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How to Make Money on YouTube in 2023 – The Top 4 Ways

Published August 11, 2023

It’s 2023, and more than ever, people are looking for proven ways to earn money on social media platforms such as YouTube. Unfortunately, simply uploading content to the platform and hoping to be noticed isn’t enough. And, even if you make top-quality videos, there’s no guarantee you’ll make a penny unless you use the right method.

But don’t worry; we’ve analyzed the platform and come up with some no-nonsense suggestions to make your dream of becoming a full-time YouTube content creator a reality!

Is Making Money on Youtube Easy?

Although creating a YouTube channel is simple, making it worth your while isn’t as straightforward. Contrary to what some people may think, YouTube won’t pay you for uploading videos onto the platform. Furthermore, your content won’t be monetized by default. In fact, it takes plenty of work on your part to get paid for your content.

How to Make Money on YouTube

Now, just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean you should give up. After all, thousands of people managed to do it without garnering millions of subscribers. It all comes down to choosing a niche that’s right for you and pairing it with a method that works.

So, in order to maximize your earnings, choose the option that seems the most attainable to you. And above all 一 be patient.

#1. Become a Member of the Partner Program

Every serious content creator will tell you that joining the YouTube Partner Program is the first step toward earning money on the platform. Namely, this program provides creators with special features only they can access.

For example, by becoming a member, you’ll get to use a variety of income streams such as channel memberships, YouTube Premium fees, Super Chats, and the merchandise shelf. Check out our brief explanation of each perk:

YouTube Channel Memberships

In 2018, the platform launched the YouTube channel membership amenity so creators can offer some of the platform’s most exclusive benefits to their most loyal fans.

These include access to loyalty badges, exclusive live streams, custom emojis, members-only community posts, access to live chats, Q&As, behind-the-scenes footage, and discounts on merchandise. Overall, users can access these perks for a monthly fee.

Essentially, they’ll get to choose which tier they want to join, and it will be up to you to decide on your pricing and which perks to add.

Apart from joining the Partner Program, in order to gain access to a YouTube Channel Membership, you need to have over 1000 subscribers. Furthermore, your channel must not have children’s content. Ultimately, there is a list of requirements you need to fulfill, and once you do, you should also check if your country is eligible for the program.

YouTube Premium Fees

Viewers are always looking for more choices when it comes to watching their favorite content. Moreover, loyal fans want to support their favorite creators, which is where YouTube Premium comes in handy.

With this perk, your fans will be able to enjoy watching your videos uninterrupted. They can even download it to their phones in order to watch it offline, and you will get paid for the content you’re already putting out. So, it’s a win-win on both ends.

All in all, as a creator, you will get to share your viewer’s monthly membership fee with YouTube. And the more views you get, the more money you’ll earn.

Super Chats and Stickers

This is yet another feature designed to boost engagement. In short, Super Chat gives viewers the option to pin a comment on your live stream. In order to do so, they need to click the cash symbol in the chat window that will appear once you go live and set the amount of money they want to pay.

Afterward, they can send you a highlighted comment. For reference, the more they pay, the longer the message will stay on the stream. What’s more, they can opt to send you some fun Super Stickers instead of messages.

Merchandise Shelf

The Merch Shelf is a pretty straightforward feature. Basically, it allows you to showcase your merchandise directly below your videos, so your viewers can buy them from your Spreadshop with a few clicks.

Overall, this amenity gives your products more visibility than you would get by adding a link to your shop in the bio section. The shelf is also fully customizable, which means you can remove or add your products at your own pace.

How to Become a Member of the YouTube Partner Program

If you like what the Partner Program has to offer, here is a guide on how to join it.

Step 1: Create a YouTube Channel

This step applies to those of you who are starting from scratch. If you already have a Google account, you can use it, but if not, you need to create one.

Step 2: Apply to the Partner Program

Once you create an account, log in and click on your profile picture. It should be located in the upper right-hand corner. Then, click on YouTube Studio.

Access the menu on the left and choose the “monetization” option. If you are eligible for the program, skip to step 3. If not, keep reading.

Step 2: Get Enough Subscriptions

If you don’t satisfy YouTube’s Partner Program requirements, click on the “Notify me when I’m eligible” option. This way, you will receive an email notification once you have gained 1000 subscribers and reached 4000 watch hours.

Step 3: Review the Terms

The moment you become eligible for the program, access the “Review Partner Program terms” tab. Select “start” and accept the terms.

Step 4: Create an AdSense account

Next, you should create an AdSense account, then link it to your channel. This is necessary if you want to start receiving payments from YouTube. To do so, simply follow these instructions.

Step 5: Wait for Approval

After completing all these steps, you need to submit your application for the Partner Program and wait for YouTube to review it and (hopefully) approve it. The review team consists of automated systems that check your channel’s content to see if it satisfies all the requirements. Typically, it takes at least a month to get an answer, so in the meantime, keep uploading content.

