How To Make A Living As A YouTuber

Image via Pixabay

Have you ever wondered how YouTubers make money? How top YouTubers like Mr.Beast or David Dobrik afford to produce the type of content that they do? Or how smaller YouTubers have turned their YouTube channel into a full-time job regardless of the fact that they don’t have millions of subscribers? Let’s discuss some of the different ways that YouTubers make money today.

1. Advertising Revenue (YouTube Partner Program)

One of the most common ways that individuals make money on YouTube is by monetizing their YouTube channel. This is done through the YouTube Partner Program. This program allows users to monetize their content through advertisements that are placed before, during, after, or on top of their videos. In order to apply to the YouTube Partner Program, there are a set of criteria that each channel needs to reach. This includes having at least 1000 subscribers, 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months, and no active community guideline strikes. A community guideline strike can occur if you post content that is classified as dangerous, spam, or misinformation. As long as you have met this criteria, then you are eligible to apply!

Image via Pixabay

For this process, you will also need an AdSense account. AdSense is a program (free to sign up) run by Google. Companies and brands pay Google to run their ads on YouTube videos.

Once you have met all of the criteria and have linked your AdSense account, YouTube will review your channel and its content. If you are accepted, you can start making money through the ads that run on your videos. The amount of money you can make this way all depends on how many views you get on your videos, the subject matter of your content, the geography of your viewers, and more. All of these details will determine your RPM which is the revenue you will earn per thousand views. Learn more about YouTube advertising payouts here.

2. Brand Deals/Sponsorships

Brand deals are another common phenomenon that you see happening on YouTube. If you are posting content on YouTube, you are likely eligible to start working with brands in order to promote their products/services and in turn, make a profit. Brands may reach out to you, or you can also actively seek out brand deals by reaching out and pitching themselves and their channel.

If you are sponsored by a brand, this could mean that you have a one video deal, but it could also mean that a brand has chosen to sponsor your entire channel. Brand deals and sponsorships generally include mentioning the brand, product, or service in x amount of your videos in order to promote it. Brand deals present themselves in a variety of different ways. Depending upon the terms of the deal, you may have to talk about the brand for 2 minutes within your video, have a video dedicated solely to the product/brand, or possibly even just utilize product placement by drinking from a Monster Energy drink (for example) throughout the duration of your video. Below is an example of a HelloFresh brand deal on YouTube.

Image via Miss Rylee Jade on YouTube.

The amount of money that you can make from brand deals and sponsorships as a YouTuber varies depending on your audience size and geography, and the agreed upon deal with the brand. However, if done correctly, brand deals can often bring more income than the Google Ads that I discussed earlier. To read more about the amount of money YouTubers can make through brand deals, check out this blog.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be extremely lucrative for YouTubers. Affiliate marketing is when a YouTuber recommends a product, and has a custom link that viewers can purchase that product from. If someone purchases from that specific link, the YouTuber will receive a certain percentage of money from that transaction. Affiliate marketing is essentially when someone receives a commission for a successful referral.

Image via Andrews Smith on Flickr

In order to get involved in affiliate marketing, YouTubers can reach out to brands and ask if they can become an affiliate, or join affiliate networks where they can receive custom links to products that they want to share with their audience.

One website that is very involved in affiliate marketing is Amazon. If you look in the description boxes of YouTube videos, you will oftentimes find links to products that the YouTuber has referred to, or reviewed in their video. YouTubers can earn anywhere from pennies, to thousands of dollars per transaction. This is a very convenient and passive way to make money through your YouTube channel.

4. Personal Products and/or Services

Another common way that YouTubers tend to make money is by creating their own products and/or services to promote to their subscribers. Whether this is merchandise for loyal viewers to purchase (i.e. a baseball cap with your channel name embroidered on it), an online recipe book you’ve written, an online course on how to be successful on YouTube, or a one on one coaching session to focus on goal setting, there is a great deal of potential to make money this way. Once you have a fan base on YouTube, it is likely that there are individuals wanting to support you. Depending upon what kind of videos you share and your unique set of skills, you can design a product or service that would appeal to your subscribers and earn you additional income at the same time. Once you have a product/service, you would simply mention it in your videos and include links in your video descriptions on YouTube.

Diversify your Income!

If you’re an online creator, it’s so important to diversify your income. Sure, you can be a YouTuber and only rely on your advertising revenue through the YouTube Partner Program. But it’s important to remember that YouTube is just a platform, and if YouTube for some reason disappears one day, it would be detrimental to your career if you didn’t have additional streams of income that you could rely on. The four methods of making money on YouTube that I listed above are just some of the ways that YouTubers earn an income. If I was starting a YouTube channel, these would be the first four methods that I would focus on.

