YouTube has led to countless hours of amazing video content. It’s easy to get sucked into how-to tutorials, funny cat videos, and viral fail clips posted by video artists. But there are also millions of hours of content on YouTube that aren’t as interesting—you don’t want to be the creator of it! If you’re looking to start your own YouTube channel and make money from it, you’ll need the right strategy. 

Build a Following

You can’t hope to make money from your blog without building followers. YouTube requires that you have at least 1,000 subscribers to be eligible for monetizing YouTube accounts through AdSense. A good YouTube ad strategy and other factors also contribute to monetizing your channel, but it’s an important start. 

Read on for a few ways to build a strong foundation for your YouTube videos and ultimately make a good side income.  

Choose a Super Specific Niche

A strong following starts with a niche that will grab attention. Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Noting the competition isn’t meant to discourage you, but it shows that the market is highly saturated, and you have your work cut out for you to climb to the top. 

It all starts with choosing a niche, and you need to be specific here. You can’t just choose “real estate” and hope to be noticed. You’ll need a specific niche in real estate, such as house flipping. If you can go more specific, do so, like choosing house flipping in Phoenix, AZ. The more specific you can get, the stronger your audience will be. 

Know Your Audience

Along with building a niche, know your audience. Audiences change as your channel develops but start with a solid baseline audience with which to lay out your strategy.

Consider the personas that your audience fits into including age, general interests, typical income level, and the way they engage with brands. Understanding these components will help you create video content that’s on their level. 

Focus on building engagement as you get to know your audience better. The single best way is to create great content that they consistently watch. Some videos will get watched more than others, but as a general rule, your content should be top-notch, and your audience will develop and engage as such. 

Have a Monetization Strategy 

Most money-making YouTubers have several revenue streams in place. You can start with one strategy or have multiple going at once, but here are a few different ideas for monetizing your YouTube channel. 

  • Google AdSense: The most obvious method of monetizing is through Google AdSense. It’s basically automatic when you set up your YouTube channel, and as you grow your following and engagement, the payout gets better and better. 


  • YouTube Partner Program: Once you have an AdSense account with 1,000 subscribers, and over 4,000 watch hours in a year, you can sign up for YPP, YouTube’s platform for helping you make money on the great content you create. 


  • Answer Questions: Some platforms will connect with YouTube channel creators and pay them to answer questions. For example, Worthyt is a site where consumers can answer questions. You can choose questions in your niche and use a video to answer them. This is a great way to make money and build your follower base. 


  • Influencer Marketing: Brands will pay big money for money-making accounts to endorse their brands. They’ll ask for a professional endorsement and/or overview of their products or services in exchange for a fee. 


  • Amazon Affiliates: There are many affiliate programs out there, but Amazon Affiliates should be at the top of the list. It has more than 300 million active users, which speaks to its credibility as a money-making aid. You’ll get products shipped through Amazon, review them, and when consumers make purchases using your link, you’ll get a small commission. 

Keep Your Overhead Low 

Another important thing is to avoid overspending. At the beginning, it’s tempting to purchase a top-of-the-line camera and special lighting and sound equipment to make your videos really pop, but it’s not necessary. All you really need is the smart phone or laptop (with a camera) that you already have and a cloud-based storage system to prevent the videos from slowing down your device. 

As you build a following, you can invest in some of those nicer things, but it’s not necessary until you know that your channel will make money. Don’t buy things you don’t need so that you can enjoy the profits more later. 

This is just a small taste of what it takes to make a successful monetizing YouTube channel. Continue researching best practices but know that much of your journey will be trial and error. As you stick with it and build your channel, the rewards will become more and more evident.