The cat’s out of the bag, YouTube Creators are making crazy money, and it seems that everyone and their brother is starting a channel! Truthfully, YouTube does have incredible potential, but like with such things there is competition.
How do you make money on YouTube? There’s a lot of ways, and some are better than others.
Luckily you don’t have to amass 1 million subs to go full time, honestly you don’t even need 100k subscribers… you just need to think outside the box a little bit. The number of channels making 6 figures per year on YouTube is up 50%!
In this guide, I’m going to share the 7 best ways to make money on YouTube, and why you need take advantage of as many as possible.
The 7 Best Ways to Make Money on YouTube
- Paid Sponsorships
- Selling Stuff a.k.a “Merch”
- Affiliate Marketing
- AdSense Commercials
- The Power of Patreon
- Lead Generation
The Right Mindset
As someone who’s talked to YouTubers with over 500,000 subscribers, and even a former YouTube employee, having the right mindset is critical.
The right mindset means keeping these 3 variables in mind at all times: patience, quality, and talent. Every big channel that ever was and ever will be, made it happen with a different combination of these factors.
The most controllable of the 3 is quality. This means, that investing some money and time to ensure the quality of your videos is up to par, puts you ahead of 80% of people.
First and foremost you need a decent quality camera (with clear sound and 1080p video). Depending on your style of content (gaming, tutorials, podcasts, etc) you may also need a freestanding microphone.
Lastly, to create your stunning video, you’ll want some editing software.
Keep those 3 variables in mind as we move forward!
1. Paid Sponsorships
Paid sponsorships are agreements by you (the YouTuber) and some other party to bring attention to a product, service, or thing.
As a viewer, they are not always easy to pick up on, but the most common introduction for sponsorships is “this video is brought to you by.”
You might be surprised to hear how much big influencers (another name for YouTubers) can be paid for advertisements. In some cases, it can be well over $30,000+ for a 20-30 second call to action for a brand.
I know this to be true, because I’ve worked with some of the top people at a company that pays several big channels for these types of deals.
For low to mid level channels, Famebit is currently the best marketplace to connect influencers with brand sponsorship deals. You’ll need 5,000 subscribers to get started, which will open up a a large selection of opportunities to choose from!
Also, be sure to include an email address on your YouTube page, because once you begin to grow companies will reach out via email with free products and paid promo offers.
2. Selling Stuff a.k.a “Merch”
YouTubers have used their platforms to sell everything imaginable from:
- cooking utensils
- fidget spinners
- video game controllers
- educational courses
Subscribers naturally want to buy the products relevant to the channel, but when these products are branded by the creator… they become twice as desirable.
Most YouTubers will use platforms like Shopify to showcase their line of products in a clean and simple way. Like him or not, YouTuber’s like Logan Paul’s store receives ~4.5 million visits per month, and is the 15th most popular store on Shopify’s platform.
Quality & Relevance
For the best results, bring your audience something unique and personal that is high quality. It may be tempting to save a few dollars and use cheaper materials, but this could end up damaging your name.
3. Affiliate Marketing
An affiliate is someone who markets a product, and receives a commission upon sales. Today, almost every company has an affiliate program, especially online businesses.
The largest affiliate program is hosted by Amazon, and it’s called Amazon Associates.
YouTubers often add unique links in their description, which if clicked will start a 24-hour “session.” During these sessions, a small commission (2%-10%) from purchases is earned by the influencer whose link you clicked.
Here’s an example of a video description with affiliate links.
“Use Promo Code ______ for 10% off”
The “Use promo code” line is also a form of affiliate marketing. By using a promo code, the user receives the discount, and the company is able to track how many sales the influcer brought them.
It’s a win – win… win scenario.
- The user benefits by getting a discount.
- The influencer benefits by earning a small commission by referring the user
- The business gains another customer by sharing part of the earnings with influencers
Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative revenue stream, and is certainly worth looking into!
4. AdSense Commercials
Of all 7 methods, this one has been around the longest. The little commercials that play before videos (unless you have an adblocker) are distributed with the Google AdSense platform, and paid for by companies.
