If you’re someone who’s inherently creative and entertaining or particularly knowledgeable about a topic, it could lead to a lucrative career. The internet has created countless ways of generating income and even amassing wealth. And one of the most rewarding of these is becoming a YouTube creator.

What started as a mere video-sharing platform in 2005 is now an empire home to thousands of creators across hundreds of niches. In 2021, YouTube generated a massive $28.8 billion in revenue. Start a successful YouTube channel today, and even you could get a piece of the billions of dollars pumped into this platform.

However, it’s important to remember that followers or fame alone do not necessarily result in revenue. You could have thousands of subscribers, but that doesn’t count for anything unless you know how to leverage YouTube to generate legit income.  

For instance, Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast, does not have the highest number of followers on YouTube. Yet in 2021, he was named the platform’s top earner when he brought in $54 million. There are several steps to finding fortune on this tech titan, and one of the most vital of these is to get verified on YouTube.

How Do YouTubers Make Money?

YouTube hosts approximately 37 million active channels that upload 500 hours of video per minute. The social media giant has two billion active users per month. The only website with more activity is its parent, Google. Hence, the potential for making a living (or even a fortune!) from YouTube is tremendous. Here are some of the ways that YouTubers earn money:

Ad Revenue 

This is the primary revenue source for most YouTubers who are just getting started. YouTube’s monetization program, known as the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), allows creators to monetize their content by displaying ads at the start or in the middle of their videos. However, you need to meet certain criteria to become a paid YouTube partner. The YouTube verification symbol could give you a big boost when seeking this status. 

YouTube’s ad revenue varies based on a criterion known as cost per mile (CPC). This is a measure of the amount an advertiser would pay you per 1,000 views. It may vary based on several factors, such as your region, your industry, the length of your videos, etc.

Superstar creators like Cocomelon and PewDiePie receive millions of views on their videos. As a result, there’s potential to earn a living just off YouTube’s partner program alone. However, most successful creators have several other revenue sources which are more lucrative than ad money.   

Brand Deals and Sponsorships 

Another way YouTubers make money is by creating sponsored content for brands. Sometimes, the compensation may not be financial but offered through free products and services. However, brands have paid big creators even up to six figures to promote their products in a video. Having the YouTube verification badge lets brands know they are approaching a genuine creator and not a copycat. 

Affiliate Marketing 

When YouTubers team up with brands, they can also offer discount codes or sponsored links for products and receive a commission for every sale. This is usually a winning combination for YouTubers, brands, as well as consumers. 


Popular creators can make a comfortable living just by selling their own branded merchandise. Beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill teamed up with Morphe to launch her own cosmetic line. Similarly, many other YouTubers have their own merchandise, such as t-shirts, hoodies, sneakers, etc.


Some content creators also rely on the crowdfunding model as a revenue source. Here, subscribers fund creators through platforms like Patreon, GoFundMe, etc., to encourage them to keep creating content, upgrade their equipment, invest in research and experiment, etc. In turn, creators often mention a list of their most loyal patrons at the start or end of their videos.  

Licensing Rights 

YouTubers can also earn money by licensing their content to other parties. It essentially gives another company permission to use that creator’s intellectual property. The content creator receives payment in the form of royalties. 

How Much Money Do YouTubers Make?

Despite having so many outlets, YouTubers do not have a fixed monthly or annual income. Revenues can be either long-term or short-lived for a multitude of reasons. Money earned also varies based on factors including your subscriber count, region, niche, marketing skills, etc.  

While a person cannot control all of these elements, they have a role in how much effort they are willing to put into their channel. YouTube is a dedicated profession for some of 2022’s high earners, such as Markiplier and Jake Paul

How to Start a Successful YouTube Channel in 2023? 

Ready to launch that channel? Here is a roadmap for getting started on YouTube. Some of these steps might sound basic, but they are, in fact, critical.  

Choose Your Niche Carefully 

The first and most obvious step is to choose your niche on YouTube. Some niches can be quite saturated, but don’t let that discourage you. Go with a niche you are familiar with and genuinely enjoy. Remember, this is your “why” for starting a channel.  

Just because your niche is a crowded one doesn’t mean you can’t become a standout creator. Consider Marques Brownlee (tech), Lark Davis (crypto), and Supercar Blondie (automotive) as examples.  

Content in obscure niches can be potentially quite lucrative since there’s less competition. However, viewers will know if you create content in an under-represented niche but aren’t really passionate about it. 

Highlight What Distinguishes You in Your Niche 

The next step is to determine what distinguishes you in the niche you love. If you don’t offer something unique to viewers, especially in a crowded niche, chances are most people would scroll past your content. 

For example, there are thousands of cooking channels on YouTube. But Babish stands out as he was able to highlight what makes him unique. He creates recipes inspired by his favorite movies and TV shows. Similarly, Joshua Weissman became popular by taking on famous fast-food joints and outdoing their best-selling dishes.  

Research Your Competitors 

Find out what your competitors are doing and do it better. It’s vital to do your homework to know what people do and do not like about creators in your niche. You cannot please everyone, but it does not hurt to find out what not to do. 

Research Your Audience 

The comments section of YouTube videos is pure gold! Review what people have to say and interactions between users. These comments can contain invaluable suggestions and tips you can apply to your channel and content. 

Create and Customize Your Channel 

Your YouTube channel should reflect who you are. Add personal touches to make it your own. This includes essential elements like your logo, banner, theme music, and channel name. Combine these elements into an attractive Channel Page highlighting your “why” and what distinguishes your content. 

Remember, the goal is to connect with your audience while setting yourself apart from the competition. A great example of this is Robert Welsh, whose videos seamlessly combine his love of makeup and spooky stories.

Post Valuable Content and Promote it on Other Platforms 

Ultimately, your content must offer value to your viewers to make it big. Whether it is entertaining, educational, or a bit of both, make sure it is not a waste of your viewers’ time. If you stretch your videos with generic content just to earn more ad revenue, it’s not going to work. Your audience will see through it and eventually ignore your content.

When you offer value through your YouTube videos, you should also promote them on other platforms. Several social media platforms offer built-in marketing avenues. You can tweet about your YouTube channel and post still images to Instagram while uploading teaser videos on TikTok. 

Get Verified on YouTube 

The last but certainly not the least important step is to get the YouTube verification badge for your channel. Don’t underestimate the power of the YouTube gray check. It shows the world that an account is the real deal and provides a sense of credibility.

The YouTube verification symbol is not just a cosmetic badge; it has several practical advantages. Besides adding credibility, it also protects your account against scammers and copycats. This is particularly important when your channel does not have a “face.”


Becoming a YouTube superstar doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of sweat, hard work, and determination. We hope this blog helped you understand what it takes to become a successful YouTube creator. If you believe you have what it takes, use this blog as a blueprint and get started on your YouTube journey today!

Wondering how to get verified on YouTube? Digital Nod offers a guaranteed YouTube verification service for creators and brands. Contact us today to know more!

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