Dan got his start on YouTube in August of 2011, recording gameplay videos as a fun hobby while attending school for video production. Joining the vidIQ team in 2020 allowed Dan to combine his hobby and professional talents to now help others grow their own YouTube channels.
Making Money on YouTube: 7 Tips to Start a Successful Business
JUMP TO SECTION:
- 1. Set Realistic Goals For Yourself
- 2. Choose a Niche (That Isn’t Too Saturated)
- 3. Make Videos About Trends and Evergreen Topics
- 4. Track Your Performance, Identify Improvements, and Pivot
- 5. Connect With Viewers on a Personal Level
- 6. Start Your Business When The Money Is Flowing
- 7. Hire Help to Expand Your YouTube Business and Make More Money
Your YouTube channel can become a thriving, money-making business. Once you conquer the big monetization challenges – getting 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of Watch Time – the possibilities are endless. With consistent effort, you can do more than join the YouTube Partner Program and earn AdSense revenue. There’s money to be made with affiliate marketing, brand deals, product sales, memberships, and more. Best of all, you don’t need millions of subscribers to make it happen. Tens of thousands will do the trick.
In this episode of TubeTalk, we talk to Daniela Ali, founder of Oni Studios, about how to turn a YouTube channel into a thriving business. She has years of experience as a creator, but the business side of YouTube is her passion.
Want to take your channel from part-time project to business empire? Here’s what Ali recommends.
1. Set Realistic Goals For Yourself
Most creators don’t become viral superstars overnight. Ninety-nine percent of people on YouTube are slow grinders. They spend years building an audience in the hope that someday, they’ll get thousands of views consistently.
With that in mind, it helps to set a realistic goal for your YouTube channel. Perhaps you want to get 500 subscribers in your first year. Or maybe 1,000. Those are goals anyone can reach with hard work and the right mindset.
No matter what happens, try not to...
- Get discouraged from a lack of views
- Compare your journey to another creator’s
- Quit because success isn’t happening fast enough
Give yourself time to develop on YouTube. Amazing things can happen when you embrace the uncertainty of growing a channel.
2. Choose a Niche (That Isn’t Too Saturated)
To be a successful, well-paid creator, you need a niche. Viewers want to know your expertise because they’re searching for specific content on YouTube. They’re interested in beauty, health, gaming, sports, and so many other categories. Knowing which one you belong to helps them find the right channel.
That’s why you should pick one niche as a new creator. Instead of posting random videos, focus on the same broad topic. We know that’s easier said than done. It's hard to ignore the popular creators getting millions of views on any topic.
“All of these creators that can do whatever they want, they started with one single niche,” Ali says. “One single category…. None of these people were jumping from one type of content to another and people just stuck around.”
Finding a niche doesn’t have to be difficult. You can simply ask yourself…
- What am I interested in?
- What am I good at?
- How saturated is this category on YouTube?
How fast you succeed depends on your answer to the last question. You need two things – unique content and time – to break into a crowded category.
3. Make Videos About Trends and Evergreen Topics
You may be surprised to hear that new creators – the successful ones, at least – aren’t creating content people haven’t seen before.
In fact, they’re all using the same blueprint:
- Researching popular topics within their niche
- Making videos about those things
- Repeating the process
A video that stays popular year-round is called evergreen. Topics like “how to tie a necktie” or “how to change your engine oil” are great examples. People will search for those videos for years to come. If you want to make content that consistently earns revenue, evergreen is the way to go.
Another thing you can do is hop on trends. Remember how the multiplayer game Among Us took over the internet last year? Lots of creators grew their channels by playing that game and showing viewers how to win. Whenever you can, take advantage of meme-worthy moments to get discovered on YouTube.
“Eventually, hitting those trending topics, you will gain traction,” Ali says. “It’s just the way YouTube works.”
4. Track Your Performance, Identify Improvements, and Pivot
Have you been to the YouTube Studio lately? There’s so much data to sift through. You can see how many likes, views, subscribers, money, and Watch Time your content is bringing in. Then there’s the more advanced data, like click-through rate, audience retention, traffic sources, and viewer demographics.
All of this data tells a story about how your videos are doing. Pay attention to the numbers so you can track your performance, get more views, and start making more money.
The next time you make a video, set a reasonable goal for how you want it to perform. Then go into the YouTube Studio and see what actually happened. Most likely, there were both good areas and bad areas of your video’s performance. Take notes on both, then come up with ways to improve. Perhaps you can choose better topics, thumbnails, or video titles.
5. Connect With Viewers on a Personal Level
When thousands of people fall in love with your personality, they’ll connect with you on a deeper level. Your videos will get more likes and comments, and you may notice viewers bragging about you in the comment section of other channels. Across the web, your subscribers will become an army of dedicated supporters.
To create a strong, unwavering connection, do these four things:
- Respond to as many comments as possible.
- Host live streams so you can chat both directly and indirectly with viewers.
- Create an external community for your channel. Having a Discord community or Facebook group creates a sense of togetherness and exclusivity.
- If you get a brand deal, make sure it aligns with your channel’s focus. Providing value to viewers should be your number one priority.
6. Start Your Business When The Money Is Flowing
Are you surprised to see this step so low on the list? Here’s our reasoning: It’s better to let positive results guide your efforts than to spend time doing something that doesn’t pan out. Lots of creators start a YouTube channel as a fun hobby, but creating a business is a major undertaking. If you do the five steps above and start making lots of money, that’s a clear sign to start an official business.
Plus, there are plenty of ways to earn money on and off of YouTube. We’ve shared some of these streams before:
- Go into affiliate marketing.
- Get brand deals.
- Earn tons of AdSense revenue.
- Collect YouTube Super Chats & Stickers.
- Earn money through YouTube Premium.
- Get paid through Channel Memberships.
- Start a Patreon with paid, exclusive content.
- Sell courses and merchandise.
- Sell your expertise as a service.
- And more…
To do these things effectively, you need to set up your business the right way. That means paying a few hundred dollars to file official paperwork with your state or country. You’ll also need to track your expenses so you have an overall budget. Free programs like Mint make it easy to see exactly what you’re spending so you can identify potential tax write-offs.
“You will not believe the amount of content creators with millions of followers and viewers who do not even do those things,” Ali says. “And then you start running into tax problems. It is actually insane how much of a problem that is.”
7. Hire Help to Expand Your YouTube Business and Make More Money
Some creators are hesitant to expand their team. They feel like they don’t need to, even when they have millions of subscribers. But most of the time, successful creators could use an extra editor or videographer to produce content that grows the business.
“Once you have the income to do so, I 100% think that every single content creator should at least have an assistant,” Ali says. “And then add to the team accordingly. It also helps you out on your taxes. It’s really great.”
Ali says when your team is properly managed, you won’t lose anything. You’ll gain the peace of mind that comes with having help, and most likely, the revenue that comes with teamwork.
Do you already have a business that needs a YouTube channel? Here are five ways to build an audience, get more leads, and increase your revenue.