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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Make a Profitable YouTube Channel in 2024

Beginner's handbook

How to Make a Profitable YouTube Channel: 6 Revenue Streams for 2024

How to Make a Profitable YouTube Channel: 6 Revenue Streams for 2024
Ronja Burve

By Ronja Burve

14 min read

Is making money from video content your dream? Have you started your own YouTube channel or been thinking about it? Many of us have. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when building a following and start to think it’s impossible to make money on YouTube. We’re here to tell you it’s not the case!

With 2.5 billion monthly users, YouTube is a goldmine of opportunity. But how do you tap into it? This article will show you 6 smart ways to make money on YouTube from home. Whether you’re new to the platform or looking to boost your earnings, we’ve got practical tips to help you succeed. Keep reading to find out how to transform your YouTube channel into a profitable venture and start earning from your passion.

Psst! Looking for additional ways to make money from home? Check out this article for 35 money-making ideas.

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program

The most straightforward way to make money on YouTube is by using the platform’s built-in monetization features via the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). With it, you can earn revenue from YouTube ads run on your videos and Shorts. You also get a share of the subscription fee from YouTube Premium subscribers who watch your videos.

To become a YouTube partner, you need to meet the YouTube partner program requirements:

  1. Have 1K+ subscribers and a watch time of 4K+ hours in the last 12 months or 10M+ Shorts views in the last 90 days

  2. Follow all YouTube channel monetization policies

  3. Live in a country where YPP is available

  4. Confirm your identity and have 2-step verification turned on for your Google account

  5. Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your YouTube channel

  6. Have an active AdSense for YouTube account

a screenshot of a graph

Source: YouTube Help

Once your YouTube channel meets all the requirements, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program from your YouTube account. The YouTube team will then review your application and respond to your email in about a month.

Early access to the YouTube Partner Program

If you’re just starting a new YouTube channel, joining the YPP might seem like a faraway goal. Thankfully, there is good news. In 2023, YouTube rolled out its early access to the YPP, offering various monetization features to smaller YouTube channels.

While you won’t be able to earn ad revenue with this program, other monitization options, such as Channel memberships, Super Chat, Super Stickers, Super Thanks, and Shopping will be available to you. More on that later.

To apply for the expanded Youtube Partner Program, you need to have 500+ subscribers, 3 public uploads, and either 3K+ watch hours in the past year or 3M public Shorts views in the past 90 days.

Additionally, you need to fulfill all the other YPP requirements, like following the relevant policies and living in a country where YPP is available.

a screenshot of a video

Source: YouTube Help

If your channel qualifies and is accepted into the YouTube partner program, congratulations! You can now start earning money from your videos. 

Just remember that YouTube continuously monitors YouTube Partners to ensure they keep fulfilling the YPP requirements over time. So make sure to stay active, keep putting out new videos and high-quality content, and engage with your YouTube community.

2. Create and sell products

If you follow online content creators, chances are you’ve seen them selling merch. It’s a smart way to build an income stream from YouTube, create a bond with viewers, and advertise your channel offline. When a fan buys your merch, they’re not only supporting you and getting a cool product—they also promote your brand.

Physical products

The most cost-efficient and hassle-free way to sell merch is to open an online store and partner with a print-on-demand provider for fulfillment. Let’s go over the steps to start selling merch online.

Consider your audience and niche

Before you start selling products, consider your audience. Think about what types of products and designs would appeal to them. This will help ensure that your viewers are excited about what you’re selling.

Develop your brand identity

Your brand identity should reflect your channel’s theme and personality. Cohesive branding makes your products look more professional and appealing.

You’ll need to cover basics like your brand name, logo, typeface, and colors, which you’ll use everywhere—from your website and social media accounts to products. You can design your brand’s visual elements with platforms like Canva.

Choose your print-on-demand provider

Selling physical merch can seem like a hassle when you’re doing it on your own. Finding the right product, designing it, ordering stock, and preparing, packing, and shipping every order yourself can be daunting.

