Starting A YouTube Channel: How Much Do YouTubers Make?

How much do youtubers make

If you are interested in building a side hustle, a YouTube channel might be a fun idea. Of course, making YouTube videos might seem like fun. But if you want to use YouTube as a side hustle it also needs to bring in a worthwhile income. It is completely possible to earn an income with YouTube. In fact, many are earning a large income through the platform. So how much do YouTubers make?

Let’s take a closer look at how you can earn money with YouTube and how much you can make as a video creator and publisher through the platform.

How to make money on YouTube

As a YouTuber, you’ll have several different ways to monetize your following. We break down the different methods below. Whether your channel is about gaming or food or you are a luxury fashion influencer, these are all applicable ways to make money!

1. Advertising revenue

However, if you are wondering ‘how can I make money on YouTube without Adsense?’ It is completely possible. Ad revenue is one way to earn an income on YouTube.

As with other sites across the internet, YouTubers can receive ad revenue. Although the numbers will vary slightly based on your channel, you can earn money with thousands of views.

Most YouTubers earn around $18 for every 1,000 ad views. That works out to around $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views. Of course, this varies based on your channel, but that gives you a rough estimate of what it takes to earn a living on YouTube.

YouTube and Google Adsense change their payment terms on a regular basis. Make sure that you understand their policies about payment before getting started. One important note is that you won’t be able to cash out your earnings until you reach a balance of $100.

Note: In order to start earning money from ads on YouTube, you must be at least 18 years old (or have a guardian at least 18 years old). In addition, your channel must have 4,000 hours of overall watch time within the past 12 months and have at least 1,000 subscribers.

2. YouTube video sponsorship

If you have a large following, then brands might be willing to partner with you for sponsorship opportunities. As you build a base of subscribers, you might find more lucrative brand sponsorship opportunities.

The sponsorship opportunities might vary based on your audience and the brand. For example, you could get paid in cash for the promotion of products. Or you might receive free products instead.

Sponsorships will only be lucrative when you have a large audience. The number of sponsorships you are able to land will depend on the nature of your channel and the quality of your audience.

3. Merchandise sold via YouTube

If you’ve built a brand around your YouTube channel, then your followers might be interested in creating your own merchandise. You can bring in revenue from your YouTube channel by selling products that will appeal to your audience.

A few merchandise ideas include traditional t-shirts, hats, and bags. But you can also branch out into other branded products that would appeal to your followers. For example, if you have a cooking channel on YouTube, then you may want to sell branded kitchen equipment.

With a strong following, you can sell merchandise. If you don’t have a devoted audience, then building out merchandise ideas could backfire.

After spending your time and money to create merchandise for followers, it can be a letdown if no one wants to buy your product. Consider your audience and the strength of your following before you pursue merchandise.

How to make money on YouTube

Affiliate marketing is a fairly common way for YouTubers to earn an income. An affiliate link can allow you to earn a commission if one of your followers buys the product. Let’s say that you advertised an Amazon product and included an affiliate link.

When your follower clicks through the link to purchase the product, you will receive a small percentage of the sale. Over time, these small commissions can build into a large income.

Of course, you will need a large following in order to make a substantial amount of money through affiliate marketing. But if you have subscribers that trust your opinion, then making some money through affiliate marketing should be possible.

If you feel that a product can serve your audience, then you should include an affiliate link in your video. That said, you should only include affiliate links that you think will help your audience. Otherwise, it could be a turn-off that most of your recommendations aren’t useful for your followers.

5. Premium memberships

Once you build up a loyal following of people who enjoy your videos, you might consider offering premium membership on your channel to make more money from YouTube.

Having your viewers as YouTube premium subscribers provides them with extra perks like extra content and badges. This helps you stay engaged with your fans and make a profit.

6. YouTube Partner Program

The YouTube partner program is an excellent option to keep in mind. It can help you make more money from ads because of revenue sharing.

If you want to make money from YouTube, you should add this as soon as possible. You do need an AdSense account, and there are some other requirements, too.

7. Merch Shelf

You can sell your merchandise on YouTube using the Merch Shelf if you qualify. The Merch Shelf allows eligible creators to showcase their official branded merchandise on YouTube. This can be an excellent way to make money, and it's worth looking into.

How much can you earn on YouTube?

