishing feat for a newcomer.
The Advent of Drop Servicing
Embracing this newfound potential, I engaged my friend Dan in this endeavor, expanding our operation. With drop servicing, we leveraged our unorthodox method of simply copying and delivering services. Although our initial profit margins were low, we stumbled upon a company that offered subscription-based services at reasonable rates. This breakthrough allowed us to increase our profit margins significantly.
How I Started Making Money Online: From Low Profit Margins to YouTube Success
In the quest to make as much money as possible online, I stumbled upon a lucrative opportunity that drastically changed my life. At the beginning, our profit margin was quite low, as we would buy products for a low price and sell them for a higher one. However, everything changed when we found a company providing the service we needed at a much cheaper price. This allowed us to make a significant profit by buying and reselling servers at a higher price.
The success was short-lived though, as our customers discovered the company we were buying from and directly subscribed to their services. It was a crucial lesson for me - marketing alone is not enough if the competitor's product is superior. This setback, however, motivated us to strive for even greater success.
In the summer of 2017, my friend Dan and I decided to embark on a mission to make as much money as possible. We envisioned using our online earnings to fund a vacation. Although it wasn't a traditionally business-minded approach, we were enjoying what we were doing and the idea of going on a vacation funded by our online ventures was enticing.
During that summer, we reached a significant milestone in our online journey. We had our first-ever in-person event with Adidas at the Adidas Nemesis event held in the stadium of iox. This experience solidified our commitment to making money online and fueled our determination to succeed further.
As the year progressed, we continued to gain a substantial following, ending the year with approximately 200,000 followers on Instagram. The anticipation of the upcoming year, 2018, loomed with great potential for us.
In 2018, everything started to explode. Our Instagram page, which was already gaining thousands of followers per week, began to attract thousands of followers per day. We harnessed this large following to sell shout outs for a significant amount of money, earning around $1,000 to $1,500 every month. This newfound income provided me with a reason not to pursue college. Rather, it allowed me to focus on building something meaningful for myself.
In April 2018, we reached the milestone of 500,000 followers on Instagram. This achievement encouraged us to venture into dropshipping. We believed that leveraging our football-themed Instagram page would lead to success in selling football phone cases. However, our grand plans were thwarted when someone claimed our designs violated copyright laws, threatening legal action. Reluctantly, we took down the store, realizing the importance of conducting thorough research before embarking on any business venture.
Despite this setback, we didn't lose hope. In May 2018, I graduated from high school, relieved that I could now solely focus on making money online without the pressure of academic obligations. The following months were a period of adaptation, as I had to establish self-discipline to manage my time effectively.
In July 2018, I embarked on a three-week vacation to Thailand with my best friend, Dan. This trip held a significant meaning for us, as it was the culmination of our goal to fund a vacation through our online earnings. The realization that, as a 17-year-old, I had earned enough money to fly myself to Thailand was a powerful testament to the limitless potential of the internet.
Returning to the Netherlands after the vacation, I experienced a sense of freedom like never before. With no obligations to school or work, I had complete autonomy over my time. However, this newfound freedom posed a challenge as I had to motivate myself and maintain discipline. It was crucial to establish a routine and dedicate myself to the pursuit of online success.
In January 2019, a significant turning point occurred - I started my YouTube channel as a business venture. Inspired by the success stories of other YouTubers, I sought to monetize my own channel by sharing my experiences and knowledge in the make money online niche. With perseverance, I aimed to achieve a million views and potentially earn $10,000.
From January to June 2019, I diligently uploaded videos daily, gradually gaining subscribers. It took six months of relentless effort to reach the milestone of monetization. Despite the initial challenges, the journey fueled my motivation and laid the foundation for future successes.
Intrigued by the potential of automation, I delved into YouTube automation to scale up my channel growth. This milestone marked another chapter in my online journey, revolutionizing my life further.
From Zero to Millionaire: My Journey on YouTube
In this article, I will take you through my incredible journey from uploading videos on YouTube to becoming a millionaire at the age of 19. I will share the strategies, challenges, and pivotal moments that shaped my success. This is a story of determination, innovation, and realizing the immense potential of the online world.
It all started with a simple idea - uploading videos on YouTube. In the beginning, I had just a handful of subscribers, but I was consistent with my uploads. Within the first month, I reached 100 subscribers, and by the end of two months, I had 300. It was a slow start, but I didn't give up.
Monetization and Hard Work
After six months of relentless effort from 8 AM to 8 PM, I finally achieved my goal of monetization in June 2019. This was a significant milestone for me as it marked my first-ever monetized channel. The income, though, was not substantial, making zero dollars in the first six months.
Discovering a Golden Trend
In August, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called "howfinity." This channel specialized in how-to tutorial videos and had mastered the art of ranking high in search results. Intrigued by their success, I decided to experiment with this approach. The results were astounding - one of my videos garnered 600,000 views in just 48 hours. Unfortunately, I wasn't monetized at that time, but it opened my eyes to the incredible potential.
Doubling Income and Embracing Change
As my second channel started gaining traction, I made the difficult decision to shift my focus entirely to it. I sold my Instagram page, which had reached one million followers, and channeled all my efforts into the new venture. By June 2020, I was making $6,000 per month, an astonishing achievement for a 19-year-old.
Scaling Up and YouTube Automation
With my income steadily increasing, I decided to invest in outsourcing video production, a concept now known as YouTube automation. This allowed me to focus on the growth and expansion of my channels. By January 2021, my primary channel had generated over half a million dollars in AdSense revenue alone.
Feeling confident and ambitious, I started another channel in July or August 2021. Despite initial doubts and investing thousands of dollars into video production, the channel started gaining momentum. In 2022, it generated $107,000 in revenue, and in 2023, it has already reached $60,000. Meanwhile, my main channel continued to generate a steady income of $15,000 per month.
Reflecting on the Journey
Looking back, it's hard to believe the success I have achieved on the internet. From a kid uploading videos in his room to making millions, it has been an incredible journey. Combining AdSense revenue, side hustles, and the sale of my Instagram page, I have surpassed the million-dollar mark.
Through sheer determination, creativity, and resourcefulness, i managed to transform my passion for video making into a lucrative online venture. from humble beginnings filming football videos on a budget to collaborating with major brands and harnessing the power of telegram marketing, i saw my internet presence grow from zero to making my first million dollars. the internet truly offers endless opportunities for those willing to explore and seize them.
My path to making money online has been filled with ups and downs. from humble profit margins to youtube success, i have learned valuable lessons about competition, research, perseverance, and self-discipline. the internet has provided unlimited opportunities for individuals to unlock their potential and achieve financial independence. with determination and an entrepreneurial mindset, anyone can embark on a similar journey to online success.
If there's one thing I've learned from my journey, it's the importance of taking risks and embracing change. When you have a passion for something larger than yourself, go all-in. Trust the process, trust your instincts, and never stop striving for greatness. The internet holds immense potential, and with determination and innovation, anyone can achieve extraordinary success.
If you are interested in learning how to start your YouTube channel and replicate my success, I have launched a comprehensive step-by-step blueprint. Click here to join the early bird waitlist and get a discount on the course. Don't miss out on this opportunity to gain insights into building successful YouTube channels.
Remember, if you have a dream, go after it - you never know where it might lead you.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Bradley, who introduced me to the search-based YouTube channel "howfinity" and sparked my journey of success. Their strategies and guidance opened my eyes to the untapped potential of the online world.