YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the internet. Millions of people visit YouTube every day for entertainment purposes, to get their questions answered, to learn new skills and to solve their problems. As you can imagine, there are tons of opportunities to make money on YouTube. Want to known how to start a YouTube channel and make money? Let’s break down the art and science of using YouTube as a source of income.
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YouTube is both a search engine and a social media site at the same time. Just like all search engines, it uses an algorithm to determine what content people see.
There are two main ways you can get a lot of views on YouTube. The first one is if your video shows up at the top of the search results for a popular search term. The second way is if your video shows up in the suggested videos section.
If you want to know how to start a YouTube channel and make money from it, the answer is simple. You need to find a way for your videos to show up at the top of search results. And you need YouTube to suggest your videos in the suggested videos section.
If you can accomplish these two things, it’s relatively easy to make money on YouTube.
Let’s get started with the basics.
How well your videos will rank on YouTube depends on many factors. But it starts with the type of channel and niche you choose.
There are two main types of channels:
Of all the channels that you’ll find on YouTube, most of them are non-educational. But that doesn’t mean non-educational channels are the best way to make money on YouTube.
Before we talk about how to start a YouTube channel and make money, let’s look at a more granular list of channels you could start.
Non-educational channels typically focus on entertainment. Millions of people love coming to YouTube to laugh, light up their day or distract themselves from the demands of life.
Non-educational channels aren’t limited to entertainment though. Here is a list of non-educational channels:
If you love gaming, you could start a gaming channel. If you are into beauty and lifestyle, how about starting a vlog or a makeup channel?
You get the idea. There are YouTube channels about literally everything. From knitting to martial arts to fashion and cutting through a bottle of coca cola with a glowing 1,000 degree knife.
However weird your hobby or sense of humor is, there are likely others that are into it. Or at the very least they’d be entertained by it.
You can find it all on YouTube. And we mean anything. As long as it’s legal and doesn’t breach YouTube’s community standards.
Educational YouTube channels focus on tutorials, how-to information and education. They are less frequent and popular, but still massive on YouTube.
The main benefit is that there are more ways you can make money from educational YouTube channels. Let’s look at some examples of educational channels:
All of these channels have one thing in common. They help the viewer learn a skill, achieve a goal or overcome a problem.
Instead of just entertaining people, educational channels are full of tutorials and how-to information that is designed to help people. Millions of people visit channels like this every day to improve their lives.
There are a lot of people making money with non-educational channels. People like Mr. Beast and PewDiePie make millions by entertaining people.
Although these numbers are impressive, it’s hard to become one of the top YouTube channels in the entertainment niche. Only the top channels make a lot of money.
The way these content creators make money is with ad revenue and sponsorships. If you’re part of the YouTube partner program and have monetization enabled, you get paid whenever people watch ads in your videos.
If your entertainment channel gets big enough, you can make money if brands approach you and offer to pay you to mention their products in your videos.
You can also make money with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you include special links in your video descriptions that allow you to make money whenever someone buys a product from a partner.
But to make good money with non-educational channels you need a lot of views. If you want to get rich, you need to be one of the top YouTubers in the space.
If you’re just looking to start a YouTube channel for fun or as a side hustle, non-educational channels are perfect for you. But if you’re wondering how to start a YouTube channel and make money fast, the best way is with an educational channel.
If you’re planning to start a non-educational channel, your income will mostly come from ad revenue. This means you need to be part of the YouTube partner program and have monetization enabled on your channel.
To be eligible for the YouTube partner program you need at least 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months. You also need at least 1,000 subscribers.
Don’t expect to make any money before you have at least 1,000 subscribers.
Once you have monetization enabled and have joined the YouTube partner program, how much you earn depends on your daily views and your estimated cost per thousand impressions. The cost per thousand impressions is also known as CPM.
You can calculate your expected earnings with the YouTube Money Calculator.
Just type in your expected daily views and your estimated CPM and you’ll get an estimation of daily, monthly and yearly earnings.
If your channel gets 20,000 daily views and your average CPM is $0.25, you’d only earn around $150 a month. If you had a $4 CPM, you’d make $2,400 a month from your channel.
Ad revenue greatly depends on your CPM. And your CPM depends on your niche. The affiliate marketing niche has CPMs that range between $12-$22. Trading and investing has CPMs between $8-$18.
Compare this to gaming that only has an average CPM of around $1.40. As you can see, what niche you choose matters a lot. The CPM also varies by country and is dependent on other factors. This is one of the frustrating things about monetizing your YouTube channel with ads.
We’ve heard stories of creators that were making $20,000 a month from ad revenue. A few months later, the algorithm changed and their ad revenue dropped to $3,000 a month.
When you’re monetizing your channel with ad revenue, be prepared for a roller coaster ride. While it’s a great form of passive income, you have little control over how much you make.
This is why only the really big YouTubers are able to consistently make good money from ad revenue.
It’s easier to make a lot of money on YouTube with educational channels. The reason for this is because there are more ways you can monetize your channel. For example, you can monetize an educational YouTube channel with online courses and coaching programs.
People seek out educational channels to acquire a skill, achieve a goal or solve a problem. This means they are often also willing to pay for additional information in the form of books, courses and coaching.
Take Mosh Hamedani, for example. He’s a content creator that teaches coding and sells courses.
Online courses can be sold for anywhere between $100-$3,000. Coaching programs can be sold for $3,000 to up to $30,000 depending on your niche.
Let’s say you start an educational YouTube channel and have 1,000 subscribers. If you sold 30 coaching programs at $3,000 each, you’d already be making $7,500 a month from your channel. And if you sold 400 online courses at $300, you’d have a six-figure business.
