Do you know that some people are making millions of dollars every year by filming themselves playing video games, eating meals they cook, or talking about toys? To be clear, I am NOT saying it is easy to make money by producing your own videos because one would need to post at least 50 to a few hundred videos per year consistently to make significant income. (In fact, many top video marketers make one video each day, rain or shine.) However, it may not be as hard as you might think. If you can film about a topic you are passionate about and share it with your audience for years, you might be able to have a business on YouTube.
Although there are many video sharing platforms, YouTube is the absolute King of all. The internet is full of stories of YouTube millionaires. Just Google for "top earning YouTubers" and you will know what I mean.
There are at least a few dozen YouTube stars that are known to be making at least $1 million per year. See the list of top earning YouTubers.
There are 5 major ways you can make money from YouTube:
1. Sign up for the YouTube Partner Program
With YouTube Partner Program, you make money through advertisements, paid subscriptions, and merchandise. This is the most common way YouTubers make money from their videos. It is very easy to sign up. However, remember that YouTube will take a 45% cut of your earnings.
2. Promote Affiliate Products
You can promote affiliate products in your videos. There are at least 600 affiliate networks where you can find millions of products to promote. Read my post on how to make money with affiliate marketing. Please also check out Easy TV Money, my popular online course about pay-per-click advertising (PPC) and affiliate marketing.
3. Find Sponsors Directly
If you have a large audience on YouTube, you may be able to cut out the middle man, YouTube, and sign up your own sponsors. You will make videos to promote your sponsors' products. For example, Shay Carl Butler of Shaytards has signed deals with General Electric, Foot Locker, Kia, and Skype probably in millions of dollars.
4. Promote Your Own Product or Service
Many highly successful YouTubers developed their products to further increase their income. For example, Lindsey Sterling, a violinist with over 8 million fans on YouTube, sells her own albums without any record label. Michelle Phan, a makeup artist with over 8.6 million fans on YouTube, sells her own cosmetics line and a makeup subscription service called ipsy.
5. Use Patreon
Patreon is a site where content creators can receive donations from fans, and offer rewards in return. The site takes 10% of each donation.
There are two secrets to making a full-time living on YouTube according to the top YouTubers:
One, pick an interesting topic that you can film about for the next 5, 10 or even 20 years. I highly recommend that you go with your passion instead of what's popular. If you love cooking, maybe you can start a cooking show. If you enjoy martial arts, maybe you can create a YouTube channel about martial arts.
Two, post videos consistently. If you can post one video per day, that's great. Or at least post one video per week. If you abandon your fans, your fans will abandon you. Remember: most likely you won't be that great at the beginning. But if you have good taste, and keep making great content, people will start noticing you. That's when you start to attract a large fan base.
Now that you have learned the basics of making money with YouTube, read my post Best Resources for Making Money With YouTube for the best YouTube success stories, guides, books, tools and services.