How to make money on YouTube; Top YouTubers, how much does YouTube pay, and everything you should know

It can be quite daunting to begin learning how to make money on YouTube especially after finding out that on YouTube, 500 minutes of videos are uploaded every minute and 5 billion videos are watched every day.

The average viewing session on the video-sharing website has been growing 50 per cent year after year and is currently 40 minutes. Daily active YouTube users are now more than 30 million with YouTube TV boasting over 300 thousand paying subscribers.

These numbers are impressive, so it is no surprise that a lot of people are jumping on the YouTube bandwagon and searching for reliable and fast ways to make money on YouTube.

Eight-year-old YouTuber, Ryan Kaji, made 26 million dollars on YouTube in 2019, which caused some people on social media to bemoan spending lots of money on an education only to make less than an eight-year-old who reviews toys.

[bctt tweet=”Eight-year-old YouTuber, Ryan Kaji, made 26 million dollars on YouTube in 2019, which caused some people on social media to bemoan spending lots of money on an education only to make less than an eight-year-old who reviews toys.” username=”Sidomex”]

While YouTube does not have to be your main job, it can be a side hustle, to buttress what you’re doing now, until you hit your big break and become a superstar YouTuber.

But first, you will need tools that will help you shoot to the top of the list of moneymakers on YouTube. To help you do just that, we’re sharing with you how to make money on YouTube, the top YouTubers, how much YouTube pays its creators and many other things we think you’ll need.

How to start your YouTube channel

There’s a popular quote that says: “You have to start to finish,” except, of course, that with content creation, you never actually finish. You only finish creating video after video until you – hopefully – become super popular and can then hire people to shoot your videos.

On YouTube, the competition is fierce. Over 50 million users are constantly creating content on YouTube, uploading 500 hours of videos to the video-sharing social media channel every minute, hoping to someday get their big break.

It is easy to just log on to YouTube, go to your channel, and create a YouTube channel. But the important question is: What is your plan?

If you don’t make plans before starting your YouTube channel, then your channel will fail. To avoid this, you have to do some research and find out the content that people want to see AND you can deliver.

Don’t stretch yourself thin trying to fit into a category because you think it will make you more money. That will only lead to your channel’s downfall.

If you want to start your channel, see a steady increase in followers and views, you’ll need to do more than just create a channel and share videos.

[bctt tweet=”If you want to start your channel, see a steady increase in followers and views, you’ll need to do more than just create a channel and share videos.” username=”Sidomex”]

Use these tips to make sure that your YouTube channel becomes all that you hope for it to be.

1. Plan your content before filming

Don’t just pick a topic, jump in front of the camera and start talking, hoping that whatever you say makes sense. Making videos does not work like that.

Take your time to plan your content. If it’s possible, draw up a content schedule for a month, write a script for every video, then run with it. Don’t be afraid to include jokes here and there to connect better with your viewers.

Viewers like to live vicariously through their favourite YouTube channel, so it is important to keep your channel fun and engaging. Pick a theme and stick to it.

Some of the most successful niches on YouTube, which are sure to make you money include

  • Gaming
  • Lifehacks
  • Celebrity gossip
  • News
  • Top [X] lists
  • Compilations of fails
  • Food reviews and kitchen hacks
  • Product unwrapping and opening
  • How-to demonstrations
  • Animal activities
  • Spoofs

As is obvious from the list of highest earners below, the most popular YouTubers picked a theme early on in their career and stuck to it. They may have made a switch later on but it was never drastic and it was never complete.

2. Use the right equipment

If you can, invest in a proper mirrorless or a DSLR camera for filming your videos. Also, invest in tripods and proper editing equipment for maximum quality.

Of course, all of these do not guarantee that people will come to your channel, fall in love with the beautiful clarity of your video and subscribe. There’s a reason why people constantly chant content is king.

However, if you can’t afford all the expensive equipment that will no doubt give you an edge, then your phone is fine. Just get something to place it on (preferably a tripod) so it does not shake all over the place while you film, and you’re good to go.

Content is king, reader, and that really is the most important thing to know about YouTube.

