Creating and operating a YouTube channel can be a great side hustle. The most popular and perhaps the simplest way to make money on YouTube is advertising via Google AdSense. However, you can also make profits with affiliate links, brand partnerships, crowdfunding, and more.

Monetizing your YouTube channel is one of those things that’s easier said than done. Everyone wants to do it, some people try it, and just a few succeed. However, those that are successful put in the work and maximized their opportunities. By looking at all your options and developing a plan (and sticking to it!), making money on YouTube is very possible. Throw determination into the mix, and you’ll become a successful and profitable YouTuber.

Ad Revenue

First and foremost, ads are the most reliable and straightforward way to turn up profits on YouTube. You can make money with ads on a CPM, CPV, and CPC basis. Based on cost per impression (CPM), a YouTuber makes on average $7.60 per 1,000 views. Now think of your favorite YouTubers who receive hundreds of thousands or even millions of views.

The first thing you need to do is become a YouTube Partner. As a Partner, you can drive revenue with ads throughout your videos, channel memberships, or Google AdSense banner ads.

Prerequisites to becoming a YouTube Partner are gathering 4,000 video watch hours on your channel in the past 12 months and having 1,000 subscribers. This is where you’ll need to put your creativity to the test. Can you come up with engaging content that people will want to watch and continue watching?

Once you’ve put in the work and become a YouTube Partner, you can begin earning with Google AdSense. Even if you’re not getting heavy traffic at first, remember to think creatively and stay consistent. Keep in mind that creators keep 55% of earnings generated from ads, while Google keeps 45%.

Affiliate Links

Aside from AdSense, affiliate links are among the most popular and effective ways to earn money on YouTube. Affiliate links are normally included in the video’s description.

This is an especially great way for YouTubers who offer in-depth tutorials and product reviews to earn. For example, if you film a tutorial on using a product and then recommend it to your viewers, you can be making a commission off those sales.

Once you find your niche, seek out companies in line with your message and that offer affiliate programs. Hopefully, you already have some brands and products you’re familiar with in mind. That’s the best way to go since your discussion should come naturally. For this to work, it’s imperative that you act as a reliable, trustworthy source to your viewers.

Depending on the company, affiliate programs can be subject to approval. But more often than not, getting your own affiliate links is easy. Websites like Awin, ShareASale, and affiliaXe are just a few of many excellent choices.

Even Amazon has an affiliate program, Amazon Associates, that pays out anywhere between 1-10% of the item’s cost to the advertiser. If you don’t know where to start, this can be a great place, as chances are you already shop there and have an opinion on some of their products.

Brand Partnerships

Brand partnerships are similar to affiliate links, but there are some fundamental differences. First off, affiliate links are always performance-based, meaning you’ll only make a cut if a click or sale is made. Partnerships can involve compensation that is not performance-based. However, it’s more challenging to lock in a great collaboration than to acquire an affiliate link.

You’ll need to have a discussion with the brand, whether it be by you reaching out to them or them reaching out to you. Typically, you’ll sign and contract and earn a flat fee based on the terms of the campaign, which could vary significantly each time.

Before you start reaching out to brands for partnerships, you’ll want to make sure you have impressive stats to present. Focus on the quality of your content, followers, and engagement. Eventually, you’ll have your favorite brands reaching out to you first!


Crowdfunding is a great tool to gain revenue, especially for musicians. If you’re just getting started on YouTube, this is something you might not be able to implement just yet.

However, once you have a following of loyal fans, people will be eager to help fund your new videos and watch you succeed. You can crowdfund for specific causes like filming your next music video or buying new studio equipment.

Crowdfunding can be as simple as dropping your Venmo in your video description, or you can take it to the next level. Platforms like Patreon can aid in the process of allowing your fans to pay you for your content. You can use YouTube to continue growing your fanbase and generating ad revenue while offering exclusive perks to your Patreon subscribers.

Getting Started

Before exploring your options for revenue on YouTube, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid plan. Find your niche, set goals, and give yourself deadlines. Look at what other creators in your niche are doing and learn from what works for them, and what seems not to work for them.

With strategy, planning, and of course, creativity, you can begin making money on YouTube. Good luck!

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