Unusual Side Hustles: Creating ASMR Videos

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is experienced by 20% of the population. That's led to the creation of millions of videos on YouTube and TikTok designed to foster a soothing meditative state that reduces anxiety.

Despite that, it is still a field rich with opportunities for more players.

Side hustles became even more critical for many during the pandemic, with everyone looking for ways to make income without leaving home. Finding one that is unique or largely untapped may be the key to making extra income.

Hannah B. and her partner Jeremy first started creating ASMR videos in early 2021 for her YouTube channel Chili B ASMR.

Just What is ASMR?

Chili B describes, it as a slight tingling effect in the back of the neck and head triggered by certain audio or visual effects. While the acronym was only coined recently, the phenomenon has been around for many years. ASMR video creators play on these “triggers” to try to elicit a response for people.

Because the response often has a relaxing effect, these videos are often geared toward relaxation and sleep.

“Even if you don’t experience ASMR, you can still find relaxation and focus through ASMR videos,” she says. “In the ASMR creator world, it’s a compliment to hear, “I always fall asleep when you speak!”

How It Works

Hannah and Jeremy run the channel together. She leads the videos, and he receives personal attention in various scenarios. This can mean she fits him for custom shoes or at other times gives him a medical exam. It creates a safe, caring space with engaging visual and audio triggers.

“My calm voice is the main draw. I feel lucky I can help people sleep and relax,” she says. “It feels like I’m doing something good for the world while making some extra money.”

Her doing good for the world has provided users with positive responses, bringing in her extra income.

“People send me messages saying they’ve beat insomnia or gotten off anxiety medication after watching our videos consistently,” says Chili B. “I’m basically a YouTube sleeping pill.” Some of her video content can also be found on TikTok.

How It Makes Money

Hannah and her partner first created their channel in January 2021, and it now features 750k unique monthly visitors and 2.4 million monthly views. The channel makes money in three ways: ad revenue, sponsorships, and membership.

  1. YouTube ad revenue (60%) – Google places pre-roll advertisements on her videos, and she receives a percentage of those profits each month – measured in RPM, meaning they receive a certain amount of money per thousand views. The amount varies with ad demand so that it can be higher in Quarter 4 and lower in Quarter 1.
  2. Sponsorships (35%) – They work with an agency that connects them with brands, and create unique 60 to 90-second pieces of content edited into the video they post that day. They get paid a set fee and sometimes receive an affiliate link offering a percentage of sales through their link. The amounts and fees vary.
  3. Patreon memberships (5%) – Members pay a monthly fee through Patreon to receive extra content. This can include exclusive videos, live streams, merchandise, and private social media. Their channel currently has 148 members.

A small portion of their revenue also comes from affiliate links, where they receive a small kickback for products they have links to on their channels.

Hannah shares that for 30 hours a week of work—after two years of growth—they are making approximately $120K per year simply by lulling people to sleep. This extra income will help them fund their wedding in 2023 and saving towards purchasing a home in the future.

Considerations

No successful side hustle is without its considerations. According to Chili B, creating ASMR videos is time-consuming and more challenging than people think. It is often shot out of someone’s bedroom; giving the impression that a 30-minute video only takes 30 minutes to make.

“I spend at least 30 hours a week on ASMR, and it is not my full-time job,” she points out. “That being said, I enjoy it. I can also afford to do this full-time at this point.”

Another consideration is there is much competition in the category of ASMR, so creators need to bring something unique to the table. Indeed, the popularity of ASMR is evident on YouTube, but there is still a limited amount of scientific research on the topic.

After hearing the term on a podcast in 2013, Dr. Craig Richard, a professor of physiology at Shenandoah University in Virginia, started ASMR University, an online archive that aims to be the leading resource and news center on the topic. The site estimates there are 500,000 ASMR channels and artists and 25 million ASMR videos currently on YouTube.

Although it isn’t always easy to become an income-producing video or content creator, Chili B ASMR advises others to consider such an undertaking.

First, look at what other content creators are making. Second, make your content based on or related to the material that gets the most views. Finally, make that first video, upload it and make a great thumbnail.

Her other advice? Creators need to be willing to commit to the process, knowing their first video might not be a hit—it could take until your 15th—and knowing the community. Commenting on other creators’ channels and collaborating with other community creators helps a lot.

For example, she notes how wonderful working in ASMR is in her world. “ASMR is one of the most genuine, caring, supportive communities on social media,” she says. “If you love it, it will love you back.”

Finding the best side hustle for you can be challenging. Video creation is one route for those willing to share expertise or other services for viewers willing to pay. While it may not provide overnight success, putting in the time and effort could pay off to fund something special or create a whole new income.

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This article was produced by and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Kelley Dukat is a freelance writer, photographer, and event planner currently based in the United States. She has spent the last year as a nomad traveling and house-sitting. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and previously served as a trade magazine editor. Her favorites include dog-friendly travel, road trips, and nomad life. She is currently working on a memoir and a series of personal essays.