Video games, YouTube clips and wearing t-shirts are making people millions

Members from Newbee, winners of The International DOTA 2 Championships. Photo / Getty Images
Members from Newbee, winners of The International DOTA 2 Championships. Photo / Getty Images

This week, five boys became instant millionaires from video gaming and this is only one way everyday people are making a mint on the internet.

We decided to take a look at the story of these lucky lads and explore other ways people are raking in millions online.

ESPORTS

An event that is largely considered the world cup of professional gaming broke its own record for the largest prize pool ever offered in eSports.

The International - a Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) 2 tournament - had a prize pool of more than $28.3m, which surpassed the 2015 amount of $25.1m.

Excluding the initial $2.1m contributed from the game's developer; the money for the prize pool came from 25 per cent of the total revenue generated from sales of an in-game battle pass for the multiplayer online battle arena.

These battle passes allow players to access to unique character items and other things such as emoticons, music and taunts.

When The International 2016 came to a close this week, millions of people tuned in and witnessed one the biggest upsets in eSports history.

After just scraping into the tournament, rookie team Wings Gaming walked away as champions, sharing in a cool $12.37million.

So after one week and five matches - including the grand final - every member of Wings Gaming became an instant millionaire, taking home earnings over $A2.3 million each.

According to eSportsEarnings.com, due to the large prize pool, all of the members from the winning team are now ranked in the top 10 of the sport's highest earners.

YOUTUBE STARS

Have you ever heard of Felix Kjellberg? How about PewDiePie?

Well, it's the same person and if you answered no to both of those questions you are obviously not one of his 40 million YouTube subscribers.

With legions of loyal followers tuning in to watch his expletive-heavy commentary of video games he is playing, advertises are jumping at the chance to have products featured in his clips.

This attention means the 25-year-old Swede has fast become the world's top-earning YouTube star.

So how much does a person earn for talking while playing video games?

According to Forbes, in 2015 PewDiePie earned a cheeky $A15.6 million for his efforts.

An American web-based sketch comedy duo known as Smosh are the platform's second largest earners.

Consisting of Ian Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, the duo has more than 22 million subscribers, 5.8 billion video views and earnt $A11.6 million in 2015.

Benny Fine and Rafi Fine are real life brothers who also made $A11.6 million from YouTube last year.

Known as Fine Brothers, the duo are best known for their React video series, which as the name suggests, is clips of people reacting to certain things.

They have also developed a reputation for their timed-spoilers, which combine a number of videos summed up in a set time frame.

DOTA 2 International Championships. Photo / Getty Images
DOTA 2 International Championships. Photo / Getty Images


WEARING T-SHIRTS

In October 2008, Jason Sadler launched his website iwearyourshirt.com.

The concept was simple: Salder would wear an advertisement for companies on a T-shirt for one day, uploading videos to social media.

"The price would start at $1 on January 1. On January 2, the price would increase to $2. On January 3, the price would increase to $3. The price increased by $1 per day until December 31, which went for $365," he wrote on his website.

After a slow start, the concept grew into a phenomenon and ran until May 2013.

During this time, Sadler made more than $A1.3 million selling advertising on shirts.

He has since ended the project and now spends the majority of his time working on projects at JasonDoesStuff.com, which focuses on helping entrepreneurs and creative professionals make money doing what they love.

Despite stepping away from the business, he has advice for people wanting to follow in his path.

"If I can get brands around the world to pay me over $1,000,000 to wear T-shirts for a living, you can do anything," he wrote.

SELLING DESIGNER FURNITURE FOR CHILDREN

Sydneysider Kristy Withers was an early employee of eBay in Australia.

As one of just 20 employees, Ms Withers spent five years researching the market, launching new products and developing strategies for the online marketplace.

After trying to purchase a wrought iron bed for her son, Ms Withers was shocked to find the shipping to Australia would have cost around $900.

Angry, she spoke to her husband who suggested she start a business around the idea.

In 2011, she sold her eBay shares and pooled her families savings to start a website for designer furniture for babies and children called Incy Interiors.

Within a week of her first shipment - two 12 metre containers of furniture - she was inundated with wholesale inquiries.

"I had to employ someone after our first week to manage the wholesale site," she told news.com.au.

Now, her company sells around 50 per cent of its stock from its website, with the rest being sold through around 170 stockists nationally and internationally.

So what does selling designer furniture for children earn?

Well, Incy Interiors now makes $A7 million a year, which is something Ms Withers is still shocked by.

"I never thought it would be this lucrative, but I am proud of how far we have come," she said.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

At the beginning of 2016, business consultant Kerwin Rae generated almost no content at all for his social channels, but he realised it was something he had to do.

Instead of opting for posting memes or inspirational images, Mr Rae decided to launch an online video documentary series called The Social Experiment.

The content made for the series didn't ask for anything at all from consumers, rather it was focused on giving audiences tips on how to be successful in business.

By pushing video content across his company's social channels, Mr Rae has able to make $A2 million through Facebook referrals alone.

So how exactly did Mr Rae's altruistic approach to creating content with no commercial message into millions?

"It's called the mere exposure effect," he told news.com.au.

"The more exposure a person gets to a brand, the more familiar they become with that brand, the more trust they develop towards the brand, and this leads to a stronger likelihood that they will engage and buy your product."

Mr Rae said the approach requires a long-term perspective and has to include content that is of genuine value; otherwise it can create resentment towards the brand.

"My peers in marketing said I was insane and was wasting money, but the proof is in the pudding.

"There is so much competition out there, so you have to give your customer something of value to get them intrigued before they want to buy."

- news.com.au

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