How much it cost to run Mark Ellis Reviews in 2022
It’s more expensve than you might think…
If you’re serious about running a content business, you need to accept that it will cost you some serious dough.
Not to begin with, obviously. I must highlight at this juncture that, if you want to start a YouTube channel, blog, or podcast, you can get cracking with little to no expenditure.
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Use your smartphone.
Buy a cheap USB mic from Amazon.
Sign up to Medium as a writer and start writing (it’s free).
Just get going.
But if you want to follow my path and make this endeavour a profitable full-time business, you’ll need to budget for some costs further down the line.
Today, I’m going to share what it cost to run Mark Ellis Reviews in 2022. These numbers are approximations (as anyone who runs a business knows, the true numbers always emerge from your accountants) but they’ll still provide a fascinating insight into the overheads associated with a full-time content business.
The first and biggest cost was the studio rent. At just over £13,000 per year, it’s the largest overhead I’ve ever had as a solopreneur (I’ve always worked from home since starting my own business in 2015). It’s also the single best decision I ever made for Mark Ellis Reviews; that space has transformed my content creation abilities, mindset, and output.
Sitting just behind studio rent is the review unit tally. I spent over £11,000 on devices, computers, headphones, and accessories for review purposes last year.
I only returned one of those products.
Of all the overheads, that one should reduce as the brand continues to grow and attract the attention of manufacturers who are willing to send me product samples. I’m already seeing the impact of that in 2023.
I use a bunch of software tools to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. This includes Notion, Zoom, ConvertKit, Kajabi, GeniusLink, DropBox, and many more platforms. The total annual cost for all of these subscriptions is around £4,000.
Next up, PR and talent management. As you’d guess, getting a foot in the door with Porsche (and, more recently, Samsung) wasn’t possible without some expert assistance. I hadn’t considered investing in PR until last year, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. Rather than reveal the exact cost for this (that’d be unfair to the PR company), I can say that it represents around 10% of my turnover.
When it comes to studio gear, last year was relatively light on the wallet. This is because I’ve invested carefully in the stuff I use to create video and audio content over several years, but also because I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a couple of brands who have sent me gear in exchange for coverage on YouTube.
As a result, I spent around £6,500 on studio gear last year. That might sound like a lot, but trust me, if I had less self-control, it would have been an awful lot more.
Those are the headline figures. There’s smaller stuff, obviously - studio electricity, travel expenses, and entertaining (myself, mainly) all add to the total.
The overall expenditure for the year was roughly £44,000.
Surprised? It might be even more surprising when you keep in mind that I didn’t have a single member of staff during 2022, and only outsourced PR, bookkeeping, and accountancy.
That isn’t an inconsequential amount of money, is it?
It’s also why I always smile when I receive comments from trolls that accuse me of “doing it for the clicks”, or “shilling” my content. What those people fail to realise or accept (or, let’s be honest, understand) is that I’m running a business.
If you’re serious about running a YouTube business, you need to treat it like one and make sure you only leap into full-time content creation when you have a very healthy cash flow situation.
I should sign off this newsletter by confirming that I did make a profit last year! Cash flow also remains extremely positive, but 2023 is absolutely the year of knuckling down on audience growth and establishing more consistent, long-term sources of revenue.
I’ll keep you informed!