How to Make Money on YouTube (2020 Step-by-Step Guide)

how to make money on youtube

“MoolahNinjas main goal is to help our readers improve their financial lives. We partner with other companies that share that same vision. Some of these links in this post may be from our partners. This is how we make money.”

If you’re like most people, you probably have some favorite YouTube channels that you love to watch every day. These people might even tell you how they quit their jobs to do YouTube full time. Maybe there’s a burning fire inside you to learn how to make money on YouTube but you figure it takes too much time, it’s too hard, and it’ll never happen.

It worked from THEM but will never work for you…

Want to know something awesome?

It turns out as long as you have a strategy and know what methods to use, making money on YouTube is EASY and FUN and you can do it too!

youtube ninja holding sword







All you need to do is use these methods while staying consistent with your posting schedule, and you can be on your way to reaching heights of what top YouTube earners like Daniel Middleton (DanTDM) make…16.5 million dollars over the year!

In this article, we’re going to show you how to make a YouTube channel in less than 5 minutes, the different ways of monetizing a YouTube channel, and give you some extra tips to make sure that your channel will be a success.

By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need for how to make money on YouTube.

How to Sell in Your Videos without Being Sleazy

How to Sell in Your Videos…without Being Sleazy

Tips to Monetize Your YouTube Channel

5 Tips to Monetize Your YouTube Channel

CHAPTER 1How to Make a YouTube Channel

Before you learn how to monetize your YouTube channel, you need to have an actual channel set up! It’s extremely easy to get started:
how to make a youtube channel

1. Go to Youtube

instruction on how to visit to create youtube channel

2. Click “Sign In” at the top right corner

clicking sign in link on

3. Sign in or create a Google account

sign in or create google account for youtube

4. Once you’ve signed in, you can click the gear icon in the top right corner

go to settings of your youtube account

5. You’ll then see an option to create an account under your account information

click create a channel link to create a youtube channel

Check out our article walking you step-by-step (with pictures) on how to make a youtube channel if you need more help.

CHAPTER 2How to Make Money on YouTube: The 5 Main Ways

There are 5 main ways to monetize YouTube which we’ll teach you about in this article:

5 main ways on how to make money on youtube - hand coming out of screen giving cash
  1. Become a YouTube partner and make money from ads
  2. Work with brands as an affiliate or become sponsored​
  3. Use fan funding platforms to support your channel
  4. Sell products or merchandise
  5. Use crowdfunding platforms to fund your work

Let’s go over each one and learn how they work.

1 Become a YouTube partner and make money from ads​

When looking at how to make money on YouTube, the easiest method is through ads: You let YouTube display different types of ads in your videos or alongside them, and when someone clicks on these ads or purchases something, you receive a commission.

To make money from ads, you’ll need to become a YouTube partner. You can do this by going into the Creator Studio section of your account and enabling monetization. You will also need to sign up for Google’s AdSense network.

You can find instructions of how to do all of this from Google by clicking here.

As you upload videos, you will see a green “$” sign next to each of them if they are enabled for monetization. Here are Google’s descriptions of the icons:

As you can see, sometimes videos may not be eligible for monetization. The problem with AdSense is that you might need A LOT of views and clicks to receive substantial ad revenue and YouTube has become extremely strict with their rules of which videos are suitable for monetization.

Because of these issues, we recommend you explore other revenue streams when looking at making money with your YouTube channel alongside of ads.

2 Work with brands as an affiliate or become sponsored​​

As your channel grows and you have more subscribers, you may start getting approached by different brands to showcase their products to your audience. This is a great way of earning an income through YouTube, because all you need to do is spend a minute or so showcasing products you love in your videos.

Sponsors will usually pay you a flat fee for advertising per video, and provide you with a special link so that if someone actually buys a product from them, you also receive an extra commission. It’s a great way to monetize YouTube.

For example in this video, you can see fitness YouTuber David de las Morenas talk about his sponsor, Vincero Watches:

YouTuber David de las Morenas wearing and talking about his sponsor Vincero Watches

Related to this is non-sponsored affiliate marketing. Here you don’t need anybody to approach you, but you just showcase a product or service that pays an affiliate commission if a viewer clicks or buys. You can learn more in our guide to affiliate marketing.

