How to Earn Money by Uploading Videos on YouTube: 17 Best Ways

September 22, 2023

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In 2010, Daniel Middleton (DanTDM) created a YouTube channel and presumably wasn’t earning much money as a teenager. However, a few years later, he would become the highest-paid YouTube star, earning $16.5 million. Many other YouTubers, including Jimmy Donaldson (Mr. Beast), Ryan Kaji (Ryan’s World), and Lilly Singh (Superwoman), make millions annually. Suffice it to say that uploading videos to YouTube can be an excellent way to earn a living. In this post, we’ll cover how to upload videos on YouTube to make money.

How to Upload and Publish Videos to YouTube

Uploading and publishing videos to YouTube is like the process for other social media websites. It requires a few clicks or taps, and here are the official steps.

On computer or desktop:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. In the top-right corner, click Create.
  3. Select the file you want to upload.
  4. Navigate the prompts, add your video details, and click Publish.

On Google Android:

  1. Tap the plus icon, then Upload a video (or Create a Short).
  2. Grant YouTube access to your phone and files.
  3. Select an existing video from your gallery.
    • If your video is 60 seconds or less and has a square or vertical aspect ratio, it will be uploaded as a Short. Shorts can be 15 or 60 seconds long, and you can add sound, text, and filters.
  4. Tap Next.
  5. Add your video details and tap Next.
  6. Navigate the prompts concerning audience and age appropriateness.
  7. Tap Upload to publish your video.

Follow the same steps to upload on other mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

How to Earn Money on YouTube by Uploading Videos

Millions of people earn money on YouTube because it’s a high-traffic platform. It’s the second most visited website and search engine globally after Google. (Alphabet is the parent company of YouTube and Google.) That produces billions in advertising revenue for YouTube, with $30 billion paid to creators over the past three years.

YouTubers take different approaches to profit from their channels and videos. For instance, a standard method is to enroll in YouTube’s partner program, whereas others focus on affiliate marketing.

To monetize your content, you must own all the necessary rights to commercially use all visuals and audio elements, whether they belong to you or someone else. In addition, YouTube provides guidelines for content you create and don’t create. Lastly, you can generate revenue directly on YouTube and offsite, for example, by directing viewers to buy products on your online store.

Ways to Make Money on YouTube

Source: YouTube

YouTube Partner Program

The most common way YouTubers make money is through ad revenue. Ad revenue is managed through YouTube’s Partner Program and paid through AdSense. The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) lets creators monetize their content on YouTube. Users can earn money from their videos’ advertisements and YouTube Red subscribers who watch their content.

To be eligible for YPP, a user must reach 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. Then, YouTube will review your channel to ensure it follows its monetization policies. Finally, YouTube will email you when you’re eligible to apply. Users can leave YPP anytime by turning off the monetization feature on their dashboards. (Note: YouTube is lowering user/creator requirements in specific countries.)

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How to join YouTube’s Partner Program:

  1. Sign in to YouTube.
  2. In the top right, select your account icon > YouTube Studio.
  3. In the left menu, scroll down and click on Monetization.
  4. Click on Apply Now.
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts and await more details from YouTube.

How to Join YPP

Once a channel joins YPP, the user must link it to an approved AdSense account. AdSense facilitates payments to content creators like YouTubers and bloggers once a month.

YouTube pays creators 55 percent of ad revenue; the details are in your YPP terms.

YouTube Select

YouTube Select is a premium advertising program aggregating the top YouTubers and content for users between 18 and 49. Unlike YPP, creators cannot apply to YouTube Select. It’s an invitation-only program. The revenue share for Select is a secret since creators can negotiate better revenue splits. High viewership channels like IGN, The Verge, SciShow, and itsJudysLife participate in YouTube Select.

