If you’re here, it’s probably because you’ve heard of the likes of Logan Paul, Jake Paul or Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg.
These guys are making millions of dollars a year just by vlogging.
…and yet we’re told to study a nice career and get a 9 to 5 job.
And that’s the most reasonable thing because it is pretty rare to earn so much money vlogging.
However, it is still possible to earn a full-time living from creating video content. I’ve been making a living from creating content and having an audience for almost 10 years now.
You don’t have to be a Tycoon like one of these guys; like me, there are other thousands making a comfortable living off YouTube.
So, how do they do it?
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Vlogger and Make Money
- How do Vloggers Make Money on YouTube?
- How Many Subscribers and Views Do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
- How Do You Get Paid on YouTube?
- Are There Other Ways to Make Money?
- Conclusion and How Not to Go Crazy With All This Information
How to Become a Vlogger and Make Money
How do these millionaire vloggers pull in all that money?
The main reason is that they have is an incredibly large following.
Felix owns the channel with the most subscribers on YouTube, with 60 million as of March 10th, 2018.
And he also has around 17,000,000,000 views.
That’s a lot.
This represents an incredibly large legion of faithful fans who love watching his content.
And all the views he gets are, directly and indirectly, making money for him (don’t worry, we’ll explain how in just a bit).
The important thing is that the only reason why he has so many fans is that he’s been consistently creating great content almost every day for over 8 years.
And if you want to do it too, you better start as soon as possible.
So lesson number one is:
1. Create great content
What is great content? This is a question that content marketers have been trying to figure out for years.
Basically, great content is the one able to keep people watching/reading/listening and coming back to you for a long time.
Great content is either really entertaining or very informative or both.
You have to give something of value if you want to receive more value ($) in return.
You have to help your viewers with the problems they have if your videos are informative.
Or you have to be really entertaining.
Great content gets lots of engagement (likes, shares, and subscribes) and can go viral if you have a bit of luck.
Just look at the numbers from PewDiePie’s most popular video:
This is your job as a content creator.
And not only that, but you also have to do it constantly to make them come back.
Something that will help you to provide value is by having decent equipment for recording.
No one will stay watching a video that is unbearably noisy.
And noise can come in many forms: maybe your microphone sucks or you don’t have enough lighting in your room.
Get first the minimum equipment required to record decent video quality.
You don’t need anything fancy.
You can simply get a 10$ microphone and use a lighting kit that can cost you around $50 and build a mini-set at home.
Any compact camera you have, or even your phone will be enough for you to record good quality video.
But at least start with a nice microphone.
2. Be consistent
These millionaire vloggers didn’t make it from one day to another.
They started like any other out here: with 0 following and 0 views.
Yet they managed to grow out of nothing but good content.
But that takes time.
You need to think about your next video idea, then you have to record it—without failing in the process— and then you have to edit it and publish it.
Oh, did I also mention that you need to promote it?
In other words, you need to invest a lot of time.
And you might need 5 years or more to blow up on YouTube.
It has happened before with YouTubers like Mr.Beast.
While now he gets more than 1 million views per video, and can even surpass 10 million in some of them, just a couple of years ago he couldn’t make it past 10,000 views per video.
And remember that all of these older videos are getting a lot more views now that he’s gone viral.
And you know what else?
His oldest video is from 6 years ago.
And still, it was when he started publishing videos almost daily 2 years ago when the channel started growing exponentially.
And now he’s probably making more money than 99% of us.
Try to publish at least 3 videos a week.
If you’re too busy during the week, you might want to create a system.
For example, you can think about the subject for your videos during the week.
And after that, choose one day on the weekend to record the three videos, one after another.
Then you can schedule them on YouTube to be published during the week.
This way of working in batches is a productivity tip that I love as it helps me get more things done in less time.
Something that really helps is using a free browser tool like TubeBuddy or VidIQ. They will make everything about uploading videos easier and faster. This will be a big help if you plan to do YouTube for a long time.
3. Build your brand
Building your brand will make people remember you easily.
This is what will remind them of who published that last awesome video they loved so much, and so they are going to click on your next one.
Create an image for your channel.
And if possible, make all your social networks match your image.
