Jump into the YouTube Sponsorship Wagon Now, for Creators

YouTube ad revenue can be unrewarding for some content creators. Most creators don’t earn enough from ads to make a comfortable living. Savvy Youtubers know that having multiple sources of income is key. This is where YouTube sponsorships come in.

Sponsorships or brand deals are a more lucrative option. Unlike ads,  YouTube does not take a cut from these deals. Also, it’s easy. Creators can earn money from doing something as simple as a shoutout.

But before jumping into the world of YouTube sponsorships, it’s good to start with a high-level understanding of what to expect.

What is a YouTube sponsorship?

A sponsorship or brand deal is a transaction between a content creator and a brand. The goals of brand deals are similar to paid advertisements. A brand is paying you for exposure. The main difference between paid ads and sponsorships is that the deal can be made directly without going through YouTube.

It’s important to note that good brand deals benefit both the brands and the YouTubers.

Through sponsorships, companies get to introduce their products and services to the channel’s fans. The money from these sponsorships enables creators to continue making content for their fans. The content being made gives companies more opportunities for exposure. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

What are sponsorships?

It could be a product sponsorship, where free products are given in exchange for promotion.

Or a paid sponsorship, where a flat fee is paid out to content creators by brands.

Lastly, YouTubers receive affiliate deals, where a CPA or cost per acquisition is paid to them for every view on their video that converts into a sale.

Brands can offer a combination of 2 or more types of sponsorships. It is really up to content creators to decide what they’re willing to accept and what brands are expecting.

What Do Brands Want from You?

Every YouTube sponsorship is different. Some are very easy and don’t require any changes to the content of the video your making. These are the deals that only ask for 15-30 second shoutouts or call to actions at the end of the video.

Product placement deals need a little bit of tweaking of your videos since brands want their products to be shown.

Brand deals that request for fully-integrated custom videos are full-on collaborations beginning from the writing of the script, the editing, up to the final revision of the video.

What type of offers you’ll get from brands depends on the budget of the companies you meet. It helps to understand the point of view of the different types of companies content creators work with.

The Types of Companies You’ll Meet

There are four types of companies content creators work with when it comes to brand deals. They are big companies, small to medium size companies, mom and pop shops, and ad agencies. Let’s go through each one of them.

Big companies are brands that are already household names. Everybody knows them. Examples are Nike, Target, and McDonalds. They have huge marketing budgets and a lot of demands.

These companies usually employ PR companies that protect their image and ad agencies that connect them with creators. This results in multiple representatives pushing their own ideas for a video. Thus, creators end up losing considerable creative freedom when making their videos.

Small to medium size companies have a small budget for making deals and not a lot of people know them yet. They’re much easier to work with since they allow creators to keep doing what they’re already doing.

Mom and pop shops are just starting out and don’t have money for sponsorships. Partnering with them usually means accepting product-for-promotion types of deals or product sponsorships. At most, they might pay you just $100 to talk about their company.

While you don’t get to earn a lot of money, they’re good for practicing your negotiating skills and fine-tuning how to handle working relationships. Also, they can be future case studies that you can use when you pitch for brand deals that pay good money.

The next ones are ad agencies that act as middlemen between creators and brands. They can also vary in sizes from small to big. If they did their research, they already know and like you. But it can happen that an agent didn’t do their research and you could end up working with a nightmare.

At the end of the day, whatever type of deal you accept and which type of company you work with, creators should always remember to balance the workflow, the work process and the amount of money they are getting.

How Much Should You Ask For?

To figure out how much you should charge, come up with your baseline or minimum price. This is the amount you should ask for a shoutout.

Content creators just starting out with brands deal can use Social Bluebook as a reference point. Just take note that it does tend to value a bit higher.

Another way is to use the average baseline of $30-$50 CPM or cost per thousand views.

For fully integrated or customized videos, a good rule of thumb would be to ask for 1.5 to 3 times the amount of your baseline price.

But keep in mind these things. You should charge according to what companies want. Do they want videos with high production values or do they prioritize content?

Also, having a good product-market fit wherein your audience is exactly the market that brands want to reach means you can charge more.

This is the reason why very niche channels working with very niche brands are able to get bigger offers. Now, it’s just a matter of getting those deals in the first place.

How Do You Get YouTube Sponsorships?

There are three ways that you can get brand deals. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, but each has its own benefits.

Brands reach out to YouTubers

Companies approach channels they already like. They’ve already done the research about you, your content, and your audience, and they see you as the right fit for their marketing efforts.

However, it does happen on occasion that brands contact any channel they see have a significant following. They’re more interested in getting exposure for their products or services and aren’t considering whether the channel and their brand even target the same market.

Content creators contact brands

YouTubers can take the initiative and approach brands themselves. A fitness channel might know about a fitness-related product that they already use. If the brand is already spending money on digital ads, they might be open to having a paid sponsorship.

Of course, in this case, content creators need to provide the statistics of the views received by their videos, the engagement, and their subscriber reach. Since they reached out to the brands themselves, the brands may or may not know about the YouTuber.

Content creators use a marketing platform

If the idea of cold emailing companies doesn’t appeal to you, influencer marketing platforms offer to connect content creators with brands offering sponsorships already.

There are already a number of platforms available, so we’ll go through some of them.


Acquired by Google in 2016, FameBit lets brands and agencies launch a campaign for free. Content creators then get to send in their proposals which the companies can choose from.

Creators are required to at least have 5,000 followers before they can join. The platform charges a 10% service fee for successful campaigns.


Another platform offering sponsorship opportunities, Grapevine boasts having creators that have been vetted by their experts and reviewed by top brands.

Their subscriber requirement is much higher. Creators need a minimum of 10,000 followers and consistent content to qualify.


Different from FameBit and Grapevine, Chamboost offers free products for review instead of paid sponsorships.

Joining is much easier too since there is no minimum number of subscribers required. But they do mention that having at least 500 followers is ideal.

Whether you’re a big channel or a small one just starting out, YouTube sponsorships contribute a lot to channels’ ability to earn and grow. Which is why it’s crucial that creators do not enter into brand deals haphazardly or without a lot of thought.

Important Tips to Follow

Discuss all details related to the video before signing

The negotiation process is the time for creators to layout all their creative points and for brands to communicate all their expectations. Creators should discuss what they can and are willing to do, and what they are willing to compromise on.

After you have signed the contract, it will be too late for any changes.

Have everything written down in a contract

Make sure all the points you agreed on are in the contract. Verbal agreements are difficult to prove and can be easily forgotten or denied.

Stay authentic to your fans

Don’t forget that you are still making content for your fan base. You’re not making a commercial. Fans are quick to accuse a YouTuber of being a sellout. But whatever anyone says, maintain your own integrity and voice.

You should only do a brand deal in a way that feels right to you.

Leaving Sesame Street: YouTube as the New Digital Nanny

Children often spend hours glued to the television.

But times are changing.

Nowadays, kids watch online videos more often than they watch TV. Content creators have been taking advantage of a freely-available mass media sharing platform to make videos for kids. So, producers of children’s television shows face competition as more videos targeted for children become uploaded.

It seems that traditional television’s hold on the younger generation’s attention is growing weaker.

Kids and YouTube

On YouTube, kids’ videos are either children’s content videos or videos featuring kids.

Videos featuring kids show children playing, doing sports, dancing, reviewing toys, etc. This also includes parents who show their children in their videos.

Children’s content videos includes animated videos for kids, surprise Kinder eggs unboxing videos, or people dressing up and singing nursery rhymes.

Kids seem to play a significant role in the success of a YouTube video. In fact, videos that were both children’s content and featured kids performed better than general audience videos. Pew Research Center showed that those videos received on average four times as many views.

It doesn’t stop there as there are more statistics to support this.

What the Numbers Say

If we take a look at the top 30 most viewed YouTube videos, four are programs aimed at children like Masha and the Bear, the song “Baby Shark”, and an animation of the children’s song, “The Wheels on the Bus”.

Music videos by big-name artists make up the rest.

Channels geared toward kids tend to be popular. Just look at grade-schooler Ryan Kaji of Ryan’s World (formerly Ryan ToysReview). His channel reached 33 billion lifetime video views as of October 2019. So, he became the sixth most viewed YouTube channel owner of all time.

Ryan’s been playing and reviewing toys for kids since 2015. His success has earned him 22 million dollars in 2018.

When it comes to kids, watching YouTube videos is so prevalent. This led to Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes becoming the third most popular channel and the second most viewed channel as of October 2019.

The numbers don’t lie. Children play a big role in the success of online videos, and they represent a relevant market for content creators. According to a 2018 survey by Pew Research Center, 81% of U.S. parents with children under 11 years of age let them watch YouTube videos.


Kids at YouTube

The Reign of Kids

In 2018, children under 12 years of age spent 10.7 hours watching streamed content showing nearly a double increase from two years ago.

A national poll reported that 43% of U.S. parents allow their child two-four hours of screen time per day.

YouTube and Netflix are currently rated higher by teens and children under 12 years. The popularity of digital video has been rising as traditional television declines.

Kids-themed channels continue to rake in millions of views becoming one of the most popular types of content on YouTube.

On the flip side, some people have been complaining about YouTube recommending children’s content even though they never showed interest in them.

Opportunities in Kids-Themed Channels

With the move towards online content, creators have the chance to take advantage of a lucrative opportunity: children’s content.

While huge media companies have to follow U.S. regulations on children’s television programming, there are no such rules in place for making and uploading videos for children on YouTube.

This makes it difficult to measure the quality of children’s content. YouTube’s measurement of success is based only on attention, focusing on views, watch time, completion rate, and subscribers.

This leads to poorly made children’s content videos. Yet, they become popular among kids.


Well, children aren’t that discriminating. Plus, their parents let them watch those videos.

Let’s face it, parents who don’t allow their child to watch YouTube at all are few and far between. A recent poll showed that 97% of American kids have used either YouTube or YouTube Kids.

Whether we admit it or not, YouTube or online videos have become tools for parents to get a breather while their crying toddler gets distracted by the colors, sounds, and animated figures.

This is the world we currently live in. The reach and prevalence of online media will only continue to grow.

Rather than look at this as the death of parenting or the worsening of the ever-decreasing attention spans of the younger generation, we should look at this at what it is.

A chance to do better.

Underneath the stressed-out exterior of the mom or dad trying to raise a young family, we all want the same things for our kids: content that meets their educational and informative needs.

For those considering tapping into this niche, you’re now faced with a challenge that could help you reap huge rewards. Create great content that captures the attention of kids, keeps them entertained, and provides a boatload of educational value.

What About Featuring Kids on Videos?

Today’s kids don’t want to be an astronaut. Quite the opposite, actually, since a third of U.S. kids would rather become a YouTube star.

If in the past, parents would record VHS home videos of their children dancing, playing, or just doing what any kid does. Now, smartphones have made it easier for a child to record him or herself or with friends.

Video-sharing platforms have allowed families to upload videos of their children to be seen by relatives or friends who may be living several states away.

A child also gets the opportunity to get attention by sharing the video with family and friends.

Kids also seem to love watching other children play with toys or open Kinder egg surprises.

But while kids enjoy watching other kids, adults appear to be very interested too.


Videos featuring children perform three times better than comparable content that did not feature kids. Surprisingly, only 21% of videos featuring children are aimed at kids.

This probably accounts for the popularity and audience appeal of family vlogging channels. Kids are the draw.

Not Everything Is Good

Despite all the positive things we’ve seen, the platform isn’t perfect.

In 2017, the Elsagate controversy shed light on the influx of supposedly “child-friendly” content which contained themes inappropriate for children.

Live-action videos or digital animations used well-known characters such as Spiderman or Disney’s Elsa and performed bizarre, violent, and disturbing scenes.

The titles and descriptions of these videos listed the names of famous children’s characters. This made it more likely for the video to be recommended to kids.

These ways of circumventing the inbuilt child safety algorithms allowed the traumatizing videos to show up even in YouTube Kids.

While YouTube has demonetized those videos and deleted channels showing potential child abuse situations such as Toy Freaks, we’ve only just tackled one side of the coin.

Adults have been lurking on videos showing prepubescent girls. They’ve guided other pedophiles to the timestamps where they’d see the exposed underwear of the child.

Little kids see nothing wrong with lifting up their tops exposing their nipples or doing splits while wearing a short skirt. They don’t sexualize themselves. Only adults do.