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3 Use fan funding platforms to support your channel​​​

When you’re researching how to make money on YouTube, look into Fan funding platforms like Patreon. These platforms allow viewers of your videos to sign up to regularly donate to you.

For example, someone might sign up to donate $1/month, another $100/month, and so on. In exchange for this support you offer your patrons gifts or advantages, like a Skype call with you every month, access to unreleased videos, and more.

Patreon account of Pentatonix youtube channel

The popular music group Pentatonix uses Patreon to get paid over $15,000 for every music video they create! You can see an example of a “perk” they give their patrons on the right hand side of the image.

These platforms are great because they allow you to build a monthly “salary” for yourself where you know exactly how much can you make on Youtube. All you need to do is create a page on Patreon, send your viewers there, and provide some attractive bonuses for them supporting you to start learning how to make money on YouTube.

4 Sell products or merchandise

If you want to know how to make money on YouTube, it’s a good idea to think ahead into selling your own products or merchandise. YouTubers make a lot of money doing this and for many of them, it’s their main source of income.

Depending on what your channel is about, you might sell:

As you grow your channel you can start to see what your audience wants combined with what you’d like to create. You can then create your own website where you’ll host your products, and send people there to buy them. The MoolahNinjas guide to blogging will help show you how to make your own website.

5 Use crowdfunding platforms to fund your work

Crowdfunding platforms are websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo where anyone can post a project they are trying to create, and people from around the world will “buy in” to the project to support them.

The best thing about these websites is you don’t actually have to create your project until you receive funding, so people are paying you to make what you want!

Here’s the breakdown:

By linking to your projects you’ve posted on these platforms on your YouTube channel, you can have people going directly from your video to support your project. You can post videos of you working on your creations, samples, and more to get people interested on your channel.

What types of projects are suitable for crowdfunding?

Anything from wireless headphones, to books, and even video games.

Kickstarter page of crowdfunded game Temtem - receiving more than desired goal

Here’s an example of a Kickstarter campaign: This video game not only received the creator’s desired goal, but FAR over that and all that money goes straight to them!

Figuring out how to monetize your videos gives you a lot of freedom: We live in an amazing time where you can get your work funded before you even start to create it to make sure that people will want to buy it.

There’s no more guessing. We highly recommend you check out these websites as you work on monetizing your channel.

CHAPTER 3Summary of How to Make Money on YouTube

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the main ways of how people can earn money on Youtube:

summary of how to make money on youtube


  • Easy to get started (sign up takes less than 10 minutes)
  • Default method on YouTube
  • Can earn revenue on your first posted video


  • Strict YouTube algorithms may de-monetize your videos for unfair reasons
  • Hard to make high revenue unless you have MANY viewers and subscribers


  • Easy to get revenue as all you have to do is talk about a product or include a link for viewers to click


  • Depending on what you’re promoting, the revenue could be low per affiliate commission
  • Sponsors specifically won’t be interested unless you’re popular on YouTube


  • Can create a regular and predictable “salary”
  • Combines possible viewers on your YouTube channel with potential buyers on the Patreon platform to support you


  • Need to have really supportive and engaged fans who love your work to get supported from your YouTube channel
  • Need to come up with attractive benefits for supporting you


  • High revenue potential
  • Get paid to create whatever you want


  • Will need to have a loyal fan base first before using this income method or invest into search engine optimization


  • High revenue potential
  • Create your own product to sell
  • Combines possible viewers on your YouTube channel with potential buyers on the Kickstarter platform to support you


  • Need to have an idea and at least put in some work to create an overview of what you’re planning to make

CHAPTER 4How to Sell in Your Videos…without Being Sleazy

You might have gotten uncomfortable when you heard the word “sell,” but selling is not a bad thing when it comes to learning about how to make money on YouTube! You are trying to give people something great…products you’re making, have created, or things that you recommend. Here’s the deal:

Selling is just showing people why they need something and helping them reach the point where they want to say, “YES!” If you want to make money with your YouTube channel, you need to learn how to sell well and get people interested, excited, and wanting to buy from you.

There are 3 main items you need to keep in mind for selling in your videos:

how to sell in your videos without being sleazy

1 Always have a call to action in your video​

You should always tell the viewer to take an action with regards to what you’re trying to sell.

