YouTube Creators Can Make a Lot of Money – But Most Don’t

Jul 25, 2022 7:16 pm

YouTube Creators Can Make a Lot of Money – But Most Don’t

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As with every industry, there are a few top YouTubers we point to who are raking in millions of dollars, while the rest of us are struggling to get 20 or more views on every video that we put out.

So we’re asking ourselves, how do content creators monetize their work? 

We are going to explore some statistics and tell you about our personal experiences to explain how even a small audience can provide a path to financial success for the content entrepreneur.

News Update

I opened up my email and saw that Converge had sent me their Content Amplification Report. It’s a statistical report talking about B2B marketers and their experience over the past few years with content marketing and where they’re headed with it in the future.

What stood out for me is that the thing that stops content creators from amplifying their content is a lack of time due to other tasks.

Bitmoji Shelley presents a chart with a red arrow pointing up

There never seems to be enough time to get it all done!

As content creators, we focus mostly on creating content, but eventually, we need to think about monetization and that’s going to take us into building our own digital products. 

That takes time away from our content creation. 

That’s why I created the Content Consistency Framework and Schedule.

It outlines the fun, creativity-strengthening habits that help you produce consistent content so you gain momentum and expand your brand and reach. 

The framework contains information that I have put together using my years of experience, but I’ve distilled it into two infographics: a framework and a schedule.

It shows you exactly what to do and what habits you need to incorporate into your life to be a consistent content creator and still have time for those other important business tasks, and oh yeah, enjoying life too!

How Long Does It Take Content Creators to Monetize Their Work?

Bitmoji Shelley featured on cover of Time magazine

We have fun creating content, but it takes so much time.

What’s the return on this investment of my time and effort?

Let’s start off with the content entrepreneur timeline that was presented in the Creator Economy Benchmark Research for 2022. 

It takes over six months for a full-time creator to make their first dollar and then another 10 plus months to be self-supporting. — Creator Economy Benchmark Research for 2022

For a lot of us, it takes at least 17 months before we’re earning a consistent income from clients or customers buying our products and services.

We had that same experience in 2017 when we started live streaming. Within six months, we had made our first few dollars, and we knew we were on the right track at 10 months.

I think the big difference is if we were to start from scratch again today, based on what we’ve learned, we might take a different approach.

YouTube Content Creators Can Make Money

Woman demonstrates macarons while recording herself on her phone.

To make money on YouTube, you need to create credible and usable content.

Each of the platforms has its own set of criteria that you have to follow to get into a position to make money.

For example, on YouTube, you can’t start making money from YouTube advertising and creator perks until you have at least a thousand subscribers. 

We believe ‌YouTube is the easiest platform from which to make money. YouTube pays you for content creation and distribution on its platform.

That doesn’t ‌mean that just because you create content, you’re going to make money. 

If YouTube doesn’t see you creating the ‌content that’s going to interest their viewers, then they don’t promote your channel or content. 

Audience First Strategy

There is a strategic integration of your content where one piece highlights the other. 

Bitmoji Shelley is wrapped in a blanket

When you come into our world, you’re enveloped by all of our good content.

As you look at the current ways to make money online, and what’s working best, most of it centers on creating content. 

Three ways you can create content to bring people to you: 

  • Create a YouTube channel
  • Start a blog
  • Build an online store 

First, you grow the audience, then you sell your products to that audience.

More than half of full-time content creators are self-supporting and nearly one in five say they earn a substantial income.Creator Economy Benchmark Research for 2022

Content creation is a good industry to get into. You just have to remember to treat it like a full-time business and not expect everything to be easy. You’ve got to work at it every day. 

We do at least the minimums every week.

Read our blog post Content Creator Foundational Habits to learn more about what we consider the minimum requirements for our content creation business.

SHELLEY: When I went to visit my mom for 5 weeks this summer, I could still do my minimums and get my work done. But I wasn’t working full-time hours. I didn’t take on anything extra. 

Now that I’m home, I’m doing more outreach, appearing on other people’s podcasts, and all the additional things that go along with being a content entrepreneur.

What is Most Challenging About Being a Content Entrepreneur?

Messages and Methods features encore entrepreneurs Toby Younis and Shelley Carney

We’re encore entrepreneurs in the 55+ age group of content creators.

It’s one thing to hear about people making money, but it’s another to hear from people who are actually doing the work and growing a business.

TOBY: It’s hard to be motivated when you’re 73 and you’ve already put in 50 years working hard at what you’re good at. 

Although I believe the best years of my life are ahead of me, they’re not the best years of my working life

Toby Younis holds his grandson at his first birthday party.

These are the best years of enjoying my children and grandchildren as a retired individual.

I’ve already accomplished what I needed in life to get my kids grown and off on their own.

I was successful at being an independent contractor to the federal government, and I was good at it. I made a great living at it, enough to raise six kids and keep everybody happy.

Yet, I don’t want to be that retiree that spends his life sitting on the front porch, watching the rest of the world go by. 

My challenge right now is: how do I combine being a content creator with something that motivates me?

Opportunity and Potential

SHELLEY: What motivates me is opportunity and potential. 

I want to express my potential by learning and applying the things that are available to us. 

During the livestream on Women Conquer Business, I listened as Jen went over all of her social media scheduling apps, how they work, and how she uses them.

I absorbed all that information and understand it much better than I did a year ago because I’ve worked with it. 

Bitmoji Shelley sits at a school desk by a blackboard the reads Knowledge is Power

To have that potential and explore it, to become somebody smarter and more capable than I was a year ago, or a month ago, means that I continue to grow because of content creation.

I want to use technology and information in a way that provides a platform for making the world a better place. 

I can take this information and teach it to other people and they can share their activism, coaching, or spirituality that they want to express.

I’ve explored my potential, now I can help them explore their potential.