I’ve run across some funky business concepts, but this might take the cake:
Grab some common household object — a lightbulb or plastic container or shampoo bottle.

Tap lightly on the object or scratch it or shake it gently or … whatever … over and over and over again. Describe what you’re doing in a gentle, breathy whisper.
Set up your video camera to capture all of this.

Post it on YouTube.

Build a following.

Sell advertising.

Quit your day job.

Really. This is a thing. It’s called ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). People make a living posting ASMR videos online — a good living.

Viewers say the videos help them relax. Some say it cures their insomnia. Still others say ASMR videos literally make them “tingle.”

Therein lies the rub, so to speak.

Google and other online advertising channels sometimes crack down on ASMR publishers.

“It’s adult content,” say the killjoys who then ban advertising and cut off the publishers’ revenue streams.

You can judge for yourself: Search for “Gibi ASMR” on YouTube. Gibi has 1.5 million followers. Several of her videos have more than 7 million views.

Millions of followers, millions of views — that’s good money if you run ads in your YouTube channel, as long as Google allows you to run ads.

I watched some of Gibi’s videos. No nudity, not even a hint. No explicit talk about … you know. Just Gibi running a makeup brush against a microphone or lightly shaking a mechanical pencil or scratching some wool socks or shaking a plastic box full of hairpins.

I think some of these videos are really weird. But I don’t think they’re porn.
Important note: If you’re into ASMR videos, if they make you tingle or help you sleep, I’m fine with that. To each their own.

This column isn’t for ASMR practitioners or fans. This column is for small-business marketers. And for them, there are lots of lessons here.

First, identify an audience that has a need. Create a product or service that fulfills that need. Monetize the business by connecting your audience with other businesses that want to reach them.

That’s a good formula for building a business, and Gibi nailed it. Laugh all you want. But do you have 1.5 million YouTube followers and videos with more than 7 million views? If you did, you could quit your day job too.

Second, don’t put all your eggs in one basket — especially when that basket controls the revenue-generating levers for your business.

I know too many people who watched their businesses collapse because Google or Facebook or some other third party changed the rules or arbitrarily enforced them.

When Google banned advertising on Gibi’s YouTube channel, she was in deep trouble.

Thankfully for her, she convinced Google to lift the ban.

But the lesson still applies. Find multiple ways to monetize your business. Don’t rely on just one advertising channel run by corporate giants.

This post first appeared in St. Louis Small Business Monthly for which Tom Ruwitch writes a monthly marketing column. 

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