Daria is the founder of Real Russian Club. She runs a big YouTube and Podcast for Russian learners that bring in a stable income despite the fact that she never really had any ambition to start her own business.
In this interview you’re going to learn: – The power of podcasting compared to YouTube – How much money you really can make on YouTube – The importance of ”being real”
Starting a Podcast out of boredom
When she was on maternity leave from her old job, she started listening to podcasts as she found that she had too much time on her hands all of a sudden. She became a big fan of the Slow German podcast and she came up with the idea to create something similar for Russian learners. The Slow Russian podcast was launched at the end of 2015. She simply bought a microphone and started recording in the evenings when her son was sleeping. After four years the podcast has had over 1 million downloads.
How did the podcast grow so fast?
Daria has no idea how it happened. She basically just recorded episodes on topics that she was interested in, and for some reason, her podcast took off. She also hasn’t been very consistent, as sometimes she doesn’t release any new episodes for months at a time. Somehow it just worked.
Why her Podcast beats YouTube
Daria finds that her podcast audience is much more engaged. People on YouTube are just clicking around and want to be entertained. When she makes an announcement on her podcast, she sees way more sales coming in than when she promotes her products on YouTube, for example.
Daria’s husband accidentally stumbled upon Pat Flynn’s ‘Smart Passive Income’ podcast. That’s when she realized that it was actually possible to turn what she had into an online business. Her first podcast revenue came from donations. At first, she was too embarrassed to ask her audience for money, but she thought ‘they can’t see me anyway’. She made an announcement, and over the next few days and weeks, people from all over the world started making small donations and said ‘thank you’ for her work. That really changed the way she thought about selling online.
In 2017, she then finally launched her first product which was a simple PDF called ‘’600 Russian phrases for everyday life’’. The eBook is for sale on her website and Amazon and it’s the only product that she sells every single day.
”Fun is more important than the business”
Dara started teaching Russian online for fun and she finds it important to keep it that way.
I’m afraid that once I start seeing it as my day job I will quickly stop enjoying what I do and lose interest in my projects
She could make much more money with her business if she wanted to, but making money is just not the most important thing for her.
Don’t be their teacher, be their friend!
Lots of other language teachers on YouTube try to be perfect and teach in a more traditional style. They present themselves as a teacher. Daria is always very down to earth and people can relate to her. She hardly edits her recordings and really tries to keep it real.
She makes it personal by talking about things that happen in her private life. People don’t see her as ‘the teacher’, but rather as a friend. She thinks that’s one of the keys to her success with the podcast and on YouTube.
Daria makes it personal by sharing her personal experiences
Number of YouTube subscribers doesn’t mean anything
Some people think that the number of subscribers on YouTube is equal to the size of their business. ‘That’s simply not true’ says Daria.
People on YouTube often subscribe because they watch one of your videos and don’t want to ‘lose’ you. That doesn’t mean that these people watch all your videos and that they’re going to buy your course during a product launch. Sales conversion from YouTube is very, very low.
How much money can you really make on YouTube?
With 200K subscribers on YouTube, Daria makes about $1300 per month through YouTube AdSense. For her, that’s enough to pay the rent and kindergarten. The best thing is that it’s 100% passive. The biggest part of Daria’s revenue comes from selling her online courses through her email list. At the moment of recording this interview, she has about 15K email subscribers.
Never back to work?
After her three-year maternity leave was over, Daria was making much more money with her podcast and YouTube channel so she never went back to her previous job. She now makes enough to provide for her whole family and so her husband recently quit his job as well. They’re now traveling and really taking the time to enjoy every new place they visit. It feels great to not have to ask your boss for permission to take days off.
How much do you work?
Daria occasionally doesn’t work for entire days or even weeks. She spent December in Siberia, for example, and she didn’t work at all. Despite not working, her revenue didn’t drop at all. That’s the advantage of running an online language business.
So life is perfect?
Having all this freedom is great, but Daria really misses simple things from her old work life, such as having a coffee with colleagues, for example. She also misses the academic environment and that’s why she has decided to actually go back to teach at university. Running an online business can be lonely sometimes. Of course, she will keep running the Real Russian Club on the side!
Daria’s final tip
Just get started, don’t overthink.
Too many people say they will start their own business, but no one does. They all think that you need to know exactly how to do it before you get started. Figure stuff out by yourself, just Google.
There might be more competition today, but there are many more resources and mentors out there who can help you build a business.
Taking action is much better than continuously talking and thinking about your plans.