You will probably need at least a logo or nicely designed portrait image for your channel.
You can get these done for pretty cheap.
You can try going on Fiverr and look for someone offering YouTube channel logos for $5 bucks.
That is going to help you get more subscribers and it will make people trust you more.
Alternatively, you could simply upload a nice photo of yourself, but you’d still want to have a personalized picture for your channel’s portrait.
It just makes things look nice.
Just look at this example:
Pat Flynn’s channel looks really nice and professional.
The pictures he’s using makes his audience feel closer to him.
Like any other real person you trust.
And it’s perfect for his channel because he teaches people how to make money.
And when it comes to money, people need to trust and believe who they listen to.
This ultimately helps him sell products to his audience.
Of course, this works in different ways for different channels.
If you have a funny channel, you obviously want a funny image.
Just make it consistent to who you are and what you’re offering to your audience.
4. Learn about the technical side of YouTube
Have you heard about SEO?
If you haven’t, it stands out for Search Engine Optimization.
You have to optimize your videos for the search engine that YouTube is.
When someone types a search query on YouTube, they are typing a keyword and your videos need to be optimized for that keyword for them to show up on the results.
But there are many things that will determine how well you rank in the results.
Total watch time is one of the most important ranking factors.
This subject is much deeper, but some general guidelines you should follow are:
- Publish 5+ minutes videos: Preferably more than 10 minutes will help you get more watch time
- 5 seconds to grab your audience: You have just a few seconds to catch your viewers’ attention before they decide to look elsewhere.
- Write attractive titles: If your video gets more click, then you will earn higher ranks and get even more views.
- Design thumbnails that stand out: Stand out from the videos that compete with yours to get more clicks. Use Canva’s free thumbnail templates.
Watch time is everything on YouTube.
Why do you think that a lot of vloggers talk about a lot of things first before showing what the title of the video is about? The more watch time you can hold, the more YouTube will like you.
Learn about SEO-friendly titles, tags, thumbnails, and video descriptions.
Let’s say YouTube shows 5 results for a keyword and your video is ranked last; if your video still gets more click, then you will earn higher ranks and get even more views.
That’s why having a well-designed thumbnail that stands out from your competitors’ on the results will give you more views.
You can start creating nice YouTube thumbnails with Canva for free.
Also, inserting tags on your video will help YouTube recommend it after people watch someone else’s video that is similar to yours.
But don’t stuff in tags, as YouTube doesn’t like that.
Just place the tags that are actually related to your video and you will be fine. Use VidIq to get nice SEO-friendly tag ideas for every video that you make.
To know more about SEO for YouTube, I really recommend this video from Backlinko:
I also recommend installing VidIq. This is a free google Chrome extension (with some premium features if you want them) that will help you have better SEO on YouTube.
Also, these are just guidelines that work for the current algorithm YouTube uses.
Yes, this can change at any moment, and you need to be aware of this.
This happens with all search engines, including Google and even social networks like Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
This will be part of your job as a content creator, as you will need to learn to adapt to how YouTube works and changes constantly.
But now let’s say you got the content and also the following… how exactly is the money made?
It doesn’t fall down from the sky, it has a couple of real sources.
How do Vloggers Make Money on YouTube?
Once you got the content and the following you can start making money.
There are many ways of earning money on YouTube, and you’re going to learn about most of them in just a moment.
But if you want the short answer, most vloggers get money from the ads displayed on their videos.
Like this one:
Adsense is the name of the platform that handles all the processes of working with advertisers.
But vloggers don’t need to worry about any of this.
They only do their thing—creating content—and choose the videos they want to monetize (as long as their video is eligible for ads, more on that later).
YouTube takes a part of the earning and the creator takes the rest.
And how much money they get paid will depend on many factors.
Some of them include:
- How many views does the ad get (not all viewers are going to get an ad)
- How long are the ads watched
- Whether there was interaction or not with the ad
- Audience demographics
- How many advertising are looking to advertise about a particular subject in the current season
Whew… definitely there’s no easy way to predict how much money you will be able to make.
In the end, you will basically need a lot of views just to make money from Adsense.
How are these ads shown in your video?
