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How to make money on YouTube without 1000 subscribers

Many will start a YouTube channel with the hope of someday maybe making a bit of money of it. That’s probably why you clicked on this video. But once you’ve uploaded the first couple of videos you might soon release that being able to make money on YouTube isn’t something that happens overnight. It can take a lot of time and a lot of hard work. But there are ways of monetising your channel without being a part of the YouTube partner programme. Let me explain.

I restarted my channel just over a year ago and have uploaded around 80 or 90 videos in that time. Despite that, I’m still quite a way away from being monetised on YouTube. To be able to apply for the YouTube partner programme you need at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 public watch hours in the past 12 months.

Three different ways of making money on YouTube

Not being able to see any progress in terms of making a bit of pocket change might be disheartening to some. So I’ve made a list of three things you can do to at least get something back for your hard work.

Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert and have never claimed to be one. What I am about to tell you are just suggestions and nothing more. I do not know the legalities of things in your country. Always make sure you know what you are doing and do things at your own risk.

I also want to add that nothing I’m about to mention will suddenly give you access to an extraordinaire amount of disposable income. We’re talking anything from nothing to pennies a day to start off with and then if you’re hard-working enough, maybe a few dollars. Don’t get your hopes up just to have them shattered as you come back down to earth.

Create a Patreon

I hope that covers all my bases. Let’s get this list started with the first option: Patreon. With Patreon, subscribers can donate a certain amount each month or for every new video you upload. Don’t expect to get much action before your channel starts getting some traction but it’s never too early to set one up if you ask me. If your channel ever does blow up you’ll be dealing with a million different things but at least you’ll have a Patreon account ready.

Use affiliate links

The second option is to place affiliate links in your video descriptions. Affiliate links are links which if someone clicks on them and then buys a product from the website you’ve linked to you will get a small cut of the purchase price. There are obvious places to start such as Amazon if you’re doing tech, camera, or anything reviews, booking.com if you’re running a travel channel, and AliExpress if you post DIY electronics videos. But there are niches where you’ll find a lot more specific links which might end up doing a lot better.

Here’s an example: I’ve got a whole series on building a WordPress website using one specific theme called GeneratePress. And while editing the videos I found out that GeneratePress has a quite generous affiliate programme. And because my videos are aimed only at people interested in GeneratePress those links are doing rather well. I’m guessing there are quite a few people who were on the fence on whether to go with the premium version of that theme or not and my video managed to push them in one direction. And because the link was there and staring them in the face they just clicked on it without giving it a second thought.

Maybe you’ve got a channel which focuses on productivity tools and you’ve just created five videos on how to organise your life with the app Todoist. Instead of listing iPads and Apple pencils, which might be mentioned once or twice in your video, you could place a Todoist affiliate link in the video’s description and you’d probably get more viewers clicking on that one than anything else. Or just link to both but make sure the most relevant link is at the first position.

If you talk about anything that is paid for in your videos there is a chance that that product has an affiliate programme. The more relevant your affiliate links are to your videos the more likely you are to get clicks.

Build a website and sign up for AdSense

The third and final option might be a risky one but I’ll include it anyway. You can, in theory, make money off of a website. How so? Mainly with ads. I use AdSense on my websites and to be honest, it just about covers the hosting and domains. In a good month, I might do a bit more but it’s never anything to write home about. But what would that website be about you might be asking yourself? It’s obvious, isn’t it? The content of your YouTube channel!

If you’re like me and you write scripts for your videos converting those into articles is quickly done. I can’t claim that my articles are eloquent in any way, but I do get a handful of visitors every day. And those visitors, in turn, make me a little bit of money by viewing the ads I’ve placed.

Sometimes I’ll also take just one specific part of a video and turn that into an article. For example, in my review of the Logitech MX Master 3, I quickly described how I set it up for use in Lightroom Classic. I did that because I couldn’t find any guides on how to do that online. Well, there is a guide online now and guess who wrote it. It was me. That guide, which only took maybe 30 minutes to write, is now my most viewed page.

A website of course also gives you the opportunity to place affiliate links in your articles. And you might be able to share more of your story with visitors which might make you more relatable and give you more subscribers.

On the whole, I think having a website as a YouTube creator is more often than not a good thing. There’s one more advantage a website gives you. If you’ve been approved by AdSense with the website your application to the YouTube partner programme will go through a lot quicker.

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