Guide to Making Money on YouTube

YouTube celebrities come from different backgrounds, countries, niches, and age groups. The common trait among them all is their ability to monetize their audience.

Most successful YouTubers started out with the intention to educate, inform, or entertain through their contents. However, as their audience grew, so did the opportunity to earn from their contents.

You too can be counted among the top YouTube earners. The platform is open to all, with equal earning opportunities for content creators.

In this guide, we will explore different ways to make money on YouTube and how you can get started earning money right now.

YouTube Partner Program requires a minimum of 1,000 subscribers before your channel is considered for monetization. You can actually start earning from your channel even before hitting that threshold.

In this guide to making money on YouTube, the main topics covered include:

  • What You Need to Get Started Making Money on YouTube
  • YouTube Top Earners and What They Produce
  • Read This Before You Start Making Money on YouTube
  • Different Ways To Make Money on YouTube
  • Conclusion

What You Need to Get Started With Making Money on YouTube

What you really need to get started making money on YouTube is so simple; even an 8-year-old would recognize it. As you would find out among the top earners, it’s a 7-letter word that is spelled as C-O-N-T-E-N-T.

You need plain old content, simple and short. But hold on a second, I’m not saying just any content would do. You need content that adds value to your audience. So in other words, valuable content comes before the audience. And even before the big bucks.

The highest earners on YouTube cut across different genres and types of content. They all have one thing in common – their audiences find their contents valuable.

That’s why they are able to attract millions of subscribers.

Kaji Ryan, the 8-year-old sensation entrepreneur has 23 million subscribers on his Ryan’s world channel. They all find his content full of value and have helped him earn $26 million in 2019.

Other top YouTube earners share similar stories as well.

YouTube Top Earners and What They Produce

You too can become one of the top earners on YouTube by creating content of value. According to Forbes’ annual list, the top YouTube earner for 2019 is Ryan Kaji, with a total earning of $26 million in 2019. And Kaji might possibly be the top earner in 2020.

Ryan earned that much from his “Ryan’s World” channel, having 23 million subscribers. His genre is “unboxing” where he opens the packages of new toys, and tries them out. The channel also features educational content for kids.

The second top earner on Forbes’ list is Dude Perfect channel – with 47 million subscribers, and total earnings of $20 million in 2019. The channel is about 5 friends who do stunts while breaking Guinness World Records.

The third position is occupied by Radzinskaya Anastasia, a 5-year-old Russian girl! Videos of her undergoing treatment for cerebral palsy made her a YouTube celebrity. Her channels (seven actually) earned her 107 million subscribers and $18 million in 2019.

We can go on and on about the top earners, but one common trait among them is the creation of valuable content. Below is a list of the top 8 YouTube earners in 2019.

Top 8 YouTube earners in 2019 (in millions)

  • Ryan Kaji – $26 m
  • Dude Perfect – $20 m
  • Anastasia Radzinskaya – $18 m
  • Rhett and Link – $17.5 m
  • Jeffree Star – $17 m
  • Preston – $14 m
  • PewDiePie tied with Markiplier – $13 m
  • DanTDM – $12 m

Read This Before You Start Making Money on YouTube

I know you’re eager to start making the big bucks on YouTube. But before you get started, there are basic things to put in place first.

The preceding section centered on creating value for your audience. Decide on what type of value you want to produce.

These are other items on the “before you get started” list.

1. Identify and Build Your Target Audience

You obviously do not expect the 2 billion users of YouTube to like your videos. In fact, most of them may not be interested in what you have to show.

So why don’t you focus on those who may be interested in the value you’re bringing? The key is to identify this particular segment of YouTube viewers.

You can start by detailing the gender, age group, geographic location, and watch time of your target audience.

Once you have the facts spelled out, a clear picture of your target audience pops out.

These are the people you will be creating content for. Your language, content, presentation style, and dressing should appeal to your target audience.

2. The Level of Engagement

This is a yardstick used to measure viewers’ interaction with your videos. Is your target audience likely to sit through a 60-minute video? What is the average number of comments to expect from them? How frequently do they visit YouTube?

It is from here you will find clues like the length of videos, frequency of posts, and video types.

3. Niche

A niche refers to a narrow market segment that has very low competition, but high earning potentials.

Most people would advise you to stick to a niche that you are comfortable with. This would have worked out fine if you didn’t have to consider your audience.

Your target audience should determine your niche. Also, you may factor earning potentials of the niche.

Some niches are so competitive that the returns are very minimal. Ensure that your niche matches the needs of your target audience.

Here is the Easiest Ways to Set up a Profitable Niche Business

4. Revenue Channel

This does not refer to your YouTube channel, but different means through which you earn on your channel.

Most people are familiar with ads, earning through the YouTube Partner Program, but there’s more.

This leads to different ways of making money on YouTube.