[bctt tweet=”Content is king, reader, and that really is the most important thing to know about YouTube.” username=”Sidomex”]

3. Streamline your content

Did you know that longer videos increase your watch time, which then helps you make more money? Well, now you know.

A common problem that rookie YouTubers make though, is that they keep this in mind too much and then blab their way through the video.

Your audience may be incredibly interested in what you have to say, but they’ll only be there long enough to watch you veer from the point again before they find someone with a more ‘to the point’ video.

So, it is important to break down your content so that your audience understands what you’re trying to say, but also, get to the point.

4. Optimise your videos

Optimise your videos for the best chances of people seeing them or you’ve just wasted your time and resources.

What is the point of making a YouTube channel that nobody watches? So, you need to properly optimise your content so that people who are looking for similar content to what you’re providing can find you.

When you upload every video, make sure to give it a good descriptive title with many of your keywords so that when people search for those keywords, your video comes up.

Another important thing is to use relevant tags as well when you upload your videos. Check similar videos to yours and see what tags they used for their own videos.

Finally, write a nice, long, informative description for your videos. This helps you rank higher in search engines.

5. Upload videos regularly

One very important tip for the success of your YouTube channel is consistency. Upload videos two or three times a week when you just start your channel and stick to this schedule.

Many YouTube creators upload a new video two or three times a week and they let their viewers know when this is. This is especially important as you grow your subscriber count so that you don’t end up with a large following and low views.

6. Share your content with your network

What is the point of going through the stress of filming a video that only a handful of people get to watch? While you can upload your video on YouTube and hope that the algorithm puts it in front of as many people as possible, you can’t rely only on that.

Share your video as widely as possible: send to family and friends and ask them to send to their own network. Share on your blog if you have one.

Share the link to your channel on your social media pages and encourage people to click on them by using appropriate calls to action.

How does YouTube pay its creators

As you wish to monetise your channel, there are a few things you need to consider such as, how does YouTube pay its creators? Which content earns more and which earns less? These are important things that you need to take into consideration.

YouTube uses a lot of metrics to decide how each creator is paid and based on your content and your plan, you may earn more or less.

Check out some methods below that you can use to make money on YouTube.

YouTube Partner Program

One way that a YouTube creator can make money on YouTube is to join the YouTube partner program. The programme allows YouTubers to be paid through views and advertisements on their videos.

[bctt tweet=”One way that a YouTube creator can make money on YouTube is to join the YouTube partner program. The programme allows YouTubers to be paid through views and advertisements on their videos.” username=”Sidomex”]

To be eligible for the YouTube partner program, your channel needs to have garnered 1000 subscribers. In addition, you’re also required to have accumulated 4000 watch hours within one year.

And that is just to qualify for consideration. After hitting these milestones, your application will be considered and YouTube will let you know if you qualify for the Partner Program after a review period.

Once approved, you can start making money through two different ways: CPM (cost per thousand views) and CPC (cost per click).

If your method of advertisement is through CPM, then viewers must watch ads for longer than 30 seconds, something that is highly unlikely going by people’s online watching habits.

CPC means that you will be paid based on how many people click the ads around your video. No, you cannot have family and friends click your video to boost your income as that can get you blacklisted.

For every view on your channel, every ad on YouTube is worth between 10 and 30 cents with an average of 18 cents. For every thousand views, you would make an average of 18 dollars. YouTube takes 45% of incomes, so for every thousand views, you’ll make nine dollars and 90 cents.

As you begin making money, you can create an AdSense account so that your earnings can be paid into your AdSense account. You should know, though, that you can only direct deposit your money once it has reached 100 dollars.

Ad incomes can differ based on ad formats, geographical location and whether the viewer sees the ad on an embedded video or directly on YouTube.

It may sound like a herculean task right now, but this is exactly how the biggest YouTubers today all started too. Success is not an overnight thing.

The first few dollars you earn will be the hardest, but as you continue sharing interesting content and acquiring more subscribers, it will get easier to increase your earnings.

When you are popular enough, you can then branch out into other interests in your industry – creating a television show, becoming a talk show host like YouTuber, Lilly Singh, among many other options.

