YouTube is a great place to make a living. I’ve personally been able to make over $6,000 on the platform, which doesn’t include any affiliate marketing income I’ve made.
I admit, though, I have only scratched the surface, and people are making more than what I’ve made in a lifetime every single month.
So, how do other YouTubers rake in seven, and even eight-figure incomes every year?
By monetizing their channels and branding in smarter and more lucrative ways.
In this post, I’ll share some of the best strategies I’ve learned to make money on YouTube.
For those who don't want to read this whole post, here's a video walk-through.
- 1) YouTube Ad Revenue
- 2) Create a Themed Channel and Outsource it
- 3) Affiliate Marketing
- 4) Review Products or Software
- 5) Create and Sell a Course
- 6) Use YouTube to Build a Brand
- 7) Work with Sponsorships
- 8) Sell Services
- 9) Sell Products with Live Streams
- 10) Sell Merch to Subscribers
- 11) Live Streams and Superchat
- 12) License Viral Content to the Media
- 13) Use Patreon with YouTube
How to Make Money on YouTube
1) YouTube Ad Revenue
This is among the most effective ways to make money on this popular video-sharing platform. All you need to do is become a YouTube partner and run ads before (or during) videos on your channel. For a lot of YouTubers, this has proven to be a very lucrative source of income.
The minimum requirements to join the YouTube monetization platform are simple:
- Your channel needs to have at least 4,000 hours of video watch time in the past 12 months before you can apply to monetize your videos.
- You also need to have over 1,000 subscribers to your channel.
- You must be at least 18 years of age before you can apply to join YouTube’s partner program.
There’s no specified timeframe in which to meet these requirements, and once you successfully achieve them, you’ll be able to begin earning from video ads on your channel.
The less controversial you make your videos, the more likely it is that YouTube advertisers are going to be comfortable running their ads on them. You can find out more about how to become a certified YouTube Partner here.
Youtube typically pays 55% of the ad revenue to the publisher and keeps the other 45%. On average, you can expect to make between $1-$2 per 1,000 views on your videos.
Keep in mind that different industries pay different amounts, and it’s all based on advertiser demands. That’s something you will have to consider when opting for this revenue-sharing method. The top-paying niches on YouTube include Finance, Business, and Entertainment.
How to Maximize Earnings With YouTube Ad Revenue
- Choose a high-paying niche: I choose to create a YouTube channel about business and earn around $15 per $1000 views. Though there are fewer views, the earnings are real, and I’m thrilled with my topic of choice.
- Manually insert ads when possible: I do this when I have a cliffhanger of sorts. Meaning, I start a sentence and then play the ad in the middle of the sentence because the user REALLY wants to hear the rest of it. An example, “The thing that you absolutely must know about affiliate marketing is”….(ad)……the rest of the statement. I’ve found this approach will keep you users engaged enough to finish through the ad instead of clicking off the video.
- Make as many videos as possible: YouTube is ultimately a numbers game. People don’t like to hear it, but it’s 100% true. The more videos you post, the more likely you are to succeed.
2) Create a Themed Channel and Outsource it
One of the ways that my wife and I discovered to make money on YouTube is to make, what I call, a “themed” channel.
When people think of having a YouTube channel, they picture themselves in front of a camera recording and editing videos until their eyes bleed.
But the idea here is really similar to what I do with websites, and it's quite an interesting business model. Basically, you create a channel full of videos around a specific topic or theme and, as those videos rank on YouTube or get recommended by the algorithm, you make passive income.
It makes perfect sense to try this method because YouTube is the second largest search engine and continues to grow year after year.
I'd love to say that I came up with this myself, but that's not true. I found out about this whole business model through a guy named Matt Par. He hosts a webinar on this whole concept that you can see by clicking here.
A few things to know:
- Matt makes over $30,000/month with this method (He shows proof of income in the course he sells)
- Matt is a young guy and looks like he could be the friend of your teenage son or daughter. But…don't be fooled by his age. His methods actually do work and his course is solid.
- In my opinion, Matt is a bit pushy with his sales tactics, but I'm sure he does it for one simple reason, it works.
- If you can overlook the sales tactics, his course is actually very good and very full of value. It's what I watched to understand how to make money on YouTube with a themed channel.
- You can join a webinar to better understand this whole thing by clicking here.
My wife and I just started doing this ourselves with two channels and I can say with 100% certainty that this does work and it's showing promising results.
Below is our first channel that we've created using this method.
I don't even mind sharing this channel with you because it's all in Portuguese (my wife speaks it fluently), and the revenue per 1,000 views is putrid at $0.22 because of the market (primarily serves people in Brazil).
