You, Too, Can Strike It Rich on YouTube!

A cottage industry is persuading people to spend thousands to create video businesses on YouTube. Disclaimer: It is harder than it looks.

Scott Mitchell became convinced YouTube would make him rich.

Mr. Mitchell, 33, got the idea last year from videos that promoted courses on how to build so-called cash cow channels, which are often created through a process called YouTube automation.

So he bought one course, then another and another. He also paid for mentorship services. Mr. Mitchell spent around $15,000 on his YouTube venture, encountering stumbling blocks at every stage — courses that taught him little, freelancers who stole content and audience-growth tactics that got him into trouble with YouTube.

“I’ve tried three courses and one expert on the side, and the only thing I got out of it was an empty wallet,” Mr. Mitchell said.

Youri van Hofwegen, a 21-year-old Dutch creator who is known online as Youri Automation, said some people had unrealistic expectations about finding YouTube success.

“They want to pay $200 and make $20,000 by next week,” he said. “There is no secret, magic strategy. It’s just about putting in the work.”

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