Welcome to Creators Going Pro, where in partnership with Semaphore — a creator-focused family of companies providing business and financial services to social media professionals — we profile professional YouTube stars who have hit it big by doing what they love. Each week, we’ll chat with a creator about the business side of their channel, including identifying their Semaphore Moment — the moment they truly went pro.
When you ask what someone’s favorite pastime is, “cleaning” isn’t the likely answer – unless you’re asking Megan Hickman. And to be honest, “pastime” probably doesn’t describe Hickman’s affinity for housekeeping, because she’s turned being the queen of cleaning into a full-time job on YouTube.
When Hickman first started uploading videos on her then-fledgling channel, Love Meg in 2015, she was a stay-at-home mom who showed viewers how she kept her small home clean while her husband Justin worked long shifts as a firefighter. These days, she’s got half a million subscribers and nets 2 million views per month — and thanks to the money coming in through YouTube, she and Justin both work full-time in the influencer space and were recently able to purchase their dream house in Savannah.
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Hickman, who got in on the now-prevalent “clean/study/cook with me” trend very early, at first couldn’t believe people wanted to watch her tidy up. But after chatting with her viewers, she discovered why they are so drawn to her content: it’s motivational. Watching her scrub down her oven and do an all-day cleaning-a-thon can inspire them to tackle their own housekeeping. (She was also sharing with her viewers straight from cleaning guru Marie Kondo well before Kondo’s methods became a hit in the West this past year. )
As for Justin, he served as Megan’s first YouTube manager and fell in love with the business. He’s negotiated deals with companies like Google, Dyson, Canon, Audible, Hello Fresh, and Audible — and with that experience, he founded influencer marketing agency Slice Media.
For Megan, their Savannah house isn’t just a fulfillment of the typical American dream — it’s also a source and set for her future content as she and Justin redecorate, renovate, and turn their new purchase into their home.
As she heads into producing videos in her new home, Megan sat down with Tubefilter to talk about her start on YouTube, how listening to her viewers helped her better understand her own content direction, and what she’s planning next.
Tubefilter: Tell us a bit about your background! What did you do before YouTube?
Megan Hickman: Before I started YouTube, I was a stay-at-home mom with two toddlers. My husband was a firefighter and worked 24-hour shifts. We had a simple life out of necessity due to his low salary. We were happy, though, and grateful for everything we had. We always felt like we were meant for more. Not just more money, but more responsibility, more opportunity to help others, and to be able to live the entrepreneurial “American Dream” life!
Tubefilter: What made you decide to take the leap and become a YouTuber? How did you know you wanted to start a channel about your family?
MH: I used to watch a channel called Anna Sacconne just about every day. I could relate to her life so much and she inspired me in so many ways! One day, I thought, “What if I could do this, and inspire others as well?” I decided to go for it! It was the best decision of my life!
Tubefilter: When did you start making cleaning videos? What draws you to cleaning content, and what do you hope viewers take away from your videos?
MH: I started making cleaning content a few months after I started my channel. At that time, cleaning wasn’t really a genre on YouTube the way it is today. I enjoyed cleaning my home, so this seemed like such a natural, “real life” thing to film. My viewers loved it, and the videos quickly became my most popular!
For a long time, I didn’t know why so many people wanted to watch me clean. After hearing my viewers, though, I realized that it was motivating them. A viewer may have just worked her 9-5, driven home, and now she’s tired. She doesn’t want to cook dinner and clean her house. So she turns on YouTube and can see me or another YouTube mom that she can relate to, getting it done. She feels inspired and motivated to get up and get it done!
Tubefilter: When did you get your first check for online video revenue? How much was it for? What about your first check outside of AdSense $?
MH: I don’t remember the month and year, but after about six months on YouTube, my first check was $15. It wasn’t much, but we knew we had nowhere to go but up!
My first sponsor was an Amazon company that paid me $50 to promote some small battery-operated tea light candles. I had used candles like that for years, and continued to use those same candles for years after the sponsorship.