Print-on-demand dropshipping can be a real asset. As the name suggests, each order is fulfilled and shipped only when someone buys the product, so you don’t need to invest in inventory or worry about products not selling. It means you can focus on marketing your merch and building your channel.

With Printful, you can choose from 338 products in categories like apparel, accessories, and home & living items, and sell them under your brand.

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Pick the right products for your business

When choosing products, you can follow current trends or select a product that won’t go out of style—just ensure it’s a good fit for your audience.

Popular merch items include t-shirts, hats, and mugs. Customized with your design, they can certainly hit the mark. But you don’t need to stop there. For example, if you have a fitness channel, you could offer personalized water bottles or sportswear to your viewers. If your channel is focused on productivity, you could offer personalized notebooks.

Need more merch ideas? Explore what products are trending in 2024.

Add your designs

Next up—creating the design. This could include your channel’s intro or motto, funny wordplay, or your take on a popular joke. It could also be your channel’s artwork, logo, or username. With Printful, you can create designs in minutes with the free Design Maker. Choose from countless graphics, like clipart, fonts, and vibrant patterns.

Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right placement for your design (design options for apparel include chest, back, and sleeves)

  • Preview your design mockup to see what it will look like in real life

  • Double-check that your print file ticks all boxes to ensure the best print quality

  • Avoid images that are inappropriate, offensive, or copyrighted

  • Order samples to see how your design turned out and if you should make any changes

Check out these successful YouTuber merch stores for inspiration.

Set up your store

There are several options when it comes to selling your goods online. You can build your own website and host your store there (WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are popular choices), set up your storefront on an ecommerce platform like Shopify, or use online marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon.

If you’re a YouTube partner, you can also sell your merch directly on YouTube.

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Digital products

In addition to merch, consider offering digital products like ebooks, photos, or even online courses.

How to decide what to sell? Think about what skills and resources you can offer to your fans and keep your channel’s niche in mind. If it’s fashion, you could offer a course on textiles or sustainable fashion. Is it fitness? Make a downloadable workout or meal plan. If you make videos about art, you can offer digital artwork or coloring sheets. Or, if photography is your calling, try selling your images on Shutterstock, iStock Photo, or Etsy.

Here are some digital products to try: 

  • Ebooks

  • Photos

  • Templates 

  • Courses

  • Apps

  • Photo presets

  • Checklists 

  • Coloring sheets

  • Meal or workout plans

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Customer with received custom jacket
Printful logo
Create and sell custom merch online
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3. Let fans help your YouTube channel grow

Fan funding is a way for your YouTube followers to support you directly. Let’s look at some options and what they offer.

Donations

There are many fan-funding platforms—popular ones include Buy Me a Coffee and Tipee.

Do some research to find out what each platform offers. Once you’re ready, set up your page and include the link in your video descriptions.

Be transparent about why fans should support you—maybe you need new video editing software to make better videos or perhaps their donation will help sustain your YouTube channel, allowing you to keep putting out great content. Whatever it is—fans will appreciate knowing where their money’s going and be more inclined to help your cause.

Sarah Gray runs the medium-sized YouTube channel Bloom & Gray - Flower Farm. She creates videos about her farming business and gives flower-arranging tutorials. Additionally to her small business and YouTube channel, she has a page where you can “buy her a coffee” (i.e. support her content creation by donating £5 or more). It’s a clever way to let fans support her channel.

a screenshot of a video chat

Source: Sarah’s Buy me a coffee page

Channel memberships

If you’re part of the YouTube Partner program, you can take advantage of the Channel memberships right on the platform. Its tiered subscription model allows viewers to pay a monthly fee in exchange for exclusive content and members-only perks like badges and emoji.

Knowledge-sharing platforms

If you started your channel with the goal of sharing knowledge, why not turn that goal into a personalized offer for your followers?

There are several platforms you can use for knowledge sharing and deepening the connection with your community.

