How I Make Money on YouTube

Posted: January 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

Goal #20 – 100,000 View for Lethal Engineering

Last year, for my 26 before 26 list, I only managed 30,000 views for my YouTube channel, falling far short of my goal of 100,000 views. I duplicated that goal for my 27 before 27 list and an interesting thing began to happen. YouTube started suggesting my Rocket Launcher video on similar videos. Viewership immediately shot up and I achieved my goal of 100,000 views in under four months.


All Those Views, You Must Be Making Some Money!

Getting paid on YouTube is quite easy. You set up an AdSense account, choose which videos to monetize (no copyrighted music!), and watch the money pile up.

Not Exactly…

My channel, which has 265,000 lifetime views, just recently met the minimum income required to get paid ($100).


I currently make anywhere from 50¢ to 60¢ per 1,000 views. That’s such a small amount of money that I had to look up the keyboard shortcut for the ‘cents’ symbol (Alt+0162). Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked to be making passive income from my videos, it’s just a low amount relative to what’s possible on YouTube. There are other users making making $2.50 to $5.00 per 1,000 views. I need to figure out why that is.

It may be a result of a majority of my views coming from international countries. Views from highly developed countries (United States, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom) pay more . For example, 17% of my views are from the United States but make up 46% of my earnings whereas 5.1% of views are from Indonesia but account for a measly 1.2% of earnings.

It may also be the total time my videos are viewed. YouTube places more adds on videos that have a longer view duration, and my average is quite low at 1:16.

It’s Not About The Money

Even if I made no money through these videos, I would continue to produce them. I love building cool shit and YouTube provides a means to showcase those projects to the masses.

My dream would be to make a living off a YouTube. It’s possible with a high level of commitment and creativity, but would require several orders of magnitude more views. In order to accomplish that goal, I need to devote more time and energy to producing interesting, entertaining content.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite videos that I’ve made. My friend Ben needed to make something solar powered for a school project. We strapped some batteries and a solar panel onto my beer cannon and made this video. He got an A on this project!


27 Before I Turn 27

Posted: November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Below is a set of 27 goals I’m going to attempt to achieve before my 27th birthday. Some have been recycled, some expanded, and some are completely new.

1. PADI (Scuba) Certified
Alexis would like to go Honduras for spring break this year. Her grandfather has a house with some great reefs around it.
2. Increase Net Worth to $100,000
3. Finish Van
4. Bike 10,000 Miles
5. Swim 1,000,000 Yards
6. Run 2,000 Miles
I’m registered for Ironman Brazil in May 2016 and the Hitchcock 100 Ultramarathon in December 2015.
7. Glass Blowing class
Every since my parents took me to a David Chihuly exhibit way back when, I’ve been a fan of glass blowing. This has been on the list the last 2 years.
8. Set a World Record
I’m thinking most tennis serves in an hour. I’d like to raise money for charity while doing it.
9. Volunteer 200 hours
I will continue volunteering with Big Brothers / Big Sisters. I would like to find new volunteer opportunities as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
10. 3rd Movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata
11. Propose to Alexis
This one was accomplished shortly after turning 26. Don’t worry, there’s a video that I’ll post later on.

Proposal Picture
12. (-10) Round of Disc Golf at Seymour Smith
I really enjoy disc golf. It’s free, challenging, and get’s me outside.
13. 50 Blog Posts
Reading about people’s experiences through blogs has inspired me to try things I otherwise would not. I hope that by sharing my experiences and insights I can do the same for others
14. Help Dad Lose 70 lbs
My Dad always been supportive of my goals, whether it be driving to Arizona for an Ironman or spending an entire weekend crewing for my ultramarathon. It’s time that I return the favor.
15. Skydiving
16. Meditate 5 minutes a day for 60 days straight
A lot of benefits are supposed to be correlated with meditating. My friend Matt Brand suggested this one.
17. No Added Sugar – Entire Year
18. No Fast Food – Entire Year
19. Develop a habit of eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
Eating healthy is one of my biggest goals for the year. It’s one area of my life that I need to vastly improve.
20. 100,000 Views Lethal Engineering
21. Read 30 Books
22. Perform Stand Up Comedy / Open Mic
23. Learn Chess / Become a UCSF Level 1000 Player
24. Donate 10% of Income
Somewhat contradictory to goal #2
25. Develop a habit of waking up before 6 a.m.
26. Learn French (Pimsluer Lessons 1-5)
I let Alexis pick one goal, and this is what she came up with. French is the national language for many African countries, and Alexis would like to do medical volunteer work in Africa in the future.

