This week’s guest learned how to tap into the massive viewership of YouTube and make viral, cash-flowing videos on autopilot.
Tony Lysandrides runs several YouTube channels, and what’s unique about his videos is he’s not on them. They’re faceless videos intentionally engineered for virality.
Tony now brings in up to $14k a month in ad revenue from his videos. With a little practice and a little patience, there’s no reason you can’t do the same.
Tune in to the Side Hustle Show interview to hear:
- Tony’s research process
- how he decides what videos to make
- the automated production process that keeps the publishing machine spinning
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What Was That $14K Video About?
Tony noticed that Dubai’s manmade islands were trending on YouTube, so he decided to make a video about how the islands were created on his Interesting Flow channel.
“I just thought, ‘Why am I going to try and reinvent the wheel when I can just use what’s already working?’” he told me.
The video sat idle for three months until Tony changed its thumbnail to a photo of a construction machine shooting out sand and dirt to create the islands.
Following that change, the video quickly gained traction, hitting over 22 million views within a week. That led to a record-breaking $14k in ad revenue.
“After a year and a half of grind, I finally had that breakthrough tipping point, which was sweet,” he said.
How Are You Doing Your Research to Find These Topics?
In the case of his Dubai’s manmade islands video, Tony initially came up with several variations of that topic, such as:
- how the islands were made
- who made them
- how much they cost
- why they’re sinking
He then branched out into other topics in the mega-project niche, like skyscrapers and underwater tunnels in other countries. “That’s basically how you … keep that consistent viewership coming in every single month,” he said.
Another way Tony finds topics for videos is by simply looking at what pops up in the YouTube search bar.
Open YouTube on an incognito browser, type in your main niche keyword on the search bar, but don’t hit Enter. The keywords that pop up are essentially what people are searching, so if you do a video on that topic, you’ll have a good chance of ranking in search and getting views.
He also uses a tool called VidIQ as part of his research process. The tool shows you the views per hour on a video, making it a valuable indicator of whether a topic is relevant.
I use TubeBuddy for keyword research on YouTube.
Building a Team
Tony has built a team of freelancers through Fiverr, Upwork, and OnlineJobs.ph to handle the entire video production process.
He currently has four team members:
- a researcher/scriptwriter, who creates the scripts for the videos
- a voice actor, who brings the scripts to life
- a video editor, who creates the videos, complete with background music, stock footage, and animations
- a thumbnail designer, who creates clickable thumbnails to bring in views
Tony oversees the whole process to ensure quality videos.
Currently, he pays his team per project. He had initially paid them a fixed wage every month, but that turned out to be a mistake because there’d be months where they only make 2-3 videos.
What’s the Math Look Like Behind Producing Profitable Videos?
Tony keeps his videos to 8 minutes so he can insert in-stream ads. To produce a high-quality video that long, he spends around $200. But he says he’s been able to get his costs down to as low as $40-50 a video.
“That’s the budget I have put on the videos because I’m really aiming to just hit that quality mark and get consistent views.”
These days, his videos need 10-25k views to break even. That translates to $3-5 RPM (revenue per 1000 views).
Many videos won’t reach that level right away — or maybe even ever. But the few that go viral erase all the expenses for the others — and (hopefully) turn a profit.
For the sake of reference, my channel has a $25 RPM in the personal finance / entrepreneurship niche, and my best-performing video has closed in on 200,000 views and earned over $4,700 in total.
Tony says that’s the beauty of YouTube. “All you have to do is post a video once, and it will make you money for the rest of your life … This is what a side hustle is. Essentially, you work in order to gain a return on your investment passively.”
What Kept You Going?
Tony told me it took him eight long months before his channel, Interesting Flow, got monetized.
In the lead-up to that, he felt like he was bleeding money because his videos hardly got views, and he put any profits made back into the business.
But he also felt that he’d already invested so much time, money, and energy into the business. Some of his videos had also slowly picked up steam, racking in a couple thousand views.
Ultimately, Tony decided to keep the business going.
Tools and Tech
The tools and tech that make all of this possible for Tony are:
- VidIQ – This is the tool Tony uses to determine whether a topic is relevant.
- TubeBuddy – Can help you split test thumbnails.
