How to Make Your First $10,000+ on YouTube

Jan 18, 2019 | Digital Marketing, Featured Posts

Can you make money creating YouTube videos?

Millions of subscribers. Brand deals with top companies. Raking in thousands of ad dollars.

We’ve all seen the YouTube success stories.

Being a video creator myself, I was curious. What does it take to actually make money on the platform?

Since 2015, I’ve been experimenting with a handful of YouTube channels. We’ve created videos about every topic from vegan cooking to corporate training.

The most success we’ve had is with our educational YouTube channel, Jam Campus. This channel features 2-3 minute educational music videos for K-12 students. The channel is a free digital resource that benefits students and teachers around the world.

Has it been a big moneymaker?

Not really. It took me three years to make our first $1,000 in advertising revenue in September of 2018. Given, this was extremely part-time work. Videos were made casually, without any real intent to make money. In 2020, the channel had 40K subscribers and makes about $300 per month. 

Before we continue, it’s important to understand the basics of making money on YouTube. The $1,000 I’m referring to was made from advertising. Essentially, YouTube shows video advertisements to viewers before your video begins and the creator shares a portion of the revenue.

How You Can Make $10,000+ Creating YouTube Videos

Although we’ve decided to scale back our efforts on YouTube, we’re learned a lot of insight to share. Insight you can use if you’re looking to make money on YouTube.

So how can you make YouTube work for you? Where do you start?

A powerful social media platform, YouTube’s user base continues to expand year over year. And while video becomes a more cost effective medium, it’s good time to join the platform.

YouTube growth can take years of time and patience. There are definitely methods to speed up your YouTube growth, but we focus only on organic growth. That means no subscriber buying. No advertising.

At the end of the day, your aim will be to increase YouTube watch time, views, and subscribers. All three of these factors are integrated into the ad revenue algorithm. Here’s how you get started:

1. Choose a category you care about

Do less.

Many amateur YouTube channels try to be too many things at once. They end up failing to gain traction and burning out. Keep it simple when you’re first starting. Choose a specific topic and stick with it.

Just like any type of branding, your YouTube audience needs to know what you do in just three seconds. If they don’t understand in those three seconds, you’ve lost them forever.

Find your category and make sure it is specific. Then refine it and make it more specific. Then stay on that same category. For months.

Your category is important. But what’s more important is choosing a category that you actually care about. Just because you see a gap on YouTube doesn’t mean you should go for it. You must choose a category you have real interest and knowledge in. Having a true passion for your YouTube videos is the only way to avoid burnout and ensure long-term success.


2. Start with educational videos

Most people go to YouTube to learn something new. What can you teach them?

Maybe you know how to cook Pad Thai. Or how to code Javascript. Either way, you’re certainly an expert in something. Consider creating educational or instructional videos on your YouTube to start. If done well, they will be a sure success on your channel since many of these keywords are searched frequently.

Once you identify your own expertise, take a browsing through YouTube and see what videos are currently out there. Guaranteed there is an opportunity for you to create better content.

Start with a “how-to” video and put your all into it to provide maximum value.


3. Keep quality high, keep quantity moderate

Over three years, we posted 14.6 videos per year. That’s more than one video uploaded per month.

Compared to many popular YouTube channels, that isn’t very frequent uploading.

The goal is to find the perfect mix of quality and quantity. If you can create a process and workflow for your videos, you’ll maintain consistency and be able to create more videos more often.

There is no “secret” formula for growing a YouTube channel. The “not-so-secret” formula is this: Create quality videos. And create tons of them.

YouTube is a crowded space. Every minute, there are 550 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube. But good news for you: 98% of those videos are garbage. Poor quality.

Creating videos can be expensive, time consuming, and have a steep learning curve. If you can dedicate the time to learning and creating quality content, you can win.


4. Create a content schedule using keywords

Before you start creating, it pays to do a bit of data analysis. Especially in video production, success is 80% preparation.

Once you’ve have your category selected, it’s time to start brainstorming a content schedule. What are the topics of your videos? Which video should you create first?

Keyword research using Google AdWords is an efficient way to see what users are searching for and what keywords to include in your video. If a lot of people are searching for “good examples of e-Learning programs,” maybe it makes sense to create a video about “5 Awesome Examples of e-Learning Programs.”

Make a list of potential keywords and see which words have the highest search traffic.

Still at Jam Campus we use this method to determine which videos we should create next. At our younger YouTube channel, The Urban Veg, we also use keyword research. Try using and installing the TubeBuddy app. The free version still provides hundreds of helpful data points to help maximize your channel success.


5. Use your network and share your videos

As with any business venture, your close circle of friends and family will always be your biggest fans.

When you create a video, share it with them. Share it on Facebook. LinkedIn. Instagram. Wherever your network lives.

This strategy will not only spread your message to a wider audience, but you’ll also get honest feedback you can use to improve your next videos.

It can definitely be intimidating to share videos with your friends and family. After all, video is extremely media-dense and exposes your true personality.

Don’t be afraid! Even if your first few videos are awkward, you’ll get better. Keep pushing forward and try to stop caring what others think. Be confident that you’re providing quality information and your success will follow.


6. Be patient for the long-run

Creating a YouTube channel isn’t going to make you rich.

If you’re looking for quick money, there are many easier ways to make money than on YouTube.

Instead, be in it for the long-run. Think ten years down the road. Fifteen years.

If you start now and continue to improve your content, you’ll be in good shape later down the line.

Think of YouTube as a way to express your knowledge and build your brand. This platform is a perfect way to spread your message with audiences all around the world.

Before you start your YouTube channel, make sure it supports your personal and long-term career goals. Is this something you’ll still want to do in ten years?

Also, it’s good to know about YouTube’s policy for monetizing your videos. Before you can make any money, you must have at minimum 1,000 subscribers and have achieved 4,000 watch hours in the prior 12 months.

The Urban Veg channel just reached this benchmark after two years of being active. So it can take awhile to achieve your desired growth. Be patient.

Remember that building a YouTube channel requires patience and hard work. But can be extremely rewarding in the realm of creativity and business.

If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you! Always feel free to send us a message and we can help get your YouTube channel up and running.