For example, Patreon allows content creators to earn money directly from their fans through monthly subscriptions. It’s an excellent opportunity to share exclusive content, behind-the-scenes access, or other perks in exchange for financial support.

If writing is your medium, try Substack. It’s a platform designed for writers to publish content directly to their readers, whether through newsletters, articles, or essays. You can offer both free and paid subscriptions. Substack provides tools to manage your audience, track engagement, and build a dedicated community around your writing.

Finally, consider creating your own online courses on platforms like Skillshare, Udemy, or Teachable. These platforms allow you to design and share video-based courses on any topic you’re knowledgeable about. You can reach a global audience of eager learners and earn money through royalties or direct sales.

YouTuber Jamie Owers creates content about his entrepreneurial journey on multiple YouTube channels. He’s also created a course on Skillshare: “The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Successful YouTube Gaming Channel.” Currently, more than 1.6K students have taken his course! 

a screenshot of a video game

Source: YouTuber Jamie Owers Skillshare course

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding allows YouTubers to raise money for specific projects. Platforms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe let fans pledge money towards a goal you set. If your campaign meets its goal, you receive the funds to bring your project to life. If the goal isn’t met, some platforms may return the money to the pledgers, while others may allow you to keep what you’ve raised.

Superchat, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks

If you’re a YouTube partner, you can monetize your live streams and videos with Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks. These features allow your viewers to financially support you while engaging with your content.

During live streams and premieres, viewers can purchase Super Chats to highlight their messages in the chat. The bigger the donation, the longer their message stays pinned at the top, letting fans get your attention and stand out as top supporters.

Viewers can also buy animated Super Stickers they can post in the live chat. This adds a fun, eye-catching element to the interaction and gives your audience another way to show support.

Super Thanks allows fans to tip on videos. When a viewer purchases a Super Thanks, they can leave a highlighted comment on the video. This feature isn’t limited to live videos—supporters can show their thanks anytime.

It’s a good practice to thank your fans for their donations during live streams—it makes them feel appreciated and encourages them to keep supporting you.

4. Partner with brands for sponsored content

You don’t need a ton of followers to work with brands. In fact, it’s more cost-effective for brands to collaborate with smaller channels, as the prices are lower. This means brands can reach wider niche audiences over several campaigns instead of paying a large sum for a single promotion with a big YouTube star.

Beyond numbers, it’s about gaining viewers’ trust and therefore trusting the brand you’re collaborating with. Brands get more genuine sponsored content with smaller YouTube influencers and can zero in on a specific audience.

To get brands to collaborate with you, you should: 

  1. Post frequently and consistently

  2. Mention brands in your posts or videos 

  3. Specify your target audience and niche 

  4. Use hashtags to improve searchability 

  5. Create an email template to send to brands

Brands might reach out to you, or you can try connecting with them. To make the process easier, do your research and compile a list of brands that align with your message and values. You can make a spreadsheet to keep track of brands you’ve already contacted. Make sure to personalize your emails for each brand and be genuine in your communications. Don’t send the same copy-paste message to hundreds of brands as it might come off as insincere.

If you’re a YouTube partner, you can also join YouTube BrandConnect—a platform that helps you connect with brands.

Once you’ve secured your deal, it’s time to start your branded content campaigns. Here are a few ideas on how to showcase a brand’s products or services: 

  • Unboxing haul 

  • List of top 10 most-used products 

  • Tutorial on how to use something

  • Questions and answers 

  • Surprising someone

  • Day-in-the-life video 

  • Taking on a challenge

Need some real-life inspiration? Lisa Lovee is an influencer who’s passionate about fashion and knowledgeable about brand collaborations. On her YouTube channel, she shares her experiences with her first sponsorship deals and explains how to get them as a small YouTuber. Lisa got her first brand collaboration offers at around the 1K subscriber mark and has only grown from there. Check out her channel to learn more about her sponsorship journey.

a woman with curly hair

Source: Lisa Lovee YouTube channel 

Getting sponsorship deals for your YouTube channel isn’t as impossible as it might seem. Find products that you and your audience love and be persistent—with time and effort, you’ll get your first collaboration! 

