You don’t have to be a huge star or influencer to make money on YouTube!

The platform is fairly popular among digital marketers as 55% of marketers are currently using YouTube as a part of their digital marketing strategy. 

In fact, only 9% of small businesses are on YouTube and only around 0.25% of all YouTube channels are making money. That means many small business owners aren’t reaping the benefits of video content as much as they could be. 

With that said, the remaining content will teach you how to make money on YouTube, show you how the pros do it, and everything else you need to know in order to generate revenue on the platform. 

Are you ready to start earning some passive cash? 

Keep scrolling! 

How to Start a YouTube Channel

Let’s start with the basics, just in case you’re a beginner. You first need to start a YouTube channel

If you don’t already have a Gmail YouTube account, you need one to create a channel.

Step 1: Sign in to your Gmail account on the YouTube Platform

Image of Youtube sign in page

Step 2: Click your profile picture and click on “create a channel”

Image of Youtube dashboard

Step 3: You’ll be asked to create a channel

Image of Youtube Account Profile Set up page

Step 4: Check the details (with your Google Account name and photo) and confirm to create your channel

Image of Youtube dashboard upload a video

Add details to the “about” section, begin customization, and you’re halfway there! 

Creating a YouTube channel is free; however, you may need to invest in filming equipment which could cost you a pretty penny. 

Now that you’re a YouTube creator, how do you get subscribers? 

How to Grow Your YouTube Channel 

Before we jump in, please understand that this process will take time and effort. On average, it takes over a year to get to 1,000 subscribers on YouTube. 

You will also need to upload around 160 videos. These uploaded videos need to have target keywords that will drive enough traffic to your channel but aren’t too competitive that you can’t rank. 

This process can take more or less time depending on your YouTube SEO efforts and other factors. 

Here are a few helpful tips for growing your channel: 

Write engaging and entertaining titles

YouTube marketing is really all about presentation. 

Titles are the first thing a viewer sees and it’s usually a make-or-break when it comes to your video’s performance. Ask yourself: are you presenting must-see content? 

The key here is to make awesome titles that grab your audience’s attention from the get-go without resorting to shady clickbait headlines. People like entertaining content and they also want to know what your video is about just from reading the title. 

For example, you can take a page out of the playbooks of YouTube channels like Slapped Ham: 

Image of Youtube Videos from Slapped Ham Channel

These videos heavily rely on listicles, insane, scary, or intense content. 

These types of videos rack up hundreds of thousands of views. We can’t all be Slapped Ham or Buzzfeed, but you can definitely use strategies such as theirs for your videos. 

If you aren’t sure what to title your videos, give The HOTH’s Title Generator a try! 

Optimize your videos

Did you know that YouTube videos show up for 70% of the top 100 Google search results

You can even see for yourself. Any given “how-to” search on Google will return something from Youtube:

Image of Google Search Result for how to make donut on blender

Let me explain, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world next to Google. Just like how people search on Google to problem solve, the same rings true for YouTube. 

Think of it this way, your YouTube videos are like any other piece of content that needs to be optimized for SEO. You need keywords, tags, and other basic SEO strategies. 

To be able to boost your chances of showing up in search results, you’ll want to follow some of the best practices for YouTube SEO:

  • Include target keywords in your titles and descriptions
  • Mention keywords in your video
  • Engagement
  • Use categories
  • Add tags to your videos

Know your audience

With any type of content you create, you always want to make sure that it matches up with what your audience wants to see and their search intent. 

Given that 62% of YouTube’s users log into the platform daily, YouTube has no problems with engagement and retention. Still, the majority of users use YouTube for entertainment rather than to find brands. Businesses still have a long way to go on the platform. With that said, a helpful tip would be to try and find a balance between entertainment and advertising. 

If you’re just starting to learn how to promote your channel, take a look at what your competitors are doing in regards to videos in your niche. 

Image of Youtube dashboard analyticsLook at what videos they have that they got the most views and engagement on. That will give you some ideas of what topics your audience wants and what style of videos they like to see. 

Additionally, you can take a look at your YouTube analytics if you’ve already uploaded a couple of videos. YouTube gives you some detailed information on your audience, watch time, demographics, engagement, and other metrics. 

Engage with comments and the YouTube Community

Although YouTube isn’t considered a social networking platform like Twitter or Facebook, it does however have a thriving community where users are always engaging with content. 

As I briefly mentioned, any kind of interaction with your audience is seen as a positive signal to YouTube’s algorithm. 

Similar to Instagram or even Google reviews, you need to respond to comments and engage with your followers. Even something as simple as liking or pinning a top comment can be engaging with a personal touch. 

Create custom thumbnails

One of the best ways to promote your channel is to create custom thumbnails. Think of your thumbnail as a way to grab a user’s attention right off the bat. 

YouTube automatically captures a screenshot from any given video and uses it for the thumbnail. That snapshot can sometimes appear blurry or even display an awkward moment in the video. 

If you aren’t a graphic designer and don’t have access to a freelancer. You can always use Canva to help you create a custom thumbnail that will boost your engagement. 

Image of canva website

As I briefly mentioned, Google shows a video thumbnail next to a search result about 26% of the time, and users are more likely to click that listing. 

Additionally, emotions are a huge driving factor in people’s behavior and choices. Video marketing statistics show that videos with emotional thumbnails tend to get more clicks than those without. 

How to Make Money on YouTube by Monetizing your Videos

First, you need to make sure you meet the requirements which are gaining 1,000 subscribers and having 4,000 hours of watch time

To check and see if you’ve already met those requirements click on the icon picture on your YouTube account

Click, “Monetization.” 