The channel name is Diva Makeup and the focus of the videos are makeup compilations and things like that.
Keep in mind, we just got the channel monetized in July, so the earnings are pretty low as it wasn't a full month.
This was the first channel where we decided to try his methods and they actually worked for us, so we decided to go after a more lucrative United States market.
Our second channel is one where we converted an old YouTube account she had in the English Market and the earnings per 1000 views is much better at $4.00.
This channel I can't share the name with you because it's in the US market and I don't want unnecessary competition if I can avoid it.
This model gets really interested when you start outsourcing the whole process. While it seems daunting, it really isn't all that complicated. To create a successful video you need:
- Research to find footage or images
- Editing to create the content
- A script and a voiceover
- Someone to post the video and optimize the videos for SEO
To sum it up, this is a valid business model and one that I think isn't very saturated as the idea hasn't gone mainstream yet. For anyone thinking this may be a good idea, I suggest you check out his webinar to fully understand it.
3) Affiliate Marketing
You may not always be able to rely on ads for revenue generation on YouTube. The good news is that there are other monetization methods to choose from – such as affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent idea if you have an affinity from followers. Large marketing agencies don’t depend entirely on their channels of content distribution. Often, they find it more profitable to pay YouTube channels that already have a strong fan base to promote their products.
That’s why affiliate marketing is a great way to boost your earning potential on this platform if you’ve already built a large following. However, even with a smaller number of followers, you can still make a good living on this platform – provided you use an effective marketing strategy.
To make use of this YouTube monetization technique, sign up with companies or affiliate networks in your niche to get affiliate links for products that your audience might want. You can then recommend these products on your channel and get paid a commission for every resulting sale.
A straightforward way to get sales is by linking to the affiliate products in your video descriptions. The higher your conversions, the more money you’ll make.
Here is an excellent example of how Graham Stephen, a successful creator on YouTube, makes an income with Amazon affiliate links to camera and recording equipment. He has a link below his video descriptions which takes the viewer to this page:
As you can see, whenever someone clicks on one of those Amazon products and purchases something, he’ll make a small commission. But these small commissions add up. The most recent video he did about his income indicated that he made around $2000/month from these little affiliate links under his videos.
But it doesn’t have to stop with physical products. If you go to a platform like ShareaSale, there are many products and software you can promote to make extra money.
How to Maximize Earnings With YouTube Affiliate Marketing
- Leave affiliate marketing links in the description of videos
- Pin the first comment with affiliate links
- Refer to affiliate links in videos
- Add YouTube cards in your video pointing to affiliate links
Note: It's important to note that disclosure is required if you want to make money through affiliate marketing on YouTube. You need to add an affiliate disclaimer to your channel. This is simply a formal statement explaining to your readers that you have an affiliate relationship with the manufacturers of the products that you talk about in your digital content.
You need to make it very clear to them that you will receive commission payments if they click on your affiliate links and make any purchases.
You also need to have an affiliate disclaimer if you receive other forms of compensation, such as writing sponsored posts or creating sponsored videos to get free products or payment.
If you are in the U.S., you can follow the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) guidelines on how to craft a clear disclaimer. For creators in the U.K., follow the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) guidelines.
The FTC (U.S.) and ASA (U.K.) both have guidelines of which you should be aware, too, if you’re American or British.
4) Review Products or Software
Affiliate marketing doesn’t just have to be for physical products. You can use it for any type of products you like. For instance, you can do product or software reviews on your channel for various companies in your niche and earn money from brands seeking exposure and sales.
I have done this on my YouTube channel. This is a review on Instacart, a fantastic grocery delivery and pickup service that helps you save money and time.
This tactic works exceptionally well because it can be very helpful for your followers – provided, of course, that it’s a good market fit. You get paid, your viewers get useful information, and the brand gets more exposure – everyone wins.
How to Maximize Earnings With Reviews on YouTube
- Include a link in the pinned comment and video description
- Use YouTube cards when it makes sense with links pointed to the affiliate offer
- Refer to your links and disclose how people clicking on them will help you (people want to help creators usually)
5) Create and Sell a Course
Yet another awesome way to earn money on YouTube is to create and sell a digital course. If you have the knowledge to share and can offer great value to your followers, they will gladly buy your course to learn more about how you can help them improve their lives.
You can teach on a wide range of topics, including fitness and health, personal development, digital marketing, and professional or curriculum courses.
There are lots of creators doing this successfully, including Meet Kevin, a well-known entrepreneur who runs a 7-figure business. He heavily uses his videos on YouTube to drive viewers toward his online training programs that teach people how to invest and make money in real estate.
