Your first YouTube hit has recently crossed ten thousand views. The exposure made you curious: Is it genuinely possible to make money from YouTube? If yes, then what kind of revenue can you generate?
You then realized that you don’t even have a thousand subscribers. YouTube wouldn’t even let you in their partner program. There are thousands of professional musicians, filmmakers, media houses, and small businesses competing for YouTube viewership.
Ah, and so the dreams of monetizing your videos and making a respectable income from them come shattering down.
What if I told you that there are numerous ways to make money from YouTube? You can succeed on the platform without a massive production budget and without a million subscribers.
Today, you’ll learn how to earn a regular income from YouTube with live examples. Let’s start by addressing the common questions around making money on the platform.
Note: This article contains affiliate links. It means if you sign up using my link, then I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you). I only recommend products that I personally find valuable and enjoy. I appreciate your support!
Table of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Making Money On YouTube
Here are answers to the most asked questions on creating a sustainable income stream from your YouTube channel.
How many views do you need on YouTube to make money?
You earn money from YouTube videos based on the number of people that click on the ad or watch it for 30 seconds. You’re not paid for the number of views on your channel, but the engagement you generate.
How many subscribers do you need to make money on YouTube?
To be eligible for monetization on YouTube, you need at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time in the last year. However, you shouldn’t rely on income from YouTube alone and you may sell merchandise as well as your own products.
What is the payment per view on YouTube?
The average rate an advertiser pays can vary between $0.1 to $0.3 per view and an average channel can get $18 per 1000 ad views. So an average video creator can make $4.18 for every 1000 views.
Who makes the most money on YouTube?
According to Forbes, the top five highest paid YouTube stars of 2018 are:
1. Ryan ToysReview – $22 million
2. Jake Paul – $21.5 million
3. Dude Perfect – $20 million
4. Jeffree Star – $18 million
5. DanTDM – $18.5 million
Note that to make money of any kind from YouTube you need to follow the community guidelines. To steer clear of trouble, you need to stay away from inappropriate content that’s spam, hateful, infringes copyrights, or anything else that might get reported.
1. How To Make Money From AdSense On YouTube
The first income stream that most video creators explore is ads. To get started with it, you need to sign up and get accepted into the YouTube partner program. Your channel needs to have 4000 hours of watch time in a year and 1000 subscribers to be eligible for monetization.
Note that for your application to get accepted you need to:
- Create advertiser-friendly content.
- Always obey the community guidelines.
- Your channel’s activity should adhere to the YouTube Partner Program Policies (no spamming, yo!)
You also need a Google Adsense account to receive revenue through your monetized YouTube account.
Once you’re accepted, you can start monetizing all of your video uploads, but leave out the ones that touch on sensitive and controversial subjects. There are various ad formats and you can choose to enable all of them on your videos. The videos that are monetized will have a ‘$’ sign, in your video manager.
You will need to produce videos consistently, in a large volume to generate a respectable income through ads.
Note that advertisements are not the best way to monetize your content. YouTube may find your video inappropriate due to a variety of reasons and demonetize it through an automated process. You get to keep around 45% of the ad revenue you generate anyway. So you’re better off with the other money making opportunities that lay below.
2. How To Earn Money From YouTube Without Adsense
Even YouTube stars with over 14 million monthly views earn less than $17k per year. The truth is that you can’t generate a healthy income on YouTube from ads alone. You need a mindset shift and treat the video platform as a channel that provides you exposure to a massive audience.
Once you start treating YouTube as a catalyst for establishing your thought leadership, you won’t remain handicapped. Instead of stressing about going viral and getting MORE subscribers, you’ll contemplate how to create a sustainable business through your YouTube exposure.
Are you ready for diversifying your income? Then here are a few ways to make money beyond AdSense:
3. Get Sponsors For Your Videos
Have you established a connection with your audience through authentic videos? If so, then brands would love to put your influence to good use. Especially if you have crossed 100,000 subscribers, then you’re in a great spot to negotiate deals with businesses.
Here are a few key aspects you need to keep in mind when considering sponsored videos:
- Stay transparent and tell your audience that you’re promoting an entity,
- Only endorse the brands your values align with and products that you have used,
- Don’t force a brand into every video script you produce. Throw in sponsored videos with your regular video posting schedule, but do it authentically.
Fiction video creators with a huge audience (over 500k subscribers) typically hire a marketing agency to manage sponsorship deals. You can also consider the influencer marketplaces below:
1. Grapevine Logic – You only need subscribers to join.
Note: YouTube requires you to disclose your product placements by checking the by checking the “video contains paid promotion” box in your advanced settings. You can review Google’s guidelines on paid placements here.
4. Review Products And Put Your Affiliate Links
Don’t have a huge subscriber base? No worries. You can still promote products by reviewing them and putting your affiliate links in the video description.To find opportunities, log on to affiliate networks like ClickBank and Amazon Affiliate Network.
The idea is to create a genuinely useful and authentic review video for anyone that’s considering buying the product. While you can put together pros and cons from other reviewers, you can stand out by personally using the product and speaking from experience.
For every sale you generate through your video, you will earn a commission. If you’re regularly reviewing products of a specific kind on your channel, then it makes to follow this route.
5. Sell Merchandise
Top YouTube stars generate a significant amount of income by selling their brand of merchandise. Jake Paul and Bhuvan Bam have their own dedicated stores that they promote in their videos. Merch is a great way to leverage your influence and generate a healthy income.
