Do I quit IB for YouTube

Just made associate which is good news, my total comp should now be around $300k+ but I've decided I don't like banking it doesn't suit my personality but it pays well which is why I do it. I'm now exploring taking a risk and quitting.

I have my own YouTube channel where I post videos of me gaming. Unfortunately due to IB I am unable to find the time to regularly post so I usually make 2-3 low quality videos over the weekend and then upload them throughout the week.

Despite not much time being put into it I still make around $500 per month from YouTube with minimal work. I've been thinking maybe I could pursue YouTube and if I put in the hours I do in IB into gaming / YouTube then my earnings potential could be enormous through YouTube. Of course it's a massive risk giving up $300k a year but could result in me making substantially more.

ive split this into 3 scenarios should I take the risk and quit IB for YouTube

a) successful: able to grow my channel and begin generating large income streams through YouTube 

B) no growth: unable to grow my channel and get stuck on $500 a month

c) fail: channel dies and I lose subscribers/views and end up making nothing, unemployed and having to reapply for jobs

Comments (57)

Most Helpful
  • Summer Associate in IB - Gen
Dec 2, 2020 - 11:58am

I wouldn't quit your day job until Youtube can offer you more financial stability. Plus you just got promoted so you might like your new role better. I would honestly grind it out for another year or two to set up a solid nest egg to pursue youtube FT while continuing to post videos. Invest in your equipment, setup, and editing skills while you're working as a associate so when you do make the jump, you'll be much more prepared without having to spend money that you're not making

Dec 3, 2020 - 11:24pm

I relate with the feeling, but this is sort of the standard WSO advice which I think is wrong. Make a big pile of money. Take all the risk off the table. THEN try to do something different...

I'm really trying to rack my brain here, but can anyone think of a successful entrepreneur who first made a bunch of money in another career, took all financial risk off the table, and then made it big? 

Maybe a few boutique banks fit that example but really can't think of anything outside of that.

  • Summer Associate in IB - Gen
Dec 3, 2020 - 11:47pm

No one wants to be a starving artist. I'm pretty sure any successful entrepreneur would agree to not quit their day job when the Youtube gig only gives him $500/month, especially when their day job nets them $300k/year. Also I advised him to continue to improve on his production capabilities while he's got a solid paycheck coming in. Camera's, computers, microphones, that shit ain't cheap. It's also pretty common for successful Youtubers and streamers to stick with their day jobs until they are able to consistently make a living wage. 


Dec 2, 2020 - 12:12pm

some of my friends made the successful transition from FTE to youtube. the decision process was a bit like this:

- is there enough growth for the channel and overall niche to allow this model (in some cases clear yes, others no)

- how quickly could they gain followers if they had time off to produce higher quality (they tried various things during last Christmas and then the pandemic)

- they emailed a bunch of social media aggregators and media houses for partnerships, some brought amazing results

- how many sponsors contacted them within, say, 6-12 months and were they following up, etc

a few who left their FTE jobs (one of them was a lawyer) are now beyond 100K followers with many external commercial agreements.


So if you found a niche that works and people are encouraging you - then yes, I'd do it.

if you are just playing games and this fizzles out after 1-2K followers.. then no.


  • 4
Dec 3, 2020 - 11:19pm

+1 SB.  I think these are all good tips for year 1, but what I find most concerning with doing something like Youtube is the long term business plan. How does your niche look 5 years down the road....10 years down the road?

Hate to be so business-like but what's your moat? If people are watching you play video games, I'd say that they have a pretty shitty moat even with a 100K subscribers.

Dec 8, 2020 - 1:27pm

this is very much on point. Since most youtubers never go beyond a few thousand subscribers (and then fall off the face of the youtube world), I didn't even bother to explain further.

I spend a lot of time on youtube (like many others on here, I presume), and have seen so many times that content creators simply become... irrelevant. they just stop growing and/or making money or lose interest.


  • 1
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2020 - 2:23pm

Yeah I miss the days of gaming playthroughs. The only think left now is crap clickbait content.

Dec 2, 2020 - 3:08pm

Was going to say something similar. A risk averse move would be to pursue a less demanding career that provides a stable income but provides more free time to pursue YouTube.

Dec 7, 2020 - 9:49am

I think another great option would be to sink in all your earnings from youtube to hire an editor and see if that can help grow your channel. Seems like it be a good way to "test" the market before diving head first.  