Hey, That’s Only 26! Maybe One of Your Goals Should Be to Learn to Count!
Yes! Last year I took one suggestion from readers and learned how to throw ninja stars. I’m going to take suggestions again this year. Leave a comment if you have any ideas!

26 Before 26 – Results

Posted: October 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

It seems like just yesterday that I turned 26. In reality, it was four months ago, bringing the end of my 26 before 26 list. Getting rid of procrastination was not one of my goals and this post was delayed as a result. This is my second year of making a list of goals. Last year I went 3 of 25. This year I completed 7 of 25.

The Bad

A large number of goals resulted in some that don’t even get started…

#2 Save $50,000
#6 Complete Pimsleur Lessons 1-30 in Haitian Creole
#16 Write a Book
#19 Go Skydiving
#20 Take a Glass Blowing Class
#23 Become SCUBA certified
#24 Learn to Pick Locks
#25 Set a World Record

Partial Completion

#18 Help 3 Other People Reach One of Their Goals

Back in March, I helped my friend Zach run his first marathon. ‘Helped’ is a strong word, as he ended up pulling me across the finish line. I would recommend the L.A. marathon. I would not recommend eating the ice cream sandwiches at mile 20.

Marathon Photo

#14 Go To Church Once A Month

I went to church eight times attending services for Quakers, Catholics, and Christians. I’d like to thank all my friends who invited me out to their churches (Wes, Nathan, Matt) and then my three friends who had weddings (Annie, Barb, Jarod). After consulting other attendees, I considered the weddings as ‘going to church’ if they said the Lord’s prayer.

#13 50 Blog Posts

I wrote 13 blog posts this year, with the most popular one being a post about my girlfriend.

#5 Volunteer 200 Hours

I continued hanging out with my Little Brother through Big Brothers / Big Sisters and also tutored a coworker at the car wash in Pre-Calculus. Total Volunteer Time = 83 hours.

Creighton Tickets

#9 100,000 YouTube Views For Lethal Engineering

I created zero videos over the year, but my rocket launcher video got picked up by HackADay generating 7,500 views in one day. My videos combined had 34,607 views over the course of the year.

Lethal Engineering Views

#10 Bike 10,000 Miles
#11 Run 2,000 Miles
#12 Swim 1,000,000 Yards

Biked 2042.82 Miles
Ran 654.60 Miles
Swam 154,868 Yards

#22 Build or Restore a Car

This seems to be everyone’s favorite goal (besides my mother). I bought a 1968 Chevy G10 last July and have received numerous offers for help since then. Unfortunately, the only work I’ve done on it was getting a V8 for it from an old Chevy Suburban. Don’t worry though, there are still big plans for it.


The 7 of 26 I completed

#1 Get a Tattoo

This goal required some money and pain. I worried about what other people would think, but a year later, I’m really glad I went through with it.

tattoo 1

#4 Eat Vegetarian for A Month

Last November, I went  30 days without eating meat. That said, I didn’t eat healthy. Cheese Pizza, French Fries, and Chocolate Milk Shakes were all allowed under this month long diet. Addressing my diet is going to be a large part of next year’s goals.

#7 Travel To Haiti

Back in February, I traveled down to Haiti to visit my girlfriend who was spending a year volunteering with Partners in Health.

#8 Go Skinny Dipping

When in the DR…

#15 Read 20 Books

Reading has been a habit that has changed my life. I need to do a post with specific examples, but can say with certainty that if you watch television and don’t read then you should immediately sell your flat screen and purchase a Kindle. The impact reading has had on my general happiness has been gigantic.  For whatever reason, I stopped keeping track of the books I read when I hit 22 in January. Here are some of my favorites.

Books Read

#17 Get Promoted

In October 2014, I quit my job to start my own business. It’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Leaving a career where I worked for great people and was compensated really well was a big risk. I went four months without any consistent work and resorted to getting a part time job at the car wash to have some source of income. Going from a salary job to close to minimum wage was a reality check. Business has picked up since then and I love it. I don’t think most people would consider working longer hours for less money to be a promotion, but I enjoy the opportunity and additional responsibility.

First Check

#26 Learn to Throw Ninja Stars

Big shout out to my friend Carlos for this suggestion. My Little Brother and I had a blast doing this.

How long are you going to keep this up? The 50 before 50 list is going to be tough!