Super Chats

Super Chat allows viewers to purchase chat messages in live streams. Creators receive 70 percent of chat revenues. Revenue details are in the Commerce Product addendum. To be eligible for Super Chat, you must meet these requirements:

  • Your channel is monetized
  • You are over 18 years old
  • You are in one of the available locations

Super Stickers

Super Stickers allow fans to purchase animated stickers during live streams and Premieres to show their favorite creators how much they enjoy their content. Stickers come in various designs across different languages and categories, such as gaming, fashion and beauty, sports, music, food, and more. In addition, Super Stickers and Super Chats have the exact eligibility requirements.

Super Thanks

YouTube viewers can now purchase Super Thanks (formerly Viewer Applause) to express their gratitude and show support. Also, they’ll see an animated GIF and get a distinct, colorful comment highlighting their purchase, which creators can engage.

Super Thanks is available at four price points between $2 and $50 (or the local currency equivalent). In addition, creators keep 70 percent of the viewer’s contribution.

Note: Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks may have restrictions, such as age-restricted, unlisted, or private videos. Visit Google Support for more details.


YouTube Shorts is a way to connect with a new audience using a smartphone and the Shorts camera in the YouTube app. It follows the success of short videos on TikTok and Instagram, usually less than 60 seconds.

YouTube will pay creators 45% of ad revenue from their Shorts videos. However, YouTube hasn’t confirmed what will happen to its initial $100b fund for Shorts.

Channel Memberships

Channel memberships allow viewers to join and support your channel through monthly payments. Furthermore, subscribers get members-only perks like badges, emojis, and other goods you offer. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Your channel must have more than 1,000 subscribers.
  • Your channel is in the YouTube Partner Program.
  • You’re over 18 years old.
  • You’re in one of the available locations.
  • Your channel is not set to “made for kids.”
  • You don’t have a significant number of ineligible videos.
    • Videos set as made for kids or videos with music claims are considered ineligible.
  • You (and your MCN) comply with YouTube’s terms and policies.
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Merch Shelf

YouTubers have been earning money from merchandise sales for years, but creators had to direct traffic offsite for transactions. Now, creators can sell to fans directly. In addition, you can link to your merchandise or crowdfunding site(s) from your videos as long as they’re on the list of approved sites and you are part of the YouTube Partner Program.

In a space directly below a video (the merchandise shelf), creators can sell goods, such as tee shirts, hats, phone cases, and over 20 items that make sense for their channels. Approved websites for Merch Self include Shopify, Etsy, Google Play, iTunes, Teespring, Ticketmaster, and more.


Crowdfunding is a fundraising strategy that focuses on raising smaller amounts of money from a collective of individuals. YouTube is an excellent marketing channel for promoting crowdfunding campaigns. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe are only a few crowdfunding sites.

Product and Merchandise Sales

Many YouTubers leverage their channels to sell branded products and merchandise, including apparel, accessories, and gifts. Setting up an online store is quick and painless with software from Shopify (Shopify has an exclusive partnership with YouTube to support sales). Standard and print-on-demand marketplaces are an option, for example, Amazon, Zazzle, and Design By Humans. However, online markets list hundreds of thousands of products and are very competitive, so they’re probably not the best places to send your viewers. If a viewer likes you and your brand, keeping them in your ecosystem is better for generating sales.

Digital Media Sales

Many YouTubers sell online courses and books. Online courses are a natural extension because they include videos. Case in point, I’ve seen several travel vloggers with classes on travel tips and insights.

You can sell classes on e-learning marketplaces (Skillshare and Udemy) or independently with course software like Thinkific.

Publishing a book takes a lot more effort, and I only recommend doing so if you have thousands of subscribers or a significant audience/email marketing list. For example, DanTDM wrote a book called Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal, and Amy Landino published a book entitled Vlog Like a Boss. You can self-publish a book on Amazon or seek a publisher.

Memberships and Subscriptions

A fantastic way to generate passive income is through membership and subscription payments. Patreon is a popular membership platform that allows artists and creators to collect and process subscription fees. Fans pay creators subscription amounts of their choice in exchange for exclusive experiences and behind-the-scenes content. As a result, billions have been paid to creators, and over 200,000 creators use the website.

