“Come, let me show you something interesting!” Adam Khoo gestured for me to take a look at his laptop. He opened up his YouTube account and showed me his ads revenue: a cool sum ranging from USD1,500 to USD2,000 per month.
“I heard people can make hundreds and thousands and millions on Youtube. When I read these stuffs, I must test it out myself to see if it works,” he said.
A serial entrepreneur who rose to fame as Singapore’s youngest millionaire at only 26 in 2001, Adam is the founder and chairman of Adam Khoo Learning Technologies.
He started monetising his YouTube channel earlier this year as an experiment. Sharing video lessons on stock trading, his YouTube channel has gotten 39,000 subscribers and 1.6 million views in just a few month.
Advertisers would pay YouTube to run ads on his videos, and Adam get a share of the payment. Each video took him about 30 minutes to produce.
“If I were to focus on this full-time, I can easily earn $8000 to $10,000… But this is nothing, there are people making $500,000 a year teaching cooking and make-up on Youtube,” he said.
Adam gave the example of Ryan’s Toy Review Youtube Channel.
Created by a father who posts videos of his son playing with new toys, the Youtube channel’s estimated revenue range from USD$170,000 to USD$2.7 million a month! With 8.9 million subscribers, his videos garners about 700 millions views each month.
“You know what? The father actually shoots the videos using an iPhone… It’s not easy though, you still need to put in a lot of effort to learn how to do search engine optimisation (SEO). I have to learn so I took an online course on Youtube. That’s how I did it,” he said.
His SEO works! If you search for “stock trading strategies” on YouTube, his videos are listed on the first page! This explains the 1.6 million views on his YouTube channel.
And guess what? He recently started PiranhaProfits.com, a new online stock trading course for US and UK citizens. Using leads from his YouTube channel, he made USD112,000 in sales in just one month with zero marketing cost!
This conversation about YouTube took place when I visited Adam in his office after my three-month holiday in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Adam and I go a long way back. I first met him ten years ago when I attended his courses. He was instrumental in turning my life around. You can find out more from my previous posts:
As we updated each other about our lives, I asked him what money-making opportunities can ordinary people pursue. I asked this questions as I felt that not everyone has the temperament to be an entrepreneur, but most people would like to have a side income.
Build online income streams
“It sounds cliche but you have to build up the 21st century skillsets. The skills and paths that work in the past like ‘get a degree, you will be set for life’ is over.
“If you learn a skill like engineering, accounting or marketing, it cannot guarantee you a job in five to ten years’ time, because you can be replaced by someone with the same skill — but is younger, cheaper, and faster from some other countries.
“Nowadays, foreigners with master or PhD degrees are willing to accept $3,000 a month. Are you willing? That’s no way you can compete, right? So you have to learn to hunt and pick up new skills like digital marketing.”
Adam cited three of his students as successful examples.
- The first student is earning about USD$40,000 a month as an e-commerce solopreneur. He sources for goods from AliBaba.com, and sell them to US consumers. He doesn’t sell big ticket items, instead he sells small items like $5-torch light in big volume.
- The second student also started an e-commerce business, but on a larger scale earning about $2 million a year. He sources for goods from skateboards to tents through AliBaba.com, and sells them on Amazon.com. What’s amazing is that he does not need to be physically present in his business. He has 15 full-time staff from around the world. A quality control staff in China checks on the goods and handles the delivery; his copywriter is based in India and his admin assistant is from Russia.
- The third student is a bus-driver’s son turned millionaire. He gave up his job in a multi-national to run an online affiliate marketing business from home. He promotes information products through email marketing and collects a commission for each sale. Having worked hard to build up an effective online business system, he now earns six figure each year by working only four hours a week.
“Nowadays, you can make a very good living online, ”Adam noted.
Work and marriage
In 2001, Adam became Singapore’s youngest self-made millionaire at the age of 26. Today, the 43-year-old does not need to work for another day in his life. Yet, he’s on the plane two to three days a week, flying to regional countries like Vietnam and the Philippines to conduct training.