Do you have an excellent brand image and fancy having T-shirts, caps, mugs, and other merch to complement your channel? Then you can set up a dedicated website for selling.
YouTube allows you to promote your verified site through cards. But you need to first associate it with your channel and become a part of the YouTube Partner Program (learn more about linking to associated websites here).
If creating your site seems like a lot of work, then you can also partner with approved merchandise sites listed here, and direct your viewers there. You can use end screens (that appear during the last 5-20 seconds) to promote your product listings there.
As Teespring now integrates with YouTube, you can also sell merch from a shelf on your channel. However you will see the option only if your channel is eligible (you can find that under YouTube Studio Beta >> Monetization).
6. Sell Your Products
Many bloggers and content creators use YouTube as a channel to build their personal brands. Once they get some viewership, they begin collecting email addresses and connect deeply with a few people. Eventually, they launch paid video courses and sell them to these email subscribers.
If you’re creating educational content on YouTube, then you can adapt a similar strategy. You can sell printables, ebooks, and video courses to your audience.
Start with teaching skills and delivering information on a subject you’re versed with. Then, find glaring pain points of your viewers and produce a digital product to solve these problems.
The best part about selling digital products is you don’t need a large audience as there are huge margins. You can generate a significant amount of revenue from a single sale of a $250 course that would otherwise take hundreds of thousands of views.
7. Coach, Consult, And Speak
Again, this monetization strategy will work well for educational video creators. If you have a specialized skill that brands can leverage to generate business, then you can offer paid consultation.
You can either place a direct call to action at the end of your videos and ask viewers to get in touch with you over email to hire you. Else, you can also create a dedicated website with a “services page” that details how you work with clients.
You can also research and look for any live speaking opportunities in your niche. If there are industry conferences, then you can pitch yourself as a keynote speaker to even the directors. All you need to do is put together a few of your best YouTube videos along with the audience engagement stats.
What if you don’t have business related skills? There’s no need to get disappointed. If you can teach something useful and fun that adds value to people’s lives then they will pay you. For instance, if you create makeup tutorials, you can consult people over Skype and offer fashion consultation. The same goes for guitar instructions and even English pronunciation lessons.
8. Crowdfund And Fan Fund Your Videos
Have you been creating videos regularly and built an enthusiastic community of subscribers? Then you can directly ask them to fund your creative endeavors.
One way to source donations from your audience is getting them on board for your special projects. You can use a platform like Kickstarter to detail your idea and the budget required for its execution. There are other platforms like ‘Tipeee’ and ‘Indiegogo’ that are excellent for fundraising. YouTube has put up a list of its approved crowdfunding websites here.
Then promote the crowdfunding campaign on your YouTube channel. And keep updating your audience on the progress.
The other way is to fan fund your channel by offering paid monthly memberships that require recurring payments. In exchange, you offer these biggest fans to engage more extensively with you and you can offer exclusive privileges like badges (that appear next to their username), emojis (to let them visually stand out in chat), and other perks.
The membership feature though is only available to channels with over 30,000 subscribers. Check out the complete eligibility criteria here.
The last related way to fan fund your video is Super Chat. It’s a fun way that lets creators to engage with their fans during YouTube premieres. And in the process of deepening the connection with subscribers creators can make some money.
When you live stream, the viewers can purchase Super Chat and get their messages highlighted. Depending on the amount they pay (it’s $0.99 to $500 depending on the local currency), the chat stays pinned in the ticker.
To get the most value from Super Chat, you can give credit and thank your senders. Also consider doing something in return for them or asking them your next video subject.
Again, Superchat is available in select regions and only a few channels are eligible (check here).
Pro Tip: Patreon is a superb platform for creators to serve specials to select audiences. Rob Scallon used to call his paid Patreon subscribers as ‘super fans’. He served them his music before releasing publicly on YouTube and he also shared behind the scenes of his videos. If you’re not eligible for starting a membership on YouTube, then you can start with Patreon.
9. License Your Videos To Media Houses
This last one is mainly for those creative genius moments when you’ve managed to go viral. If you posted a funny clip and it got a lot of attention, then online news sites, TV News channels, and other media outlets might pay for buying the rights to broadcast your video.
What about non-viral videos? Well you can still put them up in marketplaces like Jukin Media. There’s a huge demand for user-generated content so your entertaining video can make the cut through the Jukin Media research team. If it gets picked up by their licensing partners/syndication network, then you can earn some nice cash.
Pay close attention to the rights you disburse on signing up for such platforms. With Jukin, you remain the owner but they buy the rights to represent and manage your video. It’s also an exclusive agreement – which means you can’t hire another manager for your video.
Video is eating the internet and as a video creator, YouTube is an incredible place to get exposure for their work. However, it’s not a smart strategy to rely on the video platform for making a living. The pay through AdSense is dismal and the top earners eat over 90% of the pie.
You don’t need to wait years or generate millions of views before making cash (remember, it’s about finding your true fans). I showed you a few ways and examples of successful creators that are winning using YouTube. And none of them are mainstream stars.
So start treating YouTube as a catalyst and explore multiple income streams. That’s the way to create a sustainable business from your video creation efforts.
Now it’s your turn:
Which of the above income generating opportunities are you going to leverage on your YouTube channel next? And are there any other monetization strategies that you have leveraged on or through YouTube? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.