Most of us can name a YouTube channel that we love to watch. At the very least, there’s probably a funny cat video from YouTube sitting in your Facebook feed right now. While we all watch these videos daily, what’s happening behind the scenes is actually making the creators of these videos super rich. The success of early YouTube stars such as Jenna Marbles have highlighted the potential for creating a brand, business, and respectable living all from streaming videos from your apartment. Here are a few secrets from industry insiders who examine just how this phenomenon works, and how shy teenagers from around the world have built successful companies through the power of internet video and sharing.

Have “Connectional Intelligence”

It’s a social media concept that describes the unique abilities of most YouTube stars: it’s called connectional intelligence, and it’s the “ability to combine knowledge, ambition, and capital, forging global connections to create value and meaning.” Basically – being smart and savvy enough to know what your audience wants, and not only giving it to them, but bonding with them as well. It’s why most YouTube celebrities are gamers, teenage girls, aspiring artists, makeup enthusiasts, or actors. They reflect their audience and connect in a unique way that other famous entertainers in Hollywood can’t, which often equals dollar signs.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Most YouTube stars (not all, but a good majority) consider themselves naturally introverted. These natural introverts have considerably strong perceptive skills, but might feel drained being in business meetings or presenting in front of a large crowd. That’s why YouTube works perfectly. The anonymous viewing audience lets YouTubers show their unique personalities without the pressure of glaring eyes. YouTubers who seem fake and “putting on a show” rarely see the success needed to make a channel a lucrative business. YouTube might be limiting in ways, but incredibly liberating in others. Taking advantage of the unique qualities of an online brand is an important step in creating a lasting channel.

Ask for Feedback & Don’t Be Afraid of Comments

Just as you would in the boardroom, entrepreneurs and YouTubers alike should listen to the advice of a close group of trusted individuals who understand your goals. Since connectivity is so important in this medium, it’s crucial to know what your core audience is thinking, feeling, and how they’re changing. Engage, build, and adapt with your audience (just as you would your consumer). Internet “trolls” will always exist to criticize for the sake of entertainment. Negative commenters shouldn’t discourage a YouTuber in reaching out and asking for advice; in fact, it can only help make the user more savvy in listening to the right voices.

Make Strategic Partnerships

YouTube invites successful channels to become “partners,” wherein YouTube places sponsored content on videos and pages and split the profits (Note: YouTube only pays out once your video has received $100 in ad revenue). Sponsored content can earn a YouTuber six figures in a year, and has even earned some millions. However, because of copyright violations and video content, less than 10% of the channels on YouTube are invited to become partners. Originality is the key to making profits.

A YouTube partnership isn’t the only way YouTube stars have created successful businesses. With a little bit of a following and some cash flow, content makers have signed deals with publishers, product lines, and television studios. Most commonly, the partnership program creates side revenue for online personalities, game streamers, makeup artists, chefs, and comedians. With the following key points in mind, YouTube is a great way to build a brand and share a common viewpoint that identifies with your core audience. It takes dedication, perseverance, and a unique perspective, but it terms of building a business, it’s a lucrative endeavor.