How does he do this?
He adds his courses in his video descriptions with a strong call to action to help drive viewers into action so they purchase his courses.
This is a great way to make money on this platform, but in order to be successful selling courses, you have to be able to create high-quality, useful, and unique content that offers immense value to your viewers.
After all, no one will want to purchase a course if the information contained in it is just a rehashing of what everyone else has already said.
How to Maximize Earnings With Courses on YouTube
- Put course links in your video descriptions
- Refer to the course in videos once in a while (Don’t be too pushy)
- Use YouTube cards sometimes to push people to your course (But not too much)
6) Use YouTube to Build a Brand
YouTube is great for building your brand if you want to create fans, drive lots of conversions, and increase your business revenue. As the second-largest search engine, this platform offers immense opportunities to get your brand in front of your ideal audience.
You can use it as an additional tool to reach followers if you’re already active on other social platforms, or in conjunction with a website that you currently run.
A website will almost always outearn a YouTube channel because it’s a platform that allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper and more personal level, such as through email, and so on.
I use YouTube to grow my personal brand.
After I shoot a new YouTube video, I transcribe my videos over to my blog and format them as blog posts. I also bring my YouTube subscribers consistently to my website to grow my overall brand.
This has helped me grow my email list and resulted in thousands of dollars that I’ve earned in course or affiliate sales.
Over 90% of consumers say that they discover new brands on YouTube, which is all the more reason for you to get started building a name for yourself on this platform.
How to Maximize Earnings Building a Brand With YouTube
- Push YouTube subscribers and viewers to your website and capture emails
- Use emails to build trust and pitch affiliate products or courses/products of your own
- Create courses/products that your audience wants and sell to them
7) Work with Sponsorships
Working with sponsorships is a great way to boost your earnings on YouTube. As your audience and viewership grow, brands will approach you to create videos on their behalf. Most brands pay extremely well for quality videos that help them achieve their business objectives.
I have done this myself and made $500 on one video with this monetization method.
If you want to use sponsorships as a means of adding to your income on YouTube, it's important to note that some niches have a lot more placements than others. That is, you’ll find tons more opportunities in industries like makeup and beauty than you would in many other industries.
The trick to success in this area is to use your channel as a platform to showcase your skill and expertise for potential contractors. This indirect monetization strategy is highly effective and involves advertising yourself with the goal of eventually being hired for paid opportunities to create videos for brands.
Direct promotion of this kind is basically like affiliate marketing, but with a slight difference.
The advertising companies pay you a fixed amount to collaborate with your YouTube channel. The amount you charge varies, and it depends on the quality of your videos, as well as your popularity.
Remember, sponsored content, or “sponcon” is advertising, so you need to be transparent about it on your YouTube channel. Make sure you adhere to all of Google’s Ad Policies in order to avoid possible issues with your account, such as suspension, or even termination.
Follow the FTC and ASA guidelines to make sure that your audience is aware that you are advertising to them. Use YouTube’s disclosure feature to add transparency in order to not only avoid legal issues but also build a stronger relationship with your viewers.
How to Maximize Earnings With Sponsorships on YouTube
- Focus on quality videos that are thorough and helpful
- Create unpaid reviews first; this will attract competition
- Negotiate when contacted and ask for 50% upfront to protect yourself
- Request additional products along with payment
8) Sell Services
Selling services like masterminds, group consulting, etc. to your followers is another effective way to leverage your channel into paid opportunities. Although this type of monetization can be slow initially, once you hit critical mass, it can be very lucrative.
In addition to making loads of money selling your services, you will also be able to develop a strong community around the services you offer. Sharing your expertise in this way will help you expand your brand as well.
Service promotions work great whether you’re a freelancer, small business, or e-commerce shop. All you need to do is upload video content related to your brand and use a compelling call to action to get viewers to try out your services.
How to Maximize Earnings by Selling Services on YouTube
- Sell group consulting and calls
- Price yourself high
- Offer pre-packaged services and limit clients for premier pricing
9) Sell Products with Live Streams
Another way to make money from your channel is to sell products on YouTube live streams. This monetization strategy works particularly well in popular niches like beauty and fashion. The idea here is to sell products en masse to a live streaming audience.
To make this even more profitable, you might consider creating your own products and offers that you can sell to your avid viewers. You can create a digital course, an ebook, or anything else that your audience would appreciate.
Alternatively, if you already have a business outside of YouTube, then you can use the channel to drive leads to your products.
The key to successfully selling products with a live stream is to develop a strong sense of trust among your followers. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to pull out their credit card to purchase your products. Once you have your product ready to sell, you can use a tool like Gumroad to accept payments during your live streams.
