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How to Make Money on YouTube? (10 Best Ways to Start Side Hustle)

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How Many Subscribers & Viewers You Need to Start Making Money from Youtube Ads?


So, how many subscribers do you need to make money on YouTube? Well, this is a more complicated question to answer than a few years ago. This is before YouTube altered many of their terms of service to become more advertiser friendly. 

If you want to make money with YouTube there are certain prerequisites. These need to be met before you can get started. 

Firstly, you are going to have to adhere to YouTube’s rule on ads, you need:

  • To have at least 4,000 hours of your content watched in the past 12 month 
  • 1,000 subscribers. 

Unfortunately, there is no set timeline on how you can get those 4,000 hours of content watched. But, it is possible to make an educated guess. For example: let’s say you have 40 videos up on YouTube. You can 100 hours watched on each video or some other combination you are good to go.

How Much Money Can You Make as a Youtuber?


You wonder how to make money on YouTube due to the recent changes made. But it is still possible to build a career as a YouTuber and make good money at the same time. 

According to Forbes estimates from 2019 the top ten YouTubers are:

YoutuberEarnings
Ryan Kaji$26 million
Dude Perfect$20 million
Anastasia Radzinskaya$18 million
Rhett and Link$17.5 million
Jeffree Star$17 million
Preston Arsement$14 million
PewDiePie$13 million
Markiplier$13 million
DanTDM$12 million
Vanoss Gaming$11.5 million

As you can see, becoming a YouTuber can still be highly lucrative. Although it may take some time to build your loyal audience.

New YouTubers can earn approximately $3 to $5 for every 1,000 views. So, once you qualify for ad revenue, you can expect to earn as much as $20 for 4,000 views.

5 Ways to Make Money in the YouTube Partner Program


1. Ad Revenue

When you are looking for information on how to make money on YouTube, you’re likely to think about ad revenue. In fact, for many YouTubers this is still their primary revenue stream. In simple terms, ad revenue is a share of the money YouTube earns from placing ads on videos.

Once you have achieved the prerequisites discussed above you can apply to become a YouTube Partner and start earning money by displaying ads. 

Go to the YouTube Video Manager and you will see a “$” in green that indicates you can use YouTube monetization on your video content. YouTube Premium offers viewers a chance to remove displayed ads for a modest monthly fee. However, YouTube still supports the channels of creators by paying them a percentage based on the watch time for their content. 

In the past, ad revenue was all you really needed to make a good income on YouTube. But, these days it’s a better idea to avoid this practice and diversify your revenue generating activities. There are many more ways to increase your earning potential as you will see in the remainder of this article.

Tip – Try creating videos with advertiser-friendly content – the context is usually newsworthy or comedic and appropriate for all audiences.

2. Channel Memberships


If you manage to build a loyal fan base, they will want to support you to ensure that you produce regular fresh content to keep them entertained. Fan funded projects have become very popular in recent years and it’s a great way to get paid for your content.

Using a platform such as Patreon or Tipee is easy, there are different tiers of support and a fan can even help you out with a single dollar. You can offer exclusive content or extra rewards for your truly dedicated fans. For example, you may put a short teaser video on YouTube and encourage people to become a Patron to see the rest of the content.

Donations can be one-time or recurring and this is a fantastic way to gain confidence because you know your bills are covered. Both nonprofit and for profit YouTube channels are leveraging the power of fan funding to run smoothly. As long as you continue to produce entertaining and interesting content that delivers good value you will be amazed at the generosity of your local supporters.

3. Merchandise Shelf


Once you get started, you can develop your own merch. However, as a beginner, you can still boost your earnings by promoting products and services. You’ll need to find items that complement the theme of your channel. So, you could create a video showing how you use the product or do an unboxing.

Be sure to have relevant links in your content. As a prime example: the top earning YouTuber in 2019, Ryan Kaji started out unboxing and demonstrating toys. Now he also sells T-shirts, toys and other merchandise on his “Ryan’s World” YouTube channel. 

If you sell a physical product, it is necessary to find a manufacturer or purchase materials which are beyond most people when they are starting out. 

A good alternative is to offer a digital product, such as: 

  • Artwork, 
  • Music, 
  • Coaching 
  • Or other items that are easy to deliver and require no physical infrastructure. 

If you decide to offer merchandise you will need a secure payment system before you can offer your goods or services for sale.

4. Super Chat & Super Stickers


Another option is to consider setting up a funding stream to gain donations from your followers. Creators typically offer most of their content for free, so feel guilty about asking for some help from time to time. 

This can be a little tricky for beginners, as you may not have a large following. But, if you produce great content, even a small audience will appreciate it and may be willing to support you financially.

