I am a former cab driver that used to make balloon animals for my customers. That is how I got the name. I originally joined YouTube just to embed videos for my website. It was in November of 2007 that I started posting videos other than balloons and I went from 50 subscribers to over 28,000. The best advice I can give to grow a channel is to always be positive and make some video responses. Sometimes you catch a break and a large YouTuber responds back. I have gotten lots of subs that way. Another good idea is to use the cool box feature with other channels of similar size and content. And of course don't forget colabs.
I became a YouTube partner in 2008 and I use YouTube mostly for social interaction. Although I now do this full time for a living, the money is only a perk and never an incentive. One of my biggest breaks was being featured on G4 Network's Websoup. You can see a copy of my TV debut here, or the original video they featured here.
A few people have asked why I don't accept friend requests. I removed my friends list back in 2008 because it resulted in too much spam.
A lot of people ask me how to become a YouTube Partner. Just apply! Currently it is only available in 23 countries so if you get redirected to the home page that means that the Partners Program is not yet available in your country.
In order to qualify for the Partner program you have to be free of copyright strikes and contend ID matches. If you want to know what the difference is you can click here.
The easiest way to get rid of a content ID match is to delete the video, but the help article listed above will also show you how to dispute the process. Copyright strikes are a little more difficult. For the longest time the only way to get rid of a copyright strike was to file a counter-notice or get the claimaint to file a retraction. However that was not always possible. Then YouTube announced in their blog that copyright strikes would now expire and that old strikes could be dealt with by attending their copyright school. (http://www.youtube.com/copyright_school)
The other thing Youtube checks for is with the community guidelines and Terms of Service. Sometimes YouTube will remove a video for violating the rules. The best way to avoid flagging is to better understand what YouTube is looking for. To that end YouTube has given us a few educational resources. The first is their Blog post, "Context Is King"
Another good learning tool is Victoria Grand's lecture and demonstration of how YouTube reviews and removes videos that are flagged.
In 2010 YouTube launched the ability to appeal a flag to all users, previously it was available only to Partners. (http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2010/07/strike-youre-out-or-maybe-not.html)
Here is the help center article on how to do it. They even embedded my video there.
Currently the ability to appeal age restricted videos is a Partner exclusive however having age restricted videos does not mean that you will be turned down for Partnership.
In addition to being a partner there are two other programs that YouTube has where uploaders can make money. Individual Video Partnerships and Account Monetization.
The Individual Partner Program is currently by invite only. Essentially you need to be able to quickly get enough views in a short period of time. Although YouTube does not have an announced number of views required to trigger the invite, I have found that 500 views in less than 48 hours usually triggers it. (http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=72857)
Account Monetization was released a few months ago and many people confuse this with Partnership. Like the IVP the invite is automated. The invite to account monetization is triggered by a channel getting a regular number of hits and subscribers. I have seen people with as little as 100 subscribers get this invite.
Like the IVP, any video you wish to place advertising on will have to be manually reviewed by YouTube to ensure it is compliant with the community guidelines and terms of service. They will also be checking for copyrighted things such as music or clips from TV shows. The team who reviews these videos only works Monday through Friday business hours Pacific time. So to ensure maximum profits I advise you to upload Monday through Thursday early in the morning Pacific time. YouTube has several help center articles for how to claim rights to ownership of your videos to ensure they will be approved for ads.
They also have several help center articles on how YouTube enforces their rules.
Check out my Vidstatsx page and track my channel's performance.
I use Ulead to edit my videos, you can purchase the program here.
To record my screen I use CamStudio. It is freeware that you can download here.