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How One Family Has Made Over $1 Million On YouTube

How One Family Has Made $1 Million from YouTube

So, this is pretty amazing! One family found a creative way to turn YouTube in a very lucrative income source for their family. Here’s a snippet of the article that Yahoo! posted today:

One couple has turned their passion for home movies into a lucrative career — banking more than $1 million from their YouTube channel that’s probably best known for videos of their kids playing with Thomas the Tank Engine toys.

Mark and Rhea, who go by the YouTube username “ilovemaything,” are the parents behind the popular YouTube channel Hulyan Maya. In fact, “popular” may be an understatement: According to Tubefilter, which posts weekly charts of the most-viewed YouTube channels, the Hulyan Maya channel was the 42nd most-viewed U.S. channel last week. With more than 26 million views in just seven days, it fell just below the channel for NBC’s The Voice.

The channel, which averages more than 3 million views a day, features Los Angeles parents Mark and Rhea (who chose not to reveal their last name to Yahoo Parenting) and their three children, 5-year-old Hulyan, 3-year-old Maya, and 5-month-old Marxlen. The majority of the videos — which are often more than 15 minutes long — feature the kids playing with Thomas the Tank Engine or Monster toys.

Read the rest of the article here.

I think some of the keys to this family’s success is not only their consistency in posting every single day, but also in posting on a subject that has strong search terms (i.e. probably a lot of people search YouTube for specific toy names).

Have you ever tried posting videos on YouTube? Have you made any money doing so?

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29 Comments

  • Alexis says:

    I’ve never posted anything to YouTube, but my daughter loves to watch videos of other people playing with Play-Doh. I’ve never understood it (and it even drives me a little crazy) but if you give her free TV time that is normally what she wants to watch.

    Personally I would have never even thought of making a channel for this stuff, so I’m impressed by others who have.

    • Jessica says:

      Oh.My.Gosh. My 4 year old son watches those play doh commercials every day!!! He’d rather do that than watch cartoons. I’m glad to hear he’s not the only one!!!

  • I have a YouTube channel for my blog (https://www.youtube.com/user/alotofsavings), and we recently started a family YouTube channel called Fun Playtime Reviews where we post Play-Doh reviews, surprise egg videos, and more. 🙂 You can see our channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI9Mjb1djoXoGt1X1GjAjEQ

    As for monetization, I earn a little each month from my personal DIY channel by using Google Adsense. However, I just reached 1,000 subscribers on YouTube which opens up even more opportunities to monetize with brands. I’m excited about that.

    We have high hopes for our Fun Playtime Reviews channel. We just started it a little over a month ago, post several times a week, and are seeing it grow already.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring article, Crystal!

    • Stephanie i says:

      My husband and I are looking into starting a YouTube channel. Do you have any advise? How do people find our videos when they search? Are there restrictions for names? Like Disney or Barbie?
      Thank you!!

  • sdr says:

    My son loves to watch YouTube videos of people playing minecraft. Personally I don’t get it, but if he wants to spend his limited TV time on that I don’t see the harm.

    It’s nice that they’ve been able to parlay this into a business, but personally I cant imagine exploiting my kids in this way.

    • Amanda says:

      You saw it that way too? There was no mention in the article of any of the proceeds going to the kids! At least young actors get residuals when their work is shown years later, even though it’s often mismanaged when they’re kids. I’m all for finding ways to make a living, but profiting off your children seems wrong.

  • I never posted on YouTube but my son loves watching video about motocross on it. Perhaps everybody should think about opening a YouTube channel but I suppose that it is not easy to post regularly interesting videos.

  • Guest says:

    Interesting article! I guess I am realizing that the key to making money through youtube is to understand what draws people to these channels in the first place. I am with the moms who posted above–I can’t make myself sit in front of videos of people playing with toys and games. The kids are really cute, but . . . I’m afraid I just can’t make myself sit through those. 🙂 But since I clicked and started the movie–he got his money. Definitely food for thought and some research! Kudos to them for making a million dollars in a very unique way, and at least it looks like they pick wholesome toys. 🙂

  • Tawra Kellam says:

    Yes, we do well on our YouTube Channel. This video on How to Fold a Fitted Sheet went viral (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z5k9nWcuFc) and has really helped us a lot.
    We are working on getting more out and hubby is going to be starting his own channel with the kids soon. (on a totally different subject)
    It can be a good way to make some money but you do need to be sure to post a lot and keep going when it doesn’t take off for months or years.

  • Maria says:

    Our kids used to watch this channel but I banned it cause there was a video that the children were arguing on who gets to play with a certain train engine but instead of resolving conflict the father who’s videotaping just let it all unfold in the camera. it would have been alright if it was explained why they got to share and things like that but leaving it as is just did not sit well with me. It is like I am watching Caillou in real time.

  • Michelle says:

    I don’t know…I would be very uneasy about putting my kids on YouTube like that. I get that it’s geared towards children, but once it’s out there you cannot undo it. I’m all for making money and being creative in those endeavors but not at this cost.