Dec 2, 2020 - 2:19pm

Seems like quite a gamble or leap of faith. Unfortunately, YouTube, and similar social media platforms, have a very low barrier to entry in an otherwise highly fragmented market. Pretty much anyone can open an account and jump on latest trends, and they're all competing in the same space. Not saying no money to be made, but rather there is probably no long-term sustainable profit and transferability of skills are limited (really is seen as a hobby with potential upside perks). Also, try taking out a mortgage with YouTuber as primary occupation - not sure anyone will lend and it's not considered (for lack of a better word) a reliable income stream. Perhaps hedge your bets by keeping your current job (congrats on the promotion btw), and do a few videos here and there on odd-weekend to get a feel as an influencer/ reactions/ popularity etc. Seems like a good hobby and I have a few mates doing this. Gluck

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2020 - 2:31pm

Sorry if it's a dumb question, but as someone is a similar boat, don't you all worry about putting yourself, face, etc. out there in terms of career life? Like if YouTube did not go well after some time, could you have trouble potentially finding another role in high finance if you could be easily found making videos on the internet?

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Dec 2, 2020 - 4:24pm

I used to love gaming but never understood why people watch others livestream on twitch etc. The only times id watch a video is for a walkthrough that I didn't understand from reading an article. Some people watch others just randomly game for hours?? Why not just play yourself?? 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Dec 2, 2020 - 5:14pm

I feel like people like to watch others play because 1) they are interested in the game and 2) the content creator is entertaining. I don't think anyone is watching playthroughs of just the game itself, they are watching for the other person's commentary / humor. A livestream is also easy to leave on in the background while you do other stuff, but I agree with you that I would rather just play the game myself/

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2020 - 6:23pm

It's weird. I agree with you, and two years ago I said the same thing once to an MD who told me he took his young son to an actual live gaming competition where they sat in bleachers and watched teams compete on overhead screens. Bizarre, but I now find myself occasionally watch streamers like StoneMountain play Warzone if I'm taking a shit or eating a meal behind the screen. No clue why I find it more entertaining than catching up on HBO shows but I do.

Dec 4, 2020 - 12:06am

I've had the same thoughts....I boiled it down to authenticity. I like so many random YouTube channels because you get real reactions from real people. Every thing is so fake in other forms of media. I watch almost none of the more polished channels with millions of subscribers but a ton of stuff in the 100K range.

Dec 2, 2020 - 5:14pm

I left my IB role to do my own thing. It wasn't youtube but it's along the same risk / reward path.


My biggest advice, especially if you don't have loaded parents who will backstop you... do not quit your day-job and jump in right away. Aren't you WFH right now? Find the time wherever it is to get those videos out and see if you can turn the $500 / month into $5,000 a month. You'll know reasonably well within a year if it's scalable. Once you know for sure, then you can quit your IB role.


^ i did the exact opposite of what i just suggested and jumped head first. I was damn near homeless for a month

  • Analyst 3+ in IB - Ind
Dec 2, 2020 - 6:24pm

Would definitely be careful around making sure you can actually generate a stable income with YT. Just because there are a bunch of kids playing games online and making money, you can't assume that you will have the same luck, esp considering how easy it is to play games on YT. You got promoted so I assume you're a smart guy but please be sure you can differentiate yourself on YT to be able to succeed. My question to you is if you and I both started YT channels on gaming, why would people watch you vs. me? 

  • Analyst 1 in CorpStrat
Dec 2, 2020 - 7:08pm

If you're not a homeowner, I would suggest using an FHA loan to purchase a fourplex and use that for petty cash and emergencies. While many conventional loans require a down payments as high as 20 percent of the total purchase price, FHA loans make things a MUCH easier by requiring 3.5 percent down. You can be cash flowing from the fourflex and it makes quitting your day job easier. But I'd suggest maybe building out a bit of a portfolio of cash producing assets before quitting a nice IB gig.

Dec 2, 2020 - 7:52pm

Never quit your side gig until it's making enough to replace your main gig...


Dec 2, 2020 - 8:00pm

I was going to recommend switching to corp dev, corporate/commercial banking, or another less intense job so you can work a 9-5 and then focus on your channel the rest of the time. But honestly, the job switching process would probably be even more time consuming than what you have right now, so depending on your savings and risk tolerance, maybe you take the leap of of faith, quit the job and give yourself a ~6 month window to see if you can make it work. If it fails, you may not be able to get right back into IB at your same level, but you have years of experience in one of the most prestigious jobs, you'll be able to find something else that pays. One more thing, 500 a month is nothing, especially when you are making 300k right now. I'd try to see if you can scale your channel more before taking such a risk.

Dec 2, 2020 - 8:00pm

How about get a job at YouTube, working on user content, whilst creating your own content promoting content on the interwebs, and getting paid by sponsors on YouTube who also pay a fee which goes towards your pay working at YouTube to help you buy props for more content on YouTube ... ? Why limit yourself to only looking left when you can look right at the same time, huh

Dec 4, 2020 - 10:37am

This pandemic has proved that life is too short/uncertain to wait and delay, you should ditch IB and go for YouTube imo alternatively you can also wait 1-2 years so you can have some cash saved up but it's up to you

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