I started a Youtube channel where I try on clothes, examine them and send them back for a refund. Is it okay to use a credit card?

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Dear Dave,

I’m on Baby Step 2 and started a YouTube channel earlier this year that has helped me generate some extra income. I try on and review clothes, and get paid $ 30 for each clip that is 30 seconds to 2 minutes long. Right now I have around 1000 viewers. It forces me to buy items from multiple brands. I usually return the items when I’m done filming, but I’m currently funding this with a credit card that I’m only using for this project. I only pay the minimum each month until I receive the refund, so at any time there may be up to $ 4000 on the rotating card. I earn around $ 86,000 from my normal job, so is this a good way to fund my project and treat it as a business expense?

amber

Dear Amber,

You’re taking a risk here, from a business standpoint, playing with $ 4,000 in debt to earn $ 30 per pop. It is disproportionate. And you shouldn’t be paying for the clothes in the first place. These brands should give you clothes to review – which you keep – for marketing exposure, but I’m not sure you still have enough eye on yourself to justify giving you the clothes for free.

Basically, it sounds like you’re trying to put yourself in the position of being an influencer. And the way influencers get paid is by monetizing eyeballs. Obviously, YouTube and other platforms will pay you if you can get their eyes on it. But 1,000 viewers is really not a lot these days. You’re getting there, though, and I’m glad you’re working on it and trying to shake things up.

You make a lot of money, Amber. I want you to set aside $ 2,000 or $ 3,000 for this business, maybe from the income of the business, and prime the pump once. By this I mean opening a separate checking account just for your clothing exchange process. Here’s the problem, let’s say you bought $ 1,000 worth of merchandise from one of these companies and they suddenly decide not to take them back. You just ate that $ 1,000. And guess what else? Now you really have credit card debt.

There are three things you can always be sure of in business. First, it’s going to cost twice as much as you think. Second, it’s going to take twice as long as you think. And third, you are not the exception to these things. While we’re at it, add this to the list of things you can always be sure of – you’ll never find me counseling or approving credit card debt!

—David


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