  • Tai says:

    I read this article on Yahoo yesterday and it was pretty astounding! I have a YouTube channel that I started with my husband last August, His and Her Money (https://www.youtube.com/user/HisandHerMoney). We are starting to generate more income through Google Adsense. But, most importantly we are having a lot of fun doing it together!

  • Who would of thought you could make money this way!

    My son watches YouTube a lot.

    Thinking I need to get busy;0)

  • Wow! We’ve watched this channel quite a bit – my sons love the Thomas videos.

  • Myrna says:

    I have never done this but even though they have made a lot of money, I would worry about my kids being so well known.

  • Molly says:

    I have thought of doing a You Tube Channel. I have a couple of ideas, but I don’t think I will use the kids too much.

  • Jaime says:

    We just started a toy review channel this week! So far we’ve posted some Lego surprise videos and a couple of action figure reviews. We’re working on a Barbie playset video. We’re also getting set up to offer some of the reviewed toys as giveaways! Please check out our channel:
    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UC1zlVwM5VpsAREI4JqVYOlQ
    We welcome your feedback, and we’d sincerely appreciate the support! I love the Money Saving Mom community 🙂

  • Cari says:

    My now 5 year old used to love the videos, along with sesame street and cars one’s by someone else. We found them when trying to find more information on a train set we were thinking of buying. I don’t let him watch them anymore since he kept asking for more sets. My older son also watched the Minecraft videos, but we limited all mine craft time so he doesn’t watch very often.

  • Leslie says:

    My husband has been a You-tuber for 7 years. He started with a few loyal followers of his music and has grown into multiple channels, different types of channels from music to video games, and contributes different pieces to each channel as a collaborator. This past year was the best by far with the Minecraft channel and all streams combined, they are over a 6 figure income. This comes from not only views but also selling content on iTunes (Minecraft parody songs), working with app developers, having different publishers of content etc. I’d say he has 8-10 ways to monetize each video.

    It is A LOT of work and A LOT of collaboration and A LOT of research into what is popular, what works, what doesn’t. The multiple revenue streams is key. Can’t put all of your eggs in one basket as the rules and outcome changes all the time.

    The bottom line to his success is consistently posting quality content and interaction with your followers. There is no substitute for either of those, imo.

  • lyss says:

    Maybe I’m missing something since I only watched snippets of one of their videos, but why would someone’s home videos of their kids playing get so many views? I’d watch it if it were my own relatives or something, but not stranger’s kids playing. I agree it’s amazing that so much money could be made from home videos. It’s amazing to me that that many people would keep watching them. I totally get how-to type videos on you-tube. But watching a child play with a train set??? Not trying to criticize people I don’t even know. Just surprised at how seemingly pointless things can be so popular. But I guess I don’t just browse you-tube all the time, either.

    • I was surprised, too! The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if it was people who let their kids watch these videos — because they know that it’s a “safe” channel?

    • emily says:

      My son watches these and similar Youtube videos. If you type in something like “train videos for kids” the first videos will be cartoon-type shows. After that its a bit of a rabbit-trail and lots of these home videos start popping up with kids playing with toys and others are toy product reviews. My son loves watching all of them! I think a lot of views are just because it pops up on the screen and the kid sees a toy he/she likes so they want to watch.

  • Raquel Evans says:

    I’ve been working on a food and cooking you tube channel for a little over a year, posting regularly (nearly every week, except for a hiatus recently as I was recovering from surgery). I’m slowly getting more subscribers and more views, but I still haven’t reached the minimum payout threshold from AdSense.

    I have been so encouraged by some of your comments, Crystal, about how long it took you to really get your blog off the ground. (I think in your interview with Chris LoCurto you said it took you over a year as well.) I keep second guessing the wisdom of pouring my time into something that’s not paying off, but I really love cooking and sharing my ideas with people, so I’ve decided for now that as long as it’s headed the right direction I won’t give up just because it’s slow!

  • Lee says:

    I love how the parents didn’t want to give their last name to Yahoo, but their children are called Hulyan, Maya, and Marxlen – not exactly unassuming names! I’m definitely missing something too, I can’t imagine why people would want to watch these videos – other people’s lives, when they should be living their own!

  • Elizabeth says:

    My son (4) fell in love with trains two years ago. We would watch toytrains4u. It is a very creative channel with learning & imaginary play (they create stories with toys). Anyways, this channel of Hulyan & Maya popped up one day two years ago. My son loves this channel. At first I was okay with it, because it was unboxong toys & my son enjoyed seeing the new toys. But, in those two years I have seen those children continue to be spoiled & spoiled with new toy after new toy. In the same sense I saw my playful little boy become discontent with his own toys & continually asking for more wondering why he can’t have what the other little boy & girl have. When he received that he’d quickly move on to the next. So now, I’m in the process of breaking the habit & trying to create contentment for my child.

    I have always joked for several years I should start my own channel, but like other comments above I have concerns with safety as well as my values. I think it’s terrific that their college is paid for, but what about sacrificing their privacy? I know as parents we want to give our the world, but I also want my children to grow up with giving hearts, contentment & their innocence for as long as possible. I’m hoping at least some of the toys may go to charity after the videos. I don’t know how one home could house all those toys.

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