The first thing to do, though, is to create your channel and upload your first video. The sky is your starting point.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement where an advertiser pays a portion of profits to a YouTuber based on sales or traffic generated from that YouTuber’s referrals.

These videos can take several forms, and regular YouTube users must have seen at least one form of an affiliate video. The most common forms are:

  • A video unboxing the product you’re trying to sell
  • A video in which you recommend the product or service
  • A video reviewing the product

YouTubers usually include a link to the retailer’s website or social media page where a viewer can purchase the product and/or service. Retailers can choose to pay based on how many people click on the link or based on how many people buy the product.

In some cases, YouTube influencers give their viewers a special code to get some discount off their purchase. This is also an example of affiliate marketing.

Brand Sponsorships

Brand sponsorships are the ultimate most profitable ways of making money on YouTube. Before you can get to this stage though, you must have gained a reasonable following.

This is how sponsorship works: A brand can sponsor one or two videos by a YouTuber and then the creator has to make a video about the company’s a product launch, a company event, a site opening, or something similar.

This is why several makeup artists or skincare aficionados ‘review’ or use some brands in their videos. It is most likely a sponsored video.

In another situation, a brand can sponsor the entire channel and the creator has to mention the brand’s products in every video and/or where it is appropriate.

The rates for sponsored videos range from 10 to 50 dollars per 1000 views. If the video hits one million views, then the YouTuber can make anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars from a single video.

Extra: Sell your own products

This is not a way that YouTube pays its creators, just one way for you to make money from your YouTube channel.

Similar to how YouTube pays you to run ads on your channel, you can also share your own ads and direct some money to your pocket. Make sure that whatever you’re offering for sale is related to your channel so that viewers are not thrown out of the loop.

Set up a website where you can share your items for sale and include the link to your website in the description of your videos.

You can also mention your merchandise in your videos. Although you should make sure not to go overboard so that your viewers don’t get tired of hearing the same thing from you over and over again.

In addition, you can go a step further and create a special video for your brand. You can start small by making branded t-shirts that have your YouTube channel’s logo on it. This will also help to increase your reach and take your business to the next level.

Who are the top YouTubers and how do they make money on YouTube?

8-year-old YouTuber, Ryan Kaji, was the highest-paid YouTube star of 2019, making a total of $26 million. And that is just what he made from YouTube.

Social media stars, when they become popular enough, get endorsements and collaborations that extend outside their social media infamy. It is no wonder that everyone, celebrities included, are now joining YouTube too.

Here are the top 10 YouTube earners and how much they made by the end of 2019.

1. Ryan Kaji – $26 million

Ryan’s World, formerly Ryan’s ToysReview, is a children’s toy review YouTube channel that posts videos which are a blend of personal videos and toy unboxing videos.

One of his videos, titled Huge Eggs Surprise Toys Challenge has almost two billion views as of March 2020 and is one of the top 50 most viewed videos on YouTube.

He also has over 20 million subscribers and over 30 billion views. In 2019, he released his own line of toothbrush and toothpaste.

2. Dude Perfect – $20 million

Dude Perfect is a five-man sports entertainment group from Frisco, Texas, who routinely upload pictures on YouTube. They have a total subscriber count of 49.3 million and have garnered a total of 10 billion views on their channel till date.

The group also holds many Guinness World records and is said to be worth over 20 million dollars. Apart from running their YouTube channel, the group has secured numerous endorsements and has appeared on several television shows.

3. Anastasia Radzinskaya – $18 million

Anastasia Radzinskaya, also known as Nastya, is a six-year-old Russian-American YouTube star. She has several other YouTube channels under the name Like NastyaLike Nastya VlogStacy ToysStacy ShowFunny Stacy and Funny Stacy PRT. 

Her channels have a combined number of subscribers totalling 117 million and have amassed 48 billion views.

4. Rhett and Link – $17.5 million

Rhett and Link are an American comedy duo consisting of Rhett McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln ‘Link’ Neal. They are known for hosting the YouTube series Good Mythical Morning.

