YouTube is the world’s top video platform. Globally, almost 5 billion videos are watched per day. What are people watching? Everything. Literally, everything. There is something for everyone, and for every search. YouTube is an educational platform, a learning platform, a sharing platform, an artistic platform. Since YouTube started its monetising incentive, there are thousands of people who have become full time ‘’content creators’’ – who, in a nutshell, make money by posting videos on YouTube. According to Forbes, in 2020, the top earning YouTube channels was Ryan Kaji, making $29.5 million with 41.7 million subscribers, and Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson), making $24 million with 47.8 million subscribers. Ryan Kaji makes videos for kids, and Mr Beast really just does random crazy things which are fun to watch. So, there really is no limits and bounds when it comes to content on YouTube.
So, how does it work?
1. You first have to set up and enable the monetization option on your YouTube account. You then choose to join YouTubes Partner Program, or have your videos listed on YouTube Premium. There is a big difference between these two – previously, you would simply make money based on the number of views your video got.
Now, with the Partner Program, you get paid via adverts – so the number of clicks which an advert gets which is included in your video, will determine your videos income. However, with the YouTube Premium option, your videos are listed on YouTube Premium and it works with how many views you get but, the drawback is that not everyone is subscribed to Premium, so it will reach Premium subscribers.
For both options, you need to have a minimum of 1000 subscribers in order to qualify for monetization. There are nifty websites where you can calculate the type of earnings you can expect based on your view count and engagement rate. Check out this one: https://influencermarketinghub.com/youtube-money-calculator/.
You also need to be 18 years or older, or otherwise have a legal guardian older than 18 years who can handle your payments via AdSense.
2. Beyond this, once their pages are established, many content creators then create merchandise and branding affiliated with their page. This helps both in establishing a brand as well as to introduce an additional revenue stream from the channel. If your page and brand are popular enough, you can make a good amount of money this way. Some content creators also launch clothing lines, accessory lines, jewelry lines, etc. You can do this through YouTubes ‘’Merch Shelf’’, however you must be 18 years or older and only qualify if you have 10 000 or more subscribers. You can create your own online shop and link it to your page, however.
3. There is also something called ‘’channel membership’’, where you could set up a monthly membership fee in exchange for special perks which you offer to subscribers. For this option, you must also be 18 years or older and have a minimum of 1000 subscribers.
4. Super Chat & Super Stickers – this is something which allows viewers to purchase chat messages that stand out, and sometimes pin them to the top of a chat feed so it’s more visible to other viewers and also to the content creator which could increase their chances of engagement or recognition.
5. YouTube also has something called the ‘’YouTube Shorts Fund’’, which is a $100M fund to ‘’reward creators for their dedication to making creative, original Shorts that delight the YouTube community.’’ There is a list of eligible countries which qualify, and YouTube will reach out to thousands of content creators every month if they qualify for a bonus from the Short Fund.
This, in a nutshell, is how to make money from YouTube. There are other things to consider such as how to grow your page, how to ensure your content meets the guidelines established by YouTube – i.e. publishing content that is not offensive, derogatory, etc etc. Furthermore, because YouTube does not calculate your tax for you, it is something you need to research and ensure for yourself that you are not breaking any tax rules and that you are paying tax on your earnings, if it is eligible to be taxed.
The best thing about earning from being a content creator, is that your business expenses are next to nothing. All you really need is a good camera – which for many people, is a phone – and good internet. So, if you are NOT earning when you first try, you are not losing much, but when you do earn, you are gaining lots.