YouTube has since disabled the comments section of videos featuring children to prevent pedophiles the chance of grooming the child.

However, we can’t deny that this availability of children’s videos, while innocent in nature, has led to the unbridled consumption of an almost limitless amount of content sexualized by predators.

It is almost akin to inviting a pedophile into your child’s bedroom.

What Must Be Done

YouTube will not change its system. They’re hesitant to be responsible in providing greater oversight to prevent the proliferation of inappropriate, abusive content, hate speech, and illegal activities.

YouTube will not change its system. They’re hesitant to be responsible in providing greater oversight to prevent the proliferation of inappropriate, abusive content, hate speech, and illegal activities.

Kids will watch online videos. They will record themselves and upload those videos. We can’t have our children locked up to keep them safe.

What we need to do is to be more proactive, responsible adults:

  • Create children’s content that benefits their developmental needs.
  • Have responsible and respectful monitoring of our kids’ online presence and teach them how they can protect themselves from people who wish them harm.

The same way that hiring a nanny or babysitter doesn’t absolve us from our responsibilities as parents, we cannot expect YouTube will 100% be able to prevent our kids from watching inappropriate videos or engaging with predators.

It is our role as parents to ensure that, and it must be done.

Breaking Down Virality: How Do You Go Viral?

What’s all this with going viral?

One of our students raised that question. Because come to think of it, if you’re already making good content, getting a decent amount of views, and building up your channel, is it really so important to go viral?

Before we tackle virality and how you can go viral, we need to ask first, why do people want their posts/tweets/videos to go viral in the first place?

For one thing, a piece of content that goes viral will circulate so rapidly and widely that it’ll be able to capture massive amounts of attention in a short length of time.

The purpose of going viral is to get attention. Why? Because attention is the one key factor that all businesses strive to get. It is what will determine whether they succeed or not.

Think of it this way, virality puts a spotlight on you, be it your YouTube channel, Facebook page, Instagram account, or Twitter handle.

And that spotlight gives you the opportunity to acquire a huge following. This enables you to better find and attract the people who would later end up becoming your true fans.

Your true fans are the ones who will support your business by buying your merchandise, being patrons, etc. This enables you to make money.

Remember the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, “The currency of business is attention.

Since we’ve already established why people want to go viral, the next thing we need to take a look at are the elements of virality.

What is Virality?

Virality is composed of two important ingredients:

Attention + Shareability

Let’s take a look first at attention.

When you capture your viewers’ attention, you keep them stuck on their screens. That means that if you have a video then it receives significant watch time.

Advertisers like this because it means that they can place ads on your videos. Which can potentially lead to revenue for you and sales for the advertiser.

But how do you capture your viewers’ attention?

One thing: Novelty.

Our brains are programmed to seek new and exciting things. So we find topics we’ve been exposed to us boring.

To make sure that you can continuously attract the attention of new followers, you’re going to have to create great content.

I’m not talking about good content which can make people smile. Great content elicits an emotional response.

Now, if that response is particularly strong, your viewers will want to see more and share it with others.

Still, it’s important to know why emotions are critical to shareability.

Why Do We Share?

People share to connect with others. We do this so that we don’t feel lonely or isolated.

Sharing enables us to strengthen the social connections that we have. Because of this, your goal should be to create content that helps your audience achieve that.

We can do so by utilizing the single most important factor that drives social connections: Emotions.

Before we can create content that triggers emotion, we need to know first the most popular emotions that are effective for sharing content.

7 Emotions Effective for Content Sharing

You increase the likelihood of your content going viral if you can trigger any of these emotions so intensely that your audience feels compelled to share it.

Basically, to go viral you should create content that has the elements of grabbing attention and shareability.

You might wonder how to do that but don’t worry because there are ways.

How Do You Go Viral?

There are a lot of strategies that you can adopt to create content that can go viral. One of them is the Remix Strategy.

But in this case, don’t just remix any concept. Instead, remix content that has already gone viral or topics that are currently trending.

Remix Viral Content

You can build off something proven to be successful by remixing content that has already gone viral.

Here’s an example: Chicken Noodle Soup, the viral song from BTS member, J-Hope.

For those who don’t know, it was a remake of the single by Webstar and Young B. And the original went viral on YouTube in 2006.

Now, you might be thinking that BTS has the advantage of being a huge celebrity that commands a massive audience of loyal fans.

But here’s the thing, they would not have reached that level if they weren’t consistently making great content and utilizing viral strategies.

However, they didn’t stop there. They’ve even created a #cnschallenge on TikTok where J-Hope dropped a video of him dancing to the song and encouraged their fans to record a video of themselves dancing to the song.

And that has since gone viral as well.

Do you now realize the power of remixing viral content?

Remix Trending Topics

When you remix a trending topic, you are basically riding on a hot topic that a lot of people are searching for at that moment. This makes it very time-sensitive and requires that you’re quick to come up with an idea.

A good example of content that hitched on a trending topic was the reaction video of David So to the racist remarks of UCLA student Alexandra Wallace that went viral.

The viral video of Alexandra Wallace had triggered a storm of hate from the Asian community. David So capitalized on that by coming up with a video that gave a humorous response.

While remixing is a pretty good strategy, there are other strategies that are also quite effective.

More Viral Strategies

What we discussed above is just one of the strategies behind making viral content. However, there’s more.

6 Strategies for Virality

You can also incorporate taboo subjects because people are naturally attracted to something that is considered off-limits.

Or you can challenge/confirm assumptions to take advantage of an audience with strong opinions or beliefs. Whether they agree with your position or not, you are guaranteed to attract their attention.

Another way is to combine two or more things that don’t belong together. One example is talking fruit, like the Annoying Orange.

Something like this goes against what our brains know which is that fruits don’t talk. So its weirdness disrupts the natural flow of facts and data that our mind absorbs. Thereby making it great at getting our attention.

Can you guess what emotion a talking fruit triggers?

That’s right, shock, amazement, surprise.

Nonetheless, don’t ever confine yourself to using only one strategy or aiming to elicit only one kind of emotion. Try using 1-2 strategies together.

You can actually combine challenging an assumption and incorporating a taboo subject. This is the concept used in Adams Ruins Everything.

For now, if you’d like to learn more about the secret psychology of viral marketing plus more strategies for creating viral content, you can find out more in our course Contagious Content.

Anyway, since we now know how to go viral, it would also be helpful to understand how stuff gets shared around the Internet.

How Viral Content Spreads

When we think of content getting shared, we usually imagine it in terms of maybe the first 150 people sharing it with their network who in turn will share it with their network and so forth.

But the reality is far from that.

In 2016, we learned about the results of a study on four big viral phenomena. Apparently, communities tend to be so closely interconnected that you can reach 50% of your audience by reaching out to only a small number of communities.

In the case of the Dove Real Beauty Sketches advert, reaching out to only 8 would have been enough.

This goes to show that those seeking to promote their content to go viral should first map out their audience and identify the communities they’re a part of.

The next step would be to identify the gatekeepers or influencers who can allow you to reach the most number of communities.

And when your content gets shared by those gatekeepers, it would then spread into other communities.

Final Thoughts

Virality isn’t reserved just for celebrities or the top 10 influencers. Anyone can go viral.

The important thing is to know how it happens. Once you understand how it works, you can start by creating your content using the strategies for making it go viral and promoting it in the most efficient way possible.

So learn from the stuff that has gone viral because who knows, yours might be the next one.

How Much Do YouTubers Make? (Ads, Brand Deals, Merch, Donations)

A lot of people think making a living on YouTube is impossible. Society sees being a YouTuber as not having a real job. But, since many have turned their channels into successful businesses, people have started to wonder how much do YouTubers make from their channels.

It’s easy to find a plethora of articles about the richest YouTube millionaires by doing a quick Google search. However, they represent a small number of channels that make insanely large amounts of money. Just take a look at the earnings of these top YouTubers.

Top 10 Highest Earning YouTubers
Top 10 Highest Earning YouTubers

Most people believe this level of financial success is not even a possibility. However, smaller channels can earn a good income without needing to become huge.

Even channels with less than a million subscribers have been able to leverage the opportunities on hand to earn from multiple income streams, which allowed them to leave their office jobs.

To know how much money YouTubers make, we need to take a look at how YouTubers make money from their channels.

Making Money Via Ads

For most channels, account monetization is the first step towards making money from videos.

Ad revenue is affected by many factors. A channel can earn between 35 cents to $5 per 1,000 views depending on their niche, location of viewers, etc..

But this all depends on monetized views and not the total number of people who watched a video.

Most YouTubers don’t like sharing publicly how much they earn. But there are ways to figure out how much ad revenue a channel makes.

One way is to use the analytics site called Social Blade.

Just put in the channel’s name, and the site calculates their estimated ad revenue.

Let’s try it out with Austin Goh, which has 295K subscribers.

Austin Goh

His estimated monthly ad earnings range from $459 – $7.4K.

A word of caution though. In the FAQ page of the site, we can find this disclaimer:

Estimated earnings are just that, estimated. We take a low CPM value ($0.25 USD) and a high CPM value ($4.00 USD), numbers that we have found to be common from our partners, and multiply them by the number of views the channel gets per day. This assumes that every view on the partner’s channel is monetized, which is usually not the case.

We can even compare Social Blade’s results with those from Nox Influencer’s YouTube money calculator.

Austin Goh YouTube Money Calculator


Let’s also take a look at the estimated monthly earnings of some random channels, which all have less than 1M subscribers.

Estimated Earnings Channels Less than 1M Subs

These should give you a good idea of the ad revenue YouTubers make from their channels.

But ad revenue is just one of the ways a YouTuber earns an income. In fact, it contributes only a small amount to the overall revenue a successful channel earns.

Making Bank with Brand Deals

You may have noticed your favorite YouTuber giving a shout-out to a brand or integrating company products into their video. That happens when a channel partners with brands for sponsorships.

Brand deals vary depending on the industry, your niche, and your audience’s engagement.

Some gave a figure of $2,000 for every 100,000 followers. A BBC report even presented the average figures earned by channels for branded posts.

Ave Earnings of Branded Posts

But we don’t suggest relying on that. It’s better to know the value of your channel, so you don’t accept low-ball offers. To do that, sign up for Social Bluebook to get your channel valuation

Actual figures from successful YouTubers can also help channels come up with their baseline price. Fortunately, we can share the brand deal offers our students have received.

Nutrition and fitness YouTuber Kara Corey Fit Life took a featured video deal where she made $650 in 2016. She had 65K subscribers then.

Lingualizer charged $1.1 – $1.8K for shoutouts in 2018. He has 630K subscribers as of November 2019.

Sven Pape of This Guy Edits told us that he makes between $1,500 – $7000 for a video that includes a 5-7 second shout out and 30-45 seconds for the brand details. He has 259K subscribers.

There are channels that receive more for brand deals. Take for example Frugal Aesthetic, who got an $8,000 brand deal for a 30-second to 1-minute integration at the time when he had 500K subscribers

Video game parody channel Gumbino actually made $10,000 from one video!

Be aware that some companies will try to offer less than what you’re worth. Musician and composer, Lukas Gadelha received $80-150 offers back in 2018. He currently has 297K subscribers.

Other than brand deals, you can make money from your fans.


At some point, a YouTuber might decide it’s time to join the merch game. Maybe your loyal fans have been asking you for merch. Whatever the reason, it’s best to plan this well.

You can’t expect all of your subscribers to buy your merch. Average sales conversion rates vary between 0.005% to 3% of your audience.

A guy shared on Reddit that he knows a YouTuber with 650K subscribers who was able to sell 350 shirts. That’s a 0.05% conversion rate.

Merch sales contribute a significant portion to a YouTuber’s income. Most YouTube millionaires derive a big chunk of their revenue from their merch business.

In fact, we have here some figures from our own. Aryia of SimpleSexyStupid reached $70,000 in sales for his BAE shirt. In a one month campaign, he was able to net $30,000 in profits.

Frugal Aesthetic sold long-sleeved shirts based on a meme/gag on his channel and made close to $20,000 in 2 weeks.

But there are also merch sales that failed. One popular YouTuber wasn’t able to sell a single sweatshirt he sold during the Valentine’s Day holiday. This is considering that over 11K people watched his video, where he announced his merch sale.

We should take this as a lesson that doing a merch sale is not a sure deal. Careful planning and feedback from your fans are necessary to have a successful sale.