Different Ways to Make Money on YouTube

1. Joining the YouTube Partner Program

YouTube Partner Program is a platform focused on helping content creators earn from their channels. It is open for all YouTube channels, but only the qualified ones can join.

There are hurdles to scale for interesting channels. First, the channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers. Second, the channel must have a minimum watch time of 4,000 hours. Meeting up with YouTube guidelines and linking your Google AdSense account are other criteria for joining the program.

Signing up for the partner program doesn’t automatically translate to high earnings. Your particular niche and viewers’ engagement rate will affect your earnings.

Your viewers need to click the ads or watch videos to the end before you can earn.

You should also note that YouTube excludes channels that contain sexual, violent, and profane content. Other contents are vulgar languages, the promotion of drugs, and regulated substances.

Channels earn from revenue share with YouTube netting about 45% share.

2. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a growing trend used by brands today. It allows brands to leverage on the popularity of influencers to promote their products.

Influencers may be music artists, popular sportsmen, and women, social media influencers, or anyone with large followers. YouTubers also count as influencers.

You can pass for a YouTube influencer with at least 1,000 highly engaging audiences. You can work with brands to promote their offers through your channel.

How much should you charge clients for Youtube influencer marketing? It depends on the number of subscribers and the business niche.

Digital marketing experts suggest a fee of 5 cents to 15 cents per view. A total sum of 1,000 views would earn you from $50 to $150 depending on your negotiation.

3. Selling Your Own Products

There is a wide range of products available for you to sell and various ways of selling them to your target market.

Products like t-shirts, wristwatches, fashion jewelry, bags, and shoes can be sold through your channel. Selling branded and customized items provide great avenues to sell personalized products.

Selling your products can be an extra revenue source from your channel.

Your channel can be used to promote your products while directing traffic to an online or offline store.

Ever heard of dropshipping product sales? This is a business model that allows the sale of products without having them in stock or inventory.

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This allows you to display products for sale to the market, and once an order is made, the order processing and delivery are forwarded to the producer or manufacturer.

Content creators can leverage their YouTube channels to promote such products for sale. There are applications that can help with processing orders made by buyers. Oberlo is an example of such applications that can be used for orders placed at AliExpress.

4. Crowdfunding for Your Project

Let’s say you have this great idea about a project that would benefit the world, or a service that would directly add value to your viewers. It could be an idea that could save the lives of Africans.

Whatever the idea is, the main thing is that it needs funding for it to see the light of the day.

Crowdfunding through your target audience is a great way of financing your project if your audience trusts you. That means over time you have been able to connect with your audience at a deeper level.

Creating a video about the project can get you the needed funds. You will have to communicate in clear terms what the project is all about. Your videos should address issues like why the project is important, what the direct benefits are, and what your audience stands to benefit for their support.

Prepare a compelling pitch to your audience, stating all the reasons the project should be supported.

If the project is about a movie or video production, get short snippets or trailers for it.

You can also engage well-known crowdfunding platforms for help in raising funds for the project. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have a proven track record for crowdfunding projects.

5. License Your Content

You can profit from a viral video in many more ways than imagined. For one, media outlets are always on the lookout for the rights to videos that have gone viral.

Viral videos are not common occurrences; neither can you plan for them until they happen. But you can take advantage of any that comes your way.

Selling the rights to a viral video will make you a ton of cash, plus the publicity that it gives to you.

You can also have your videos listed in marketplaces where they can be found by buyers. Jukin Media is a great example of where you can feature your video content.

There are other opportunities like partnering with other content creators on YouTube, sponsorship opportunities for your videos.

Affiliate marketing is another great avenue to make money through your YouTube channel. This allows you to earn commissions for every sale that you refer through your channel.

Popular affiliate programs include ShareASale, ClickBank, and Amazon’s Affiliate Network.

Whichever method you choose to make money with, ensure that you do not compromise the viewing experience of your audience.

Instead of distracting them while watching, you can include well-timed YouTube cards. Or add links to your offer in the video description.


As a video content creator, there are a number of money-making options open to you. Most people are only aware of ad earnings through YouTube.

Even if you do not have a YouTube channel yet, you can have one set up.

First, identify the market you want to service. Know their gender, age group, location, and basic needs.

Then proceed to build that audience through creating relevant videos for them. And when you have a good audience, choose from available money-making opportunities.

You can display ads through the YouTube Partner Program, sell your own products, or work with brands as an influencer.

Other money-making options are crowdfunding for your next project, selling rights to your content, and affiliate marketing.

Getting started? Sounds simple – first, build your audience, then decide how you want to monetize your audience, finally monetize your audience!

Are you willing to kick-start your online business now? All you need to do is take action; action takers are money makers. Build a website and create a YouTube channel. With or without the needed video editing equipment, you can start a channel and monetize it by uploading Creative Commons (CC) videos.

To learn more about how you can turn that passion of yours into a thriving internet business, don’t hesitate to try out Wealthy Affiliate University.

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