Dream job as an influencer? The jungle of self-employment
Are apples in American supermarkets really bigger and greener? Why do windows in Germany close flawlessly? And what does ‘Heiliger Bimbam’ (holy cow) actually mean? The start of Dana Newman’s YouTube career was marked by astonishment at the numerous cultural differences, both little and large. ‘I wanted to share my enthusiasm for this with others’, relates the US-American blogger who has been living in Munich for twelve years. Dana Newman launched her YouTube channel ‘Wanted Adventure’ in 2014; it now contains around 600 videos. ‘At first I had this idea that I would explain to other US-Americans what Germany is like’, she says. ‘But then I received a lot of responses – even from my German audience – that described quite different experiences. I found that fascinating! My videos remind me again and again how many ways there are to view and interpret something.’
Dana Newman gradually became better known, and received more and more offers: she produced English learning videos for the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation, moderated events, ran video workshops, and hosted the ‘Germany, what goes?’ podcast on the Alumniportal Deutschland portal. In 2018, she wrote the book entitled ‘You go me on the cookie!’ about the oddities of the German language.
A major challenge: legal German
‘Change is very important to me as a creative person. Every day when I wake up there can be a new exciting offer in my inbox’, relates Newman, who enjoyed being in the spotlight even as a child. One further advantage of self-employment: ‘I decide myself when to start working and when to stop, I can work on a Saturday and take the Monday off instead.’ Albeit there are some major disadvantages to being self-employed rather than having a permanent position, especially in Germany. ‘There’s loads of paperwork to be completed, which is definitely not my thing. In a permanent position, all you have to do is sign an employment contract. I, on the other hand, have to repeatedly conclude new contracts with various different employers – and legal German really is a major challenge!’
Her flexible working times also have their downside. One particular benefit for permanent employees in Germany is their work-life balance, which is significantly better than in the USA: ‘It’s not just that there are so many more leave days, German employers even actively encourage you to take your holidays!’ Yet Dana Newman never really took a proper holiday in the first five years that she was self-employed. ‘Even when I visited my parents in the USA, I was always thinking about projects, or filming. In the end I was so exhausted that I had to press the pause button for a few months. I’m getting better at managing my workflow.’
‘It takes several days to create a ten-minute video’
The social media entrepreneur feels that very few audience members are aware of the effort it takes to complete an average ten-minute clip. She notices this in particular when she's running video workshops with young people who themselves are dreaming of a YouTube career. ‘Many of them are surprised that you have to write a script, which can take two to four hours. Then I need another hour for hairdressing and make-up.’ The actual filming takes at least the same time again. The most onerous task is the editing, for which Newman allows up to a day and a half. ‘And, of course, when the video is finally uploaded I post about it on other channels and respond to feedback. It takes several days to create a ten-minute video.’
The characteristic aspect of her videos is the charming mixture of English and occasional German words, which her German audience in particular finds attractive. In recent months, she has even been filming versions in German. Those days when the three articles and adjective declination drove her almost mad are now long gone, states Dana Newman: ‘But it’s only now that I feel fully comfortable in the German language!’
Author: Miriam Hoffmeyer
Could you imagine earning your income from YouTube? Write it in the comments.
Dana Newman, born in 1986, moved from Florida to Prague to trace her family’s Czech roots after graduating in 2008. A year later, she fell in love with a German and moved to Munich. Her videos about curious linguistic and cultural differences between Germany and the USA have enjoyed over 60 million views to date.
Foto: © Dana Newman