However, aside from merch, your fans still have another way to show their support for you.

Getting Donations from Patrons

Patreon is a good platform to begin a membership program for your fans. YouTubers can provide additional content available only for their patrons. This provides an incentive for them to financially support their favorite channels whilst allowing YouTubers to continue making videos.

The site Graphtreon can give you an idea of the figures earned from Patrons. It estimates the monthly earnings of creators by collecting data from their Patreon campaigns. You can search for your favorite YouTuber there to find how much is donated in a month.

Let’s try it out with some channels with know. According to the site, This Guy Edits earns between $491 – $2K per month. This comes from the 248 patrons who support him for as little as $3 monthly.

The music channel Riffshop is backed by 354 patrons. Their estimated earnings per video are between $821 – $3K.

Of course, Patreon isn’t the only way to get donations from your fans.

Live stream viewers can purchase a Super Chat during the stream. Super Chat messages get highlighted and pinned in the live chat ticker for a set period of time. Since a lot of messages can get missed during a live chat, this option allows fans to make sure theirs are seen.

Super Chats are priced between $1 – $500 with the higher priced ones staying pinned longer.

Similar to ad revenue, YouTube takes a 30% cut from your Super Chat revenue. Despite that, Typical Gamer was able to net $4,000 from a 90-minute broadcast of Grand Theft Auto V in 2017.

And Clintus.tv easily pocketed close to $900 from the live stream of his half-hour at Target.

While these are the common income sources content creators tap into, they are not the only ones.

Affiliate Sales

Have you noticed in the description box of YouTube videos that there are links that direct to Amazon product pages? Well, those are affiliate links. If you click on one of those links and end up buying on the store, the YouTuber gets a commission. Commission rates can vary from 1% to 10%.

Take a look at the Amazon affiliate links in the videos of YouTuber and filmmaker, Casey Neistat.

Casey Neistat Affiliate Links

It’s best not to expect too much when it comes to affiliate links. You’d need to have a large audience to be able to earn a considerable income because the conversion rates range from 0.5% to 1%.

In fact, one small channel with 23K subscribers showed that she earned around $10 – $50 monthly from commissions.

However, it is easy enough to set yourself up as an affiliate, so there’s no harm considering affiliate sales as another potential source of revenue.

In the end, it all adds up, right?


There are so many ways to make money from a YouTube channel. Even smaller YouTubers can make a decent income, provided that they utilize multiple revenue streams.

So while becoming the next PewDiePie may not happen to most of us, I’m sure it’s good to know that earning money while working full-time on your channel is possible.

All it takes is some effort and creativity in taking advantage of the opportunities in front of you.

Not Getting Any Views? Here’s How to Become a Successful YouTuber

You’re crazy. Who would want to watch you on YouTube?

We’ve all seen the tremendous rise in the number of YouTube channels vying for the attention of viewers worldwide. Some people just started their channel and are struggling to get a decent number of views.

Others assume that it’s too late to start a channel, as the market is saturated with YouTubers competing to get views.

But is it really too late?

According to a November 2018 survey compiled by Statista, 90% of internet users in the U.S. watched online videos on YouTube. In May 2019, the online video platform had 2 billion logged-in monthly viewers worldwide. This showed an increase of 200,000 monthly viewers from the same month the previous year.

YouTube Stats

YouTube’s growth isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, it’s poised to become even larger by 2022, as the number of YouTube viewers in the U.S. is expected to reach 210 million, an increase from 192 million in 2018.

So no, it’s not too late — newbies thinking of becoming YouTube content creators have an enormous opportunity waiting for them.

Therefore, the question that you should be asking is: How do I become a successful YouTuber?

You Need to Plan for It

This isn’t going to be easy. Even the highest-paid YouTubers don’t just wake up and start recording. It takes a lot of work, a lot of preparation, a lot of hits and misses, and a whole lot of persistence.

If you only want to make videos for fun, whether you get subscribers or not, whether you get views or not, then that will be alright too. Not everyone who uploads videos on YouTube does it to become a full-time content creator.

Some could be like this middle-aged Japanese man who posted cat videos (yes, cat videos!) every day for 8 years. And not one of them became viral. Even when his channel got posted on a Reddit board, most of his videos get only a few hundred views, sometimes less.

However, if you: want to take this seriously, want to build your channel and gain subscribers and views, and want to start a YouTube career then buckle up. Because the work is just getting started.

Before you can even start recording your video though, a little bit of preparation is needed.


1. Your Channel and Video Idea

What sort of channel will you start? Do you want a gaming channel? An animation channel? Or a beauty channel?

Figuring out the direction you want to take is crucial. All your decisions moving forward will be based on what kind of channel you’re going to have.

So, it’s best to take out a pen and paper and follow the steps we’ve laid out in our YouTube Channel Idea Scorecard.

But here’s one thing that you should keep in mind before anything else: Your channel idea should be based on your passion. This is very important. Because if you choose a channel idea that you don’t even like in the first place, you will find it difficult to sustain it in the long run.


For one thing, if you’re not passionate about something, you’ll find little reason to get better at it. Worst-case scenario? You might find yourself hating every second of it.

Once you know your channel direction, it’s time to come up with a video idea.

The key here is the Remix Strategy. Find 2-3 big ideas, combine them, and add your own twist. This is how you make a remix. You can learn more about it in our post about coming up with a video idea.

It’s one of the best ways to avoid getting stuck trying to think of something completely original.

2. Your Equipment

You can’t be a content creator if you don’t have the necessary equipment.

But what is necessary is not what most people think.

At a very basic level, you can make a video using just your smartphone. It already has both a camera to record your video, and a mic to capture audio.

However, most would argue that you’d end up with a badly-made, amateur video.

Actually, a lot of smartphones can already record pretty decent, high-quality videos. If you still prefer to buy a camera though, no one will stop you. It all depends on what sort of budget you have.

Low Budget Camera

A simple point and shoot camera like the Canon PowerShot 190 costs a little over $150 and it is good for capturing what you need for your video.

High Budget Camera

If you’re willing to spend more, the Canon 70D DSLR camera is what pro YouTubers use. It, however, has a hefty price tag of almost $800.

But for those starting out who don’t have a lot of cash lying around, we don’t recommend investing heavily on equipment until you have a good following.


One thing we’d recommend though is shelling out some money for a good lavalier mic.

The quality of your sound is very important. Bad audio might irritate your viewers causing them to stop watching your video.

Also, a separate mic is better able to record sound when your camera is a bit far away or if there’s a lot of background noise.

Plus, you wouldn’t have to spend more than $20 on one. They can easily be purchased on Amazon. We recommend either the BOYA BY-M1 3.5mm Lavalier Condenser Mic or the Omnidirectional Condenser Mic.

Editing Software

After you shoot your video, the next step is editing.

Again, there’s really no need to spend money to do this since there are so many free editing software online like iMovie, DaVinci Resolve, or Hitfilm Express.

There is premium software that you can purchase like Adobe Premier Pro or Final Cut Pro, but then, why would you?

And if you’re worried that you’ve never edited videos before, well, now’s a good time to learn. There’s a ton of free tutorials that can be found online. You can also check out our recommendations here.

3. Your Script

The fastest way to end up with a poorly made video is to record one on the fly. Serious YouTubers spend hours writing and revising their script.

This way, you can lay out the shots that you will take, what you will say, where you will go, etc.

Doing this allows you to minimize dead air or irrelevant scenes. A script also helps to prevent you from going on a spiel that’s just too difficult to follow.

It takes a while to really get used to this, but at the very least, come up with an outline.

But one important thing that you should never neglect doing is coming up with the hook for your video.

You only have the first few seconds of your video to convince your audience to keep watching. If they stop and abandon your video, YouTube will take that as a sign not to suggest your video to other users.

So make it count. Make sure you grab your viewers attention within the first 15 seconds.

4. Your Self

If you plan to show your face on video then you should also prepare yourself.

And I’m not talking about deciding how you’ll style your hair or what clothes you’ll be wearing.

What I mean is that you need to mentally prepare yourself. (This is especially true for those anxious to go on camera.)

Remember, you’re going to be on video.

Maybe your friends think you’re funny, but I bet that won’t show once you’re being recorded.

The best way to make sure that you’re ready? Practice.

How do you think comedians prepare before they come on stage? They practice, practice, and practice.

Once you’ve made all the preparations for the day you will make your video, you’re now ready to start recording. Take a deep breath because the moment you dive in, you’ll realize that there’s still a lot more you have to do.

You Need to Put in the Time and Work

When you’re starting out, it’s not necessary to quit your job yet. Success in YouTube doesn’t happen overnight.

Sure there are those viral videos that suddenly catapult their creators into YouTube stardom, but most people look only at the time when that YouTuber is becoming popular. They fail to take a look at the years when that same YouTuber could barely get a thousand views, maybe even a hundred views.

Being a YouTuber isn’t as simple as recording yourself, uploading your videos then becoming a viral hit. There’s a ton of work involved that happens both during the shoot and behind the scenes.


1. Record, Re-shoot & Edit

Once you’ve finalized your script, chosen your location, set up your equipment, and rehearsed like crazy, it’s time to start recording.

Reshoots are part of making video content. So don’t hesitate to redo a shot if you feel like it wasn’t done the way you wanted it to be.

A word of advice though, your video doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t dwell too much on little things that aren’t going exactly as you imagined they should be.

Your script is a guide, but it’s not set in stone. Focus on how your video can elicit the emotion you want your viewers to feel.

After you’ve recorded all the scenes that you need, it’s time to edit them.

Chances are the length of your final video will be significantly shorter than the combined length of all the shots you recorded.

Maybe you had an hour’s length of videos on file. After editing, you’d probably end up with 7-8 minutes of video.

Take note that there’s no specific formula for this. The whole thing is a creative process.

While editing, you might decide to keep some parts while leaving out others.

The whole point of editing is to make the flow of the video seamless.

2. Add Music

Music can be a big help in setting the tone for a scene.

Imagine watching a YouTube video without any music, just the background noise.

Wouldn’t you feel that there seems to be something missing?

Having said that, here’s a word of caution when using copyrighted audio: make sure you have permission to do so.

Otherwise, you could face a copyright claim, which could lead to YouTube suspending your video.

And don’t be too sure that you could claim fair use of music that you don’t own. Many bigger channels have used that defense and lost.

The best way is to avoid any complications from the very beginning.

Just ask the copyright owner nicely for permission to use their music.

3. Write Titles, Tags & Descriptions

Let’s go back to that Japanese guy uploading cat videos every day, who I talked about earlier.

If you took a look at his videos, did you notice anything?

Look at his video titles and descriptions.

Well, it seems that his video titles are just the filenames of the videos from the camera he used. And the majority of his videos have no descriptions at all.

But here’s the thing: YouTube is one big search engine.

It wouldn’t know those were cat videos unless they were labeled as such.

You can do that by coming up with good titles, tags, and descriptions for your content.

A good title needs to be straightforward and concise so that YouTube will know what your video is all about.

It also needs to be worded in a way that would entice users to click on your video to watch it.

Your description, on the other hand, should give people a greater idea about what they should expect. It will also help your content be found when a user is searching for something that your video happens to have.

However, don’t tag your video with whatever popular, trending, clickbaity word you can think of.

Let’s say a user was searching for Minecraft. Supposing YouTube suggested your video because of your tag, but your video had nothing to do Minecraft.

Once they click on your video and realize that, they’ll automatically abandon it. YouTube will eventually notice a large number of people abandoning your video and take it as a sign not to suggest it anymore.

So avoid misleading your viewers.

4. Upload Schedule

Consistency is the key.

Your viewers want to be able to rely on you churning out videos regularly.

There’s no set rule though on how many videos you should upload per week.

It really depends on you. Some people upload once a week or every two weeks.

Animation channels might only be able to upload monthly since the creation process for them takes longer.

You just have to be consistent. If you say you upload every Tuesday, your viewers will come to expect that.

Then be ready to create content to be uploaded every Tuesday.

However, you shouldn’t sacrifice quality over the number of videos you make.

If you need more time to come up with good content, then don’t force yourself to upload weekly.

Choose the frequency of uploads depending on what you can do.

Remember, quality and consistency over having a high frequency of uploads.

Once you’re done and you’ve uploaded your video, congratulations. You probably can’t wait to see how many views you’d get and what people will think about it.