Image of Youtube Dashboard monetization

If you are eligible, it will send you to steps to monetize, if you aren’t you will see something like this:

Image of YouTube Notification if you are eligible for monetization

You will then want to click, “notify me when I’m eligible.” 

Image of Youtube Monetization notification

You will then be sent an email when you have met all of the requirements and are ready to begin making money on the platform. 

Once you do, here are some tips for earning cash: 

Enable super features: super chat, super stickers, super thanks

If you’ve ever watched a live stream on Youtube, then you may have noticed that some chat messages stand out and are highlighted with stickers

Those are called super features. Youtube lets creators enable super chat on their live streams. This feature lets your audience give you anything from 1 dollar to $500, just to get their message featured.

In addition to super chat messages, instead of buying messages to be seen, users can also buy and share fun stickers. These stickers are pinnable to the top of the chat and tend to grab the creator’s attention. 

Finally, a super thanks feature lets people show appreciation by donating a small amount. Users will then receive a featured comment in chat as well as a GIF. 

Ad revenue

The most traditional way you can earn on YouTube is through their video ads. If you’ve joined YPP, you can turn on ad views for individual or multiple videos. 

Keep in mind that your videos need to meet YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines to be able to run YouTube ads. However, there are a few different ways you can add ads to your video with YouTube’s ad formats. 

Additionally, you will need Google Adsense to be able to begin receiving funds from the ads

How to Join the YouTube Partner Program

The first step is monetizing your channel or individual videos. The second step is applying for the YouTube Partner Program

  • Sign in to your YouTube account
  • Click your profile picture in YouTube Studio
  • Click “Monetization
  • If you’re eligible click “Done” on the “Review Partner Program terms” card

The difference between the YPP program and YouTube monetization is the difficulty in joining. It is much harder to gain access to the YouTube Partner Program whereas monetization only requires a certain amount of subscribers and views time. 

Here are the minimum eligibility requirements to join:

  • Reach 1K subscribers
  • Follow all the YouTube channel monetization policies
  • Live in a country/region where the YouTube Partner Program is available
  • Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel
  • Have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months. 
  • Have a linked AdSense account

Here are the benefits of joining YPP:

  • Access to Creator Support teams 
  • Access to the Copyright Match Tool 
  • Access to monetization features

You can also create channel memberships

Channel memberships

Channel memberships give users the ability to join your channel through monthly payments that get members-only perks. YouTube creators can give exclusive offerings to the channel such as product discounts, live chats, or other high-quality exclusive content

As always though, you need to meet the requirements: 

  • Have 1k subscribers
  • In the YPP (YouTube Partner Program)
  • 18 years or older
  • Live in the available locations
  • Your channel must have a Community tab
  • Your channel isn’t meant for kids
  • Your channel doesn’t have a large number of ineligible videos (such as videos for kids or music claims)
  • You have agreed to comply with their terms and policies

How do YouTubers get paid?

Data from Forbes shows that the top video creators earn 50% of their income from YouTube ads on video views. As I briefly mentioned, you need to set up an AdSense account and be monetized once you create a channel. You can only get paid once you reach a minimum of $100 on your AdSense account

AdSense pays per view which is anywhere from $0.0004 to $0.016. That means if your channel receives 1,000 views, it’s worth $18. A YouTuber would make (on average) $9.90 per 1,000 views. YouTube then takes 45% and the content creator gets the rest. 

Let’s use PewDiePie as an example here:

The Money Nation estimates give PewDiePie an average salary of $12 million per year, which equates to an hourly rate for a 40-hour week of $3.400 per hour. He has over 111 million subscribers. He earns an average of $20,000 from each of his videos.

Now, most businesses and brands aren’t going to make it where PewDiePie is today with YouTube views, however, it is possible to earn an extraordinary amount of money on YouTube if done correctly. 

Sell Products or Merchandise

The easiest way to start selling your merchandise is to link your shop in every YouTube description. However, you can also use YouTube’s Merch Shelf or sell T-shirts and other merch using print-on-demand services like Redbubble

Image of Redbubble website

How you begin to sell merchandise:


  • Pick brand-appropriate Youtube merch
  • Start with best-selling items
  • Design mockups
  • Poll your subscribers to see what merch they want

Use Fan Funding

YouTube Fan Funding is a process of asking your fanbase to support you on crowdfunding platforms. Whether your channel is big or small, fan funding is a model you should be aware of. 

Here are a few popular platforms where this happens: 


Image of Patreon Website

Patreon allows content creators to make money by offering premium content that supporters can pay for on a monthly basis. Creators have the option to set up multiple tiers at different price points so they can appeal to people with different budgets. 

Brand partnerships as an influencer

Brand partnerships are a mutually beneficial relationship in which creators get paid to market a company’s product/service. In addition to direct payments, creators may also get free products/services. For example, many video game developers will contact video game streamers and give them a free video game key. This helps promote their game while also sharing a percentage of their profits from that game with the influencer.

Affiliate marketing, such as Amazon Associates,  is also another common way that YouTubers can make money. Through this form of marketing, influencers receive a portion of a brand’s or product’s profits on any sales that they helped generate. This is typically tracked through a unique link or code.

Image of Amazon Associates Affiliate Program Page
Now You Know How to Make Money on YouTube

If you want YouTube to become a passive income stream for your brand or company, you need to create engaging content that brings viewers to your channel.

You need 4,000 hours to become monetized which isn’t easy using only product placements

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