A Beginner’s Guide to Making Money on YouTube

YouTube is a goldmine for monetizing your content. It offers various income-generating opportunities that let you get more value out of your videos.

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When it comes to making money, not many platforms can outdo YouTube. It lets you start a business with no money (or at least not a lot of it), making the beginning of your entrepreneurship journey less financially straining.

Whether you’re running a work-from-home business, nurturing a community, or creating how-to videos, the platform has the bells and whistles needed to draw views, engagements, and sales to your venture. After all, the website is flooded with millions of monthly visitors. If you can somehow funnel a portion of YouTube’s monthly visitors to your videos, you’ll be in a very good position to make money.

What’s more, there are several ways to earn through the platform. It all begins with starting a YouTube channel of course. Once your channel is up, you can pursue several monetization methods.

In this guide, we will cover how you can make money on YouTube using the methods below:

  • AdSense
  • YouTube Partner Program
  • Sponsored Content

1. Create an AdSense account

To begin making money from your YouTube channel, start by setting up an AdSense account.

AdSense is a program run by Google that allows you to earn money by matching the right ads to your website and YouTube videos based on your visitors and content.

Advertisers create and pay for the ads that Google displays along with your content. When visitors click the ads and they reach a specific threshold, you’ll get the earnings deposited to your AdSense account.

All your payments from YouTube will go through AdSense, making setting up your account a critical step in starting your online business on the platform.

You can use the AdSense platform to monetize your channel or multiple channels right away without signing up to become a YouTube partner (more on this later).

To sign up for an AdSense account, follow these steps.

  • Go to this page.
  • Click Get started.
  • On the next page, enter your YouTube channel URL and your email address. You can also select Yes on customized help and performance suggestions.
  • AdSense will detect your YouTube URL and offer a much easier sign-up process. Click Continue on YouTube.
  • Follow the on-screen sign-up process, including signing in to your Google account, selecting your country or territory, and reviewing and accepting the AdSense Terms and Conditions.

After completing the setup process, you’re ready to monetize your published YouTube content.

The AdSense sign-up page for your YouTube account.

Sign up on AdSense as a YouTuber. Source: Google.com.


2. Sign up to become a YouTube Partner

While it is possible to start making money from YouTube through AdSense alone, signing up for the YouTube Partner Program makes it easier. It provides special features, such as access to Creator Support teams, the Copyright Match Tool, and other monetization options.

Besides showing ads, the program opens your channel to various revenue streams, such as YouTube Premium subscription fees, Super Chat, channel membership, and even the merchandise shelf.

Membership to the YouTube Partner Program allows you to view your estimated revenue (over the last 28 days) when you log in to YouTube Studio and go to the Analytics dashboard.

The YouTube Analytics dashboard.

View your revenue, views, and subscribers in the YouTube Analytics dashboard. Source: google.com.

Before you can sign up for the program, you need to fulfill several conditions first.

  • Agree and comply with the YouTube monetization policies.
  • Reside in a region or country where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
  • Increase your YouTube subscribers to at least 1,000.
  • Have over 4,000 valid public watch hours within the last 12 hours.
  • Create an AdSense account (if you haven’t set it up yet).

When you’ve met all the conditions above, YouTube’s team of reviewers will assess your channel to check if it fulfills the monetization policies.

The YouTube Partner Program provides various revenue channels, each with its specific requirements. Bear in mind that one of the requirements for all revenue channels is you must be at least 18 years old.

  1. YouTube Premium fees: This does not need any setup or additional requirements. For every YouTube Premium member who watches your content, you get a part of their subscription fee.
  2. Ad revenue: You need to ensure that your content is advertiser-friendly. The less controversial your videos are, the more advertisers you can attract.
  3. Channel membership fees: To offer channel membership fees, you must fulfill the age requirement and have more than 30,000 subscribers.
  4. Super Chat: With live streams, your fans can pay you extra to have their messages highlighted. You need to reside in a country where Super Chat is available.
  5. Merchandise shelf: You need to have more than 10,000 subscribers to sell merchandise on your channel.

Making money from multiple revenue streams on the YouTube Partner Program requires ample planning and preparation. If you are dead serious about achieving your business goals, establish a winning strategy and be relentless in your pursuit.

While YouTube can make you boatloads of money, your game plan, execution, and consistency are your tickets to success. You need to commit; otherwise, if you step into YouTube while having second thoughts, your competitors are bound to dominate you.


3. Partner with a sponsor

Working directly with sponsors is another way to make money off YouTube. This means your sponsors will pay you directly and YouTube doesn’t take a cut.

That is why paying for sponsored content is a popular social media marketing tip that YouTubers and influencers advocate — it’s where they make loads of money.

Below are a few steps to get you started on partnering with a sponsor as part of your social media strategy.

  1. Develop a partnership package: Outline all the benefits your sponsors can enjoy when partnering with you. Depending on your videos, vary your package offers based on the length and type of the sponsored ads and where they are placed within the videos.
  2. Find potential brand partners: You have full control over which brands to work with. If your content is mostly about beauty, connect with makeup brands and send your pitch through their official channels, email, or even direct messages.
  3. Integrate brands in your content: On average, videos are the most expensive sponsored content that brands buy from influencers. Better content means more engagement and views. Integrate your sponsors, such as their brand name or products, within your content to bring them (and your channel) more sales.
  4. Be transparent: Be transparent and mention that your content is sponsored to comply with Google’s ad policies and avoid misleading your audience. You can include hashtags, such as #ad, #sponcon, #sponsoredby(brand name), which can also improve your YouTube SEO, making your content easier to find.

Additionally, make content planning, scheduling, and publishing easier by integrating YouTube into your social media management tools. This ensures your content is consistent across all platforms. Software, such as Hubspot CRM, integrates several social media portals in one place to create a centralized content marketing dashboard.


Start monetizing your videos

Earning a steady stream of income on YouTube doesn’t just happen overnight. Besides creating meaningful and interesting video content, you need the right strategies, grit, and consistency to carve out your corner in the YouTube market successfully.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (C shares) and HubSpot. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.