How to Make Money from YouTube: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Make Money from YouTube: A Beginner's Guide

It’s easy to open YouTube on your computer or smartphone and suddenly realize that an hour has gone by. There are many social media platforms that seductively and seamlessly suck you into their content, but YouTube may possibly take the cake in this category.

With so many diverse YouTubers producing new content week to week, there is a genre of entertainment on the site for everyone that is easily accessible, and typically free, no matter where you go. And while these YouTube creators seem like far-off internet celebrities, most of them are just normal people like the rest of us who have figured out the secrets to making a living from developing YouTube content and sustaining a cool channel.

If you are intrigued by the prospect of monetizing your YouTube channel and becoming one of the many lovable video personalities, here are a few key pointers to get started.


YouTube used to be a little easier to monetize (really as easy as pushing a button), but a few months back some of those relaxed policies changed. While some YouTubers were upset by the higher standards with regards to revenue from ads and the type of ad content allowed, the new policies help protect the viewer experience and make for a more trustworthy online community.

Now, if users have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch-time over the course of a year, they qualify for paid ad space. So, if you are willing to dedicate the time and energy to develop a following and create content that people will continue to watch and share, you could potentially monetize your account and make money from ads.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing has been around as long as the internet, and any skilled SEO team–like the folks behind Empowered Owl–can tell you that this is a time-tested and valuable method to generate additional income. With this type of affiliate partnership, a YouTuber can drive traffic to various sites and get paid for how many times that link is used or if products are purchased.

Affiliate marketing can blend into the YouTube forum seamlessly, with many users including links right in their videos to products they use for makeup tutorials, exercise routines, and beyond. A great way to begin is to participate in the Amazon Associate program and drive traffic to Amazon’s product pages. Video content is huge online right now, so utilizing affiliate marketing through YouTube and similar forums is an excellent way to generate revenue for your brand.


Unlike affiliate partnerships, a sponsorship means that a YouTuber will showcase a particular brand through their video content on a regular basis and essentially become an ambassador for the company. This is common with makeup lines for online beauty tutorial gurus, as well as clothing and gaming companies for relevant channels.

For companies, this is a great way to tap into a market that is already interested in the type of products they produce. Since YouTube personalities are trusted and often adored by fans, they make great sponsors. So, once you have a solid base of subscribers and a focused mission for your channel, seeking out a sponsorship deal is a great way to make money and score free swag from companies you love. It’s a win-win.

Time and Dedication

While it often seems like YouTube celebs are just goofing off and doing what they love, in actuality it takes a lot of hard work to build a brand and accrue enough of a following to make money from YouTube. It is definitely not an endeavor for the weak of heart and those unwilling to take a risk and invest time and energy into a project.

But, if you are successful, the payoff can be huge and an enjoyable career can flourish from your efforts. Many popular YouTubers have gone on to book speaking arrangements, tour with live demonstrations of their craft, or even write books and get involved in the entertainment industry in other capacities. If you are willing to give it your all, YouTube could be the perfect springboard into your future.

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