So for example, if you have a Kickstarter campaign, you should tell them to go and click the link you’ve included to look at it.

If you have a podcast and want them to check it out, you should tell them to go to the web site to look at it.

Calls-to-action are one of the hidden secrets when it comes to how to make money on YouTube.

2 Always ask them to subscribe and turn on notifications​

Recently, YouTube removed subscribers getting notifications of you posting new videos by default.

This is a BIG deal. Without notifications, your viewers might not know that you’ve posted a new video, and you lose out on a lot of potential views and revenue. More than that, if someone is just watching you for the first time, you want to make sure that they subscribe for more and get notifications of you new videos.

This is why we recommend you always ask viewers somewhere within the video to subscribe and turn on notifications.

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3 Use your video description for additional calls to action and links

Your video description is not only a place to quickly describe what your video is about, but it’s also a great place to ask viewers to carry out more actions, go check out products, or sign up to your mailing list. All the research suggest these are great ways of how to make money on YouTube.

For example in this video’s description by Jarvis Johnson , you can see that he has included a call to action for the viewer to listen to his podcast:

Jarvis Johnson's video description box with links to his podcast and links

By including additional calls to action in your description, you’re increasing the chance of your viewers taking the steps you want them to take and making more money!

CHAPTER 55 Tips to Monetize Your YouTube Channel

Here are 5 additional tips to monetize your YouTube channel and make more money:

tips on how to monetize your youtube channel

1 Stay consistent and keep on improving your video quality​

The only way to get more engagement, subscribers, and fans is to consistently put out videos. This is the real secret of monetizing a YouTube channel.

Not only will this make you more money, but you’ll get better, feel more comfortable in front of the camera, and end up being more persuasive so you can get your viewers to buy!

Once you start creating don’t stop, and you’ll see that every day, you get better and better.

2 Upgrade your equipment​

What videos do you prefer to watch on YouTube? Shaking videos from a bad smartphone camera, or steady videos filmed on a high quality DSLR? We’ve got some good news for you:

When you start learning how to make money on youtube, it’s perfectly OK to just use your smartphone. But as you continue to grow your channel, we highly recommend you consider upgrading your equipment.

We have a guide to picking up the best camera for YouTube in case you’re ready right for that now.

3 Make high quality content and listen to your audience​

You know the #1 mistake most creative people make when making their art

They ONLY make it for THEM, and not for THEIR AUDIENCE.

Always put your audience first, think about them, and ask what they want made. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to make something that you don’t want to just because your viewers are asking for it. You should be making things both that you want to make, and that your viewers want.

That’s when the magic (and money) happens

4 Consider expanding to other channels and making your own website​

The most successful YouTubers have their own personal websites where they sell other items. They also have side channels and others accounts, like podcasts, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

As you continue to grow, you should think about expanding your reach and creating more channels so you have a higher chance to reach more people. If you’d like to get started with another channel, here’s a guide on making money using Instagram.

5 Copywrite your headlines and create good thumbnails

To figure out how to make money on YouTube, you need to get good at creating attractive headlines (or titles) for your videos. There are MILLIONS of videos on YouTube and having a good title is what gets people to click, watch, and eventually pay you. For example, we searched for “how to write a book” on YouTube and here are some of the results:

We highlighted the two that we liked the best. These titles catch your attention and if you want to write a book and you’re just starting out, these would make the most sense. Compare these titles to “BOOK WRITING | EP 1”. While this video and title might be entertaining, if you want information, you’d probably be more likely to click on the other two titles.

You can read more here about how to create good headlines.

You can see that the video’s “featured image” or “thumbnail” is also really important in getting someone to click on your video, and eventually, pay you! Different influencers will tell you different things about what is best, for example, keeping it simple, versus making it super colorful.

We recommend that you try out a few different styles and see what your viewers like best. Canva is a great free tool that you can use to make your images. They also have a guide about some ideas for making great thumbnails.

Your Plan for How to Make Money on YouTube

Using this guide you can learn how to make money on YouTube. If you haven’t already, head on over to YouTube and create your channel so you can upload your first video and start making money!
Your Plan for How to Make Money on YouTube

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