Wabosha Maxine is one of the more popular content creators in Kenya.
Maxine, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nairobi, started her YouTube channel in 2016 and has since amassed over 211,000 subscribers with over 17.9 million views.
Who is Wabosha Maxine the brand?
I am a content creator and entrepreneur. I do lifestyle, travel, beauty, and daily life vlogs. I am also CEO of Boshdrip, an accessories company.
You started a YouTube channel in 2016 and now you make money from it. Take us through that journey?
My career as a social media content creator started after a failed acting audition. When I did not make the part, the director asked me whether I could do make-up for the crew and I agreed. Interestingly, all the knowledge I had was from YouTube tutorials.
But along the way, I had to sharpen my craft so I went to a make-up school where I learnt more tips, tricks, and trends.
Later on, a friend asked me to demonstrate what I had learned and I made her an eyebrow tutorial. Being too heavy to upload on Whatsapp I uploaded it on YouTube and sent her the link. I started getting requests after my parents shared the video on other social media platforms. The rest is history.
What kind of content gets the most views?
Stories with personal experience do the best on my channel. When I vlog (do video blogs)about the foods I eat or places I go to, there are always people interested.
If you give more details especially the pricing, location, and other tips and tricks, you offer value and this can translate into cash.
Do you make good money from YouTube?
Yes, YouTube pays my bills. I make money from AdSense, affiliate marketing, and brand endorsements.
Affiliate marketing is when I promote a product on my channel and earn profit for each sale that they make.
AdSense is part of YouTube’s Partner Programme, which lets creators with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours monetise their content with ads.
These ads are filtered by Google. The amount a creator earns called — AdSense revenue — depends on the video’s watch time, length, type, viewer demographics, among other factors.
It took a year plus of consistently posting two videos a week to earn my first check, a mere Sh7, 000. I thought AdSense would be my primary source of income but after some research, I had to change my game plan when I realised my earnings were low.
I also learn that brand endorsements pay well but not at the start. I got a lot of companies offering products for reviews on my videos without pay.
I had to find a way to translate this into money to put food on my table or pay my rent.
Maybelline was the first paying brand I worked with. As I diversified, I started to attract more companies.
From your experience, what are the benefits of diversifying as opposed to specialising?
I have gained a lot of insights along the journey. I realised that many beauty brands have a non-competition clause in their contract so working with a brand meant exclusively working with that one company. By diversifying, I can work with other companies without breaking my contract.
How did you get your brands to come on board?
To say it was challenging is an understatement. I did proposal after proposal, even asking for help from my dad to an edge on editorial stuff. But still, nobody was willing to work with me. Interestingly, I was not even asking for a lot of money, since I was a small creator. I wrote more than 20 proposals only two people replied. One wanted me to correct a mistake I made on their name. Another was a wig company that responded five years later and they wanted me to work for them for free. It has been a journey.
What lessons did you pick from such experiences?
Oh a lot! I realised that many times when I was making proposals I was vague which did not work in my favour. I would just give my analytics and hoped the numbers would impress them. But it did not.
Now I am bold and articulate exactly what I plan to do and quote my price clearly. From experience, I have also learnt not to overshare on the specifics of the idea to avoid it being poached.
Luckily, I have forged great relationships with the brands I work with and this creates new opportunities to work on more projects together.
I also know my worth and how to negotiate for solid offers.
Also credibility is key. Companies cannot know what you will deliver if you do not have a portfolio. Sometimes it helps to take free jobs to market yourself and build your portfolio.
Do you work with a team and do you think creators should outsource their work?
Yes, I do. At the moment I have an editor and a management team comprising a direct manager and lawyers.
I hired the company in the fifth year of my engineering course when I had a project to finish and the workload was overwhelming. The biggest advantage of having a management team is they help with contracts.
When I was doing it on my own, I would quickly skim through a contract and sign it immediately which locked me in risky agreements.
Another benefit is my manager attends meetings on my behalf leaving me with ample time to focus on my core business. I pay my management team based on commission, so when I am not making money neither are they. They sometimes find clients for me.
Every other talent I hire is on a need basis. All my photographers actually emailed me their portfolio, and I settled on the best. I pick who to work with based on what I need.
What is your secret to get brands to notice you?
Be honest and authentic. If your viewers trust you then the brands will quickly pick up on that and will see the value in working with you.
Also, have a clear message on your brand. I am very serious with my brand because it is my business. When I choose a branding strategy I want to know is it realistically going to sustain me? Is it something that will open doors for more opportunities in future? I think of the companies I target, what are their values, who are the kind of people do they work with then tailor my content to that.
How can small creators grow enough to monetize their channel?
Consistency is the goose that lays the golden egg. It is also easier to be consistent when you enjoy what you do. I loved doing make up and that sustained me through the hard days.
Another cliché that rings true is don’t go into it for the money. It is a long road to get monetised.
You need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to begin to monetise your content with ads. So start with a good ‘why’ and the rewards, monetary and otherwise, will follow.
Lastly don’t get overwhelmed just start small with what you have.