So you’ve heard of PewDiePie, John Green, and some other famous YouTube influencers who make hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe even millions) from their YouTube channels. Plenty of people are looking to make money on YouTube nowadays, but it’s not as easy as you may think. There are several hurdles that stand between you and YouTube fame and fortune.

Before you buy that boom mic and spend 10 hours learning how to do a cool video cutaway, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

The main source of revenue for YouTube stars comes from advertising. Assuming you can convince advertisers that it’s worth it to run an ad on your channel, they'll pay around $20 per 1,000 ad impressions. Let’s break that down a little further:

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Ever wondered how to earn money from YouTube views? It's not as easy as you think. So... CAN you make a lot of money on YouTube?Ad impressions are not synonymous with video watches. If a person skips the ad or has an ad blocker, their video view won't count towards your impressions. (You can see why many companies are up in arms about ad blockers.)

Once we move past the no-one-ever-watches-ads hurdle, the money doesn’t even add up too quickly.

For every million impressions you generate, you’re only making a few thousand dollars, tops. Let’s think about that. Maybe you found a way to get a million people to watch you putting on makeup for two minutes each week; and after all the blood, sweat, foundation, and tears, you’re still only making a couple thousand dollars.

Long story short, there’s less money in the YouTube game that you’d think. Of course, there are the outliers like PewDiePie who are making millions, but no one should start playing golf with the plan to turn into Tiger Woods. The same goes for YouTube-ing. You need to understand the law of averages before you jump into any long-term career plan. Figuring out how to make money on YouTube ain’t easy.

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If you’re not daunted by any of this, let’s go over what tools you can use to help your (very, very unlikely, but nonetheless admirable) endeavor. And if you’re in the very beginning stages of creating an account, here are your three YouTube creator commandments:

  • Thou shalt release videos on a consistent schedule.
  • Thou shalt know the desired audience and create videos for that audience.
  • Thou shalt only release videos of the highest possible quality.

Memorize these commandments and live by them when you’re trying to learn how to make money on YouTube.

If you get past the initial stages and are starting to pick up momentum with your views (congratulations!), your next goal should be becoming a YouTube partner. YouTube creators who monetize videos with a large-ish number of viewers can qualify for YouTube partnership. (You need 15,000 cumulative watch hours in 90 days.) As a partner-slash-member, you’ll have access to analytical and content creation tools, as well as community support and tips.

You’re going to have to put in some serious legwork to get advertisers.

Make sure you’re advertising yourself across other social media channels, and that your videos could work to advertise some sort of niche industry, whether it’s makeup, politics, or video gaming. Once you know your niche, contact every company high and low that falls into that category.

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YouTube is an excellent outlet for businesses and marketers alike, but it’s a frustrating game if you try to make money on YouTube content creation alone. It’s like Navy Seal Team Six – only the most elite will make it. The rest of us can only sit back and enjoy.

If you succeed, let us know how you did it. Good luck!