- Envato – Tony’s team uses paid digital assets from Envato to create his videos.
- Shutterstock – Tony’s team pays a Shutterstock subscription for access to stock images, photos, vectors, and more.
- Speechify – An AI text-to-voice tool.
What’s the Project Turnaround Look Like?
Tony’s team takes about four days on average to put out a video. Here’s how that process looks like:
- Tony gives his video idea to the scriptwriter and the thumbnail designer.
- Once the script is finished, Tony sends it to the voice actor. He also sends it to the video editor so they can start gathering footages to use.
- Once the voiceover is finished, Tony sends it to the video editor.
Tony communicates with his team every day to ensure timely completion of each project.
Are You Doing Anything to Market Your Videos?
Here are some of the strategies Tony recommends to market YouTube videos.
Engage With the Videos
The first 24 hours of a video is extremely crucial, so Tony makes sure to engage with his videos once they’re live.
That involves watching the videos several times, liking the video, and commenting on it using his other channels.
Tony also sends the live video to his production team and asks them to watch and engage with it for greater visibility.
Include the Keyword in the Video Title and Description
Tony told me that tags don’t really make a difference when it comes to YouTube videos.
What does matter is having your main keyword in your video title and description so YouTube’s algorithm knows what your video is about.
It’s also helpful to have misspelled variations of your keyword as tags in case of typos. Tony says he actually misspells some tags on purpose so his video will still show up when people type in misspelled keywords.
Faceless videos like the type Tony creates don’t feel promotional. This means they can be easily shared to relevant Facebook groups without users feeling like they’re being sold something.
YouTube also likes it when you drive traffic from other sites to YouTube. So if you’re bringing people from Facebook into YouTube with a link to your video, YouTube might just promote your videos more.
What’s a Typical Day Look Like?
Managing Interesting Flow and his other channels is a daily grind for Tony.
He comes up with video ideas when he gets home from work and even checks his YouTube Studio analytics throughout the day.
Tony says he works this hard because he eventually wants to make $30-40k/mo from all of his channels.
“YouTube is like digital real estate. When you have one YouTube channel that’s making you money, you can take the profits that you’ve made from that YouTube channel and … reinvest [them] into another YouTube channel.”
What’s Next for You?
Tony aims to consistently make $30-40k a month producing videos on all of his channels, not just Interesting Flow.
He’s recently put together a free course for people who want to start their own YouTube automation journey. At the end of the course, there’s an option to book a call with Tony.
He also offers a paid course for people who want to hit their first 10k views on YouTube.
Tony’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation
“Never ever give up.”
Links and Resources
- Interesting Flow YouTube Channel
- 7 Steps On How You Can Crush It On YouTube and Make an Extra Income!
- How Dubai’s Artificial Islands Were Made
- YouTube Studio
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3 thoughts on “YouTube Automation: Up to $14k a Month w/ Faceless Viral Videos”
22million views is def an achievement to be proud of Tony!!
Well done and by not giving up, you just may get similar views on another vid you create, by retracing the steps that made this vid go viral!
Would say though, with this bit:
“Tony gives his video idea to the scriptwriter and the thumbnail designer.”
I suggest that Tony changes the current thumbnail designer. It appears even Tony is aware that the thumbnail is crucial to a YT vid success because a thumbnail change was the missing piece.
Also: “The video sat idle for three months until Tony changed its thumbnail […]”
Looking at his YT channel, (May2023) it was only the titles that made me click on a few vids NOT the thumbnails.
This success story demonstrates that a standout thumbnail is one of the many keys to a successful YT vid.
There’s thumbnails and then there’s thumbnails!
I completely identify with the idea of NOT showing my face. Maybe a generational thing, but just have zero desire to put my mug out there.
One question I have is this:
Where else does Tony source his video?
The “Fair Play” law is so murky that it has kept me from dipping my toe in.
He talks a little bit about it, but curious if there is a way to gather material (For example: All the FAIL videos. )
Does credit really suffice?
This was a really great interview. Tony mentioned that it took him 8 months to monetize his channel. How many videos did he produce during that time? He also mentioned his videos were $40 to $200 with $200 where he tried to currently limit his budget now. Has he ever totaled what his initial investment was during that 8 months?