Patreon is growing as demonetization, stricter/unfair policies, and foul-ups by YouTube continue to upset YouTubers. It has three pricing plans. Alternatively, you might use a WordPress membership plugin, Shopify, or charge members in a closed/private Facebook Group. Additionally, many billing apps are available to support recurring payments.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertising model. An affiliate (publisher) promotes a product/service online and receives compensation for achieving a specific objective or action. A merchant (advertiser) specifies the goal, usually a valid sale. For example, a merchant will pay an affiliate a 30 percent sales commission. A merchant may use one or multiple advertising pricing models, for instance, cost-per-action/acquisition (CPA), cost per sale (CPS), cost per lead (CPL), or pay-per-lead (PPL).

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YouTubers who dabble in affiliate marketing add affiliate links to their descriptions and about sections. Creators will casually mention to “see” or “click” on links in their descriptions. They might also direct traffic to their websites for affiliate marketing and ecommerce purposes. Most affiliates on YouTube don’t disclose their affiliate links, but they should per the FTC’s guidelines.

Regarding your niche, you’ll find affiliate programs to complement your content. First, many affiliate networks have over 30 product/service categories. Explore my affiliate marketing category for different niches, including gaming, cryptos, subscription boxes, web hosting, and more. Secondly, many YouTubers promote TubeBuddy and VidIQ, two excellent channel management and growth apps.

ConvertSocial is an affiliate marketing network that allows collaboration with over 30,000 merchants globally. Social media influencers, YouTubers, bloggers, and content creators get paid under CPA and CPC models, meaning they earn every time their followers convert on a brand’s website, for example, a purchase, click, or app installation. Additionally, creators don’t have to contact advertisers, execute agreements, or agree on ad content. Instead, ConvertSocial does everything while providing an efficient platform to monetize content. Lastly, active influencers earn about $3,000 monthly through ConvertSocial.

Paid Product Placements

Like product placements in movies and endorsements by professional athletes, YouTubers can also earn money in these ways. According to YouTube,

You may include paid product placements, endorsements, sponsorships, or other content that requires disclosure to viewers in your videos. If you choose to include any of the above, you must inform us by selecting the paid promotion box in your video details.

Paid product placements are content created for a third party in exchange for compensation or where that third party’s brand, message, or product is integrated directly into the creator’s material.

Endorsements are content created for an advertiser or marketer that contains a message whereby consumers are likely to believe the content creator or endorser’s opinions, beliefs, or experiences.

In most cases, companies often approach high-traffic YouTubers to promote and endorse products. However, some creators initiate and pursue deals.

YouTube BrandConnect

YouTube BrandConnect is a monetization service that connects creators with brands for branded content campaigns. YouTube BrandConnect helps you get paid to include advertiser content in your videos and provides campaign management resources. You always retain creative control, and you choose your partnerships.

Content Partnerships

YouTubers with significant and loyal followings-those usually in the YouTube Select category-are ripe for original programming deals with YouTube Red, Netflix, CNN, and other media platforms. For example, YouTube star Casey Neistat inked a partnership with CNN worth $25 million. In addition, Brazilian vlogger and comedian Felipe Neto released a Netflix original comedy special, “My Life Makes No Sense,” in 2017.

Live Events

A lesser-known revenue stream for YouTubers is live events such as tours, speaking engagements, concerts, premium webinars, and comedy gigs. For instance, DanTDM toured Australia.

Sites like Eventbrite and Ticketmaster can help with ticket administration and sales.


Success on YouTube and a person’s earning potential depend on their status. “YouTubers” are highly active/engaged on the platform and dedicate most of their working hours to creating and promoting their content. Comparatively, casual content creators upload videos infrequently, and YouTube isn’t their primary focus or revenue stream. Whichever category you belong to, there are multiple ways to make money on YouTube. Create excellent content, and the revenue will follow.

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