Discover how to become a YouTuber with our guide. Learn to create, upload, engage, and turn your passion into a successful freelance career.
If you’re ready to trade your 9-to-5 for a creative and fulfilling career, YouTube might be just what you need. When you work on YouTube, your office is anywhere with wifi, you answer only to your community, and you can create content about anything that interests you — it’s a win-win-win scenario.
This comprehensive guide explains how to become a YouTuber and turn your passion into a paycheck. Learn how to join the world’s largest video-sharing platform and discover strategies for standing out. You’ll learn how to create engaging content, build a community, and (hopefully) go viral.
What is a YouTuber? 📹
A YouTuber films and uploads videos to the YouTube platform. As a type of content creator, this role requires strategic thinking, audience engagement, channel management, and self-promotion. A YouTuber can be a video blogger (vlogger), educator, entertainer, or reviewer — the platform caters to many different niches.
According to the YouTube algorithm, metrics such as view count, subscriber count, likes, and audience interaction are indicators of success, but engagement isn’t the only reward YouTubers seek. The platform is a creative outlet and tool of expression for many — a full-time or part-time job for others. Creating content on YouTube lets you explore your passion while connecting with global audiences.
How much does a YouTuber make? 🤑
YouTube’s compensation structure for content creators and freelancers varies. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when calculating YouTubers’ earnings, as it fluctuates based on niche, audience size and engagement, content quality, advertising, and monetization strategies. Some YouTubers earn income as a side hustle, while others have become millionaires.
YouTubers have several avenues to make money, often using a combination of methods simultaneously. Here are six common strategies:
- Ads: Most YouTubers earn money from advertisements played before and during their videos. First, they must join the YouTube Partner Program, which approves channels to earn revenue from video advertisements.
- Crowdfunding: Some YouTubers request financial support from followers via crowdfunding platforms, such as Patreon or Kickstarter (often in exchange for perks or merch). This money supports the channel as a whole or funds specific content.
- Branding merchandise: Eligible YouTube channels can showcase their official merchandise, such as keychains and T-shirts, directly under their videos. Others include a link to their merch store in video descriptions.
- Licensing: If a YouTuber’s content is particularly newsworthy, media outlets and television networks might pay to license the footage.
- Brand deals: Chances are, you’ve heard of sponsored content. Brands frequently pay YouTubers to promote their products or services in a video.
- Affiliate marketing: Similar to influencer marketing, YouTubers can partner with brands to sell products or services through an affiliate link. The YouTuber earns a commission every time someone purchases a product using their affiliate link.
10 steps to become a YouTuber 🎞️
So you want to become a YouTuber? Achieving success requires more than a great idea; you’ll need planning, video editing skills, page optimization, creativity, and more. Follow these 10 steps to start your YouTube journey:
- Choose a topic: What are you passionate about? Consider what you love and how it might align with your potential audience’s needs and wants, from technology reviews to cooking, travel, or gaming.
- Set up a YouTube account: If you’re wondering how to create a YouTube account, navigate to the YouTube website and click ‘Sign In’ at the top right. Click “Create Account” and follow the prompts.
- Consider your objective: Define what you want to accomplish as a YouTuber. Do you want to have fun while educating viewers, or do you want to become an influencer and earn an income from your videos?
- Research your competitors: The competition is stiff on social media. Keep tabs on your competitors’ methods to see what works, what doesn’t, and how you can differentiate yourself.
- Brainstorm and plan your content: Regular releases are critical to keeping audiences engaged on YouTube, so keep the creative juices flowing and outline a content calendar.
- Invest in high-quality equipment: Video quality can significantly impact the growth of your audience. Work within your budget to choose a suitable camera, microphone, editing software, and lighting set-up.
- Optimize your page: Add a compelling banner, an engaging name and description (with relevant SEO keywords), and attention-grabbing thumbnail images to make your channel visually appealing and informative.
- Start creating content: It’s time to shoot, edit, and upload your first YouTube video! Take your time and note any bumps along the way to help smooth out your process.
- Monetize your YouTube channel: If you want to make money, explore ways to monetize your channel as it grows. As noted, options for generating income include sponsored videos and the YouTube Partner Program.
- Engage with your community: Respond to comments, create interactive posts in the Community Tab, answer questions on your channel, and share your videos across your website and social media platforms. Boost your channel by asking for new subscribers and track your performance via YouTube Analytics.
What is the YouTube Partner Program? 🤝
Although you don’t have to join the program to earn money, the YouTube Partner Program is the best way to access unique YouTube features. It unlocks income streams like ad revenue, channel memberships, and the merchandise shelf.
Joining the program is a game-changer, but you must meet specific criteria to be approved. These criteria include having at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the previous year. If you meet these standards, you can submit an application for review and approval by YouTube.
Here’s how to join the YouTube Partner Program:
- Create a Google AdSense account: You’ll receive all YouTube ad revenue through Google AdSense, which matches ads to your channel based on your content.
- Learn more about YouTube’s monetization options: The YouTube Partner Program offers an impressive range of income sources, each with its own eligibility requirements. They include the following:
- YouTube Premium: This automatic income stream gives you a percentage of YouTube Premium members’ fees when they watch your videos.
- Advertisements: To earn from ads on YouTube, your channel must offer non-controversial content, and you must be at least 18 years old.
- Merchandise: If you’re over 18 and have a minimum of 10,000 subscribers, you can sell merchandise directly via your YouTube channel.
- Channel memberships: If you’re over 18 and have over 30,000 subscribers, you can offer memberships to your viewers, which often include special content and perks.
- Super Chat: If you’re over 18 and live in a country where Super Chat is available, viewers can pay to highlight their messages during your live streams.
- Abide by YouTube’s policies and community guidelines: Content creators in the YouTube Partner Program are held to higher standards. You must always comply with YouTube’s Community Guidelines, the YouTube Partner Program’s policies, and copyright laws.
Your journey to YouTube success starts here ⚡
Becoming a successful content creator on YouTube takes creativity, talent, and persistence. From YouTube Shorts to the Community Tab and beyond, there are endless ways to reach your audience. Every successful YouTuber started just where you are now — with passion and an idea — so why not start your journey today? For insight into the tools, knowledge, and mindset you need to succeed, browse our blog. To find work as a freelancer offering YouTube content creation services, promote your skills on Contra, the commission-free platform for Independents.