Setting goals and going after them works well for me. Publicizing them holds me accountable. Over the course of this year, I’ve realized how fortunate I am to have great friends who who are supportive of my goals. Stay tuned for the 27 Before 27 List next week.

January Goal Progress Report

Posted: March 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Already March? How about a January update

We Made Some Custom Shoes

My Little Brother is a big shoe fan. I wanted to get him something for his birthday that we could do as an activity instead of just something material. I found a YouTube video on how to make custom shoes and then bought some leather paint and paint brushes online. Some Air Force Ones on Craigslist would serve as our canvas. JJ really enjoyed painting the shoes and they turned out great! This will be an activity that we will have to repeat. JJ and I hung out 9 hours in January bringing my total volunteer time to 47.80 hours.

JJ Shoes

Jonathan Biss Concert

I attended a concert with my piano teacher Luke at the Lied Center. The performer was Jonathan Biss and he played some Beethoven, Schumann, and Schoenberg. It’s amazing to watch an expert pianist. I was blown away how fast he can move his fingers and how accurately he can hit the keys with the perfect amount of force and timing:

Progress on the Third Movement of the Moonlight Sonata is slow, but progress nonetheless. Learning to play it quickly is proving to be a challenge.

Off The Saddle

I didn’t ride my bike once in January. Not good! I’m running the L.A. Marathon 3/15 and need to get more consistent about running

January Exercise Totals
Run: 63.19 Miles (455.18 Total / 750.30 Behind)
Bike: 0.0 Miles (1896.88 Total / 4,000 Behind)
Swim: 17,150 Yards (152,172 Total / 450,567 Behind)

The Ball is Rolling

I finally got my first project for the business. I’m woefully behind on the goal to save $50,000 and have been moving in the wrong direction since I quit I my job. However, this work has the potential to be continuous, and if I work hard I could potentially meet the lofty savings goal.

December Goal Progress Report

Posted: February 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

Only a month late…

Catholics and Methodists
I attended church twice in December. I first went to a Catholic Church service with Alexis.  I’m not a big fan of Catholic services, there is a lot of ritual and worship that doesn’t mean a lot to me. Alexis tells me that if I understood it I would appreciate it more. The service makes as much sense to me as those Oregon play calling signs.

Oregon Play Calling
A few days later, I attended The Water’s Edge with my friend and fellow bike enthusiast The Real Wes J. The Water’s Edge is a United Methodist church with services at Millard West High School. I enjoyed it. The sermon was about the difference between joy and happiness. My total church attendance is up to four services.


Alexis was back in town for the holiday. It was great to spend time with her and her family. My sister got me a lock-picking set and cut away lock for Christmas, so now it’s time to get practicing!

Lockpicking Set

I Didn’t Exercise
December ’twas a piss poor month when it comes to the ‘ole swimming, biking, and running. However, Alexis had decided to do an Ironman! She’s thinking IM Texas in 2016, which seems like a good race for me as well.

December Exercise Totals
Run: 27.17 Miles (391.99 Total / ? Behind)
Bike: 44.47 Miles (1896.88 Total / ? Behind)
Swim: 15,200 Yards (135,022 Total / ? Behind)

Working at the Car Wash

The business is slow getting off the ground, requiring a lot of patience. In order to have some income, I picked up a part time job at Cornhusker Auto Wash. I worked there for three years back in college and they were seeking employees for the winter rush. It’s exhausting work, but I’m grateful for the opportunity.



November Goal Progress Report

Posted: January 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

This is very late. I was originally planning on combining this with the December Goal Progress Report, but then I realized that a lot happened in November! Also, writing two posts instead of one will get me closer to my goal of 50 blog posts.

Goal #15: Read 20 Books

This was supposed to be one of those goals that took all year, but I accomplished it early. I read six books in November, all of which I would recommend: Swim Speed Secrets / The Little Book of Talent / Faster Higher Stronger / Against the Grain / The Happiness of Pursuit / Turning Pro.

November Books

Courtside for Creighton Basketball

Big Brothers / Big Sisters has some fantastic donors. Tickets always seem to get donated for Nebraska Football games or the hottest concert in town. I grabbed some tickets they were offering for a Creighton Basketball game, and man were they some tickets! We kept walking down the aisle until we eventually ended up sitting courtside. I kept thinking, “This is what it’s like to be Jack Nicholson!”

Creighton Tickets

JJ and I also went and saw Big Hero 6 which I really enjoyed, and I think he would have enjoyed too if he had managed to stay awake. His previous night sleepover led to some undesired snoring sound effects.

