If you are interested in building a side hustle, a YouTube channel might be a fun idea. Of course, making videos might seem like interesting work, but if you want to use this as a side hustle it also needs to bring in a worthwhile income. So how much do YouTubers make?
First, know that it is completely possible to earn an income with YouTube. In fact, many are earning a large income through the platform.
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 much does a YouTuber make: 6 Ways to earn money
Let's talk about the ways you can monetize your channel. You’ll have several different ways to monetize your following. We break down the different methods below in order to answer the question, "how much do YouTubers make?"
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
Ad revenue is one way to earn an income.
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.
So how much does YouTube pay with ad revenue? 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 with a Google Adsense account.
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 legal 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 sponsorships.
They 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 you 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.
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. It can be an excellent way to make money, and it's worth looking into.
4. Affiliate links
Affiliate links are a big part of answering, "how much do YouTubers make?" Affiliate marketing is a fairly common way for YouTubers to earn an income. It 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.
Once you build up a loyal following of people who enjoy your videos, you might consider offering premium channel memberships to make more money from YouTube.
It allows your viewers to have a better experience by watching your videos without ads as YouTube Premium subscribers.
And channel memberships provide your viewers with extra perks like extra content and badges. Which 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.
YouTube's webpage states that you do need an AdSense account, as well as over 1000 subscribers and you have to follow YouTube's monetization policies. If you want to make money from YouTube, you should add this as soon as possible.
How much do popular YouTubers make?
So how much does YouTube pay? 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 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 is a trained makeup artist who showcases her makeup tutorial skills on YouTube. Based on her YouTube success, she launched the extremely popular cosmetics line, Huda Beauty. As a result of her hard work, she has built a net worth of over $560 million.
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 started YouTube at just 3 years old (with the help of his parents) and is at the top of the earning charts for YouTube.
His channel, "Ryan's world" is popular with kids. In 2019, he earned $26 million!
Jimmy Donaldson (aka Mr. Beast) is a wildly successful YouTuber. He makes about 3 million dollars in a month from YouTube. His channel features costly stunts and a wide variety of other things, too.
These are examples of highly successful YouTubers, though it might not give an accurate estimate for the question, "how much do YouTubers make?" (at least for the average creator).
So let's look at some numbers to help you know what to expect at first.
How much do YouTubers make: Questions about average YouTube income
Need more information? Here are some common questions you might have about average earnings on YouTube.
How much do YouTubers make (as an average amount)?
What you truly want to know is how much money do YouTubers make on average, right? According to ZipRecruiter, the average YouTuber makes about $60,000 a year.
There are lots of extremes with this and some people make more or much less. As you know, there are various monetization strategies, and different amounts of views and subscribers, which can influence your finances.
How much do you make from 100,000 views?
It can vary wildly. But generally up to $800 for 100,000 views.
How much does YouTube pay for 1000 subscribers?
The amount of subscribers does not necessarily indicate how much money you make. Rather, you'll make money based on views and the way you set up your channel to make an income.
How does YouTube pay you?
Now for the exciting part: how does YouTube actually pay creators? You can link your AdSense account to send your earnings using the method you prefer, be it a check or wire transfer.
How to get started earning money on YouTube
Ready to go for it and create your own channel? Here's what to remember in order to be successful.
If you want to earn an income from YouTube, you need to be unique. Before you start posting videos, or even focus too much on answering how much money do YouTubers make, think about what you want to build with your channel.
Know what kind of content you want to make
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 sit down 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.
Set a goal
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 watch hours 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 challenging to build a following, many YouTubers don’t earn anything to write home about. In fact, 84% of channels don't have even 1000 subscribers.
Be patient and consistent
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 video content consistently.
There is good news, though. While YouTube can be competitive, it's also constantly changing and people are always looking for new content.
So whether you make videos doing stunts like Dude Perfect, or host a talk show like Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning), you can earn an income over time.
Pro tips to earn money with YouTube
How much do YouTubers make? Now you know the averages and what's possible. But here are some other tips to remember when you're starting a channel.
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.
Some of the best niches to make money on YouTube, in order of profitability and judged by cost per thousand impressions (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. And 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 YouTube 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 are doing 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. Not only will this help you find more information for the question, "how much does a YouTuber make?" but you'll also learn about creating content your viewers will love.
You can earn money on YouTube!
How much do YouTubers make? The sky is the limit!
But should you become a content creator? 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.
As you consider YouTube as a way to earn, check out our side hustle course to learn more about making money. Also, be sure to check out our favorite female YouTubers who talk about personal finance!