However, as a content creator, you shouldn’t just sit and wait for viewers to find you.

You Need to Reach Out to Your Audience

So you’ve made your video and your channel is eye-catching.

The next step is to direct traffic towards your channel. You can do that by utilizing other platforms where your target audience hangs out.


1. Promotion

Online Communities

Subreddits, Facebook Groups, Quora, and online forums are just some of the communities you can target. And if you made a channel based on your passion, you should already know where those communities are and have probably developed a relationship with the people there.

If not, now’s a good time to start looking for people who are passionate about your niche. Compile a list of those groups and create an account in each one.

The first thing you need to do is develop the community’s trust in you.

You do that by answering questions, commenting on other people’s comments, and sharing helpful resources.

Don’t spam these groups by randomly posting links to your video.

People don’t like it when you promote your content just to tell them to subscribe and like your video.

That’s the fastest way you can get kicked out of the group.

But if you build a relationship with the members of the community first, they’ll get to know and trust you.

So when the time is right, you can share a link to your video and ask them for feedback.


Getting your video featured in blogs and media outlets could drive more traffic to your channel as you’d be borrowing the audience of those blogs.

Identify first the blogs you plan to target. Avoid big, well-known sites while you’re starting out.

Once you have a list of blogs, you need to find the email address of the writer or editor.

Look through the contact details on their website or social media accounts.

Another way is to use email address search tools such as Find that Email or Hunter.

Once you have that, you can send a pitch about your content.

Don’t expect that an email would automatically result in your video getting featured though.

A lot would probably ignore you or deny your request.

The point is to send your pitch to as many relevant blogs as you can.

2. Engagement

Your viewers are your fans. Make sure you keep them happy.

One way to do that is to reply to their comments on your video. This allows you to connect with them and form a community.

That way they know that you care and are interested in their opinions.

Engaging with your viewers also allows you to get feedback and ask them about what they’d like to see next.

Take this is an opportunity to get ideas for the topic of your future videos or how you can improve.

By now you should already realize the amount of work required to become a successful YouTuber. At the start, you most likely won’t be getting the results you want. But that shouldn’t stop you.

You Need to Keep Going

Many YouTubers give up early because they don’t see any progress. The truth is, the big YouTubers today spent years with only a few subscribers and hardly any views.

So don’t give up, you could be close to finally getting the traction that would catapult your channel to success.

As you learn from your failures, you will eventually find what works for you.

Because of that you should keep evolving, keep iterating, and keep going.

In time, you’ll see more and more people watching your videos and subscribing to your channel.

And one day, you can definitely say out loud that you’re finally a successful YouTuber!

How to Come Up with Successful YouTube Video Ideas

What steps do you take when you run out of video ideas for your YouTube channel?

You could start by searching the internet for ideas.

But let’s face it, good ideas are hard to come by.

Maybe the list of 60 YouTube video ideas didn’t have the one you’re looking for. How about a list of 150 YouTube video ideas? Or 200?

These lists are available to everyone online, so if you take an idea you might end up the neighborhood copycat.

Making a video by following what is popular doesn’t automatically lead to success.

Take for example the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Although the challenge led to an unprecedented amount of donations for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research, how many of the 17 million people who posted online got less than a hundred views?

A whole damn lot.

This doesn’t matter if you participate to spread awareness. But for people who wanted to gain traction from a viral stunt, it wasn’t successful.

If you want to come up with a successful YouTube video, don’t copy the exact video idea that became viral.

The best way for you to come up with a video idea is to first figure out your channel direction. This is especially true for YouTubers who are about to make their first video.

Finding Your YouTube Channel Idea

Your channel direction is your overarching theme. Let’s say you want to make football videos. Then sports is your channel direction.

When you see “Top 10 Beauty Hacks,” “My Favorite Lipliner,” “MAC Powder Review,” those all fall under video ideas. Each video is about beauty and makeup, which is the channel topic of all the videos.

There are so many channel categories out there: Music, sports, entertainment, gaming, technology, beauty and fashion, cooking and health, news and politics.

In each category, you can create a variety of videos. You can do tutorial or educational videos, top 10 videos, or video reviews.

Now that everything’s clear, it’s time to figure out the direction for your channel.

I suggest you start by going through our YouTube Channel Idea Scorecard.

Follow the steps using the scorecard and you’ll be able to narrow down your channel idea.

Your channel idea should be something you’re excited about. If you feel apathetic towards it now, you shouldn’t spend hours upon hours making videos for it. Additionally, pick something that would have an invested and enthusiastic audience.

Once you’ve decided on your channel idea, you’ll be closer to making your first YouTube video. The next step is to figure out how to come up with the idea for your video.

Brainstorming for Your Video

One of the pitfalls of following the YouTube video ideas suggested online is you end up in a YouTube bubble. What you should do instead is burst that bubble.

Don’t worry, there’s a simple yet useful trick to make sure you’re not just copying another viral video.

It’s the Remix Strategy.

This is the time to dig deep into your niche. You already know your channel direction, now you should take a look at the other channels in that niche. Figure out what the successful channels are doing.

Look at the way they present their content that people love.

There’s no need to confine yourself within your niche for inspiration. You might find an interesting way of presenting a video outside of your niche.

When you find 2-3 big ideas, combine them and add your twist. That’s the remix.

Remixing is taking ideas or concepts that are proven to work, and adding your own unique personality to them.

Instead of building from scratch, you start with a great idea and add value to it.

Remixing Your Next Video Idea

The best way to understand how an idea gets remixed is to take a look at this example.

Check out the channel, You Suck At Cooking. It has 1.9 million subscribers and over 177 million views. Pretty impressive for a channel showing run-of-the-mill recipes. Except, it’s not your ordinary cooking channel.

You Suck At Cooking

As you can see, You Suck At Cooking mixes satirical comedy with cooking, which gets him an impressive number of views.

Imaginary Ambition also added satire to his channel that focuses on music production.

Take a look at the results.

Imaginary Ambition

You Suck At Cooking is in a different niche than Imaginary Ambition. Yet, the idea translated just fine in music production.

When you watch Imaginary Ambition, does it look like he copied another idea? Or do the videos seem original to you?

This is because Imaginary Ambition built his idea from an existing one and came up with something he can call his own. That’s innovation.

But before you go binge-watching YouTube videos to find ideas to remix, it’s important to be aware of the things you shouldn’t do if you want to succeed.

Avoiding the Bad Habits of Lazy YouTubers

1. Doing a Gimmick

Gimmicks are things people do that don’t have a clear purpose or value.

Here’s an example. Let’s revisit the channel You Suck At Cooking. If someone wanted to remix their idea by wearing a fursuit and cooking, would that be a remix?

I’m afraid not. There’s nothing of value being added here, especially if they just recreate the same video idea, from presentation to content.

Wearing a fursuit is a gimmick.

2. Not Figuring Out What Works

The chances of getting a million views on your first video are not high. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, it’s just highly unlikely. But that shouldn’t stop you from making your first video. And your second video. And your video after that.

However, you shouldn’t just haphazardly churn out video after video, following the same format and idea without studying the audience response.

Study which videos are getting lots of views and which aren’t and adjust according to the data.

At the end of the day, your channel should be evolving. If it isn’t, then you’re staying stagnant in a world that’s constantly changing.

Bonus: A Bad Vlog Idea

For new YouTubers who are considering vlogging, here’s something to think about.

Avoid doing a day in the life video.

Unless you already have an audience or you’re already a well-known person, not many people are interested because they don’t know you yet.

And also, it’s just not interesting.

There are many other ways to use vlogging.

For instance, you can share your opinions on hot trending topics or to push back on racism in a hilarious, over-the-top way. This is what catapulted David So’s channel, which currently has 1.4 million subscribers and a total of 304 million views. Check out one of his videos:

Or you can create a narrative like YouTube personality, filmmaker and vlogger Casey Neistat. Check it out here:

Most YouTubers choose to take the route of recording their daily routine, where they do stupid things to get views. 

This is the reason why a lot of vlogs feel empty. What does the audience get out of watching you eat cereal and skateboard to your friend’s house? Nothing.

The vlogs that do succeed had an existing audience. An audience who is interested in following the day-to-day life of their favorite YouTuber.

Those YouTubers do vlogs to keep their audience engaged in their channel.

Restricting yourself to doing gimmicks, implementing the same unsuccessful ideas, or merely vlogging your daily routine could lead to your YouTube channel’s failure.

And while it’s good to understand why doing certain things might be bad for your channel, it’s also crucial to take a look at what makes videos go viral.

Learning from Good YouTube Video Examples

We’ve talked about the importance of emotion before.

As a reminder, if you want your video to succeed, you have to make your audience feel something very strongly. When viewers feel moved, they are more than likely to share. Mainly because they want to share their experience with others.

Luckily, there are techniques for inciting an emotional response.

1. Having a perspective

The problem with executing an idea that has been done before is that people end up tuning it out. They are desensitized to things they’ve seen over and over again.

To counteract this is, explain your message in a way that isn’t immediately obvious or cliche.

Here’s a good example.

The YouTube channel, Casually Explained, uses comedy and bad drawings to explain complex social concepts.

This unique perspective generated 10M views for their channel.

2. Challenging an assumption

People pay attention, when they think they might be wrong about something.

A good way to approach this is to show your viewers that they’ve been thinking the wrong way about a topic all along.

Here’s an example of that.

The common assumption here would be that staying in the bike lane is the best way to ensure safety.

Casey Neistat demonstrates that this isn’t always true. He immediately got into an accident while staying in the bike lane. That was very surprising, right? The rest of his video emphasizes this message.

When your viewers are surprised, they’re more than willing to stick around to watch the rest of your video.

3. Telling a story

Stories allow us to share common experiences with others that ultimately bring us closer together. Telling a story can be a powerful way to communicate your ideas, thoughts, and emotions with other people.

Here’s a really good example.

Even if you don’t have a dog, you’ll have tears in your eyes watching that video. It’s a beautiful story about a man and his dog, as narrated from the dog’s perspective.

How many people here have lost a beloved pet? Watching this would have made them remember memories with their fur babies.

All three of the examples above elicit an emotional response from the audience. Casually Explained makes people laugh, Casey Neistat surprises people, and the story about the dog makes people feel sad and happy at the same time.

Moving forward, just remember, when you make your video, don’t forget to ask yourself this one important question, what do I want my audience to feel?

Taking Your Turn

I’d like to revise my original statement. Yes, there are a ton of good ideas out there. But great ideas are harder to come by. It is still possible for you to come up with your own viral YouTube video idea. All you have to do is find your channel direction, remix to innovate, and remember, feelings are key.

Now it’s your turn to create the next viral YouTube video.

This is Why You Can’t Quit Your Job Yet: YouTube CPM & AdSense Explained

Shouldn’t making money on YouTube be easy?

You just put ads in your videos and voilà, it’s money in the bank, right?

But if it’s so easy why do you end up scratching your head trying to figure out why you’re earning so little?

You’ve scrutinized your AdSense reports to try and get to the bottom of what’s happening, but nothing seems to make any sense.

If you have a very high YouTube CPM and you’re getting tons of views then that should translate to lots of $$$ in your account.

Sadly, that’s not always the case.

But, if you want to make a living off of YouTube, you need to sort through this cloud of confusion.

Fortunately, it’s actually pretty simple: you need to understand what CPM is.

What is CPM?

CPM stands for Cost Per Mille, which is the Latin word for thousand. So Cost Per Mille just refers to Cost Per Thousand Views. It’s a common term used for pricing web ads. Simply put, it’s the amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay for 1,000 impressions of their ad.

According to the Paid Media Benchmark Report from AdStage, the median CPM in the first quarter of 2019 was $7.50.

The next thing you need to know is how to calculate CPM.

Let’s say that an advertiser will pay $75 for their ads to be shown to 15,000 viewers.

To compute for CPM, follow the formula below:

How to Calculate CPMIf we apply that formula:

CPM = ( $75 ÷ 15,000 ) * 1000 = $5

In this case, the CPM is $5.

So does this mean that if an ad was shown to 1,000 of your viewers that you’ll automatically earn $5?

The answer is no.

CPM is the cost the advertiser will pay. YouTube takes 45% of the ad revenue generated by the ads shown in your videos.

What you get after YouTube takes their cut will be your RPM (Revenue per Mille) or eCPM (effective Cost per Mille).

