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One of the best things about YouTube is its incredible potential to earn you income. With multiple ways to monetize your channel, an unlimited income ceiling and direct access to a network of targeted viewers, YouTube channels have the potential to not simply be just a hobby or even a stream of additional income — but to be their own profitable business with multiple streams of income and unlimited earning potential.
When I started my channel in 2020, I was utterly clueless about the potential that was about to be unlocked. My channel quickly grew to be an essential component of my online income, and I want readers to understand how powerful a well-run YouTube channel can be in creating revenue, building passive income and converting viewers into sales. I’m going to break down for you exactly how much my channel earned through three different income streams, including one you can start implementing right away even if your channel is not yet monetized.
Related: 3 Ways to Make Money on YouTube With Less Than 1,000 Subscribers
Identify a content gap
I started my YouTube channel in 2020, and since then, I have received over 13 million views and over 82,000 subscribers. When I started posting regular content, my channel was a formerly deceased side project with just 37 subscribers. After identifying a content gap — a problem people needed help solving, I worked hard to create helpful content which solved their problems and provided free high-quality information. My channel grew to 1000 subscribers within one week, and I was monetized within less than a month.
Related: How to Identify the Pain Points That Make Customers Decide What They’re Going to Buy
Once monetized, the most obvious way to earn income on YouTube is ad revenue. YouTube monetizes your channel once you receive at least 4000 watch hours and 1000 subscribers or 10 million views on your YouTube shorts within 12 months. Once monetized, you can allow Google Ads to place ads in your content. You receive a cut of the ad revenue each time an ad is viewed.
In my second year on YouTube, my channel received 10,357,608 views. I posted 337 videos, did 58 live streams, and published three shorts that year. In that one year, I received $168,233.85 from YouTube ad revenue. My highest earning day during this period was $1,184 in a single day. For every 1000 views of an ad shown on my videos, advertisers paid an average of $24.42 to have their ad shown in my videos. That amount was split half to me and half to YouTube. While my ad revenue was wonderful — especially for someone with a relatively new and small channel — YouTube was not the most profitable income stream from my videos.
Next, let’s look at my second stream of income from my channel — sponsorships. This is when a brand reaches out and offers to partner with you, or if you reach out proactively to that brand and pitch a partnership, they might pay your channel to share their products and services. In one year, I earned $13,925 in sponsorships.
Related: 5 Tips for Using Corporate Sponsorship to Drive Brand Visibility
Lastly, I want to show you how much I earned in the most interesting stream of income because this is one that you can start on your channel from day one, and it was also my highest earning stream of income from my channel: affiliate income.
Affiliate income occurs when you share a direct link tied to your affiliate account for a brand, for their products or services. You receive a commission once someone watching clicks on that affiliate link and makes a purchase. Joining large affiliate networks and platforms or reaching out and partnering directly with brands resulted in me earning $207,664.
In total, my YouTube channel earned $389,822 in just one year.
But there’s an important thing to remember here: There are even more ways to monetize your channel than these three ways alone.
What really blows your mind as a new YouTuber that starts earning income is when you realize there is no income ceiling from what you can do with your monetized channel. As you move away from streams of income that directly trade your time for payment and move on to more passive sales and sales funnels, you realize there is no ceiling on your income limits.
I want to be clear here: YouTube is not fast and easy money. A lot of work goes into growing your YouTube channel. Still, once you create evergreen content that continues to get views even when you’re not publishing, as well as affiliate links and sales funnels that feed sales and commissions from those views, you can move towards more passive income streams.
I want to encourage you to consider what starting a YouTube channel could do for your business and your income. Do you have a product or service that needs a stream of targeted buyers? Do you offer an online course, coaching or digital product? Do you have informative, helpful or entertaining content ideas? Have you solved a problem that others may also need help solving?
No matter what the focus of your channel is, I want to encourage you to start it today. You could be missing out on a highly profitable new stream of income.