They have almost five million subscribers and earned 17.5 million dollars in 2019 from several business ventures including television shows.

5. Jeffree Star – $17 million

One of the only make up artists on this list, Jeffree Star has really established himself as a force on YouTube.

Apart from being a makeup artist, entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, DJ, beauty YouTuber, model, and Internet celebrity, he is also the founder of Jeffree Star Cosmetics.

At the time of writing, Star has over 17 million subscribers and over two billion views on his YouTube channel, where he posts personal videos, makeup looks and makeup reviews.

6. Preston Arsement – $14 million

Preston Arsement is a YouTube Gamer who regularly shares videos of himself playing video games on his channel. He has received a nomination for Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Award for Favorite Gamer.

When he first started his channel 10 years ago, it was called PrestonPlayz, and he shared videos of himself playing Minecraft and Call of Duty.

Now, he has rebranded the channel, named it Preston and shares kid style content including pranks and challenge videos.

One of such challenge videos is titled World’s STRONGEST Man vs Unbreakable Box!, which has 5.5 billion views.

At the time of this article, he has almost 12 million subscribers.

7. PewDiePie – $13 million

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie is a Swedish YouTuber whose channel was the most subscribed channel on YouTube for six years from 2013 to 2019.

At the time of writing, PewDiePie’s channel has more than 103 million subscribers and has received over 24 million views, making him the second most subscribed and the 13th most viewed channel.

The video of his wedding to his wife, Marzia, has almost 32 billion views. Watch it below:

His YouTube channel has yielded many returns. As a result of his immense popularity, PewDiePie has an Oprah Effect, where games he plays on his channel get a substantial boost in sales.

In 2016, he was named as one of the World’s most influential people. Another advantage, of course, is that he raked in 13 million dollars from the channel in 2019.

8. Markiplier – $13 million

Markiplier is an American YouTuber, gamer-commentator, actor and comedian, proving just how successful gaming-related content is on YouTube.

Markiplier’s YouTube channel is used to share clips of survival horror video games. He currently has over 25 million subscribers and his channel has over 12 billion views.

His latest video, 3 SCARY GAMES #44 has amassed almost 250 thousand views in just over four hours.

9. DanTDM – $12 million

DANTDM, formerly known as The Diamond Minecraft, is a British YouTuber who has won many Kid’s Choice Awards and set several Guinness World Records for his YouTube content.

In 2015, he was listed as one of the most popular YouTube creators in the world. His channel has amassed 22.5 million subscribers and 16 billion views.

One of his videos, FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S SISTER LOCATION!!! has over 10 billion views.

Thanks to this, it is not surprising that he made a whopping 12 million from his YouTube channel.

10. Vanoss Gaming – $11.5 million

Evan Fong, known as Vanoss Gaming, is a Canadian YouTuber who shares montage videos of himself and other YouTube creators playing video games.

Thanks to these videos, he has gained almost 25 million subscribers and has amassed over 11 billion views.

One of his videos, Vanoss Gaming Funny Moments – Best Moments of 2014 (Gmod, GTA 5, Skate 3, & More!), has almost 45 million views.

From this list, it is obvious to see that the top content on YouTube is gaming content and children’s content. For whatever reason, parents seem to be fine with having their children sit for long hours in front of a TV screen watching someone else play their favourite games.

Clearly, though, the YouTube stars are greatly benefitting it, taking advantage of this huge wave of an audience to make some money. And you can join them too if you pay attention to the various tips we have shared and apply them when starting your own YouTube channel.

If Ryan Kaji can bewitch his audiences with captivating content, you can do the same and be well on your way to making some cool cash on YouTube.

More tips below on pitfalls to watch out for.

Things that can make you fail to make money on YouTube

You’re putting in all the work and slaving away on YouTube, uploading content to your channel and hoping that it blows up so you can start making money.

You don’t want to do all that work and then find out that you’re not making money because of a careless mistake, which could have been avoided.

Whether you’ve just started your YouTube channel or you’ve been sharing content for a while, we have tips to help you avoid the pitfalls that can prevent you from making money on YouTube.

