How to Make a Living from YouTube - How Much Money Can you Make?

You come up with a great idea for a video series, make a YouTube channel, learn how to shoot, direct and edit, and now you’re regularly producing content for the masses. You start to build a decent following, interact with your fans, and everything is going swell – but you can never quite figure out how to monetize your fanbase, and can’t seem to ever dedicate enough time to creating content and interacting because of your day job and other obligations. Before you know it, while you’re trying to figure it all out, your subscribers and interactions turn stale and seem to plateau. Then, you’re scrambling, trying to figure out how to maintain your upward momentum, and you eventually find yourself right back at square one.

It’s a vicious circle.

So how do really popular content creators like PewDiePie and Mr. Beast make enough money to keep doing what they do every day? Don’t they have jobs? Well, yes. You’re watching them work. Successful content creators have figured out how to go from making a little bit of money on YouTube to making a living from YouTube.

How much money can you earn on YouTube?

Truthfully, it’s really difficult to answer that question. The easy answer that everyone wants to hear?

“The sky is the limit.”

The real answer, though? That one is a little more tricky. The real answer is actually that there is no limit -- as long as you learn how to build revenue streams, what to focus on, and how to leverage your content with advertisers. You get back what you put in.

Whether you realize it or not, you are the gears in the great advertising machine, and the relationship you have with advertisers is a symbiotic one (whether they want you to believe that or not). Advertisers only make money by selling a product or service, which they can do in one of two ways: Either by spending millions of dollars identifying their exact target market and custom tailoring their own advertising to that unique subset of people (high risk/high reward), or by finding a content creator that has influence and trust already built with their target demographic and paying them considerably less to have access to that valuable data (low risk/high reward).

That’s the big secret, but it’s what you choose to do with this information that either breaks you or turns you into the next PewDiePie. That’s what makes all of the difference between making some money on YouTube, and making a living on YouTube. You see, you have leverage against those advertisers, whether you realize it or not. They need you much more than you need them. Also, more often than not, “considerably less” money spent for them can equate to “a whole heck of a lot” more money for you.

Making a living from YouTube

In our previous article, we talked about building a merchandising revenue stream – and by capitalizing on advertisers and giving them access to your own subscribers, you are literally volunteering to become part of their revenue stream in order to secure your own. Learning about and regularly using popular tools like Google Adwords and Google Tag Manager to create campaigns and route people down your funnels are also great ways to spend your time, and can eventually net you a lot more extra income by allowing you to reach much more of your target audience.

But when you get them there, what do you do? Surely you don’t want your channel and your cool idea to turn into a giant collection of billboards, commercials and advertisements for other products. We all know how obnoxious that is... that’s why we hate commercials. So what do you do?

Well, hold on, because we’re going to pivot here. Again, it’s all about leverage.

When your viewers come to your channel and check out your content, it’s up to you to tell them what to do. Sure, you can have a few ads in your videos, and maybe a link or two to your Sponsors in your video description, and that might make you a buck or two -- but have you ever thought about how that hurts you? When you’re on the way up the ladder, the money from advertisers can be helpful to help you get ahead, but eventually it all comes down to the fact that these companies are paying you to take your viewers focus away from you and redirect that focus onto their revenue stream, and are counting on you being okay with that in exchange for some payment. That’s a way to get by, but it is not sufficient alone.

There’s another way for you to make a lot of money while still managing to keep your advertisers happy, and this way makes it so that your viewers stay in your revenue stream.

How much money can you make from merch?
Yep. You guessed it. Custom merchandise is the name of the game. That’s where large content creators like Mr. Beast and PewDiePie make the real money, and it’s definitely how you can convert from “I make a little bit of money on YouTube to “I make bank on YouTube.” We aren’t talking about a print-to-order websites - companies that are going to give you pennies on the dollar per sale, provide subpar quality swag products (at best), terrible shipping turnaround times and zero customer service – no.

We’re talking about a company like SquareShark, a one-stop shop custom merchandise solution for content creators.

The truth is, large content creators know that producing high-value engaging content is their full time job. In order to use their time wisely, properly leverage their viewership and guarantee that they can reliably convert views into sales, they need someone they can trust that will take over the manufacturing, distribution and logistics for them so that they can focus solely on the content creation and marketing of their new merchandise. They have come to rely on a company that can make them literally anything they want -- someone that will handle everything for them -- so that the only thing that they have to do is collect an additional paycheck at the end of the month.

If you feel you are ready to take the next step in properly monetizing your YouTube channel, reach out to us and we will be happy to talk with you.