It’s also important to ensure that your audience has other platforms that they can follow you on and keep up to date with your journey and content. I highly recommend that YouTuber’s create an email list, as well as branch out to other social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. Even repurposing some of your YouTube content on these platforms can increase your earnings potential!

This YouTube video linked below is from one of my most watched YouTube accounts Cathrin Manning. Cathrin shares extremely valuable content that takes a deep dive into how she makes money on YouTube, as well as how much money she makes. If you’re at all interested or curious about this topic, I highly recommend you watch this video.

Image via Cathrin Manning on YouTube

Have you ever considered starting a YouTube channel? Or are you an avid YouTube watcher yourself? I’d love to hear who you enjoy watching online. Share your experiences with YouTube in the comments below!


Ever wondered if YouTube could be your full-time job? Learn about the different ways that YouTubers make money online today! #YouTubeTips #SocialMediaCareer

Are you just starting out on YouTube? If so, you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered these four ways to increase your earning potential. Make more money today!

14 thoughts on “How To Make A Living As A YouTuber

  1. Hey there Jaiden,
    Your post was very informative about how to make money on YouTube. My son, who is seven years old, wants to start his own channel. It gave me some food for thought as a Canadian who always worries it won’t be as profitable for us. YouTube’s partnership program looks like a great place to invest some time in researching results.
    Thanks, Jessie

    • Hi Jessie,

      That’s awesome that your son is interested in pursuing a YouTube channel! I wish I started a channel of my own when I was younger. Good luck to the both of you in researching it some more and maybe getting started!


  2. Thanks for sharing your insight on how to make money as a YouTuber. I have been looking into creating page for myself that shows my journey to becoming an actor and filmmaker and wasn’t sure what the money side of YouTube looked like. I’ve also started watching some of Catherin’s videos. Great topic!

    • Hi Maissa,

      That would be a great idea for a channel! It’s exciting to think about starting a YouTube channel. I have definitely been considering it long and hard lately. Best of luck to you if you decide to move forward with it! There are definitely lots of ways to make it profitable. I’m glad you are watching Catherin’s content! It’s all so valuable to individual’s interested in YouTube.

      Jaiden 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing! This post was very educational, and I enjoyed learning about other options other than just ad revenue. I always wondered how they seemed to make so much money! I used to be interested in starting a Youtube channel, and now I wonder…

    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment! I’m glad you found it informative. It’s definitely interesting to learn about how YouTubers turn their hobby into a career (whether it be part-time or full-time). I have always been interested in starting a YouTube channel myself. Hoping to make the leap soon! I think it’s definitely something to consider if you were once interested in it! Good luck! 🙂


  4. Hi Jaiden,
    Thank you for sharing such an educational and informative post on how YouTubers make a living online! I used to have a YouTube channel years back, and there were definitely not nearly as many opportunities to earn money than there are now. It’s great to see the variety of methods to earn money online through content creation! Such a great topic 🙂

    • Hi Charley,

      I remember reading about how you have had a YouTube channel in your very first introductory post for this course. That’s amazing!! YouTube has definitely grown and evolved in a number of ways over the years— with more opportunities to make money than ever! Thanks for your comment!


  5. Jaiden, this is a very informative blog! Wow, this is the question I ask my kids on the daily. They tell me it’s a lot of work and from what I just read in this blog. It definitely is. Thanks for this. I was wondering how it all works.


    • Hi Kerry,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog this week! I’m glad you found it worth your while. You’re right— it definitely takes a lot of work to turn YouTube into a career. Thanks for your comment!

      -Jaiden 🙂

  6. Hi Jaiden!

    Loved reading your blog! It seems like today every kid has thought about becoming a YouTuber! I second-hand watch YouTube videos because my son watches team. I have to say there are many talented content creators out there, because it’s hard to keep a child’s attention, kudos to them!

    • Hi there,

      Thank you for reading my blog! YouTube is definitely something that many children are drawn to these days. And there really is content out there on every topic you could think of— so I’m not surprised that your son has found creators he enjoys watching! Thanks for your comment.


  7. Hi Jaiden, this blog was well written and well thought out! I especially liked the flow of the information and the many ways in which a Youtube channel can make money. You can definitely make a great living on this platform, thanks again for all the great insights!

  8. Great post Jaiden! Super informative. I love that you linked so many videos. I grew up with YouTube, and I remember I used to dream of being a YouTuber when I grew up. That never happened, but I suppose it’s never too late start! I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind if I do.
    Some YouTubers I really enjoy watching are Danny Gonzales (commentary), Schaffrillas Productions (film critiques), and AstralSpiff (indie gaming).
    Thanks for covering such a great topic!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.