How to Make Money on YouTube: Steps for Every Creator

Updated 2 April 2023

YouTube allows content creators to expand their social media reach and make money through videos. If you commit to making quality content, you can monetise your channel and start earning revenue. Only certain channels are eligible to earn money on YouTube, so it's important to know what the conditions are and how to meet them. In this article, we explore several ways to make money on YouTube, identify why it may be important to optimise your content and answer some questions you might have along the way.

How to make money on YouTube

When you start making video content, you may also want to explore how to make money on YouTube. Creators can make money on YouTube when they produce quality content and effectively gather an audience. Depending on the type of business you run or the content you create, there are different ways to monetise your channel. Here are a few ways to do it:

1. License your content

The content you create is a commodity and someone might want to pay you to use it. This process is called content licensing. Businesses and other content creators are typically potential buyers of content, especially if you own a viral video. If you believe your content is a good fit for a brand, you contact their team directly to discuss your interest in selling your content.

If you believe your content can attract buyers, you may also add your email address on your About page, so that potential buyers know how to contact you. They can contact you directly with an offer for the rights to your video.

Related: How to Become an Influencer (With Duties and Salary)

2. Get paid by fans/crowd source

Asking your followers to donate to your channel is crowd-sourcing. You can set up an account through a crowd-sourcing site, where you can direct your followers to contribute money. To boost your earnings, let them know where the money is going. Take a moment in your videos to ask viewers to help fund a project, pay for production costs or contribute to support ongoing content.

3. Create sponsored content

Also known as influencer marketing, you can feature brands on your YouTube channel for a fee. In this method, the brand asks you to endorse or mention their product or brand in your videos on your channel. This acts as a sort of organic advertisement. In return, you get paid for the exposure they get with your viewers.

Related: How to Become a Content Creator: Your Complete Guide

4. Become a YouTube Partner

For eligible creators, becoming a YouTube Partner provides several opportunities to make money on the platform. YouTube offers additional benefits to approved YouTube Partners, such as Super Chat capabilities and the opportunity to run ads. Both features can create revenue. Becoming a YouTube partner begins with submitting an application. The first step is for YouTube to review your page and your video content. Partnership rewards program highlights and bolsters quality creators, so a review of your content ensures that it meets the quality standard. The requirements to apply for the YouTube Partner Program include:

  • being 18 years or older

  • having at least 1,000 subscribers

  • having 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last year

  • owning an AdSense account

  • setting your channel as not made for kids

After you become a YouTube Partner, your money-making opportunities can expand. Below are some options to make money as a YouTube Partner:

Sell merchandise

If you have 10,000 subscribers, you can open a merch shelf, where you can sell branded merchandise. For example, you might sell a shirt that has a picture of your logo. This can boost the business and earnings, but may also call for some added work. Here are a few steps to creating and selling merchandise on your YouTube channel:

  • Design the products. Start small with items like bags, mugs and shirts. These won't cost too much out of pocket and are items used regularly.

  • Find a manufacturer to create your goods. Research manufacturers who can create the goods you want to sell. Ask for samples to ensure they can produce quality merchandise to sell to your followers.

  • Create your shop. Choose one of YouTube's approved partners to build an online shop. Approved websites support secure payments.

  • Promote your goods. Mention merchandise in your videos by wearing it or using it and inviting viewers to shop at your store. YouTube Partners can add a direct link to the store.

Related: 20 Tips on How to Earn Money From Home

Get a paid channel membership

If you have 1,000 subscribers, you can create a paid channel membership to boost your earnings on YouTube. This gives paying customers exclusive access to content on your channel. Content marked as made for kids isn't eligible for paid channel membership.

Related: What is Social Media Management? Definition and Steps

Enable Super Chat for live streams

Some of your fans may have messages they want to highlight during a live stream or video premiere. They can pay to do so by buying super stickers or Super Chat. These paid features improve the visibility of messages in the live chat and remain pinned at the top for a set period. The bigger the purchase amount, the longer the Super Sticker or Chat stays on the chat feed and the more money you may earn.

Remember YouTube Premium Revenue

The quality of the content you produce is important for many factors, one of which is Premium Revenue. YouTube Premium members enjoy watching content with no ad interruptions. If they choose to watch your content, you earn revenue. The more watch hours that Premium Users log on your content, the more money you earn.

Consider advertising

Allowing other ads for brands, companies or products to run alongside your content is an opportunity to make money on YouTube. Just as television ads work, your channel earns money to run ads. These ads can be either display, overlay or video ads.

Enable a Tip Jar

YouTube partners can set up a direct link (also called a Tip Jar) to a crowd-funding site where fans of the channel can donate. As a creator, be transparent with how you're using this money and give viewers incentives to donate. Some popular incentives include:

  • live chat

  • merchandise

  • custom emojis

  • private messages and videos

Benefits of optimising your YouTube content

In addition to being another source of revenue and a chance to gain marketable skills, creating quality content on YouTube has benefits for both business and personal reasons. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased traffic. YouTube offers a way to share content that speaks to people who are not followers of your brand yet and gives them a chance to get to know what you are all about. This can increase traffic to your website or a business website.

  • Reach a worldwide audience. A localised market can be great, but there are advantages to gaining attention on a global scale. This could help you collaborate with similar brands or expand into an untapped marketplace.

  • Creative outlet. Sometimes, you can get creative by making entertaining videos on YouTube that give your audience a more personal look at your brand. This can also help viewers relate to you and help increase subscribers.

Related: How to Be Your Own Boss in 8 Steps

Frequently asked questions about making money on YouTube

Below are some common questions and answers about making money on YouTube:

Who can make money on YouTube?

Making money on YouTube can be an attractive venture for small business owners, freelancers and influencers. Though they may be making money elsewhere, YouTube can also provide an additional revenue stream for a business. Reasons why you might consider YouTube to make money:

  • increasing revenue and side income

  • strengthening brand awareness

  • sharpening your content and marketing skills

What if I am not accepted as a YouTube Partner?

YouTube partners with high-quality content creators that meet all the guidelines. If you do not qualify yet, spend some time working on your content. Aim to entertain and prioritise quality content and production value over quantity of content.

While you work on building your catalogue and audience, you can still license your content or get paid by fans. The better your content is, the more viewers you attract. The more subscribers you have, the more money you can make.

Can I get paid for uploading videos?

No, uploading videos does not guarantee earnings on the platform. Once you upload a video and are part of the Partner Program, the video can earn you money that way. Usually, the more you upload, the better your chances of earning money.

Who watches my YouTube videos?

If you want to find out who is watching your YouTube videos, you follow these steps:

  1. Log in to YouTube and select your profile photo or icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Select YouTube Studio.

  3. In the left panel, select Analytics. This expands a list of statistics related to your viewers, including Reach, Engagement and Audience.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


Explore more articles

  • How to Write an Accountant CV (With Examples)
  • How to Write a Customer Service Representative Cover Letter
  • 139 Action Verbs to Make Your Resume Stand Out
  • Examples of Hard Skills Employers Look For
  • How to Write an Entry-Level Cyber Security Resume in 7 Steps
  • How to Write a Student Resume (With Template and Examples)
  • Retail Skills: Definition and Examples
  • How to Write an Effective Administrative Officer Resume
  • How to Write an Entry-Level Business Analyst Resume
  • Using ‘References Available Upon Request’ On a Resume
  • How to Write an Allied Health Assistant Resume in 6 Steps
  • How to Write an Appealing Employment Consultant Cover Letter