But if this method seems like too much work, perhaps you’ll like our next suggestion better.

#2. Find Someone to Sponsor Your Content

Finding a sponsor is an excellent strategy for those who want to become full-time content creators. Namely, you can find a brand to sponsor you regardless of your subscriber count, just as long as you create professional content and manage to keep your audience engaged. But what does it mean to create sponsored content?

Essentially, your videos will be used to promote a brand, product, or service. Similar to Instagram’s sponsored videos, the brand can choose to pay with money or products. Obviously, it’s up to you to find brands that line up with your channel’s content so you can cater to your target audience.

Additionally, you can create content through sponsored mentions and fully dedicated videos. With sponsored mentions, the brand sponsors a specific time frame within your video. On the other hand, fully dedicated videos are sponsored from start to finish and are similar to commercials.

How to Find a Sponsor

Finding a sponsor will take some preparation on your part. With that in mind, our suggestions will help you get started.

Step 1: Get acquainted with the YouTube guidelines

If you hope to find a sponsor soon, check out what type of content meets YouTube’s ethics and values. Your best bet is to read YouTube’s community guidelines as they apply to all content creators on the platform.

Step 2: Choose a niche that speaks to you

Brands will always go for creators that have a clear target audience. So, once you determine what type of content meets YouTube’s guidelines, you should also take the time to decide on a niche. Choose something that you enjoy doing or researching, as it’s always best to create content you’re passionate about.

Step 3: Focus on making your channel look professional

Regardless of whether you have 500 or 1 000 000 subscribers, focus on making your channel look professional. This means creating adequate thumbnails and channel art for your audience. Brands won’t bother sponsoring a channel that doesn’t look visually appealing, as they’ll think you’re not a serious creator.

Keep in mind that this step is also meant to bring in greater brand awareness, which also means more viewers.

Step 4: Make a video portfolio

Obviously, potential sponsors need a way to contact you directly. That’s why you should consider making a video portfolio showcasing short clips of the best videos and publishing it on your channel for potential sponsors. Afterward, all you need to do is wait for someone to contact you.

It’s important to note that some people aren’t fond of making sponsored content, so don’t sweat it if this suggestion isn’t right for you. Perhaps you’re interested in something more creative.

#3. Make and Sell Merchandise

YouTube creators have been making and selling their merchandise on their channels for quite some time now. It’s a great way to make money, and best of all—you have full control of every aspect! This means you’ll get to choose what type of merchandise you want to make, design, and promote. Best of all, you don’t even have to generate millions of subscribers in order to start selling.

How to Make and Sell Merchandise on YouTube

Creators that don’t like to share their profits with a platform can truly benefit from making and selling merch on their channel. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Create a design

Essentially, your merchandise is meant to represent your brand. With that in mind, the design you feature on your merch should include the logo of your channel name. But you can also add references to inside jokes, catchphrases, or custom illustrations.

Also, don’t worry if you’re not a skilled illustrator or graphic designer. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can find talented artists to recreate your design, such as:

Step 2: Decide what type of merch you want to sell

Figuring out where you want to place your design, or rather what type of merchandise you want to sell, can be overwhelming. After all, there are plenty of fun products to choose from.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at some popular YouTube creators and their merch. Safiya Nygaard sells simple merch such as t-shirts, mugs, and hats on her online shop Fiendish Behavior. Each item features one of her catchphrases.

Similarly, Pewdiepie also sells clothing items. However, unlike Safiya, he often adds both phrases and trace art to the sleeves and graphics on the front.

Step 3: Promote your merch

Once you get your merchandise, it’s time to let your viewers know about it! Hopefully, you’ve already mentioned that you have something in the making, but either way, now is the time for some heavy-duty promotion!

Start by posting a video announcement on your channel, and also spread the message across your other social media platforms. Finally, add a link to your bio, underneath your videos, and on your other platforms.

And, if you’re not sold on this idea, we have one final suggestion for you.

#4. Try Affiliate Marketing

Some people consider affiliate marketing the easiest and most practical way to monetize YouTube traffic. Ultimately, if your goal is to create product review videos, you may want to consider this option.

How to Join Affiliate Marketing

Namely, you need to find a seller that has an affiliate program such as Shopify, Amazon Associates, Rakuten, or eBay Partner Network. Choose one and fill out the application on the seller’s website. If accepted, you can create links to the products you want to feature on your channel.

The next step is reviewing, creating a demo, or referencing the products in your videos, then pasting your custom affiliate links into the description box on your channel. When a viewer clicks on the link to purchase a product, you’ll earn a commission.

Choose a Method That Suits You

If you’re truly passionate about becoming a full-time content creator, take the time to decide on a money-making method that suits you. For example, if the thought of designing merchandise and selling it on your channel seems like too much of a hassle, we’ve provided plenty of other options for you to choose from.

Overall, creating content for YouTube should be a fun experience, so don’t let your financial goals overshadow your creativity.

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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