As you may or may not know, we have a YouTube channel, of which we are rather proud of.  We are proud because of how difficult it has been to be persistent and to innovate with our content.  We are still finding our feet a couple of years later. 

Mandarin Monkey YouTube Channel


We had planned to develop a business which provided online Mandarin lessons (1on1 live), and had paid a lot of money to a (in retrospect) bad website design company. It didn’t work. The site was poorly thought through during the design stages and wouldn’t have been able to sustain the level of user value we wanted to achieve. 

During this painful but exciting time we started the YouTube channel as a way to practice some teaching methods and find what we enjoy to do. We drove down to a local electric retailer and picked up a cheap 1080p camera, orders some lights and a green screen from Amazon and we were on our way. 

Planning was easy. We just started from the beginning. Right from the start we started to innovate with the way we produced videos. Using the green screen, camera techniques, sound quality, lights etc. It was a great learning curve. And we continue to learn and innovate to this day.  

The first few videos we made, probably up until 20 lesson videos were shaky in their design. Because we hadn’t yet found our style. We just knew we really enjoy doing  it. 

Actually, the hard work doesn’t start until AFTER filming when the editing starts. Editing is a fun but exhausting experience. Depending on the style of video you have made and the level of professionalism you want in each video. 

It’s always difficult to get a read on what’s good enough to put out verses how quickly. Quality vs quantity is the ongoing battle. The truth is, both but leaning towards quantity.

Someone who puts out more content than you will win in the end. Good quality is great, and definitely more worth while. But people consume content at vast rates, your one 15 minute video a month will be swallowed in the rankings by the guy who makes ten. 

People will enjoy and appreciate your quality video but normally wont show that appreciation unless they have it on a regular basis. 


Setting up the account and creating content was a good start. We then had to think about how to reach more people. Insert social media marketing strategy here. 

We did a lot of reading, watching and listening to try and come up with a strategy that would help us reach more people and hopefully start getting paid for what we love to do. This is harder than it sounds. 

The social strategy is quite straight forward if put this way….make a shit load of content. Continuously. On every relevant platform. And don’t stop doing it. Get peoples attention!

Youtube doesn’t pay much. You have to consistently get thousands of views and thousands of minutes of watch time to be able to make any sort of decent living from youtube. Which means that using it in the short term to pay for food and bills is unlikely. 

So how do you make money whilst building up your channel? 

Answer, part time job.

You will need to dedicate several hours a day to your channel and social streams. keeping everything consistently updated with new and interesting content in many different formats. Answer emails, comments and feedbacks. BUT you need to pay what you need to pay. So a part time job may be the answer. 

Other answers may include, FBA (fulfilment by Amazon), stocks, property rent, drop shipping, affiliate marketing, sponsors etc. 

But a part time job is by far the easiest option. but, probably, the most unsatisfying. 

How much do we make on YouTube? 

About $1USD a day on average (2019). sometimes less. we have 43k watch minutes per month on average which is a key metric nowadays as apposed to views. but hey, thats $30 per month! which is a start. 

p.s – we were only able to monetize our videos recently (2 weeks ago). So calculating the exact amount is difficult until more time has passed. 

There is a bit of a fantasy that YouTubers all make a huge amount of money, and the truth is, it’s not at all true. A select group of extremely hard grafters make millions of dollars on YouTube and many creators work just as hard for a lot less. 

A lot of the gamers have moved over to Twitch because fans can donate money directly to them, and streamers with thousands of followers can make a lot of money very quickly doing this way. The smart streamers also upload those videos to YouTube to get the residual advertisement payments. As small as they are. 

On the other hand, and as a side note. We have a YouTube creator and friend (Also one of our Patrons) who told us that he had a video which went viral, got nearly 30 million views and he got roughly $20,000USD. From 1 video. SO it totally can work. 

It’s Slow

Just a side note, starting a YouTube channel will NOT provide you with instant gratification. It’s a slow process. Unless you have unintentionally created the next gangnam style. It can take years of constant content and persistence to become successful. Just don’t expect it to happen overnight. It took us a year 7 months on and 5 months off to get 1000 subscribers. 

and 2 years to get the 4000 hours of watch time required to become monetized. 


I don’t like associating these successes with luck. I believe that you make your own luck in business. Put yourself in the right place so that when it’s the right time they can work together. 

Being first helps. Being better is also a good trick. 

Viral videos go viral for many reasons. But usually it’s either because it’s entertaining, educational or emotional. There is a bit of a science behind it.

Our content doesn’t really cater to a viral market. But we are not saying we aren’t thinking about it. We would love to produce a viral video in the future. Just take a great deal of planning. 


Our books are just another way of us getting content out to people and trying to add value. Creating useful helpful content is the best way to establish your brand as a ‘go to’ on the subject. 

We created a free ebook to try and give people a head start with remembering phrases and some minor grammar points. Also to establish our presence as a website as well as creators. And build an email list so we can continue to provide value. 

Our second book, was a step up from the freebook, in the level of details we went into is far greater and subjects broader. It also took up into the world of having a paid for product. 

The third book, will be an even better addition to the store and hopefully even more helpful than the first two. 


There isn’t an end. In August we begin the true journey. We have been struggling through evenings and weekends to produce our current portfolio. 

We continue to develop ideas on products and to develop the brand with content. Trying to innovate as much as possible. 

If you are trying to build your channel, we would love to know. And hopefully help if we can.