Investment banker left job to become YouTuber now makes over 1 million a year

Investment banker left job to become YouTuber now makes over 1 million a year

Nischa Shah was an investment banker for a decade before she decided to take a leap of faith and become a full-time content creator. This bold move has paid off handsomely, as she now earns over $1 million a year from her YouTube channel, courses, products, corporate talks, and brand partnerships.

Shah’s journey began in the high-stakes world of investment banking. By 2022, she had climbed the corporate ladder to become an associate director at Crédit Agricole in London, earning well over £200,000 ($256,000) annually. Despite her financial success, Shah felt unfulfilled. “It was about nine years into the corporate journey where I had this revelation that this isn’t fulfilling me, it’s not really challenging me, and it’s not intellectually stimulating,” she told CNBC Make It. She wanted to find a way to help people while also getting paid for it, unlike her banking job, which primarily benefited corporations and governments.

About two-and-a-half years ago, Shah hit a “rock bottom phase” and decided to use a Law of Attraction planner to reassess her life. This planner, which involves manifesting goals and dreams, prompted her to consider what she would do if money were not an issue. Shah realized she had a passion for personal finance and making complex information accessible to everyone. She had already helped her parents avoid a hefty tax bill of around £40,000 when they were selling their home, thanks to her financial knowledge.

In December 2021, Shah began experimenting with YouTube videos focused on personal finance and self-development. Her channel quickly gained traction, and she now boasts over 1 million subscribers. This success gave her the confidence to quit her investment banking job in January, even though she was due to receive a six-figure bonus two months later.

The risk was worth it. Shah now earns over $1 million annually through various revenue streams, including monetizing her YouTube videos, selling courses and products, giving corporate talks, and partnering with brands. “I’m making a lot more than I was in banking,” she said. “As a result of not chasing money anymore and just chasing what I’m good at, my passion, and what I really enjoy, it’s managed to surpass everything that I had before.”

Shah’s YouTube channel covers a wide range of topics, from “Money Habits Keeping You Poor” and “7 Passive Income Ideas” to “How to invest your first $1000.” Her videos receive anywhere from 100,000 to 9 million views. Loyal subscribers appreciate her no-nonsense approach, straightforward advice, and signature black turtleneck. However, her YouTube journey wasn’t always smooth sailing. “It took 11 months to get to 1,000 subscribers, and then two months to get to 100,000, which was crazy,” Shah said. “It’s just literally the power of compounding in a nutshell, not knowing when that lucky break is going to be.”

Shah’s audience includes many young adults, women, and people who may not have had access to financial education. “When I talk to the camera, I think of it as I’m just talking to me when I was 22-years-old or 23-years-old,” she said. Many of her viewers are at a point in their careers where they have started making money but want to get better with it. They seek advice on what to do with their savings, how to grow wealth, and how to set themselves up to quit a job they don’t like.

Shah saw an opportunity to become a trusted figure in personal finance due to her banking experience and accountancy qualifications, especially as misleading financial content is rampant on social media. “There’s incorrect advice being given on TikTok and Instagram, and it’s sad because giving the wrong advice on shampoo or lip gloss will cost someone like £7, but giving the wrong advice about finance could cost someone their life savings,” she said.

Shah advises using a day job to fund a side hustle. “If you don’t come from a family which is well-to-do, it’s really important to have a steady income coming in … but also having a job where you can learn from without consequences,” she explained. Setting up a business is a learning curve, and without backup income, the consequences could be dire. “If you’ve got income coming in from your day job, but you’re also building a business on the side, you’re working from a place of creativity, rather than from a place of ‘I need to make sure I pay the bills and I need to make sure I make ends meet,'” she said. “That makes you operate from a place of stress, which I think has a huge impact on whether you’re able to succeed in the entrepreneurial world.”

When Shah first started making YouTube videos, she used her investment banking income to invest in a £1,000 camera. “I would advise, for as long as possible, to continue exploring side hustles or side businesses alongside a day job. It gives you security. It gives you freedom or creativity. It helps you build an emergency fund and it gives you extra cash that you can then plug into your side businesses to help it succeed,” she said. Shah built up an emergency fund to support her for at least nine months after she quit her job. “It doesn’t need to cover my fancy holidays. It doesn’t need to cover any clothes or bags or anything like that. It just needs to cover my living expenses.”

Shah acknowledged that if she had waited to quit only after she’d made a lot of money from YouTube, it would have taken much longer to make the jump. “It was really important that I just went all in, and I had my emergency fund as a buffer, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I thought: ‘I’m at a crossroads. I’ve done what I known for the last nine years and that hasn’t made me happy … so now is the point for me to take my life in my own hands and just go for it.'”

Shah’s salary was verified by CNBC Make It via her contract and a tax form, but the exact figure will not be disclosed for privacy reasons. Her YouTube earnings from May 2023 to May 2024 were also verified by CNBC Make It via bank statements.

Source: CNBC Make It

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