5. Become an affiliate

Now that you know about brand collabs, let’s talk about earning an income with affiliate links. The concept is simple: an affiliate (in this case, you—the video creator) gets a unique tracking link from a brand for a product or service. Whenever someone uses your link to buy from the brand, you get a commission.

Think about your favorite YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok creators: don’t they often share products they like? Creators frequently talk about the clothes they’re wearing or a new device they’ve been trying out. Then, they include a link in the video description box. When someone makes a purchase through the link, they get a commission from the sale.

Choosing the right company to work with can help you gain viewers and subscribers and earn money on the side. Focus on your niche, partner with brands that are related to your channel, and offer products that your YouTube audience is interested in. Similarly to brand sponsorships, showcase the product in your content or make a video (or several) about it. Finally, don’t forget to add the link to your YouTube video descriptions.

Tatiana Marie is a YouTuber who gives business tips on being your own boss. A few years back, she joined the Printful affiliate program and made a video trying on and reviewing Printful’s hoodies.

a screenshot of a website

Source: Tatiana Marie’s YouTube channel

It became one of her most-watched videos and earned her a 10% commission for each purchase through the affiliate link. Since then, Tatiana has made another video about Printful and continues to earn money from it.

“Being an affiliate for Printful has been a no-brainer for me. They’re my trusted source for all things POD, so recommending their products is something I already do. Making money from it is just a bonus. Because YouTube is so evergreen, I’m able to make money as an affiliate from the same video months down the line! It’s really a win-win situation.’’

To become an affiliate, you can research affiliate programs or contact brands. The qualifications, terms, and conditions vary depending on the brand. 

The Printful Affiliate Program includes bloggers, YouTubers, influencers, and ecommerce entrepreneurs. It doesn’t matter how many subscribers or video views you have. As an affiliate, you can earn a 10% commission for 12 months from each referred customer. In total, Printful affiliates have made $4M+ in commissions!

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How to become a Printful affiliate partner:

  1. Sign up for the Printful Affiliate program 

  2. Fill out Printful’s affiliate application form 

  3. Get your approval and unique link 

  4. Share and promote the link to your audience 

  5. Get a commission for every referred customer

6. License your videos

If one of your YouTube videos goes viral, you can license it to earn additional revenue. Licensing your videos means granting permission for media outlets, companies, and other creators to use your content in their projects for a fee.

Platforms like Jukin Media, ViralHog, and Storyful specialize in licensing viral videos. They handle the rights management and sales, allowing you to focus on creating more content.

Sometimes media outlets or companies will contact you directly, so make sure your contact details are up to date in your channel description. If someone approaches you directly, negotiate a fair deal and have a clear agreement in writing.

Diversify your income streams

It takes more than just uploading videos to make money on YouTube. It comes down to knowing your niche, creating videos your viewers appreciate, and being persistent. 

Even if you can’t leverage ad revenue just yet, there are other income streams you can explore as a content creator. Since it’s all about engaging with your fans, look for ways to deepen your connection with them, whether through starting a clothing line, knowledge sharing, or recommending products your target audience is interested in.

By diversifying your revenue streams, you can create a sustainable income while building a loyal community around your channel. 

Keep pushing forward and stay creative—each step brings you closer to a thriving business. Good luck!

 

author

By Ronja Burve on Jun 13, 2024

Ronja Burve

Content Writer

Ronja is a Content Writer at Printful. With a degree in performing arts, she’s passionate about all things creative. Currently, she’s expanding her expertise in marketing while pursuing an MA in creative industries.

Ronja is a Content Writer at Printful. With a degree in performing arts, she’s passionate about all things creative. Currently, she’s expanding her expertise in marketing while pursuing an MA in creative industries.