It works just like TV commercials.
Companies pay TV channels (NBC, Hallmark, ESPN, HGTV) to run ads for them, to bring exposure to their business. With Google AdSense, companies indirectly pay YouTube channels to run ads (Google acts as a middle man with AdSense).
How much do YouTubers get paid?
The amount varies some depending on niche and channel size, but on average YouTuber get $2/1,000 views. Most channels don’t make that much with this method of monetization, but big channels like Casey Neistat, Liza Koshy, and Ali-A whose channels get millions of views daily, earn thousands of dollars a day from this.
Forget about it
After you enable AdSense, seriously just forget about it. It’ll take care of itself, requiring no more effort on your part.
While not a pot of gold, it does provide a consistent source of income. Going full-time on YouTube is best achieved by implementing multiple streams of revenue. Together, many streams make a river.
Just like you can tip musicians on the street, viewers can “tip” or donate to YouTuber’s who are live streaming. Some entertainers on YouTube and Twitch are making big money from donations.
YouTube likes to use the phrase fan funding as opposed to donations, either way influencers need to eat and without some financial help they couldn’t provide as many videos. Most live streamers I’ve seen are extremely grateful for donations, understanding that without viewers they couldn’t do what they love.
Tread carefully with donations, because there isn’t a bigger turn off for your community than begging for them.
I’d recommend treating it once again like entertainers do on the street.
If someone feels inclined to send a little money to help fund the entertainer, they’ll do it on their own.
6. The Power of Patreon
Patreon is a platform where fans can support their favorite YouTubers with a monthly donation. Instead of sporadic donations, Jim could for example commit to sending YouTuber X $5 every month to keep him/her afloat.
Depending on how much someone helps the influencer, they will receive any number of prizes and gifts as a way of saying thank you!
Patreon is a game changer for many creators, back in 2016, 35 creators earned over $150,000 each! Since then, that list has grown significantly with the top Patreon user taking home $89,655 per month funded by over 20,000 patrons.
Lets take a look at David Bull’s profile, the 976th most popular Patreon account, to get an idea of what a mid-level YouTube channel can do.
- 42k subscribers
- 483 patrons
- Receives $1,711/month (after all fees)
- Creates videos about Japanese woodblock printmaking
What’s the takeaway?
You don’t have to be a world renowned gamer or Vogue model doing beauty videos to earn a decent amount of money on Patreon.
7. Lead Generation
This is probably the most underutilized of all 7 revenue streams. A YouTube consultant said in a Q&A video he has a client with under 10k subscribers, who is a full time YouTuber because of lead generation.
What exactly does this mean?
Instead of making YouTube the business, you make YouTube an outlet to land clients for your business. It’s no secret service businesses are on the rise, considering all that’s needed is talent and clients.
In most cases, it’s the client ingredient that’s missing… however YouTube can change that.
I do not remember the actual product/service mentioned in the Q&A video, but it had a price tag of $400-$600. After building a small channel, with a tightly knit community the influencer converted a handful of people each month, generating several thousand dollars each month.
Obviously, this method of making money won’t work for everyone, but it’s certainly a smart way to leverage a small channel.
– SECRET INGREDIENTS –
- Create a website. Building a beautiful website to showcase your work or product, can do wonders for conversions. Not only is it professional, but it’s an excellent platform for starting an email list.
- Build an email list. They say an email list is one of the best investments someone could have, and I agree with them. As the owner of an email list, you are in full control of the communication channel, having a direct line of contact with your community.
- Give more than you take.The reverse of this is take more than you give, which is the strategy for short term business. If you are wanting build a strong sustainable business it won’t happen overnight, but when it does happen it’s there to stay. A step in the right direction is offering help (whether that’s answering comments or providing discounts) to build a relationship with your audience.
Making money on YouTube isn’t rocket science, and yet very few get it right. The key is multiple revenue streams!
Best of luck! Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
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This post may contain affiliate links, please read my disclosure for more info.
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