7 Ways to Make Money on YouTube | Youtuber Tells All

If you told me half a decade ago that I would be making a great living creating content on YouTube, I would have thought you were crazy. But, believe it or not, that is the exact position I find myself in. I even wrote a book about this journey called “From Side Hustle to Main Hustle to Millionaire.”

But let me tell you. It is very different to run a YouTube channel as a business rather than a hobby. When relying on income from the channel, it’s much harder to withstand the wild fluctuations that can happen with views and corresponding ad revenue.

Luckily, I figured out the solution to this problem–income diversification.

What Are the Ways to Make Money on Youtube?

The most common way to make money on YouTube is through ad revenue. But you can also make affiliate sales, sell your digital products, and get off YouTube through blogging or physical products.

By having many different sources of income, they have the potential to offset each other. Maybe the YouTube ad revenue is down, but the affiliate revenue surges. You get the idea. You want to have many different income avenues and ventures when making money online. If one dries up, you have others in place to sustain you.

1. Ad Revenue

I spoke on a panel at Fincon about the business of YouTube. I was thrilled to hear how much the other panelists and I restated the point that you cannot simply rely on ad revenue if YouTube is your business.

That said, it is still a means of making money with your channel. Once monetized on YouTube, you can run ads on your channel. You cash in if people view the ads for a long enough duration or even click on them. YouTube, of course, takes a cut of the dough. This is only fair since they are hosting your content for free.

The amount of money you are paid per click or view of the ad is different for every channel. For example, a gaming channel might earn $3,000 for 1,000,000 views, while some business channels earn 10x that. Yes, that’s $30,000 and not a mathematical error on my part.

So, based on your niche, ad revenue could be a small portion or a significant portion of your earnings. Regardless of the case, you should not rely on ad revenue as your sole means of making money! I recommend treating this ad revenue like your business’s gravy or bonus income.

Ideally, you would want all of the other income streams from your YouTube channel to pay for your living expenses, with the ad revenue being the slush. Ad revenue is the low-hanging fruit, but if you go deeper, there are even better methods for making money on YouTube!

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the business of referring sales to others. In exchange, you earn a cut of the sale – or a commission. For example, if you referred a sale to Amazon, you could earn about 1% to 5% of that sale.

Affiliate marketing works better for some niches, but it should not be overlooked when monetizing your YouTube channel. The simplest way to leverage affiliate marketing is to link up to your favorite books and camera equipment in the description of your videos. By doing this at the time, I could consistently make $100 to $500 a month just from these links!

However, now I focus on products that have significantly higher commissions. The idea here is to reach out to trusted companies in your niche and ask them if they have an affiliate program. If they do, you send them traffic and earn a commission on each sale! Companies love affiliate marketing because they only pay you when you bring them a customer. If you don’t, they don’t pay! It’s as simple as that.

Related: YT Jobs: Freelance for Your Favorite Youtuber

3. Blogging

One of the best decisions to make money on YouTube was to diversify outside of YouTube. I didn’t like having everything riding on this one channel. If my channel was demonetized or suddenly disappeared overnight, I would lose my entire audience.

A little over a year ago, I decided to diversify into blogging. I started the Investing Simple personal finance blog with a business partner named Ed. It’s surprisingly easy to go from YouTube to blogging. The secret here is repurposing content.

Do you know that video outline you just worked on for three hours? Well, you can quickly turn that into a blog! A vast majority of the successful YouTubers out there also have a blog. It is also easy to cross-promote your content.

For example, you could embed your YouTube videos in your blog or link to your blog from your YouTube videos! I have found that it is significantly easier to build another online platform when you already have one.

However, I have built multiple standalone blogs in the finance niche that are unrelated to my personal brand.

  • InvestingSimple.com (Launched in 2018, financial app review and comparison site)
  • FarmlandRiches.com (Launched in 2020, shares the ins and outs of investing in farmland and other land investments)
  • ArtworkInvestor.com (Launched in 2021, guides investors through various artwork investment avenues)
  • WineInvestorClub.com (Latest blog launched in 2022, all about the alternative asset class of Fine Wine)

It’s essential to diversify outside of your personal brand as a content creator. While I am popular now on YouTube, that may not be the case in 1, 3, or 5 years. Regardless of my channel viewership, these standalone blogs will continue bringing in traffic and corresponding affiliate revenue.