If your audience likes the format you can make this a regular feature of your YouTube channel but don’t overdo it or you may put your viewers off. A great way to make this a special event is to invite guests or cover a specific topic that interests your audience.

YouTube has a built-in “Super Chat” feature that creates a virtual tip jar for your viewers. This allows the viewer to tip as much or as little as they want to contribute and you can read out their messages if they don’t violate community guidelines. 

To use the YouTube Super Chat feature you need to get your channel monetized as discussed at the beginning of this article.

Tip – Super Chat is only for people over 18 as it requires a credit card, so your Youtube content should be geared to not for kids.

5. YouTube Premium Revenue


As mentioned earlier, YouTube Premium is a membership program that allows watchers to support content creators without viewing the ads. As a creator this will not affect you to any great degree because you still get paid for your content if it’s consumed by people with a Premium membership. 

YouTube creators will be paid on the Premium platform based on the number of viewers watching their content. It’s best to think of any income derived from this source as an added bonus to what you may be earning in ad revenue. 

This is easy to set up as a YouTube Partner but you can probably create more lucrative revenue streams that we will explore next.

5 Other Ways to Make Money on Youtube

6. Affiliate Marketing


If you’ve ever seen a video where a YouTuber reviews a product, it’s likely that they are making money through an affiliate link. The YouTuber reviews a product or service and places a link in the video description. Anyone visiting that link or purchasing the product will earn the YouTuber a small commission. 

This is typically a small percentage of the total selling price, but if you get a lot of clicks, it can add up to a significant amount. So, if you have a favorite brand or product that has an affiliate program why not promote it on your YouTube channel?

best affiliate programs

7. Sponsored Videos


The YouTube platform has very high visibility, so if you have a strong following companies will pay money to partner with your brand. 

Many famous content creators make most of their money via brand sponsorship deals to promote their various products and services. For example, Michelle Phan landed lucrative sponsorship deals with both Lancome and L’Oreal. Although these were for undisclosed sums, given Michelle’s estimated $50 million net worth, they must have been very attractive.

8. Sell Products or Merchandise


If you follow a popular vlogging or gaming channel, you may notice that they have their own merchandise stores. This can include a wide variety of products and apparel with prominent branding opportunities. 

As a  successful YouTuber, you could generate a significant revenue stream and outsource fulfillment tasks to companies such as Teespring. Teespring allows you to design products and sell them on the platform. For example, you could sell T-Shirts. The base cost is $10 per shirt. So, if you set your price at $25, you’ll earn $15 for each shirt you sell.

9. Drive Traffic to Your Blog


If you’re active in a particular niche you can use your YouTube Partner status as part of a wider marketing funnel by driving traffic to your blog. When you use a blog and YouTube channel together you can gain access to your followers email addresses and sell them products that you believe in strongly. 

As an example: perhaps you write a blog post about an affiliate product that you use, you create a YouTube video on the same subject and embed a link in the video back to your blog. 

This can build your blog readership and earn you extra commission at the same time.

how to start a blog

10. Turn to Crowdfunding


There are two main types of crowdfunding in regular use, they are: project based and recurring. If you have an idea for a specific project you can use crowdfunding to get the funds to realize your dream using platforms, such as: 

I’ve already covered recurring funding, you can offer extra incentives to backers, including: private classes, exclusive merchandise, one-on-one chats and more. This is a great way to create a substantial income stream that helps you to continue making valuable content.

So, you may produce a video on your daily workout, but macro breakdowns for the day and exercise plans are only available to your crowdfunding sponsors.

How Do You Start Making Money on YouTube?


You may focus on the question, how many views on youtube to make money? As I’ve illustrated, things are a little more complicated. A cursory glance at the top ten earners should certainly spark some interest but there are four things that you will need to consider.

  1. You Must Find Your Niche

It can be difficult to carve out a dedicated following without a clear focus for your YouTube channel. The most popular niches at the moment, include:

  • Gaming, 
  • Product reviews, 
  • News, 
  • Pranks, 
  • Lifehacks, 
  • How-to demos, 
  • Cooking, 
  • Fitness 
  • Celebrity gossip.
  1. Invest in Good Gear

You’ll struggle to get views on a YouTube video with poor visuals, audio and lighting. It detracts from the content you’re creating and you will probably lose viewers. You don’t need to buy everything at once but make a decision to reinvest some of your earnings into new gear as you progress and you won’t regret it.

  1. Learn Video Editing

Creating engaging content will only be enhanced if you have strong video editing skills. High quality videos with interesting effects can really help your content stand out from the pack. There are many online courses, such as that teach you how to edit videos or you can outsource this task by hiring a freelance video editor.

  1. Upload Regularly

It’s important to stay relevant and the best way to do this is to post your videos at regular times. If your audience knows that there will be a fresh video from you at the same time each week you will make more money from YouTube.


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