There are different kinds of ads a video can show.
There are banners that show at the bottom, trailers that show before, during or after your video.
Some can be skipped and some are non-skippable.
Later on, you will be able to experiment with the different ads and choose the ones that work better for you.
But for now, remember to just focus on creating content and building a following.
How Many Subscribers and Views Do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
As of February 20th, 2018, YouTube enforced new rules to be able to earn money through displayed advertising within your videos.
You will now need:
- 1000 subscribers
- 4000 watch hours in the past 12 months
All of this is just to join their YouTube Partner program, which is what allows you to monetize your videos.
See why you need to start creating content ASAP?
But still, this isn’t a big game-changer for you.
Before, if you didn’t have at least a thousand subscribers and 4k hours of watch time, you would’ve been lucky to have earned more than $100.
So this doesn’t really change the rules for people looking to earn real money from YouTube.
If you wanted to get decent pay on YouTube before, you already needed a lot more than what this new requirement demands.
So there’s no reason to get discouraged by this.
It is a good way of getting rid of spammy channels that could potentially take revenue from the advertisers that are now going to need your dedicated videos to reach their audience.
It’s still a really good year to start out on this ever-growing platform.
And remember, there are still more ways to make money on YouTube beyond Adsense.
How Do You Get Paid on YouTube?
So finally you’ve made it against all odds.
You were able to get your first precious 1,000 subs.
You also managed to keep people entertained for 4,000 hours in the past 12 months.
It’s time to reclaim your well-earned payment.
Or is it?
Well, first you will need to make sure you pass the minimum payment threshold.
Don’t worry, you simply need to wait until you earn $100 or 70€, and only then you can get paid.
That’s the minimum earnings you need to receive payments from Adsense.
You can choose from different payment methods:
- Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
- EFT via Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)
- Wire Transfer
- Western Union Quick Cash.
The best method for you will depend on what country you are in and your bank’s commissions for each deposit method.
And you also need to fill in your tax information.
You didn’t think that YouTubers, even though they have a really hard time earning some money, were free of paying their fair share of taxes, right?
Remember that you will have to declare your YouTube income.
How much you pay will depend on your country’s laws, so you should ask an accountant for that.
Are There Other Ways to Make Money?
Besides ads, there are tons of ways of making money as a vlogger. You basically can make money selling almost anything as long as you have an audience.
Remember that when you have an audience, you are now an influencer. And since you can influence people into buying things, you can start producing products or help others promote their products through your platform.
Once you have an audience, the possibilities are infinite. I’ve compiled a list of 30 ways to make money on YouTube without ads where you can learn all about these methods.
You can even start monetizing your channel before becoming a partner—although with a small audience, you won’t be earning a lot!
Conclusion and How Not to Go Crazy With All This Information
Looks like you’ve made it to the end of the post.
Do you still want to be a vlogger?
If you want a real piece of advice.
Do not do it for the money.
It is never about the money when it comes to earning money on the internet.
Do it for the people you are able to reach.
This part you’re about to hear is really important.
Do first things first.
What you need
- 1,000 Subscribers
- 4,000 Hours of Watch Time in the Past 12 Months
How to make it
- Create great content
- Be consistent
- Build your brand
- Learn YouTube SEO
After that, you can start thinking about the money.
I also mentioned a bunch of ways of making money vlogging on YouTube.
The main one is Adsense, but you may not be able to earn money from ads depending on the content you create.
Alternatively, there are many ways you could earn money before reaching the YouTube partnership threshold:
- Affiliate marketing
- Creating and selling your own products
- Creating a Patreon page for crowdfunding
- Reach out to brands and make sponsored videos with them
This last one will only be possible when you’ve grown a lot on YouTube.
In fact, once you grow, you will be the one being reached out to.
My final advice is to stop thinking about whether you will be able to make it or not.
If you stop to think about all things you need to know and the work you have to do, you will end up overwhelmed and you won’t even be able to begin.
That’s why it’s really important that you start with the core of your profession: creating content methodically and without pressure.
Just focus on creating content and sharing it on your typical social networks.
So now, I recommend you start thinking about the next idea for your video.
And hit that record button.
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.