How Do People Make Money on YouTube

How to get paid on YouTube: What’s the Secret?

  • Post author:Bob Haegele
  • Post last modified:January 28, 2024

If you enjoy watching YouTube videos, you might have wondered how to get paid on YouTube. After all, it seems like a fun and maybe even an easy way to make money.

Plus, remote work is more popular than ever due to COVID-19. The pandemic has changed not only how we think about work but also how we feel about being in the office every day.

But making money on YouTube isn’t as easy as just publishing a few videos and waiting for the money to start flowing. There is a lot that goes into it, and that’s what we’ll cover in this article.


Sponsorships are definitely one of the most popular ways to monetize a YouTube channel. If you’ve ever been watching a video on YouTube and they cut away to say, “This video is brought to you by…” that is a sure sign of a sponsorship.

But as you might expect, landing a sponsorship isn’t easy. If a company is sponsoring you, then you represent their brand. In other words, they aren’t going to sponsor every random person who makes a seemingly relevant video.

Thus, let’s briefly cover some of the things that can help you land sponsorships.

YouTube Partnerships

Partnerships are another big way that people make money on YouTube. Some of the ways they allow you to make money include channel memberships, Super Chat, and the merch shelf.


Partnerships are one of the best ways to monetize your YouTube channel as they give you a number of ways to make money online. Keep in mind that there are specific requirements you must meet to become a partner, including more than 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months and at least 1,000 subscribers.

If you can meet these thresholds, you may be able to become a partner. This gives you access to features such as memberships, Super Chat and Super Stickers, and merchandise shelf.


YouTube channel memberships come in the form of a monthly fee, and partners often give their members little perks, such as a member badge in the chat and comments. Of course, the perks are usually small—they tend to be more about people supporting quality content than paying for the perks. In other words, your content must be top-notch for people to be willing to pay a monthly fee.

Super Chat and Super Stickers

Super Chat and Super Stickers are perks you can offer to those who want to show some extra support. Plus, it helps them stand out among other subscribers and viewers.

As you can see in the video, Super Chat will highlight the member’s chat during a live stream. It will also pin their messages to the top of the chat as it scrolls. The more the user pays for their Super Chat, the more it will stand out, and the longer it will stay pinned.

Super Stickers allow members to stand out even more. They are animated illustrations that get added to the user’s chat. They’ll also be pinned to their Super Chat as the message reaches the top.

Merch Shelf

You can think of the merch shelf like the table where you can buy t-shirts and hoodies after a concert. Indeed, it allows you to sell branded merchandise, which can be real, physical products people buy to support you even more.

The shelf appears on the video page of eligible channels but may not show on all video pages. Note that just being a partner isn’t enough to have access to the merch shelf: you must have at least 10,000 subscribers.

AdSense Ads

Websites and blogs can earn money with AdSense ads; so, too, can YouTube channels. On YouTube channels, they come in the form of display, overlay, and video ads.

There’s nothing too magical about this one. All you have to do is follow YouTube’s instructions for setting up AdSense for YouTube. You must have an AdSense account that you will associate with YouTube.

Also, as the above link notes, you need an approved AdSense account to become a partner.

Affiliate Links

There are dozens of affiliate networks out there and thousands of affiliate programs. This is a relatively easy one as you can simply place affiliate links in your video description.

Of course, just putting a few affiliate links in your video descriptions probably won’t result in you making thousands of dollars per month. Ideally, you should consistently be creating high-quality content and only using affiliate links that closely align with your brand.

Even then, affiliate revenue can be a bit sporadic, but it can be a nice way to make passive income at times.

Patreon Subscriptions

Another popular way to get paid on YouTube is to set up a Patreon account. You might have heard of Patreon before, but if you haven’t, it’s a way to offer memberships to people who want to support you.

In fact, Patreon has been a great way for creators to monetize their content for a while now. While Patreon is more or less the same as channel memberships, it can be useful when your channel is small and you don’t meet the partnership requirements yet. Plus, if you have content in other places, like a website, Patreon can still make sense. After all, it would make more sense to ask people to support you on Patreon through your website than it would to plug your YouTube membership.

License Your Content

One other way to get paid on YouTube is to license your content. This will likely only be an option if your channel is very popular and/or your content goes viral. If that happens, though, large media outlets may be interested in paying you to license your content.

Have viral content? You can earn some nice cash by licensing it to media outlets.

Be sure you have an easy way for people to contact you on your website as you never know when someone may reach out.

If you do have videos going viral, you can sign up for sites like ViralHog and Storyful. These sites offer an easy way for major media outlets to purchase your content for use. Essentially, it’s an easy way for them to license your content.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to get paid on YouTube. You can become a partner, land sponsorships from popular brands, or have people pay you through a third-party site.

Of course, that’s not to say it’s easy to get paid. You have to consistently create the best content in your niche and build up a following. It can take several months or even years to build up a large enough audience to make a significant income.

Getting paid on YouTube can be a fun way to make money doing something you love. Plus, ever since COVID-19, more and more people have been looking for ways to make money from home.

While it isn’t easy to make money on YouTube, it can be a challenging and rewarding way to make some extra money, or perhaps even a full-time income.

Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I'm a personal finance writer who has been freelancing since 2018. Since then, I've built a six-figure career as a freelance writer. My work has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes Advisor,, USA Today, and many other outlets. Interested in starting a blog of your own? Check out my post on starting a blog.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Victoria A Rolfe

    Thank you! this was very informative. I haven’t started a YouTube channel yet, but have been blogging on frugal living for several years now, and feel that YouTube is probably a logical next step to get the word out! 😄

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