How to Make Money From YouTube

Jenna Marbles ($350,000 a year). Tyler Oakley ($744,000 a year). Michelle Phan ($441.4 million a year). Nope, they’re not Hollywood actors, big-name sports stars, CEOs or celebrities – they’re YouTube stars. And, as their income shows, using the social platform to make money is most certainly a thing. How to make money from YouTube? Let’s take a look.

How to make money from YouTube

Unlike blogging, which has several varied revenue streams, the key to making money from YouTube is a very simple one:

  • Post an engaging video that people watch, share, comment on and enjoy
  • Get lots of views and build a community
  • Have companies pay you to advertise their products on your channel

Now, you’re unlikely to make as much as PewDiePie ($4 million a year, it’s thought), or any of the other superstar vloggers, but if you post engaging content and build up a strong and loyal following YouTube has billions of users a month, so there’s an active marketplace), there’s no reason you can’t make some money. Perhaps enough to cover your rent, maybe more.

How to get started

YouTube is a free channel – it’s free to use and free to post content on it, so no worries there. What’s more, it’s pretty easy these days, thanks to advances in technology, to film content, edit it and then upload it.

You will need:

  • A quality smartphone or camera – recording content in 1080 HD is crucial, so make sure your phone or camera supports this
  • Video editing software – being able to edit your footage is essential. THankfully, there are lots of free video editing suits available, such as Microsoft’s classic Windows Movie Maker

You might also want to consider:

  • Sound recording equipment – while smartphones and cameras have these built-in, the quality might not be too great. Investing in some decent sound equipment could make a massive difference to the quality of your vlogs

If you do not own any of the right recording equipment, then you may want to consider taking out a small payday loan for £200 or more, so you can be ready and set up for when you start posting your YouTube videos.

What to vlog about?

So, you’ve signed up, downloaded Windows Movie Maker and have your iPhone all set ready to film. What do you vlog about?

Well, whatever floats your boat really. The beauty of YouTube is its randomness – whoever thought a 5-second clip of a duck trying to eat a banana would be so popular? (Okay, we made that up, but it probably exists).

Generally speaking, there are common content types on YouTube. Bloggers tend to:

  • Talk about themselves and what’s going on in their lives
  • Focus on their pets – the number of pet pug videos on YouTube is astronomical
  • Talk about a specialism, such as tech, sport, DIY or beauty
  • Produce comedy skits, mash-ups or content designed to go viral

Choose something that suits your personality. To start with, just film a few videos for yourself, perhaps sharing it with family and friends.

More about monetising YouTube content

To make money from YouTube, you should try and tick off all these boxes, because these meet YouTube’s publication criteria:

  • Advertiser-friendly – appropriate for all audiences
  • You should have permission to use your content commercially
  • Comply with YouTube’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines

Crucially, to actually make any money from YouTube you need to enable monetisation on your channel. Do this by:

  • Going to the ‘monetisation tab’ in your account’s settings
  • Clicking ‘enable my account’
  • Following the on-screen steps to accept the YouTube monetisation agreement

Building an audience

The key to making money from YouTube lies in having a sizeable and committed audience. One you know and love and communicate with. The more people watch your videos, the more money you’ll make. Build and sustain an audience by:

  • Being authentic – be yourself, not someone else
  • Build familiarity – post content regularly and at set times, so your audience can know when to expect some fresh stuff
  • Consider building an email base – ask your audience for their addresses and develop some email marketing
  • Use social media to push out your content
  • Engage with your audience – host Q&A sessions and dive into the comments and engage

Good luck!


Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.