Here is an example of someone who is doing extremely well with this type of YouTube monetization strategy.
Moriah uses live streams to sell her products and wears her merch in promotional content to create hype for her new collection.
How to Maximize Earnings by Selling Products on YouTube Live Streams
- Offer exclusive products
- Create your products for a higher profit margin
- Have these types of streams consistently
- Offer samples of your products as a promotional technique
- Use limited-time promo codes
10) Sell Merch to Subscribers
One of the easiest ways to make money on YouTube is to sell merchandise to your followers. This is because YouTube has built a section just for it.
As a YouTube creator, you must have a large enough following before you can expect to make any real money with this strategy, but you can start small and gradually build-up to the level where you’re making a consistent income from your merch sales.
To give you an idea of the potential revenue you can earn from selling merch to subscribers, here are two YouTubers who are doing this successfully:
This channel makes an estimated $3,1K every month just from sales of merchandise. Branded merchandise like this is a massive industry, and you can get your share of it by selling your merch to loyal fans of your channel which will gladly spend their money to support their favorite YouTube creator.
Another creator who is successfully making an income from selling merch is PewDiePie, whose recent merchandise launch sold out in just minutes, snapped up by his dedicated base of 105 million subscribers.
His merchandise sales are estimated to bring in a cool $6.83 million every year. If you have successfully branded yourself and gained a lot of loyal fans, this is a great monetization strategy because people who love your work will gladly buy your merchandise.
How to Maximize Earnings by Selling Merch on YouTube
- Have a large number of subscribers
- Know your subscriber demographics – do they want merch?
- Create a tagline
- Price it reasonably
- Use limited edition merch
11) Live Streams and Superchat
Superchat is another great way to make money with YouTube’s video platform. It’s the feature that replaced youTube’s “Fan Funding” in 2017. As a YouTube Partner, this feature is available to you while you live stream.
Superchat makes your viewers’ comments more visible. They are highlighted and pinned in a prominent place in the live chat stream for a specific period of time, depending on how much they pay.
Subscribers to your YouTube channel can donate in Superchat on live streams, or they can pay a monthly fee and become members of your channel. In exchange, they’ll get custom badges and emojis that make them stand out during your live sessions. They also get access to your members-only exclusives, such as live chats with you.
This monetization method is facilitated through YouTube’s Partner Program and there are a lot of creators who are successfully using it to promote their brands and channels. To make the most of this money-making technique, you will have to build out a YouTube promotion strategy that will convince your viewers to become members.
In a way, it’s almost as if you’re selling ads within your live chat feeds. With live streams and Superchat, you will rely on fans for income, but you will also be able to grow a strong community.
To sell channel memberships to your audience, you must be over 18 years of age, and you need to have at least 30,000 subscribers.
Getting your fans to pay you directly is a great way to make money on YouTube if you already have a strong loyal following. Fans love to show their appreciation by whipping out their credit cards, and you will have a reliable income stream just by continuing to provide value on your channel.
Just make sure that you make it as easy as possible for them to donate. If the process of giving you money is lengthy or hard, even your most dedicated followers are likely to give up before completing it.
How to Maximize Earnings With Live Streams and Superchat on YouTube
- Encourage your viewers to become channel members
- Explain how Superchat and becoming a member works (not many people understand it)
- Promote your channel or personal brand during live chat feed
12) License Viral Content to the Media
Another way to earn from your videos on YouTube is to license viral content to the media. Media outlets are always on the lookout for high-quality content, and whenever videos go viral, they want a copy to replay for their respective audiences.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be only viral videos that you share with them. You can also share timely footage that they deem newsworthy, and many companies will pay you for using your video.
So, if you have any successful videos that media outlets might want to use on their websites, then make sure they are easy to find by including a business email in a prominent place on your channel profile, as well as in video descriptions. This will make it easy for companies that want your video to contact you.
You can also submit your videos to sites like Jukin Media.
Lots of popular media networks like FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, and The Weather Channel use this site to find video content for their websites. Here you will find plenty of opportunities for licensing your content to the media so you can add to your YouTube revenue stream.
How to Maximize Earnings With Licensing on YouTube
- Include a business email in channel profile and video descriptions for licensing purposes
- Sign up with Jukin Media and other video sites
- Highlight the most successful content on your channel
13) Use Patreon with YouTube
Patreon is a popular online platform that offers artists and creators a place to easily share their work with paying audiences, or “Patrons”. As a YouTube creator, you can use Patreon to leverage the power of your audience and make more money with your YouTube videos.