Not long after that, a brand offered me $150 to promote their clothing. At the time, this was the most any brand had paid me, and $150 was a lot of money to us. I received the products and hated them. I was at a crossroads: promote the products that I honestly wouldn’t wear, or lose the money. I chose to be honest with my viewers and turn the deal down. I’ve had to do that a few times since then, and even though the viewers don’t always know this happened behind the scenes, I think they know I am genuine when I do speak about a product.
Tubefilter: Have you had any sponsorships or partnerships with brands? If so, how did those sponsorships and partnerships come about?
MH: Most of my sponsors have reached out directly. However, we have sought out some brands and secured deals that way as well.
Tubefilter: Who do you have working with you behind the scenes? An editor or assistant? Do you have a network or manager?
MH: To give a timeline, my husband began to help with some of the filming early on. He then began to answer all of my emails and act as my manager. We joined the Broadband TV Network after about two years on YouTube. Within the last two years, I have added three assistants, an accounting team (Semaphore), and a new manager (so my husband could start his own agency). I believe one more hire will be happening in the near future for a special project that I can’t share yet! I have always done my own editing, though, and don’t plan to give that up anytime soon.
Tubefilter: What are the challenges of operating a channel where your kiddos are stars right alongside you?
MH: There are, obviously, safety concerns. We take every precaution we can to protect our identities and our personal safety. Our kids really are troopers about filming, though. They love to be on camera. They even come up with their own video ideas sometimes. As with anything, there are some days when they just don’t feel like filming, and, of course, we don’t force them to do it.
Tubefilter: What was that Semaphore Moment for you—the first time you realized you were a professional YouTuber?
MH: For us, it was April of 2017. That is when my husband left his career job to work with me full-time! It was a scary step, but it has been the best time of our lives. We have had so many opportunities for business, travel, etcetera. The freedom to be with our little family every day, doing what we want, when we want, is just priceless!
Tubefilter: What’s your production schedule like? Do you have a set filming and uploading schedule?
MH: I don’t currently have a set upload schedule. I typically film and edit my videos on the same day. So I will film for several hours, or all day in some cases, then edit after the kids have gone to bed at night. I am currently producing two to three videos per week.
Tubefilter: How do you budget for, say, a cleaning product haul video? How do you budget for your channel overall?
MH: We are actually not big fans of budgeting. If it makes sense, if it makes us happy, if it is good for our future…we do it. Sometimes a video won’t cost me a dime, and other times a video may cost me thousands of dollars. It just depends on the vision. In the end, as long as the channel is growing, then it’s a win!
Tubefilter: When did you really feel like you’d found your audience? How did you grow that audience?
MH: I felt like I really found my audience early on. Their reactions to the content I was producing showed me what they wanted to see. Naturally, I film what makes me happy, but I am also able to key on the elements that the viewers like. I believe giving the audience what they like, what encourages and motivates them, is how I have successfully been growing my channel!
Tubefilter: What’s the most vital skill you possess as a creator?
MH: I believe that being genuine is a vital skill for any creator. Viewers want to be entertained, but more importantly, they want to feel a connection to you!
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel? What are you building toward?
MH: We just bought a house and moved to the Savannah area. We are looking forward to doing videos about our renovation projects, new home decorating, and so on. We have really been enjoying this so far, and the early reactions from the viewers have been so amazing. We can’t wait to share all of this journey with our audience!
Semaphore Business Solutions provides customized services for clients across the country, taking an all-encompassing approach to meet all your financial needs. Whether you’re a veteran YouTube entertainer or just starting out, managing your business correctly is crucial to avoiding major headaches down the road. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can help you put a plan into motion to grow, as well as to keep more money in your pocket, with advanced tax strategies. Semaphore Brand Solutions has established itself as a leading influencer marketing agency representing our exclusive talent relationships and services to the most recognized brands and agencies.