1. Don’t sign a lifetime agreement

Desperation makes people do foolish things, like sign a contract that forever gives away a percentage of their income or has them stuck in an unpleasant situation forever.

Excitement can also do this, especially when you’re a small-time YouTuber whose channel has suddenly blown up. You may be high on the sweet smell of the oncoming success and think that the money you’re being offered in unpassable and all the deals are good.

Many creators tend to sign bad deals all to get the badge of honour on social media. Don’t be in a rush to sign a deal after deal. Instead, here is what you should do: focus on growing your channel.

Continue to create great content for your channel and share content consistently. Stay on top of trends in your niche and experiment within your niche.

Grow your channel so that you have a gigantic following on social media, which then gives you leverage in any deal you will negotiate in the future.

2. Don’t lose sight of the purpose of your channel

When it comes to monetising their YouTube channel, one of the biggest mistake creators make is ignoring the purpose of their channel for the money.

While it’s okay to switch to a different niche if you see that your present one is not working for you, it is also dangerous, especially if not done well.

That is why it is important to properly outline your plan for your channel before you even start so that you don’t end up switching themes too many times and then alienating your subscribers.

[bctt tweet=”That is why it is important to properly outline your plan for your channel before you even start so that you don’t end up switching themes too many times and then alienating your subscribers.” username=”Sidomex”]

We understand that you want to start making money as soon as possible, but do you want to do this short term or long term? Long term monetisation requires you to cultivate influence over blindly chasing money.

Build a loyal following and you’ll see that you’ll be able to do so much more with your YouTube channel.

3. Don’t abandon your viewers in favour of money

You must always remember that no matter what, you are speaking to people, not robots or random people on the other side of the screen.

For this reason, it is important to plan your content around them. Do not assume that just because your viewers like you or your content that they will not leave you when your channel stops offering value, because they will.

Don’t include marketing jargon in your videos all because of money. It has been proven anyway that the most successful advertisement campaigns are the most natural ones, where the viewer does not realise that they are watching an advertisement.

Above all, don’t accept deals that don’t fit your theme as you don’t want your viewers to think of you as a sellout and then taint your channel with dishonesty.

Your channel brand should come above everything and this is something you should always remember.

4. Don’t get carried away by your success and produce lacklustre content

It is not a secret that constantly churning out entertaining content two to three times a week is hard work.

There is the whole process of coming up with interesting ideas, filming videos, editing them, and properly framing your video captions and titles so that they are seen by more people.

When your channel starts to gain a little bit of fame, you may start to get carried away, believing that you can now be comfortable. Don’t ever make this mistake.

Whether you have only one or a million subscribers, you should always put your best into every video you make. This also borrows from the point above – don’t feed your viewers mediocrity.

You want them to always want to come back to you for more fun content. They will do so if you keep churning out fun content, and in turn, you earn their trust and can then sell products to them through which you make your money.

The Kardashians are a super successful family of influencers and celebrities, but it is unarguable that they are still at the same level of consistency that they were at when they started.

This is no doubt why they are still at the very top of the celebrity food chain. So, whenever you feel yourself starting to get tired or coming up with boring content, ask yourself: “What would Kim do?”

Or if you’re a Beyonce fan, you can use that too. Either way, make sure that you never drop the ball.


YouTube, like other social media channels, is a gold mine waiting to be harvested. However, you need the appropriate tools to extract anything worthy from the social media application.

This is why you need a roadmap that tells you exactly how to make money on YouTube and the things to avoid to make the most of your effort.

The most important things to remember when starting your YouTube channel is to stay consistent and never lose sight of your end goal.

[bctt tweet=”The most important things to remember when starting your YouTube channel is to stay consistent and never lose sight of your end goal.” username=”Sidomex”]

If you do the right things, follow our guidelines above, and get motivation from this article, then in a few months, you should be on your way to making money from your YouTube channel.

To further motivate you, consider starting a YouTube channel with your friend. You can also start different channels and have frequent discussions about how far you’ve both gone.

Kindly share this article with loved ones, friends, and family. You’re not the only one who needs money.

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