Now, you might be thinking : “why does YouTube take a cut when you’re the one offering the ad space?”

But the thing is YouTube is the one negotiating with advertisers. As a content creator, you aren’t approaching the advertisers. (Although, that is an option which I’ll be discussing later.)

As you can see, RPM is a more accurate way of finding out what your monetization rate is.

Still, it’s not enough to get a concrete idea of what you’re earning. Because there is another important factor affecting your revenue, monetized playbacks.

What are Monetized Playbacks?

Let’s say one of your videos receives 5,000 views.

So does that mean that all 5,000 views were shown an ad?

I’m afraid that isn’t the case.

To understand why, we need to look at monetized playbacks.

A monetized playback is when an ad is shown to a person watching your video. If your video was viewed by 5,000 people, maybe only 2,000 of them were actually shown an ad.

This means that not every viewer who watches your video will be shown an ad.

You might be asking yourself why every viewer doesn’t see an ad. But as a viewer could be watching multiple videos, YouTube provides a better user experience by not showing an ad for every single video they watch.

Another reason could be that there are just not enough ads running.

Going back to those 2,000 views, not all of them would be counted as a monetized view.

Before I explain why- let’s go back to CPM and what actually counts as a view.

Because the views we’re talking about here are not the number of views where an ad appeared.

A view here, otherwise called a monetized view, is only counted when at least fifty percent, or thirty seconds of an ad, whichever comes first, is watched. On that account, if a person chooses to skip an ad, it won’t be counted as a monetized view and you won’t get paid.

But what happens to those display or overlay ads that you see on your videos?

Well, for those ads, advertisers pay per click. And just to give you an idea, the median Cost Per Click (CPC) in the first quarter of 2019 was $2.54.

But, you should expect to earn around $0.01 per click or less, because chances are you’re just starting out and need to first prove your channel to advertisers.

Taking monetized playbacks and CPC into account, you can understand why having thousands of views on your videos won’t automatically lead to a huge influx of ad income.

As you can see below, there’s an evident difference between the total number of viewers who watched your video, those who were shown an ad, and those who watched the ad.

No. of Viewers Vs Monetized ViewsWhile this provides insight into CPM and your ad revenue, there are more factors that affect the amount of money you can earn through ads.

Why Am I Not Getting a Lot of Monetized Views?

A lot can influence whether you’ll be swimming in ad money tomorrow or crying in front of your computer screen.

Quite a number of factors depend on the state of the advertising industry as a whole. Although there’s not much you can control, it is important to understand how it affects your revenue.

What Are the Uncontrollable Factors (when it comes to ad revenue)?


‘Tis the season to be jolly. Advertisers spend a big chunk of their budget during the Christmas season. Why? Because people are happy, they have Christmas bonuses to spend and gifts they have to buy. This is the best time for advertising.

After the Christmas rush, there is a dramatic drop in ad spend, which leads to dismal ad revenue in January for YouTube content creators.


Although there’s been tremendous growth in the number of YouTube channels being monetized, there hasn’t been a similar growth seen in the number of advertisers buying ad space on YouTube.

The imbalance of supply and demand results in a lower number of ads placed per video; hence, lower payouts.


Click-through ads (or CPC ads) with text thumbnails can be easily ignored by your viewers. If we look at the Paid Media Benchmark Report from AdStage again, the median click-through rate (CTR) in the first quarter of 2019 was 0.30%. That’s a pretty low number. Because you only get paid when an ad is clicked, more often than not, the ad rate will be on the lower end.

Non-skippable ads force a viewer to watch the entire ad, which results in more pay. Although a content creator can decide which ad formats can be shown on their videos, it is still up to YouTube what ad will be shown in the video. This is contingent on the availability of ads in the first place.


We’re all guilty of this. As viewers, we find ads annoying. So, we skip ads rather than watching it all the way through. You should expect that only 15% of those shown ads will watch it in its entirety.

Short of asking your subscribers to watch the ads in your videos, there’s really nothing more you can do about this.


As with any business, advertisers target people with high purchasing power. Those people often live in Tier 1 countries such as the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand.

Tier 1 countries are among the wealthiest countries and their citizens have more money to spend.

Tier 2 countries include Brazil, China, and Japan. They’re less competitive than Tier 1 countries, due to the lower income average.

Developing countries such as Bahrain, Cambodia, and Kuwait fall under Tier 3 countries. Advertisers aren’t eager to reach people in these countries because there is less opportunity for profit. You can check out the countries with the highest and lowest CPM rates below.

Ave CPM per Country 2019

Therefore, a monetized view from someone in a Tier 1 country is paid more than a monetized view from someone in a Tier 2 country.

Even further, if your views are coming from countries that advertisers aren’t targeting, you could end up earning nothing.

While most of your views will come from people in your own country, you can still target people in Tier 1 countries by creating content catered to them.

As a content creator, your strength lies in your channel idea and the quality of your content. If you make your channel and content attractive to advertisers, you could potentially improve your ad income.

What Makes Your Channel Attractive to Advertisers?

1. A target demographic that is specific.

Advertisers place their ads in channels with the same target demographic as them. If your channel audience is too vague and broad, advertisers might be less interested in purchasing ad placement, because there’s no guarantee their ad will be seen by the people they are targeting.

2. A niche where there are not enough channels to cater to a huge supply of profitable ad campaigns.

It’s industry knowledge that certain ads pay more than others and certain keywords pay more than the rest. At this time, the highest paying ad campaigns fall under the following categories: insurance, loan, mortgage, attorney, credit, degree, and claim.

Why is this so? Consider: An ad for toothpaste compared to an ad for home mortgages. A single home mortgage will accumulate higher profit, therefore advertisers are willing to pay more for the mortgage advertisement than for the toothpaste ad.

Now that you know the factors that influence your ad revenue, you better examine why your ad revenue last month amounted to a small figure.

Let’s put that small figure aside and look at how you can increase your YouTube ad revenue.

What Can I Do to Increase My YouTube Ad Revenue?

1. Target a specific audience and know what they want.

It may seem practical to try and get views from people from all walks of life, but you won’t get true fans this way. You need to look at your analytics and decipher which demographic your videos are attracting. That way you can adjust your content to target that demographic.

Engagement is also important. The higher engagement rates you have with your viewers, the more appealing your channel is to advertisers interested in your target demographic.

2. Choose a channel category that is historically known to get high CPMs.

2. Create awesome content.

It’s easy to conclude that you should start an insurance-related channel to attract insurance advertisers, a category with one of the highest CPMs. But, that’s not a good idea. (Unless your passion is insurance, then go for it!)

If you choose your channel idea based on what gets the highest paid ads, you might end up creating lousy content. And lousy content equals low subscribers and views. This will ultimately result in advertisers not wanting to put ads on your channel.

Well, then you might think, how about a gaming channel? I love games and so does everyone else!

It’s true that gaming channels are one of the highest-paid channels and that 5 of the top 10 YouTubers are gamers. It will still boil down to the quality of your content.

You want to attract advertisers, rather than joining the 97% of YouTubers who can’t make enough money from ads to cross the U.S. poverty line.

Don’t be a statistic.

Making money from ads is good, passive income. But that’s just it, it’s passive income.

Many successful YouTubers rely on different income-generating activities, rather than focusing solely on ads. As a YouTuber, you have to treat your channel like a business.

Therefore, you can’t depend on just one source of income.

Depending on ad revenue means that you’re competing against literally millions of YouTube channels who all want a piece of the ad revenue pie.

YT Ad PieMillions of YouTubers are all fighting for a piece of the ad revenue pie.

Lucky for you, there are many other opportunities to increase your revenue. Let’s take a look at some of them.

What Other Ways Can I Monetize My Channel?

1. Patreon

If you haven’t heard of Patreon then I suggest you stop reading right now and Google it. 

You can use Patreon to ask your subscribers, or true fans, to donate $5 every month so you can keep making the awesome content they love.

This might feel off-putting to some, but you aren’t requiring all of your subscribers or viewers to send $5 to you every month.

Your subscribers are welcome to give or not give. It’s all up to them.

You can make your request more convincing by telling your fans how much the money would help your channel.

People are generous when they really believe in a cause.

2. Merchandise

T-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, bobbleheads, socks, tote bags, you name it and it’ll be available somewhere.

You don’t even have to leave your home. There are many online merch companies at your disposal. Teespring is one of them.

Keep in mind, it is important to sell merch that represents your brand.

Is there a popular meme that people often associate with your channel? Then sell a t-shirt with that meme printed as the logo.

Sell merch that your fans will want to buy.

Don’t just order 1,000 t-shirts with your channel logo on the front. Have a discussion with your fans first.

You need to figure out what they’re interested in buying.

3. Brand Partnerships

Do you remember when I mentioned approaching advertisers themselves? Well, that’s another option you can explore through brand deals.

This could go two ways. Either a brand will approach you or you will approach a brand.

Sometimes brands offer free products for you to promote.

What you should aim for is a brand partnership in exchange for $$$.

The type of brands and companies you approach or entertain depends largely on your fans. It would be odd for a gaming channel to promote a revolutionary make-up remover in the middle of their video, no matter how good the product is.

Choose brands in-line with your audience and complementary to your channel.

Once you’ve sealed the brand deal, you’ll have to manage the demands of your brand partner and your creative independence.

Just remember that brand deals could potentially be a lucrative opportunity for you and your channel.

Final Thoughts

While there are a number of YouTube content creators who make money from YouTube AdSense, it’s not the most reliable source of income and you should consider alternative ways of making money.

This allows you stability independent from advertisers and the seasonal peaks and valleys of ad spend. Ultimately, active income generation is better in the long term for your YouTube business.

Take control of how you generate revenue and make your channel work for you.

If you want a quick run-through to help you understand YouTube’s AdSense and CPM, here’s an infographic:

Understanding YouTube AdSense & CPM

Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans Predicted the Future of Online Business

Before we ever made a dollar as YouTube entrepreneurs, we used to think you needed an amazing, once in a lifetime idea to start a business.

And a rich uncle to “loan” you a bunch of money.

And an audience of millions to sell your product to.

It made starting a business feel so impossible.

But one day we read an article that shattered all of our preconceptions about being a creator.

It completely blew our minds and shook us to our cores.

The short article was called 1,000 True Fans and it was written by Kevin Kelly.

Kevin Kelly 1,000 true fans at TED.
Image source: TED.com

Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, where he now has the baller title of Senior Maverick. He’s also the author of 15 books, including What Technology Wants and his recent New York Times bestseller The Inevitable.

Kevin’s 1,000 true fans theory went viral shortly after it was published in 2008. It has been cited by some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, Ryan Holiday, and Seth Godin. And it’s commonly accepted as the most critical piece of advice for anyone looking to start their business.

1,000 true fans graph google search
Google searches for 1,000 true fans in 2008 — 100 pretty much means virality in terms of Google search

What is the theory? Well, it’s actually pretty simple.

1,000 True Fans Explained

If you want to make a living as a creator—you need to find 1,000 people who would be interested in buying what you produce. If you can do this, you can make enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life.

In case you’re a skeptic at heart, here it is in Kelly’s own words:

“Whatever your interests as a creator are, your 1,000 true fans are one click from you. As far as I can tell there is nothing—no product, no idea, no desire—without a fan base on the internet. Everything made or thought of can interest at least one person in a million. The trick is to practically find those fans, or, more accurately, to have them find you.”

We have the benefit of hindsight to understand this is the reality now. But back in 2008, it was revolutionary.

Facebook and YouTube were 4 and 3 years old, respectively, just getting off the ground.

Amazon’s self-publishing unit, Kindle Direct Publishing, was only months old. Kickstarter wouldn’t be launched until the following year, and Patreon wasn’t born until 2013. So at the time, finding 1,000 True Fans was really hard to do.

In nearly every industry, you still had to work with middlemen like record labels, brick and mortar retailers, book publishers and TV executives to get to the end user.

But now, you can reach anyone in the world who has a smartphone. Finding 1,000 True Fans is actually very achievable, as long as you take the right steps.

Thinking about the possibilities of the 1,000 true fans theory was incredibly inspiring at the time. When we first read it, we were still in college, sitting in our crappy apartment, trying to come up with an amazing idea for a business. We knew we didn’t want to take the “traditional path” of getting a degree in a major we didn’t care about, and then working a 9-5 job we hated.

