For one Springfieldian, an internet-era job led to a chance encounter with the former first lady of the United States.
Jesse George, who’s known as Jesse The Reader on his book-reviewing YouTube channel, interviewed Michelle Obama in February as she promoted her new book, “Becoming.” Following its March 19 release, the YouTube Originals video, “A Discussion with Michelle Obama,” featuring George and other YouTube personalities, has been viewed 1.5 million times.
Views and subscriber counts are key figures in the life of George, who’s among a new wave of entertainers using the internet for their livelihoods.
YouTube pays content creators a portion of advertising revenue – between $3 and $10 per 1,000 viewer engagements, according to an October 2018 article by business news and analysis website The Street.
Forbes reports the top-earning YouTuber of 2018 – a 7-year-old toy reviewer named Ryan, with 18.9 million subscribers – earned $22 million. You heard that right.
Other top earners make their money on a variety of topics, from boxing, pingpong trick shots and music to video games and comedy, according to Forbes, which factored advertising profits, merchandise deals and other revenue sources. Dude Perfect, which counts a viral trick shot video shot at Bass Pro Shops at the Memphis Pyramid among its hits, ranked No. 3 on the Forbes list, with its five-man team earning $20 million. Not on the Forbes list, but worth mentioning, is Good Mythical Morning, operated by two former engineers who quit their engineering jobs to run what’s now a successful comedy YouTube channel with 15.3 million subscribers.
With his more than 318,000 YouTuber subscribers, Jesse The Reader isn’t pulling in Ryan ToysReview money, but he’s doing well enough that it’s a full-time job.
“I started YouTube in college because I didn’t have a lot of friends at the time and I needed an outlet,” he told me in February. “I never imagined that it would grow to the scale that it currently is at.”
Technology’s impact on creativity is on display with YouTubers and a number of other jobs.
Social media influencers, who form a close-knit group of followers, are paid through product placements and other outlets.
On Amazon’s Twitch service, live video game streamers play titles such as “Fortnite” for the viewing pleasure of millions – who are, in turn, presented with ads that pay for the whole experience. Bloggers also rely on advertising dollars to support their work.
It’s an interesting ecosystem entirely born of the internet.
Beyond these niche occupations, internet-only jobs are more common in the day-to-day business world through work by social media strategists, web developers, search-engine optimization consultants and app developers, to name a handful.
You’ve likely interacted with these folks in your capacity in business. And if you haven’t, you probably will if statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis are any indication.
An April BEA report points to the digital economy as a “bright spot in the U.S. economy.” The digital economy made up 6.9 percent, or $1.4 trillion, of the total gross domestic product in 2017, according to the report.
While still relatively small, the digital economy is growing, albeit slowly – it was 5.9 percent of GDP in 1997 — according to the BEA. Further, the agency found in 2017, the digital economy supported 5.1 million jobs, or 3.3 percent of total U.S. employment.
As artificial intelligence renders some jobs extinct, humans will continue to look elsewhere for work.
Expect more of the digital economy to pop up as this phenomenon occurs.
Springfield Business Journal Web Editor Geoff Pickle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike enthusiast Cody Stringer is betting his bike share nonprofit will lead to a more bike-friendly city.
As employees are more mobile and have a desire to work from home, Haden Long owner of Ellecor, explains office spaces are trending towards a more home-like feel. Things like shared work spaces, office pets, and cozy furnishings allow employees to be selective about where they work and become more effective as a result.
Every industry has to navigate trend shifts, but Scott Shotts of Missouri Spirits describes the changes in beverage industry as anarchy. Tried-and-true spirits rules are being ignored. Learn how the local distillery balances following the trends for product development with taking risks.
Kevin Wyas, founder of ECRI, started his first business at the age of 19, ran the business for 16 years before selling it. He recognizes the benefits of starting a business so young when he had relatively little to lose. "The stress and the uncertainty of this would be crippling," he says for somebody accustomed to a regular paycheck.
ighty percent of questions are common across industries, so you don't need industry-specific experience to do effective market research according to Debra Kassarjian, independent consultant and owner of DKInsights. As a matter of fact, she thinks there is a great deal to be gained from exchanging ideas outside of your industry.
Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, says the biggest leap they took in the first year was to purchase a vehicle. That major financial investment, however, allowed them to provide their outdoor guide services at a price point they felt was more appropriate.
Springfield Diner owner Ömer Önder sits down with a restaurant consultant who starts challenging the menu offerings."No bashful food." The blunt conversation is the launching off point to determine how the Mediterranean influence will affect the young restaurant's offerings in the future. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant.
Haden Long, owner of Ellecor, opened a retail home decor business five years ago in a traditional retail space. When the interior design side of the business took off, she decided to renovate a 100-year old bungalow to better show off product samples and installations.
Scott Shotts, partner with Missouri Spirits, says when they started in 2011 there were approximately 300 distilleries in the U.S. and now there are more than 3,000 so competition has grown significantly. Diversification of their business model has helped them succeed.
Matthew Blystone of Theta Float Spa had the financial means to start the unique business, but used crowdsourcing for pre-orders to determine market interest in addition to gathering a nice cash reserve before opening.
Avery Parrish with the Springfield Regional Arts Council explains how businesses can display local art in their spaces for a fraction of the price of investing in a permanent collection. The corporate partnership program allows a business to select from a customized portfolio of local artists' work curated based on the company's mission and aesthetic that can be switched out every six or 12 months.