You can monetize your work by creating a Patreon account and then releasing exclusive content or perks for your Patrons. Patreon works in almost the same way that YouTube Memberships does, except that you can set your own prices and decide precisely how you want to charge for your content.
You can choose to be paid either a fixed monthly payment in exchange for offering access to exclusive content on the platform, or you can charge Patrons on a per-post basis.
One YouTube channel, The East Fam, features Shawn Johnson, a former Olympic gymnast, and offers tiers of Patreon memberships that range from just $2/month for ad-free videos, all the way to $100/month which includes personalized merchandise, as well as a credit as a producer.
William “Suede” DuFresneis is another example of a YouTube creator who is making a healthy income from his subscribers through this platform. Although he has a relatively small audience, he manages to monetize his videos well by providing high-quality content that keeps his audience engaged.
The secret to success on Patreon is to keep your audience motivated. The emphasis on this platform is on the community, and Suede keeps his viewers coming back for more by producing consistent quality and using his personality and good communication to persuade viewers to purchase his products.
How to Maximize Earnings With Patreon and YouTube
- Make sure exclusive content goes on Patreon
- Do your best to push people toward the platform
- Regularly ask for input to keep your subscribers engaged
- Offer tiers of Patreon memberships
Making Money on YouTube FAQ
How Much do YouTubers Make?
YouTube is a great platform for both businesses and individuals to make money. But while anyone can easily upload videos to the platform, not everyone will be able to make good money off of it.
It all depends on a variety of factors, including your monetization strategies, content creation, and promotion tactics. Listed below are the top 10 earners on YouTube for 2019. Take a look at each of their net worths, so you can see what's possible when you have the right strategy.
- Ryan's World: Worth $22 million
- Jake Paul: Worth $21.5 million
- Dude Perfect: Worth $20 million
- Daniel Middleton: Worth $18.5 million
- Jeffree Star: Worth $18 million
- Mark Fischbach: Worth $17.5 million
- Evan Fong: Worth $17 million
- Sean McLoughlin: Worth $16 million
- Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie): Worth $15.5 million
- Logan Paul: Worth $14.5 million
Although not everyone will be able to make these kinds of earnings, you stand a good chance of earning thousands of dollars monthly with the right niche selection and engaging videos.
Having said that, this isn't going to be easy to do. With over 500 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, the competition is fierce. However, don't let that dissuade you.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so take inspiration from the YouTubers mentioned above, who started where you are and are now making millions every year.
Use this handy calculator to see how much you could potentially make from your videos on YouTube:
How does Youtube Send you Money?
YouTube pays through the Google AdSense program which is linked to your YouTube account. Your ad earnings need to be over a certain threshold for you to receive payments. YouTube pays you on a monthly basis, usually before the 21st of the month.
Once you've earned over $100, you will start getting paid on for the ads that viewers watch on your channel. You'll get money in your bank account via EFT, or you can opt for check payment, Western Union Quick Cash, or wire transfer.
But before that, when you’ve earned $10 in your account, Google sends you a postcard that contains a verification code to verify your address.
How to Make Money with Music on YouTube
YouTube is undoubtedly one of the best tools you can use as a musician to engage with your fans online and market your music. As a music artist, you can make money on YouTube by joining the platform’s partner program and then using ads to generate revenue on your music videos you create.
All you have to do is focus on creating great music that makes your viewers fall in love with you while YouTube matches relevant ads to your channel and the fans who watch your music videos.
The exact amount of money that you can make with your music on YouTube depends on a variety of factors. But, according to Complex.com, on average, you can expect to make about $1000-$2000 per million views.
How to Enable Monetization on YouTube
Step 1: To get started monetizing your YouTube channel, first, log into your account.
Step 2: In the “Channel Settings” tab, choose “Enable Monetization”.
Step 3: Follow the steps outlined in that section to accept the YouTube monetization agreement.
Step 4: Locate the “Upload” tab and you will see a green box that has a “$” next to the videos that are eligible to be monetized. The videos that aren’t eligible for monetization because of copyright will appear in the “Copyright Notices” tab.
Step 5: Your next step is to link your YouTube channel to an AdSense account. This is free to do and very easy to set up. To create a new AdSense account you will need to have a bank account or PayPal.
You will also need a valid mailing address so you can verify your account. Once your account has been approved, you will get an update from AdSense through the mail.
If you already have an approved Google Adsense account, you can add that one to your channel, instead. You can check out the Google Support Page for more detailed instructions.
And that's a wrap. You now have all the information you need about how to make money on YouTube.
All you need to do now is to take action on everything you've learned so you can start building and growing your audience on this lucrative platform.
Are there any other YouTube monetization strategies that you know of? Let me know in the comments section below!