This is why it’s a lot easier to monetize a small educational channel than a small entertainment channel. To make money with entertainment you need a lot of daily views and a ton of subscribers.
If your subscribers look up to you as a mentor, coach or teacher, you could be living off of a YouTube channel with just 1,000 subscribers.
To make good money from an educational channel, you just need a small but dedicated audience of people who know, like and trust you.
Creating and hosting online courses is easy. You can do that with platforms like Kajabi.
Kajabi and other online course platforms allow you to create your own online courses and membership sites with a few clicks.
Once students have purchased your courses or memberships, they’ll receive their login details and can access your premium content on a member-only platform. All you have to do is upload videos that you want to feature in your course, similar to what you do on YouTube.
The only difference is that people need to pay if they want to access a certain course. You can think of Kajabi like “YouTube” behind a paywall.
Another popular option is ClickFunnels. They offer a flexible all-in-one solution to sell digital products, courses, memberships and downloads.
Read more: How to Create Online Courses
While there are only few content creators that make hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars with entertainment channels, there are plenty of smaller YouTubers with educational channels that make six or seven figures selling their own online courses and memberships.
If you’re trying to figure out how to start a YouTube channel and make money, educational channels are your best bet. While you can also make money with entertainment channels, you need more daily views and subscribers to make a full-time income.
Now that we’ve covered these important basics, let’s talk about selecting your niche.
How do you choose your niche? What topics should you make videos about? The niche you select has a big impact on how much money you can make on YouTube.
As you’ve seen, different niches have different CPMs. Luckily, there are lists that let you see the most profitable niches sorted by CPM.
Here are some popular niches:
The niches at the top of the list have the highest average CPMs while the ones at the bottom have the lowest.
The good news is that when you start an educational channel, you don’t need to rely on ad revenue and CPMs to make money.
Once you’ve built enough traction on your YouTube channel and people are consistently asking for help and advice, you can release your own online course or coaching program.
At the end of the day, you shouldn’t look at lists to choose what niche is best for you. The truth is that passion and expertise are more important.
If you’re passionate about playing the piano, why not start a channel in that niche? Love dogs? How about starting a dog channel? If you’re incredibly good at crochet, you could start making crochet tutorials.
Think about what topics you’re either:
Starting a make money online or social media marketing channel makes little sense if you’re not passionate about these topics.
And if you don’t have any skills or experience in the niche you choose, you’ll feel misaligned.
Ideally you’ll find something that you’re passionate about and skilled at. This will allow you to stay motivated and have fun making videos on YouTube. And it’ll genuinely provide value to your viewers.
If you want to know how to start a YouTube channel and make money, the truth is that you need to select a topic that you are passionate talking about a lot.
Even the most profitable niches won’t make you any money if you get bored and can’t stick to it.
Now that you known how to start a YouTube channel and make money by selecting the right channel type and niche, let’s talk about how and when to set up your channel.
Before you start your channel, it’s important to figure out if you’ll create an educational or non-educational channel. Once you’ve answered that question, choose a niche that you’re passionate about and have experience in.
The next thing you’ll need is a channel name. The name doesn’t really matter that much. If you’re okay with using your personal name, you can just use your first and last name.
Especially when starting an educational channel, building a personal brand can help tremendously when it comes to making money.
If you’re starting a non-educational channel, you can come up with any cool sounding name, pseudonym or made up combination of words. Just make sure nobody else has already created a channel with that name.
You can type in your ideas in YouTube and see what comes up. Does someone else already have the same or a similar sounding name? In case not, you should be good to go.
Just create a job post explaining what you need or search for “YouTube design” on either one of these platforms and you should find plenty of options.
The main thing you’ll want to get designed is the YouTube banner at the top of your channel.
For the profile picture, using a high-quality picture of yourself usually works best. It builds trust and shows people that your channel is run by a human being.
Alternatively, you can have someone create a logo for you and use that as the profile picture.
This designer on Fiverr will provide a YouTube banner and logo. In case you ever need a logo, you have both covered.
Once you’ve got your YouTube banner designed, it’s time to figure out how to open a YouTube channel and make money from it. The actual steps to open a YouTube channel are simple.
If you want to create a personal channel using your first and last name, all you have to do is sign in to your YouTube account. Once you click on your profile picture, you should see an option called “Create a channel”.
Click the link and follow the instructions to set up your channel. You’ll be able to check your name and photo and then create your channel.
If you want to create a channel with a name that’s different from your personal name, you’ll have to connect your channel to a Brand Account. Luckily, this is easy too. Log in to your YouTube account and then go to your channel list.
You can create a new channel by clicking “Create a new channel”. Type in the name of your channel and then click “Create”.
This will automatically crate a new Brand Account. The name of your YouTube channel and Brand Account are identical.
When you visit your channel, you can then change the profile picture and YouTube banner. And you’re set. While there are some additional settings you can use to customize your YouTube channel, these are the basic steps needed to open your channel.
You can now start uploading videos.
As you can see, there are different factors you need to consider when starting a YouTube channel. Deciding if it’s going to be an educational or non-educational channel will have the biggest impact on the earning potential of your channel.
The second most important factor is your niche. Choose a topic that you love talking about and that you could see yourself talking about for the next 10 years or more.
If you can, make sure your topic is also something you are skilled at and have expertise in. The combination of passion and skill will make your YouTube journey a lot easier.
A YouTube channel is one of the best online businesses to start. But don’t expect to get rich quick. It takes a lot of patience, consistency and work to grow on YouTube.
If you stick to it and work hard, it can be one of the most rewarding things you do in your life.