JOEL SAGET—AFP via Getty Images
By Prachi Bhardwaj
December 20, 2019

Online video platforms TikTok and YouTube are becoming more than just a fun pastime for millennials and Gen Z. Many young people are now creating videos to help them pay off student debt.

That’s a tall order, considering about two-thirds of last year’s bachelor degree graduates left college with student debt. The Class of 2018 averaged $29,200 in student loans — up 2% from the year before. But between homework and getting to class on time, or starting a new job and learning how to grocery shop, who has the time or resources to pay that off?

Video content creation checks all the boxes for a current student or recent graduate seeking a part-time job: flexible hours, low-resource, no commute… And the potential to make some decent money, according to those interviewed by U.S. News.

TikTokers rely on brand promotion similar to the way Instagram influencers do: The more subscribers they have, the higher the likelihood that brands will be willing to pay them to promote their product.

It’s kind of an abstract plan if your goal is to make a steady income, which is why a lot of creators use the short-form video platform as a means to bring people to their YouTube channel. Kind of like a commercial to reel viewers in to watch a TV show.

YouTubers, on the other hand, can profit from their videos more directly, by enabling advertising via Google AdSense once they’ve met the qualifications. After that, the platform pays the YouTuber a percentage of the money it makes each time an ad plays during their video. The more views the video gets, the more money the YouTuber makes.

On average, advertisers pay about $0.10 to $0.30 per view, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. It estimates a YouTuber who gets 10,000 views a day and has a 50% click-through rate might make up to $8,700 a year.

That isn’t going to pay your student loan bills overnight. But if done carefully and done right, making money on YouTube or TikTok can be a fulfilling alternative to a traditional part-time job with little to no flexibility (after all, there isn’t always money in the banana stand).

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