But at the time, we had no special skills, talents, or film experience, which made starting a YouTube channel seem impossible to us.

But after reading “1,000 True Fans” we realized that making a living doing something we were passionate about was well within our grasp. It no lo longer seemed like a pipe dream.

It meant you no longer needed someone to pick you to “make it.” You didn’t have to be famous. You no longer needed millions of fans to earn a living. You just needed 1,000 raving fans.

If we could convince 1 out of every 6 million people to like what we did, we were set.

And it almost didn’t matter what our passion was, as long as we loved what we were creating, we were confident we could find people who would love it too.

This is what led us to start Simple Pickup. We didn’t consider ourselves “dating experts” from day one, but we spent almost all of our free time trying to meet girls. As young, single guys in college, it’s what we were constantly reading about and practicing when we went out. We felt like there were thousands of people who would love our content if we did it right.

…and it applies to you as well. Today literally ANY interest you have, there’s a niche of people out there who are obsessed with it.

Whether you’re into video games, taxidermy, or yoga, there are thousands of people who love it just as much as you do.

1,000 true fans in graph form.
Image source: KK.org

Your job is to find 1,000 of them who would say, “Shut up and take my money,” whenever you have something to sell.

Like Hugh Howey did. Howey self-published Wool, his post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel about a society forced to live underground, on Amazon. It quickly became a phenomenon, selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

The film rights were quickly optioned by Hollywood and the big book publishers came calling.

Howey signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to sell his books in bookstores, but he turned down seven-figure deals just so he could keep the rights to self-publishing his books online. That’s the real power of being able to sell directly to your fans.

Or Amanda Palmer, a musician who is one half of the punk-cabaret duo, the Dresden Dolls, and the lead in her new band, Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra. In 2012, she launched a Kickstarter for a new album project, which eventually supported by over 24,000 and raised over $1 million. At the time it was the most money ever raised by a musician on Kickstarter. She’s since done a TED talk about the experience, which has been viewed over 9 million times.

Or blogger Ben Thompson, who runs the popular technology and strategy blog Stratechery.com. Thompson is able to give an insider’s perspective on the business and economics of technology startups given his experience working at Apple, Automattic, and Microsoft. He believes his niche perspective has been key to his success: “The internet enables niche in a massively powerful way, where you can focus and be really good at one thing. And because you’re not constrained to a geographic area, you can reach the entire world. I have subscribers in 30 countries.”

Thompson’s dream when he started Stratechery was to get 1,000 subscribers, which he says was based on Kelly’s 1,000 true fans. He now has over 2,000 subscribers and is pulling in more than $200,000 in revenue annually.

Or take our students, David & Harshyt of Riffshop. They started a YouTube channel that explains “life through death metal,” with hilarious results. Since taking learning our system, they’ve gained over 8 million views and have been featured on IGN, Chive, and Esquire. Right now they earn over $1,200 for every YouTube video they create via Patreon.

Putting Theory Into Action

Knowing the 1,000 true fans theory is all well and good—but the question remains, how the hell do you get them?

And what can you create in the first place to get 1,000 true fans?

These are the TOUGHEST questions… yet, no one ever gives you a framework to figure it out.

This is the part that no one explains. You can scour the internet…but as of yet, I have not found anyone that systematically breaks down how to get those 1000 true fans.

Until now.

After years of trial and error, we’ve developed a proven, repeatable system for finding 1,000 true fans.

It’s like riding a bike. It’s a totally learnable skill. You suck at first, but as you get the hang of it you can consistently repeat it.

Here’s a breakdown of exactly what you’ll learn in our YouTube Influencer crash course:

1. Finding Your Profitable Channel Idea

You’ll learn how to get 1,000 true fans on YouTube AND how to find your idea even if you’re an absolute beginner.

2. The Remix Strategy

Most people think creating viral videos (and attracting a HUGE audience online) requires an insane level of creativity and innovation. We’ve proven this just isn’t true, and we’ll show you how to know which ideas and winners, and which ones are losers, with The Remix Strategy.

3. The Traits of Virality

You’ll learn the ONE thing that all the best YouTube videos do to their audience. And we’ll also reveal the three best strategies for getting this reaction out of your fans.

4. The Influencer Economy

We’ll introduce you to a “blueprint” for success on YouTube, including the truth about how we make our millions online.

Let me put all this into perspective for you so it really sinks in…

You only need 1,000 people who absolutely love what you do to make an amazing living.

Let’s say, as a creator ALL you did was occasionally sell t-shirts for $25 a pop…. And every other month, you came out with a new shirt to sell.

1,000 true fans buying a shirt for $25 is $25,000 in revenue…. Just from occasional t-shirt sales.

Obviously, $25K in revenue doesn’t mean $25K in profit. When you use a service like TeeSpring, they do 99% of the work in selling the shirts you design. And for a $25 t-shirt, they’d charge you about $8 per shirt, so your profit is still $17.

So $17 x 1,000 true fans = $17,000 in profit. That’s just for one sale.

If you do this every other month, then $17,000 x 6 t-shirt sales = $102,000.

And as a content creator, that’s just ONE way you can monetize your audience.

Which is why we believe that living your dream lifestyle is attainable.

But here’s the thing. We don’t want you to waste years on trial and error to get there—not when there’s a better path.

That’s why we sat down and created this step-by-step crash course for starting your YouTube channel and getting 1,000 true fans. For the right person, learning how to do this can be life-changing.

And it’s completely free. Because we want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to change the direction of their lives.

This information enabled us to live the life that we wanted without having to get a crappy nine-to-five job. Or study a major that we just didn’t care about.

So we put together this free 4-part video crash course that walks you step-by-step through the process. How to find your idea, launch your channel, and attract your 1,000 True Fans. Click here and sign up for free right now.

Right now you have an opportunity that people would have killed for just ten years ago, when Kevin Kelly first dreamed up his 1000 true fans theory. Today you have access to an audience of billions on YouTube. You have the ability to reach people who are just as passionate about the topics you love. The time is now to take the first step in finding your 1,000 true fans.


The Ultimate Guide to Starting A YouTube Channel

When my best friend Kong and I dropped out of college to start a YouTube channel, our friends and family thought we’d lost our minds.

I have to admit — starting a YouTube channel was Kong’s idea, and I thought it was idiotic at the time.

But after doing some research, we realized there were a ton of people who started successful YouTube channels without any experience:

No filming or editing skills.

No fancy equipment.

No money.

Nothing but an iPhone, a laptop, and an internet connection.

Yet they were able to build an audience of hardcore fans and turn their YouTube channels into profitable lifestyle businesses.

How? That’s exactly what we set out to discover.

This was way back in 2011. Since then YouTube has exploded:

In 2016, YouTube officially reported that the number of channels making $100,000 or more in annual ad revenue was up 50% year over year.

Today any given YouTube channel has the ability to reach an audience of billions, almost a third of all people on the Internet.

This means you now have the power to:

  • Create meaningful videos about stuff you’re actually passionate about.
  • Build an audience of adoring fans.
  • Run a profitable lifestyle business without the stress of a 9-5 job or even needing a college degree.

As crazy as that may sound, I know this is possible because I’ve done it. And not only that, my business partner Kong and I have helped thousands of people build successful YouTube channels that take advantage of this amazing opportunity.

Today, I’m going to give you a crash course on what it takes to launch your very own successful YouTube channel. This is the guide I wish we had access to all those years ago. It contains some of our most impactful, best-kept secrets on viral marketing, online business, and more.


Okay, let’s dive into it!

(If you’ve already started a YouTube channel, or are looking for more in-depth training, sign up for our FREE YouTube Influencer crash course here. This training includes over an hour of our top secret strategies we couldn’t include in this guide, including parts of our premium course, all in HD video.)

Who Are We?

I’m Jesse — and over the past 6 years, my business partner Kong and I have started over half a dozen profitable YouTube channels, including the one you may know us from, Simple Pickup, which has over 2.7 million subscribers.

In 2011, we were miserable college students looking for an escape route, who didn’t know the first thing about making YouTube videos. Even worse, we were making minimum wage at jobs we hated.

We had no special skills, talents, or film experience. That’s why starting a YouTube channel seemed impossible to us.

But we did it anyway, focusing on men’s dating advice, because what else are college guys into?

Within just a few months we turned SimplePickup into a profitable lifestyle business that allowed us to live how we always dreamed, with the freedom to travel the world and do what we want without worrying about money.

Take a look at our yearly growth:

Actual revenue from Simple Pickup YouTube channel.

Since then, our YouTube channels have driven over 500 million views. We’ve now been featured on the world’s biggest publications, like the New York Times, ABC World News, The Huffington Post, and TechCrunch.

Suffice to say, YouTube changed our lives and now we’re on a mission to show people like you how to break free from the traditional path and live life on your own terms through YouTube.

If you think that sounds crazy, check out the results some of our students have gotten:


After Jahtna was laid off from her 9-5 job, she restarted her dormant YouTube channel, this time focusing on DIY projects & beauty hacks. With our system, she gained over 320,000 subscribers in 12 months and is now making 4 TIMES what she made at her old job.

The Icing Artist

 With our system Laurie gained 202,000 subscribers in 11 months on her cake decorating YouTube channel, The Icing Artist. She went from 20,000 Facebook followers to 300,000 in just 6 months!


David & Harshyt started a hilarious YouTube channel, RiffShop, that explains “life through death metal.” Since learning our system, their channel has gained over 8 million views. They went from seeing only their moms ‘like’ every video they published to being featured in IGN, Chive, and Esquire.

See what I mean?

Armed with the right system, you too can build your own raving fan base on YouTube and create a lifestyle business following your actual passion in life.

 Now, you might be thinking:

 “That’s great, Jesse, but I don’t have any good ideas for YouTube Channel.”

Or maybe you’ve never recorded a video before. And you’re worried about looking like a noob to everyone on the internet.

I’m about to show you why you can let these worries go, even if you are terrified of clicking the record button or don’t know where to start.

This guide reveals our step-by-step roadmap for starting YouTube channel without any money, equipment, or film skills.

All we started with was a desire to live life on our own terms, and that’s all you need to start with too.

Now let’s take a look under the hood…

What You’ll Get In This Guide

You’ll learn

Sound good? Let’s get started!

First I’m going to reveal the mindset pro YouTubers bring to growing their audiences every day.

The YouTube Success Mindset

When I talk to people who want to start their own YouTube channel, I hear the same excuses over and over again:

“I don’t have any money to buy fancy video equipment.”

“I don’t have any free time due to my job, school, etc.”

“I’m not an ‘expert’ in anything, why would people listen to me?”

It’s like my own personal version of Groundhog Day.

The truth is, you can create content that looks just like your favorite YouTube videos with just $20 worth of equipment and your smartphone. I’ll show you how this is possible in Section 3.

And you only need to spend about 5 hours per week to start building an audience on YouTube. We started Simple Pickup as a side hustle.

And we certainly didn’t consider ourselves “dating experts” from day one. But as young, single guys it’s what we were constantly reading about and practicing when we went out.

As we made more and more videos and gained the trust of our audience, we were considered experts by our fans. You just have to be more knowledgeable than your audience and show them how passionate you are.

Now after creating multiple successful YouTube Channels with millions of views and helping thousands of YouTubers start their own channels, there’s one common thread I’ve seen with every one.

I call it The YouTube Success Mindset. And if I could sum it up in one word, it would be Persistence.

Let me show you why with a quick story.

One of my favorite YouTubers, Marques Brownlee, has 4.5 million subscribers on YouTube and consistently gets millions of views on each of his videos.

But if you go back to his earliest videos, you’ll see he had over 100 videos that had less than 100 views.  If he quit before he gave it his all, he would have had nothing now.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what he said in a Reddit AMA:

Marques on his YouTube channel.

“… If you shoot 800+ videos over the course of 7 years, you’ll eventually start getting pretty good at it.”

Look, building an audience on YouTube isn’t easy, but if you follow the right strategies, and put in the work, you will succeed.

The question is, what are you going to do when you put out videos and don’t see the results you expect? Will you throw in the towel? Or will you stick with it because you know it will get better?

With Simple Pickup, we tested all kinds of content ideas from a talk show to animation and motivational videos.

Guest what? Most of them bombed, but the ones that worked got us millions of views and helped us build our channel into a multi-million dollar lifestyle business.

That’s power of persistence.

Now that you know what it takes, let’s find the perfect idea for your YouTube channel.