Related: How I Make Money Blogging [8 Important Questions Answered]

4. Sponsorships & Brand Deals

If you are well established in your niche, you can pursue sponsorships and brand deals. First of all, let’s explain the differences.

  • Sponsorship – Usually a one-time advertising campaign.
  • Brand Deal – Long-term collaborative relationship with a company.

You usually make a one-time payment with a sponsorship in exchange for a one-time content placement. The payment varies significantly. On the low end, micro-influencers with 10,000 followers or less often earn around $500 per sponsorship. Top creators are doing 7-figure and even 8-figure brand deals on the high end.

Related: How to Make Money Playing Video Games–and Manage Your Earnings

How to Make Money on YouTube

5. Patreon

I know several creators who are successful with Patreon. This is a way for you to create a members-only content library where your most loyal fans chip in a few bucks a month in exchange for this content.

To be successful with Patreon, you will want to have a consistent stream of content for your audience. This exclusive content is what will keep people around month after month. This method works better for personality channels, where the audience grows a personal attachment to you.

Often, creators will give their patrons early access to their upcoming YouTube videos and behind-the-scenes footage.

6. Digital Products

Another popular way of making money with a YouTube channel or audience online is by selling digital products.

The beauty of a digital product is that you make it once, and then you can perpetually sell it for weeks, months, or even years to follow. There is no inventory. No shipping. No product. Just a digital product that lives on the internet earning you passive income each month. Imagine waking up to an email that you just sold another ebook for $12! That is passive income at its finest.

Here are some recommended Digital Products:

  • Worksheets/Planners
  • Membership Sites
  • E-Book
  • Audiobook
  • Courses

Related: How to Make Money on Etsy

7. Physical Product

Top creators have realized that the key to building massive wealth with a YouTube channel is bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds. For example, MrBeast has done this himself with his MrBeast Burger restaurant chain.

However, most creators don’t have the budget to go toe-to-toe with McDonald’s. So that being said, here are a few smaller picture ideas:

  • Notebook/Journal/Planner
  • Merchandise
  • Consumables/Snacks/Drinks
  • Makeup

I have accomplished this by publishing “From Side Hustle To Main Hustle To Millionaire.” It’s available on Amazon and in most Barnes & Noble stores across the United States! This book further diversifies my revenue streams and gives me a significant physical footprint on the world, not just a digital one.

Related: 7 Things We Did To Grow Our Business From $89,000 to $1 Million in 7 Years

Final Thoughts on Making Money with Youtube

Diversification is the name of the game with YouTube.

From my experience, I can tell you that relying on ad revenue is not a winning strategy. There are countless ways to make money with an audience, even above and beyond the ones mentioned here on this list.

What I have always found with my channel is that I get paid in direct proportion to the value I provide. If I can increase the number of people I give value to or even provide more value to my existing audience, my income will increase as well. If money is your focus with a channel or online business, start by focusing on value and the money will follow.

Your next step from here is to get started with your channel. If you are already an established channel, consider what other methods for making money are a good fit for you. It is essential to build one income stream at a time. If you do everything at once, like trying to build out a blog and a Patreon site simultaneously, you will overwhelm yourself and burn out. Baby steps!

What method for making money on YouTube interests you the most?

Related: How to Make Money Playing Video Games

Avatar About Ryan Scribner

Ryan Scribner make videos geared towards investors looking to learn the basics of investing as well as personal finance skills. He has created a thriving business around this, primarily through affiliate marketing.

He started completely unsatisfied working for the local power utility shutting off people's power who hadn't paid their bill. In one short year, Ryan built a wildly profitable business using the power of YouTube and affiliate marketing.

Now he has the ability to travel wherever he wants whenever he feels like it, and work from anywhere in the world.

He has helped thousands of people create massive affiliate marketing businesses using solely YouTube.

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