You can earn a lot of money on YouTube. In fact, some YouTubers earn millions of dollars each year. A few examples of successful YouTubers include:

Michelle Phan

Michelle Phan is a YouTube cosmetics and makeup guru who began her YouTube career in 2006. She has since amassed a net worth of over $50 million.

Huda Kattan

Huda Kattan is a trained makeup artist who started showcasing her skills on YouTube. Based on her YouTube success, she launched the extremely popular cosmetics line, Huda Beauty.  As a result of her hard work has built a net worth of over $560 million.

Lilly Singh

Lilly Singh is a comedian who launched her social media channel back in 2011 as an outlet to deal with depression. Her channel has made at least $10 million.


PewDiePie earned $13 million dollars in 2020 through his platform which focuses on video games.

Ryan Kaji

Ryan Kaji started YouTube at just 3 years old (with the help of his parents) and is at the top of the earning charts for YouTube. In 2019, he earned $26 million!

How to get started earning money on Youtube

If you want to earn an income from YouTube, you need to be unique. Before you start posting videos, think about what you want to build with your channel. What kind of followers do you want to gain? What kind of message do you want to put into the world?

Do you want to create vlogs about your daily life? Or will you be creating sitdown videos on specific topics? Whatever message you choose to create, make sure that it helps you stand out from the crowd.

For example, the Clever Girl Finance YouTube channel offers unique content geared towards women that want to improve their finances. Check it out to start thinking of your own new ideas.

Once you start posting videos, aim for some basic metrics. The first major milestone is to hit 1,000 subscribers. After that, you can aim for 4,000 hours of watched video in the past year.

That will help you get started with some ad revenue. From there, you can branch into other monetization strategies based on your following.

Be realistic about YouTube earnings when you start out

With earning potential in the millions, it is easy to be starstruck by the possibilities for your YouTube channel. However, although possible, it can be extremely difficult to break into the high earnings on YouTube for a variety of reasons.

First of all, it can be difficult to build a following. The digital landscape on YouTube is extremely competitive. With 300 hours of video uploaded every single minute, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

Since it is so difficult to build a following, many YouTubers don’t earn anything to write home about. In fact, most YouTubers will not earn more than the U.S. poverty line. That’s around $12,000. Even people with substantial followings struggle to earn a decent living.

Although it might seem effortless to post a few videos and wait for the hits, it will require more effort than that. The key is to ensure you dedicate time to learn what it takes to build a following and create impactful videos consistently.

Other things to keep in mind to make money on YouTube

Here are some other details to consider when you want to make money on YouTube, as well as other tips to remember.

YouTube niches that make money

What type of niche you pick when creating your YouTube channel is important. While it's true that there are viewers for many topics, some are more popular than others and have the potential to help you earn more.

According to Jack Cao, some of the best niches to make money on YouTube, in order of profitability and judged by CPM, are money making online, marketing for social media, and investing and finance.

Obviously, there's a variety of topics you could cover on your channel, but these are very well-known. An advertiser pays to get their ads in front of many viewers, and that popularity can come from many niches.

So, if there's a niche that you know a lot about, go for it. You could opt for anything you find interesting, from playing Minecraft to creating watercolor paintings.

Learn from YouTube stars and creators

While everyone has their own unique perspective to bring to YouTube, you can learn a lot from others. Think about why you enjoy the YouTube channels you do.

What about those particular creators makes you keep watching their videos? Is it the style of the video? The content they create? Find ways to add this inspiration to your own work in a way that is personalized.

YouTube stars have become famous for a reason, after all. YouTube personalities like Markiplier (Mark Fischbach), Jeffree Star, and others have a specific niche and are very popular. Try to find out what the stars in the niche you want to be part of do differently.

Do they host chats with their fans and subscribers a lot? Do they use super chat and super stickers during live chats? Maybe they have a great team that helps them create their videos. Find out what works by looking to those who are successful.

You can earn money on YouTube!

If you are interested in building a unique channel and enjoying the process, then yes. Why not give it a try? With a great idea and some luck, you could be the next YouTube superstar.

On the flip side, YouTube is not the most reliable place to earn an income. If your goal is to increase your income through a side hustle, then you might want to consider other options.

Check out our side hustle course to learn about other potential side hustles and how to get started today! Also, be sure to check out our favorite female YouTubers who talk about personal finance!

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