Your Profitable YouTube Channel Idea

Right now you might be thinking:

“How do I know if my idea is good or doomed to fail?”

“I feel like there’s way too much competition out there. Hasn’t every topic already been done?”

Let those worries melt away.

Too many people think their channel idea must be so brilliant that no one has thought of it before (or else they’ll fail). This fear causes aspiring YouTubers to freeze up and never get past the idea stage. Because it creates an unrealistic standard that almost no one can reach.

But I’m not going to let that happen to you.

After YEARS of trial and error, we’ve devised a shockingly simple strategy for consistently finding winning channel ideas. And honestly, I can’t believe I’m giving this away.

It’s called the “YouTube Channel Idea Scorecard”.

Here’s how it works: The first thing you’re going to do is take out a piece of paper and make a list of at least 20 things you love.

Why are you doing this? Because when you create a YouTube channel that excites you, creating videos for it won’t feel like work.

So if you love going to the zoo, write it down. Juggling? That too. Fantasy football? It’s on the list.

The more, the better. Again, try to have a list of at least 20 things before you finish. Here’s an example of what it should look like:

Keep in mind, right now, there are no bad ideas. You’re just writing down things you care about.

Got your list?

Okay, it’s time to run your ideas through the Channel Idea Scorecard. It’s a three-step formula to find which of your ideas is best suited to become a profitable YouTube channel.

Question 1: On a scale of 1-5, how big is the audience for this topic?

Just guess.

1 is like you and your grandma are the only people in the world interested in the topic, and 5 is like the audience for The Walking Dead.

For example gaming, beauty tips, and yoga would be a 5. They’re extremely common interests, with millions of people interested in them around the world, which means they are a huge potential audience.

Question 2: On a scale of 1-5, how much do people who are into this topic care about it?

For almost any topic, regardless of how niche it may seem, there’s probably a passionate audience for it. But don’t just assume this for your idea. Do the work and make sure there are raving fans for your topic.

For example, there is a League of Legends esports channel with over 2.5 million subscribers. Their fans are way more likely to watch a YouTube channel dedicated to esports because they play video games themselves and are passionate about their growing sport.

Question 3: On a scale of 1-5, how much would you enjoy making content about this topic?

If you’re insanely passionate about what your YouTube channel is all about, it’ll never feel like “work” building your channel. So let’s make sure you’re REALLY into your channel idea.

1 is like you’d enjoy it as much as getting a root canal.

5 is like it’s your birthday and you won the lottery and you fell in love on the same day.

Now run all of your ideas through this framework. And afterward, tally up the score.

Once you’re done, you should have a number — between 3 and 15 — for each one.

Now, draw an X through all your ideas OTHER than the ones with the 3 highest scores.

Those are your finalists. They should all be above 10 points or so. If not, you may want to run more ideas through the scorecard.

Now, one of those finalists is going to become your channel idea.

Think hard about the idea that you can envision yourself sticking with for the long haul — then select your favorite. Once you’ve done that… it’s time to celebrate. You just come up with your profitable YouTube channel!

But if you’re still searching, don’t worry.

Here are three tips for coming up with your channel idea if you’re stuck:

  • Look look at channels outside your selected topics (even outside YouTube) for inspiration: If you only look at one niche, you limit yourself to what you can come up with.
  • Talk to your friends: Brainstorming with other people is an amazing way to come up with channel ideas you would have never thought of yourself.
  • Let it simmer: You don’t have to force it. Give your ideas some time to simmer and see what bubbles up to the surface. Studies show giving your brain time to decompress can aid creativity. As you go through your day jot down any new ideas in a journal or your phone. Trust that your channel idea will come.

With your YouTube channel idea ready to go, now it’s time for the fun part, creating your first YouTube video.

How to Record Your First Video (Without Any Fancy Equipment)

Take a second and think about your favorite YouTube videos. The ones that you love to re-watch.

What would you say makes these videos so great?

Maybe you have a similar sense of humor. Or you like their point of view. Or they’re great at teaching you stuff while keeping it interesting.

As you think about this I’m willing to bet none of the reasons you come up with have to do with the camera equipment they used. Right?

This brings me to one of the most important truths about starting a successful YouTube channel:

Your equipment doesn’t matter.

Here’s the deal: Like it or not, many of your favorite viral videos have technical flaws that would make your average film student weep.

How is that possible? It’s because people watch your channel for your ideas, humor, and entertainment… not because your lighting is perfect.

Now, with that said, here’s what I recommend you use to get started:


First, you need the smartphone you have in your pocket.

Then you need something called a lav mic. These run for about $20.

Lav mic for your YouTube channel.

And that’s it…

Here’s why.

It’s counterintuitive, but sound is way more important than video quality.

Even if your video quality is amazing, bad sound will irritate your viewers so much they’ll click away with lightning speed.

The mics in most smartphones are actually pretty good. But if you want to shoot something from far away or in a place that’s noisy, you’re going to need a microphone that picks up voices well.

This is where the lav mic saves the day.

You plug it into your phone and clip it onto your shirt, just like on TV. You can record the audio to the voice recorder app that’s already on your phone.

It’s what we used (for a long time) when we started our YouTube channel. We didn’t upgrade to wireless lav mics until we had hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Here’s quick pro tip: You know when you see the white and black slate clap to start scenes in movies? Do this before you start scenes to make audio/visual syncing easier. So right after you hit record, say something like, “Cooking while blindfolded, take 2, clap.”  This will save you tons of editing time.

Now let’s talk video.


The smartphone in your pocket is already set up to record high-quality videos for YouTube.

There’s absolutely no reason you need an expensive video camera to get started.

Remember, you don’t need fancy equipment.

However, if you have some cash lying around, here are two options to consider:

Canon Powershot 190 ($150): A point and shoot camera that’s good for vlogging, workout videos, and cooking videos — pretty much anything you’d need a portable camera for.

Or if you have dreams of being the next Spielberg (and have a trust fund), consider getting a DSLR.

Canon 70D ($800), Lens ($300): This is what pro YouTubers like Casey Neistat use. I recommend pairing the 70D body with an 18-35mm lens. The 70D is also versatile for both still photography and video, plus it has a fast autofocus feature for on-the-go shooting.


Finally, let’s talk editing. This another thing people agonize over, but shouldn’t.

If you don’t have a budget, use free editing software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.

These programs give you more than enough features for you to put together great videos.

If you have some cash to spend, I recommend Adobe’s Premiere Pro, which is the industry standard. If you use a Mac, Final Cut Pro X is another great option.

It’s great you can use free software, but you’re probably wondering how the hell you’re going to learn how to edit video.

Don’t worry, basic video editing is something you can pick up quickly with a few tutorials. And the more you do it the faster you’ll be able to churn out great content.

There are a TON of great tutorials online that will get you up to speed. Here are a few I recommend for beginners:

Don’t forget. The most important thing is not to get hung up on equipment. Just press record. Your equipment doesn’t matter, the content does.

The Viral Marketing Secrets of the World’s Biggest YouTubers

Here is the first rule of viral YouTube videos:

No one can guarantee a video will be seen by millions.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of crap.

However, there’s one key thing you can do to significantly increase the odds of reaching a massive amount of people.

Which is…

Eliciting a strong emotion from your audience.

The best YouTube videos ALL do this.

Happiness. Sadness. Anger. Nostalgia. Hope. Laughter. Awe.

Every YouTube video that is shared by millions makes its viewers feel an emotion like this.

This isn’t just my opinion.

Jonah Berger, the professor who wrote THE book on virality, agrees.

In Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he says, “If you make people feel something, they will remember better. You can’t help sharing something highly emotional — it’s what humans do.”

So when you create your content, always ask yourself one question: “What do I want my audience to feel?”

After a few years of making viral videos on YouTube, we realized we were using the same three strategies over and over again to elicit an emotional reaction from our viewers.

We even put them on posters in every room of our office. That’s how important they are to making create videos.

Here are the top 3 ways to elicit emotion from your audience:

  • Challenge assumptions
  • Have a unique perspective
  • Tell a compelling story

These 3 traits are responsible for hundreds of millions of views on our channel.

And the most popular YouTube videos have shown time and time again that incorporating these traits results in shares and views.

Here’s the proof: Go to your favorite channel and look at what’s most popular. All these videos use at least one of these traits.

Now let me explain how you can bake each one of these viral traits into your content.

#1 Challenge Assumptions

Challenging assumptions is powerful because it shocks people into questioning their own beliefs about something.

When you challenge a person’s assumptions, they’ll want to share it with their friends because they just discovered a new way of thinking (plus they get to look smart).

Now this doesn’t mean you should turn into a shock jock like Howard Stern.

Or that you need to expose celebrities or hypocritical politicians to get attention.

Instead, think about what you believe to be true that most people don’t. Or something you want to take a stand on.

For example, we did a video where we took a confident guy and gave him an aesthetic handicap. Then we had him ask random women out on dates.

And guess what? He was successful.

What assumption did this challenge?

That looks are the most important thing in a potential mate.

These kinds of videos are popular because when people hear they might be wrong about something, their ears perk up.

And if you make them think differently, they are more likely to share what they saw.

#2 Have a Unique Perspective

There are 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.

How is your content going to stand out in a sea of sameness?

By offering a unique point of view.

One that doesn’t view the world through the same lens as everyone else.

This isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

It just comes down to presenting your message in a way that isn’t immediately obvious or cliche.

That’s it.

Here’s an exercise to test the point of view of a video idea:

Ask yourself, “How many times has this exact idea been done before?”

The fewer people, the better.

For example, this video is titled “How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps.” But it’s actually about dealing with a breakup. It takes a common type of YouTube video and plays with the audience’s expectations.

The key to having a unique perspective?

Don’t be afraid to get weird. The internet likes weird.

#3 Tell A Story

This one might seem obvious, but most people get it wrong.

See, most people assume they know how to tell a story, but they never actually stop and think about what makes storytelling so powerful.

Stories make people take action because they tell a narrative that helps us relate to each other and process the world.

And there’s no shortage of creative ways to tell them.

You can create an underdog story, a surprising plot twist, a tragedy, a comedy, a rags to riches tale. The list goes on and on.

So make sure every video you make tells a compelling story that has a beginning, middle, and end.

A great example of this is a scene in the Pixar movie Up which is able to tell a couple’s life story in about 4 minutes.

To become a better storyteller, break down your favorite movies, TV shows, or YouTube videos.

What are your favorite elements? What is the plot (beginning, middle, end)? How does it play with the audience’s expectations?

By pulling great storytelling elements from your favorite content, you’ll be able to incorporate it into your own, increasing your chances of reaching a wider audience.

If you bake these traits into your first few videos, you will be miles ahead of the competition.

To learn more about creating viral videos, sign up for our FREE YouTube Influencer 101 crash course.

You’ll get exclusive access The Remix Strategy, which we use to know which videos ideas are winners…and which ones are losers. You won’t find it anywhere else because we literally created this strategy.

Advanced Strategies for Explosive YouTube Growth

No matter how great your content is, you will still have to hustle to get it in front of as many people as possible. Especially when you are first starting out.

The reason people get this so wrong is so-called experts have been saying for YEARS that if you make good content, people will find it.

So now we have an entire generation of people that think if they make amazing stuff, an audience will magically appear.

I’ve only seen, “If you build it, they will come,” work once. And Kevin Costner was listening to a baseball playing ghost in Field of Dreams.

It is true anyone can produce their own podcast, web series, or album and instantly put it on platforms like YouTube that serve billions of people.

But if you want people to see your content before you’ve built a fanbase, then you have to get it in front of bigger audiences so they can spread the word for you.

This might sound daunting, but it’s not. Here’s why.

You don’t need to get your content in front of everyone on the Internet. Just the people who are already into what your channel is about.

The question isn’t, “How do I get everyone on YouTube to see my video?”

Instead, it’s, “Where do people who like what I do hang out online?”

A smaller crowd that’s hungry for your content is way better than getting it in front of a big crowd that’s indifferent to it. Because they’re much more likely to enjoy your video and share it.

Lucky for you I’m about to reveal exactly how to do this.

These are two advanced strategies we’ve used to get our videos in front of HUGE audiences already primed for our content:

  • Seed your content in niche online communities.
  • Get your content featured on relevant blogs and media outlets.

Let’s talk about online communities first.

