Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
‘Women of YouTube’ Q&A: Building Careers, Passive Income, and More
If you're a regular, 9-to-5 employee, you have rules to follow. You’re expected to start work at a specific time, take breaks of a certain duration, and submit time-off requests before going on vacation. If you’re a woman with kids, the list gets longer. Planning for maternity leave or finding a babysitter are extra tasks to manage alongside work.
Things are different when you’re self-employed, especially on YouTube. You still have a boss, but he or she doesn’t control your day-to-day activities. Instead, you’ll answer to viewers looking for helpful or entertaining videos – and they don’t mind if you take a day off unrequested.
That’s why YouTube is a powerful platform for women. It helps them earn more money, close the gender pay gap, and take control of their lives.
Desiree Martinez, host of the Women of YouTube podcast, wants more women to seize this opportunity. She invites female creators on the show to share their experiences, which inspires other women to create on YouTube.
Martinez has a YouTube channel and knows what the life of a creator entails. We sat down with her to learn how women benefit from treating YouTube like a serious, high-paying business.
Q: What inspired you to celebrate female creators on your podcast?
It happened in 2019 during the Social Media Marketing World conference. When they announced their speakers for the YouTube panels, they were all men – Nick Nimmin, Roberto Blake, Sean Cannell, and some other guys. I was really disappointed because about 60% of marketers are women, and it was a conference for marketers. Rather than get mad, I figured I would try and do something about it.
I reached out to some women friends who do YouTube and asked if they’d be interested in doing a panel at Social Media Marketing World. They were like, yeah, sure. We're going to be there anyway. I pitched the idea of a “women of YouTube” panel to the guy in charge of booking. He liked the idea, but there was no space available.
He suggested doing it as a live stream instead. So he reached out to TubeBuddy to be the host, and they were in support of it. The live stream was successful, and a lot of people asked me to do more with it. Eventually, we launched the Women of YouTube podcast at VidSummit in 2019. Since then, we've been telling the stories of female creators to inspire and motivate women on YouTube.
Q: You’ve had so many women on the show. Motorcycle enthusiasts, beauty influencers, real estate agents…
I reach out to a lot of people. Yesterday I talked to Marielle of AquaMermaid. She's a French-Canadian woman who is a mermaid. So she teaches people how to be a mermaid, and her business objective is to open mermaid schools around the globe.
I've talked to Erica Vieira; she's a fellow YouTuber. I spoke with a craft lady. I have Holly Lee, who talks about getting a job at Amazon. That's what her whole YouTube channel's about, so there are lots of different verticals.
Q: What have you learned from your podcast guests about growing on YouTube?
The number one thing is that they had a purpose on YouTube. It wasn't to become a famous YouTuber or whatever dumb reason some people join the platform for. They had figured out what a business looks like through YouTube because once you hit a certain growth point, that’s what it becomes. It's like, how do you make money from Google AdSense, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and things like that? Seeing the different ways people make money is really interesting.
What's also interesting to me is that some women have trolls and crappy people comment on their videos. One woman, literally, was being harassed and stalked by a man. She had to hire someone to reverse engineer his IP address, and she had her lawyer send him a cease and desist letter. She had to go through some seriously savage, deep web stuff to get this person to leave her alone.
Do I think men get harassed and have to deal with crappy things? Absolutely. However, I think it’s more widely done to women. There's a safety concern I never thought about before, and all of this came to light while hosting the podcast.
Q: What makes your guests successful on YouTube despite those challenges?
Because where there's one shitty thing, there are a hundred awesome things. People will straight up comment, "Why are you so fat?" on my channel. At the same time, I will have hundreds of people comment, "This was so helpful. Thank you so much. This was direct, to the point, and exactly how I wanted to consume this content."
Q: Why did you decide to start a YouTube channel?
I got on YouTube because my husband was moving overseas. We were a military family, Air Force specifically, and I needed to have a way to keep getting leads to my social media agency. Not just because it gave me money. It provided money for the military spouses that worked with me. There was a clear objective to this. I grew up a military kid, and I became a military spouse.
One of the biggest things we deal with in the military spouse community is unemployment and underemployment. It's like this combination of two things. Our unemployment is high and our underemployment is high because you get to these points where you’re doing whatever you can to make money. Selling cookies. Watching kids. Taking shitty jobs in the town you live.
I'm looking forward to teaching both of my children, especially my daughter, that you can forge a path of your own making without relying on someone else to give you money.
Q: How do women benefit financially from being on YouTube?
My advice to women who want to invest their money, buy a home, travel, or have the freedom to take six months off of work is to start a YouTube channel.
Anything you’re doing as a job, you can do on YouTube and make additional money. It’s more sustainable than driving for Uber or delivering groceries. YouTube provides longevity and growth, so starting a channel now is investing in your future. I have three-year-old videos that still bring me money.
My daughter is Latina, and I always think of ways to make the world better for her. With everything I’m doing, I'm showing her that she can live a good life and control every part of it. My income starts and stops with me – not with getting a job or relying on an algorithm to give me AdSense dollars. If I want more advertising revenue, I’ll make videos that target my demographic better or choose a high-paying vertical. You can future-proof your income on YouTube.
Q: Who are some female YouTubers inspiring other women to create on the platform?
I can give you five. You’ve got Jessica Stansberry, Trena Little, Meredith Marsh, Salma Jafri, and Diana Gladney. They’re from different backgrounds and they all talk about the power of YouTube.
Jessica Stansberry just hit 100,000 subscribers. She teaches women to build a life and a business of their own making, and that evolved from YouTube education. Our girl Meredith talks about YouTube, but she does it from a side hustler’s perspective. Trena, she's all-in on YouTube education. Diana talks about live streaming and camera gear, and Salma shares YouTube education and video marketing tips.
Q: What are some books people can read to grow on YouTube?
I have Derral Eves’ new book, "The YouTube Formula." I like it because it’s for the advanced use of YouTube. "Vlog Like a Boss" by Amy Schmittauer is what got me on track, though. Lilly Singh's book, "How to Be a Bawse," is really good too. It's hilarious. "YouTube Secrets" by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis is an option. Also, my book, "Start. Suck. Get Better!" is out now.
Q: Any advice for those who want to start a channel but need ideas?
There are lots of topics to cover. You can sit down right now and write 10 things you could talk about without any problems. That's 10 videos, which equals 10 weeks of content. From there, you'll be so surprised at all the other ideas you discover. More topics will come to you as you write or research video ideas.