“If I were to not work, I would be bored to death. I cannot not do anything. To me, working is like a drug,” said the peak performance and investing trainer.
What about work-life balance? Surely he wants to spend more time with his family? Surprisingly, he said being a workaholic actually helped to strengthen the relationship with his wife.
“I have been married to my wife for 17 years, and before that we were together for seven years. I can tell you that after 24 years, most couples would feel more sian, right? But we are still very much in love and passionate.
“I find that if you are together with the same person for too long, after a while you will start taking each other from granted. For us, the moment before we can take each other for granted, I would have to fly off. After that we will start to miss each other, by then I would come back.
“But there is an optimal point. If you are away for too long, it’s not good. After a while you will lose the bond. But if you look at each other every day for seven days a week, after a while you will argue and fight. So I have a perfect marriage where we spend enough time to be close, but before we can start arguing, I would have disappeared. That’s the beauty of it.”
Adam used to say YES to all work commitments, but at the current stage of his life, his family comes first. He no longer takes an active role in running the company. Instead he focuses his time on his passion in teaching; his Chief Executive Office Patrick Cheo manages the company with a team of management staff.
Said Adam: “There is no point in building the biggest empire and making all the money, family relationship is the most important. Family is what makes you happy. If I have to decide between flying to somewhere to give a talk, and celebrating my wife’s birthday, I will spend the time with my family.”
I was puzzled. Since he understood the important of family and relationship, why didn’t he offer courses in this area? His courses are mostly on wealth building as well as academic success like I am Gifted So Are You.
The reality, he explained, is that Singaporeans care more about wealth, career, academic success over family and love. His wealth and study courses are popular. But when he introduced a health and wellness course and a parenting workshop, hardly anyone signed up.
Said Adam: “They will tell you, ‘Good to have lah, but I will not pay for it.’ Singaporeans are very pragmatic, they just want to know, ‘If I put in $4,000, will I get back $10,000?'”
To get around the problem, he includes topics like money management, health and wellness, and parenting into his wealth, personal development, and academic programmes respectively. “These are critical topics but by itself, people will not pay for it,” he explained.
[I have the same observation for my blog here: Stories related to money and career tend to have higher traffic. Singaporeans are concerned about wealth. And yes, you might have guessed it, this is why I chose to start this article with Adam’s money-making experiment on YouTube. ]
Go the extra mile
His eyes lit up when he spoke about his love for teaching. “What gets me excited is when we make a real difference to people’s lives. When I see that someone is able to benefit from what I teach, that really gives me the purpose to keep going,” he said.
He recalled going the extra mile to help a student who’s a stroke and brain cancer victim. “He’s going to retire from his job but didn’t have much money. So he wanted to invest and build his wealth. But because of his stroke, he could not really absorb what he learnt in the programme. He’s old and didn’t know how to use a computer so I gave him a lot of private tutoring,”
And of course, there were also moments of frustrations in his training career. “In training, not everyone is committed to apply your teachings. Sometimes you get frustrated because you put in so much effort to teach that fellow but he never take action,” he added.
On that note, Adam offered a tip: “There are so many ways to make money: stock trading, investing, affiliate marketing, youtube videos, and more. The most important thing is to focus. You will attempt to do too many things, and end up doing nothing.
“Focus on one thing first. Once you get that right and put it on autopilot, then you can go on to create the second stream of income. Don’t attempt to do too many things at the same time.”
- You can earn ad revenues by running your own ‘TV station’ on YouTube. You can even direct free web traffic from your YouTube channel to your online store.
- We tend to be pragmatic and focus a lot on career and academic success. Always be mindful of your family and loved ones, never neglect them.
- Work can take you away from your love ones, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. Do not spend too much time away though.
- There are various ways to make money. You have to focus on one thing until you have succeeded before moving on to the next. If you attempt to do too many things at once, you are likely to end up failing.
I hope you enjoy reading Adam Khoo’s sharing. Also check out other stories on my website here. If you support what I am doing here for Happiness Notebook — interviewing people like Adam, sharing tips on success and happiness — share this post on Facebook using the social media button below.