A big reason why you should create a channel based on what you’re passionate about is that you probably already have relationships in that community.

If you love playing guitar, odds are you’re already in a guitarist online community.

If you’re obsessed with baseball statistics, you probably know all popular baseball writers in that field.

Here’s what I mean by online communities:

  • Reddit subreddits
  • Facebook Groups
  • Quora
  • Forums

They’re places where people go to talk about the stuff they’re passionate about online.

And you can use them to your advantage by following these three steps:

1. Make a list of online communities in your niche.

Search for Reddit subreddits, Facebook groups, forums (google [your niche] forums), etc. and make a list of about 10 communities that fit your channel topic.

Put them all in a spreadsheet that looks like this:

2. Create an account and participate in them.

There are hundreds of ways you can add value.

Share other content you like. Comment on other people’s posts. Answer questions you know the answer to. Reference older, popular posts and add a new take on them.

Here’s an example of someone getting 909 upvotes on Reddit, just by mentioning bird-watching as a cheap, unusual hobby (it’s from this great post from Si Quan Ong about participating on Reddit):

You only need to spend an hour or two a week doing this. But you should be contributing a few times a week for about a month before you start doing any self-promotion. That way you can introduce yourself and show you’re a valuable member of the community BEFORE you ask for anything in return.

The bottom line: be genuinely helpful any way you know how, big or small.

3. When the time is right, share your own content.

The dumbest mistake people make with this strategy is spamming.

They’ll go into a forum and start spamming it with their content without adding any value to the community first.

The moderators of these communities are quick to spot spamming and they’ll be more than happy to ban you from the community for doing it.

When you add value first, you’ll build up enough trust to post your own content without people feeling like you’re taking advantage. A good way to do this is to ask for honest feedback when you post, people love giving their opinion on topics they’re knowledgeable about.

Let’s move onto our second strategy, getting blogs and media outlets to feature your content.

Getting your content in front of other audiences is crucial to growing your channel. You’re essentially borrowing someone else’s audience and turning them on to your stuff.

Here’s how you do it.

1. Identify your targets.

These are sites you want your content to appear on. Search Google or Facebook for sites in your niche (e.g. search Google for “dog training blogs”).

In the beginning, don’t shoot for huge sites like Buzzfeed or the New York Times. Aim for smaller, relevant sites that are more likely to take a chance on you.

Remember, the right audience is better than a big audience. 20,000 views from the right blog will produce way better results than 200,000 views from a general news site.

You should have at least 20 targets and create a spreadsheet to keep track. There’s really no such thing as having too many targets.  

2. Find email addresses for people at each blog so you can pitch your content.

The easiest way to do this is to look for submission links, social media handles of writers, and about us pages on the sites you want to pitch.

On Facebook, you should look for the “message us” feature or contact info in the “About Me” section.

If you still can’t find contact info, you can use free software like Rapportive, Clearbit, or Email Hunter to track down emails of the writers and editors you want to pitch. Put all the contact info you find into your spreadsheet.

3. Pitch…and then pitch again.

The biggest difference between a pitch that gets a response and one that doesn’t is empathy.

Put yourself in the average editor’s shoes.

Editors are pitched hundreds of stories a week. 99% of these pitches are never even read because they’re sent by robots at PR agencies.

A PR Robot pitching a new YouTube channel.

Your job is to stand out from all the other pitches by making their job easy.

Keep your email short, credible, and not spammy. You want to seem like a respectable, interesting person, and give them a reason to actually watch your video.

Here’s an example of a good pitch email. Feel free to use it as a model for your pitches:

Subject line: Why the Tesla Model 3 could suck – big fan

Hi Jane,

My name is Jesse, and I’ve been a car enthusiast my whole life. I noticed you post great content about luxury cars, so I thought I’d share my new video out about “Why The Tesla Model 3 Could Suck.”

I figured your audience would love it, given the viral success of your last article, “Review of a Tesla Model X.”

Anyway, thanks in advance for checking it out. I’m a big fan of your blog and would behonored if you featured my video.

[optional] Car and Driver magazine featured my last video, “The Chevy Cruise’s big problem” just two weeks ago, and they drove almost 50,000 views to their site from it, so I think this would work great for you as well.

All the best,


Pitching takes persistence.

But it only takes one feature for all your unanswered pitches to be worth it.

Of course, when someone features your content, be sure to follow-up and thank them. If their audience likes your content, that site can become a consistent source of views for your channel.

5 Ways to Make Money Off Your YouTube Channel (Without relying on Adsense!)

How do the VAST majority of people think YouTubers make money?

Ads. Specifically Google Adsense.

The typical thought process is Zillions of Views + Ads = Baller status.

But guess what?

Adsense is just a small slice of the revenue pie for true YouTube entrepreneurs.

In fact, I’ll go as far as saying ads are the absolute WORST way to make money off YouTube.

You see, YouTube entrepreneurs treat their channels as a business. And entrepreneurs don’t make millions by following conventional wisdom.

And I have the receipts to prove it, as we’ve been using a method that beats that pants off advertising revenue. I’m going to peel back the curtain and show you how our first YouTube channel, Simple Pickup, really makes money. You’ll see what I mean when I say it has NOTHING to do with Adsense.

This is how ad revenue much Simple Pickup made in January 2017:

Ad revenue from Simple Pickup YouTube channel.

….and this was what our total revenue looked like that month:

Total revenue from Simple Pickup YouTube channel.

Big difference, right?

And this discrepancy between ad revenue (and total revenue) has been consistent since the first month we’ve been in business.


Ad revenue is just a small slice of how the most successful YouTubers make money. If ALL our ad revenue disappeared from YouTube today, it would have literally no impact on Simple Pickup’s business.

Making money off of YouTube isn’t even the hardest part of running a channel. Growing a channel is, which is why I’ve waited to talk about making money until now.

Once you have a dedicated fan base, there a plenty of ways to start bringing in revenue.

And you don’t need 500,000 subscribers and millions of views to do it.

Instead, all you need is “1,000 true fans,” or a core following of people that LOVE what you do. Created by Kevin Kelly, the 1,000 true fans theory has been cited by some of the world’s best entrepreneurs as the most critical piece of advice for anyone looking to start a business.

So if you want to make a good living as a creator — all you need to find is 1,000 people who will say, “Just take my money!” whenever you release a product.

Every YouTuber has a number of “true fans” in their audience. For instance, if a channel is getting around 50,000 views per video, there are probably AT LEAST 1,000 true fans in that audience.

Keep this in mind as I explain how you can bring in that cheddar.


If you sold a t-shirt for $25 to your 1,000 true fans, you’d earn about $25,000 in revenue just from ONE sale.

Obviously, $25K in revenue doesn’t mean $25K in profit.

But here’s the thing. If you sign up for a service like TeeSpring.com, you can sell t-shirts without doing 99% of the work. They handle manufacturing, inventory, customer service, shipping, etc.

They aren’t your new intern, so they don’t do this for free. Here they’d charge you about $8 per shirt, so your profit is still $17.

So $17 x 1000 true fans = $17,000 in profit. That’s you’re getting bottle service at the club this weekend profit.

Now think bigger with me.

If you can sell a new shirt every other month, then $17,000 x 6 months = $102,000.

On just t-shirt sales alone your annual income would be more than 89% of Americans.

Plus, you can slap your logo on all kinds of gear, from hats to coffee mugs and posters. Not to mention the free marketing you get by turning your fans into walking billboard for your channel.

Brand Deals

If you’ve seen a YouTuber give a brand a shout out — it was probably a brand deal.

Brand deals are simply when a business pays you to talk about them in a video for a fee.

Going back to our example, let’s say you were average 50,000 views per video. Today brands are willing to pay about $20 per 1,000 views for a 30-second shout out at the end of a video.

And given how big the market for brand deals are for YouTube, it’s surprisingly easy to get these deals.

So in return for a quick message at the end of a video you can make about $1,500 per video.

Here’s the math:

$20 per 1,000 views comes out to $1,500 if 50,000 people (your average) watch it.

If you create 4 videos per month, that’s $6,000 per month.

$6000 x 12 months = $72,000 per year.

Of course, you need to build a decent-sized audience to start getting brand deals. But having 4 deals a month once your channel starts growing is VERY doable.

This is just ONE revenue stream. Imagine if you stacked a merchandise revenue stream on top of this? Then you’d be cooking with gas.

Information Products

Info products are things like books, online courses, coaching, seminars, podcasts, etc.

In other words — premium information your fans want to pay for. Something above and beyond the videos you give them for free on YouTube.

Why do I love info products so much?

Here are three reasons:

1. They cut out the middleman. It’s just you selling straight to your audience.

2. There’s a low rate of failure. Your content has already been validated by the audience you’ve built, so the odds are low any info product you create will bomb.

3. Amazing profit margins. The costs to create and launch info products are low, and they scale beautifully after you launch.

With our first channel, Simple Pickup, we were getting over 3 million views per month and only making $3,000 a month from advertising. Split between 4 people, we were basically slumming it.

But everything changed when we launched our first info product and had a  $30,000 launch. Once we released our first info products, our costs to keep selling them were basically zero. All we had to do was keep marketing them to our audience. And since that first launch, we’ve gone on to sell over $10.8 million in digital products.

But it isn’t just us.

Zak George created a book based on his YouTube channel called Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution.

And Adriene Mishler, probably the most well-known Yoga personality on YouTube. She launched a video course called Find What Feels Good that her fans pay $9.99 a month for access to hundreds of yoga videos.

The key to selling information products is building an audience first. By the time you have a sizeable audience you’ll be bursting with ideas for information products your fans would love to buy.

Finally, here’s a revenue stream that’s recently blown up.


Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular with the rise of sites like Patreon.

These platforms enable your fans to contribute directly to you so you can make bigger and better content for them.

One of our students, RiffShop is now making $1,200+ dollars per video via their fans on Patreon. And that’s with only 27,000 subscribers. See what I mean about 1,000 hardcore fans?

Or check out  Black and Sexy, a YouTube channel with about 100,000 subscribers. They give free content on their YouTube channel and sell “premium” content to their true fans.

In 2015, they made $35,000 in Google ad revenue from their YouTube channel. Guess how much they made from selling premium content that same year?

Seriously… guess.

~$1 million. (source)

With platforms like Patreon, it’s undeniably true your audience = money.

What’s Next? Start Your YouTube Channel! 

If you’ve gotten this far, I know one thing — you’re ready to start your own YouTube Channel.

What are you waiting for?

You now have the essential mindsets, strategies, and tools to build your own audience of raving fans.

All it takes to start is an idea and your smartphone.

Before you wrap up let’s do a quick recap:

    • In Part 1, I showed you the success mindset that YouTube influencers bring to building their audiences, and the difference between those that “make it” and those that don’t.
    • In Part 2, you learned how to find your first successful YouTube channel idea. Remember, focus on stuff you love, don’t limit yourself to topics you think are money-makers.
    • In Part 3, you learned how to publish your first YouTube video without any fancy equipment. No equipment? No excuses.
    • In Part 4, I explained the truth about creating viral content and how you can bake viral traits into your content.
    • In Part 5, we talked about some advanced YouTube growth strategies you can use to add jet fuel to your channel growth.
    • In Part 6, I showed you how to flip the revenue switch and start making money with your channel. Remember, ads are just one piece to the YouTube money puzzle.

If the thought of taking the “traditional path” in life terrifies you, here’s a golden opportunity break out and do what you’ve always wanted.

We’ve created a FREE video crash course that will show you how to become a YouTube Influencer. You’ll learn step-by-step how to build a successful YouTube channel, even if you’re a complete beginner.

This training includes over an hour of our best-kept secrets for building your own audience of superfans and becoming YouTube famous, all in HD video. We’ve even included material from our premium course, which you’ll also get access to.

If you’ve always wanted to turn your passion and strengths into a successful YouTube channel, it’s time to get off the sidelines and take the first step.

We’ve used the strategies and tactics in this training to drive 100s of millions of views to our YouTube channels and made millions of dollars as a result.

You’ll learn the quickest way to attract your 1,000 true fans, a strategy we couldn’t talk about in this guide. We’ll also walk you through step-by-step to find your “big idea” even if you don’t know what your passion is right now.

You’ll also get access to our newsletter, where you’ll receive exclusive content you can’t get anywhere else.

What are you waiting for?

Sign up now to learn everything we know about building your own audience of superfans and making a living doing what you love.