Philadelphia Marathon with Alexis

In one of my previous posts I mentioned that my lady-friend was running the Philadelphia Marathon in order to raise money for Partners in Health. I’m proud to report that she accomplished both of those difficult tasks. The marathon started off great but she had some back injuries flare up part way through (most likely do to the large temperature shift from Haiti to Boston) and managed to grit out the last 6 miles through the pain. Thanks to a lot support from family and friends, she was also able to raise $5,000 to purchase loupes for the Haitian surgical residents.

Alexis Marathon

It was cool to explore Philadelphia and meet some of the people that she works with in Haiti who also ran the marathon. I managed to see a Flyers game while I was there but did not try a Philly cheesesteak. That’s fine though, I mean, how could anything beat Pepperjax?

November Exercise Totals
Run: 90.25 Miles (364.82 Total / ? Behind)
Bike: 276.23 Miles (1852.41 Total / ? Behind)
Swim: 46,609 Yards (119,822 Total / ? Behind)

Finally Finished the Fur

Fur Elise that is. Learning to play this song was goal #9 on my 25 before 25 list. I had said in my 25 Before 25 Review that I was 90% through learning Fur Elise. That might have been a stretch as mastering the last 10% took about four months, but I finally finished. I’m going to write a longer post on learning to play the piano, but in the meantime here is a video of the results.


I’ve always been a skinny guy. If not for my fair complexion, I could star in one of those commercials where for 10 cents a day you can feed a starving child. In high school I grew like a bean, 6’6″ and 175 lbs. I was so skinny, and transparently pale, that you could see me heart beating. You could (and still can) see my ribs.

You Would Assume I’m Healthy, But I’m Not

I workout a lot, putting in hundreds of miles a week swimming, biking, and running. I also eat a lot, consuming thousands of calories a day of Burger King, Taco Bell, and Jimmy John’s. My consumption of fast food is so frequent that my order for each establishment has been memorized on a subconscious level. The number of times I’ve ordered a #8 with crunchy tacos and a Mountain Dew is well into the triple digits. ‘If the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn’ has always been the motto that I use to explain away my poor eating habits. I could be the poster boy for how skinny you can be eating McDonald’s on a biweekly basis.


That Kind of Diet Is Unsustainable

A year ago, I pursued donating a kidney. I went to the hospital for a series of tests to examine kidney function and passed all of the tests except the final one — blood pressure. The medical staff deemed my 140/90 blood pressure as being too high to donate the organ responsible for regulating blood pressure. Go figure.

This was the first time that I had seen the negative consequences of eating fast food. I had foolishly assumed I was immune to the adverse affects of poor eating — that if I worked out enough I could consume all the Chicken McNuggets and Reese’s McFlurries my heart desired

That’s When I Gave Vegetarian A Try

At the recommendation of a friend, I watched a documentary on Netflix called Forks Over Knives. It’s an eye opening film that makes a compelling argument about the negative effects of consuming meat and other animal products. I enjoyed it because it brought to light information on the effectiveness of eating fruits and vegetables that I had never heard before.

After watching that documentary, I added goal #4 to my 26 Before 26 List – Eat Vegetarian For A Month.


I Successfully Unsuccessfully Ate Vegetarian

The first week was really tough. Meat is the centerpiece of most American meals and abstaining from meat consumption requires a lot of forethought. The days of Pepperjax Phillies and Dinker’s Double Bacon Cheeseburgers were replaced with spinach salads and fruit smoothies.

Two weeks in I relapsed, unconsciously consuming some scraps of summer sausage from a cheese plate I was preparing at work (doesn’t every office have a cheese plate a 3 pm?). I was upset with myself, but realized I need to be more vigilant if I was going to reach my goal. The one month restarted.

I would eventually make it the full 30 days in a row, consuming large amounts of cheese pizza and coca-cola along the way. I had managed to make vegetarian unhealthy, ingesting more chocolate milk shakes and waffles fries than fruits and vegetables.

Would You Do It Again?

For sure, except that I’d like to do it the right way.  Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that are vital for a healthy body. I’m not convinced that animal products need to be eliminated completely from my diet. I am convinced that a significant portion of my diet should be fruits and vegetables. All of the major diets recommend eating a large amount of plant based products. Not one recommends the Mcdonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell trifecta

I would like to be a world class triathlete, and consuming copious amounts of fat, sugar, and salt is not consistent with that goal. I’m quick to pass judgement on those who have trouble managing their weight when I make a majority of the same poor decisions just without the visual consequences. That makes me a hypocrite, and it needs to stop.