- Andrei Jikh quit his day job and started a personal-finance YouTube channel in 2019.
- In his first year, he earned over $100,000 from ads and gained over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube.
- Jikh spoke to Business Insider about his rise on YouTube and the success of his first year.
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Before Andrei Jikh was sharing personal-finance tips on YouTube, he was filming videos for a startup that taught people how to do magic.
“When I was 19 years old, I was hired by a startup which was basically teaching people how to do magic online,” he told Business Insider. “I helped build the company and we were working on movies and TV shows.”
In 2013, he served as the “lead cardistry consultant” in “Now You See Me 2,” and spent two months in London helping the cast prepare, Jikh said.
“At the time, I was obsessed with finance too,” he said. “I interviewed everybody I worked with on what they did with money and what you are supposed to do. My life was split into three different parts, cinematography, filmmaking, and storytelling, which was my role at the company. Alongside that, I was also obsessed with finance, cardistry, and magic.”
Jikh grew up in a family of circus performers from Russia, and he moved to the US at age nine when his dad got a job with Cirque du Soleil. He said his passion for personal finance developed after his parents acquired "crazy debt."
In late 2018, after saving up roughly $200,000 and spending years teaching himself how to manage money, he decided to quit his day job and start making personal-finance videos for YouTube. He uploaded his first video in January 2019.
"I was saving half of my income, living below my means," he said. "That's what I did for five years or so just so I could take a chance on YouTube."
A year later, Jikh has 300,000 subscribers and earned more than $100,000 in 2019 from ads that run in his videos - far more than the $60,000 he made at his peak year working for a startup.
Throughout 2019, Jikh expanded his digital business across multiple platforms. He now earns money online through YouTube, Patreon, Amazon links, and affiliate marketing, and said he hopes to add sponsored content to the mix in 2020.
Getting started on YouTube
Jikh said he spent about $10,000 to build a studio and buy camera equipment and he now spends five to six hours a week doing research for his videos, three to four hours filming, and 10 to 18 hours on editing.
But throughout his first four months on YouTube, Jikh wasn't earning any money.
"I started in January and I didn't make anything for the first four months," he said. "It was so tough, but then for some reason the channel just took off and I started exponentially growing and learned everything along the way."
"Once you reach a certain point you just get contacted by all these agencies," he said, and added that in his experience, he doesn't recommend working with an agent or manager and instead he plans to take care of the business aspects of his channel on his own.