These days, home videos have become more than just a hobby — they can be a lucrative way to make a living.
By creating educational, entertaining, or even mundane content and sharing it online, many regular folks have become self-made celebrities — with a few getting paid in the millions.
These video creators leveraged their growing audiences — earning through ads and affiliates, collaborating with brands, selling merch, and more.
The good news?
You can too. Making money with video content doesn’t require any special skills or equipment — people have literally started with their phone cameras and far less.
In this guide, you will learn how to make money on YouTube. You’ll also learn:
- What To Expect When You're Expecting $ From Your Videos
- Making Money With Videos: 6 Ways To Generate Revenue
- Making Money With Videos: Choosing a Channel for Original Content
- Making Money With Videos: What Else You Need
- Final Thoughts: Making Money With Video
What To Expect When You're Expecting $ From Your Videos
It can be exciting to begin a new career, and content creation is no different.
Many may expect to be making tens of thousands of dollars off their first videos without realizing the truth — it’s hard work.
During the first few days, you’ll have to do things by yourself to keep expenses low. Doing everything yourself keeps things personal but also slows down video production. If you want to create more videos, you’ll need an editor or team to help you with tasks like:
- Shooting and editing videos
- Thinking of new concepts
- Growing your audience
Besides buying new equipment, getting video editing software (if you don't already have it), and licensing images and music, hiring a team will incur additional costs — so watch out for that.
If you plan on being consistent, you’ll earn back the cost — especially if you start now. The global digital content creation market is still growing and is expected to exceed $16 billion by 2025.
The most common way of making money with online videos is through ad revenue. Video platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion pay out commission when videos reach a certain number of views.
Influencer Marketing Hub estimates that YouTube pays content creators an average of $3-5 per 1,000 views for ad placement on their videos. It may not sound like a lot, but it definitely adds up. Once you gain a following, obtaining viewers will become easier, but that aspect can be challenging in the beginning.
Some of the most prolific YouTubers today suggest focusing on creating quality content and releasing videos on a schedule for the first year.
Focusing on monetization early on can be career-killing in the content creation world. Doing so can cause you to lose momentum when the view count isn't what you expected.
Making Money With Videos: 6 Ways To Generate Revenue
Ad placement isn’t the only way to generate revenue.
Many content creators see a benefit in diversifying their earning methods, often taking part in multiple sources of revenue.
Below are just a few examples of different sources of income when it comes to making money with videos online.
1. Create Original Content
Content creators often earn through ad placements on their original content — but that’s not the only way they can monetize it.
For example, brands can contact creators serving a specific target market to sponsor videos. Brands pay creators to promote their product on the video. For brands wondering how to increase sales online, sponsored videos are the answer.
You may have come across videos sponsored by Skillshare, Audible, or Blue Apron — those are ways brands are using videos effectively.
Creating original content also gives creators a chance to build their personal brand. From there, brands can reach out for opportunities like speaking gigs, guestings, sponsored trips, and more.
2. Sell Stock Footage Online
Stock photography has been a lucrative revenue stream for photographers, but did you know there’s also a growing demand for stock footage online?
Individuals and organizations use stock footage for multiple purposes, such as creating original content or putting together presentations. If you enjoy shooting footage and editing, this is another lucrative way to be making money with videos too.
There’s no shortage of online platforms to sell your footage, but one of the most popular websites for this is Shutterstock. Thousands, if not millions, of people visit Shutterstock every day looking for stock photos and video footage to use. Shutterstock pays contributors anywhere between 15-40% in commissions.
3. Join Partner Programs
Media platforms offer partnership programs, and so do companies and brands looking to reach out to the audiences of multiple content creators.
Partnerships act as a mutually beneficial relationship between a content creator and a brand.
In some partnerships, a company may aid in video production in return for the creator promoting the partnered company. In others, a brand may give products to the creator in exchange for them providing a review or using the item in a video.
Partnerships with other brands and companies is a great way to earn extra revenue or, at the very least, offset some of the costs associated with making videos.
4. Do Product Reviews
Doing product reviews is one of the most popular ways to make money with video.
Consumers prefer gathering the opinions of other verified buyers when making a purchase, and video reviews let them do that. Product reviews provide visible insights and direct feedback from individuals using the item, enabling the consumer to make more informed buying decisions.
Product reviews are also a great way for content creators to earn money through affiliate programs. Creators link to the company’s page and earn a small percentage for every user that uses their link to purchase an item.
For example, Nexcess has a generous affiliate program for web hosting.
5. Sell Merch
Another way to diversify your earnings as a content creator is by selling merch (merchandise) related to your brand.
That can be highly lucrative if you have great designs and a decent-sized following of people willing to buy items related to your brand.
In a nutshell, you need to:
1. Find suppliers.
2. Build an ecommerce store.
3. Market your merch through social media or by promoting it in your videos.
If you’re looking for a platform to sell merch, Nexcess StoreBuilder empowers you to create an online store in 10 minutes.
6. Create a Subscription Site
Another way video creators make money online is by creating subscription or membership sites. Those sites put premium content behind a paywall, meaning viewers will have to pay a subscription fee to access the content.
It’s a great way to earn additional revenue, especially if you provide information-based content. For example, TikTok’s Miss Excel started out by providing free Excel tutorials on Twitter. Now, she offers more in-depth courses on her website.
There are various platforms to build a subscription site on. We recommend WordPress for its flexibility and ease of use. When starting a subscription site, be sure to optimize WordPress for rich media so you can embed videos.
Making Money With Videos: Choosing a Channel for Original Content
Now you know the various ways creators are making money with videos, the next step is choosing a platform (or platforms) that makes the most sense for your goals and intended audience to give you the best chance of discovery.
Here are a few platforms with great monetization options:
With over 14.3 billion monthly visits, YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world.
While YouTube has tons of monetization features for content creators, it’s best known for paying out creators using AdSense, where income is based on number of ad views. The platform pays users at least $3-5 per 1,000 views, so the more views your video has, the more you can earn.
If you haven’t heard of Patreon yet, chances are you will soon.
Content creators who have gained a following often use Patreon to gate premium content. And loyal fans who subscribe pledge a certain amount each month to access it. Patreon charges creators between 5-12% in fees.
If you can convince your followers that your premium content is worth it, this platform can be extremely lucrative, providing you with recurring monthly income from your supporters.
TikTok is a platform where users make short videos that are discoverable from a video feed once they open the app.
It’s a fantastic platform to gain followers and increase sales — especially if you're targeting Gen Z audiences. Brands like Kylie Cosmetics and Glossier are using TikTok for ecommerce.
TikTok put all its monetization features into its Creator Next platform, which gives creators tools and features to grow their communities. Its features include:
- TikTok Creator Fund: Similar to YouTube, TikTok pays creators to place ads in or on your video. Rates vary depending on different factors, but it starts at 2-4 cents per 1,000 views. If you have a video with a million views, you earn $20-40.
- TikTok Creator Marketplace: It is the official platform for brand and creator collaborations. Brands can browse the marketplace to find creators for their next campaign.
- LIVE and Video Gifts: Like Reddit awards, fans can give creators video gifts, which are convertible to cash.
- Tips: Fans can also send creators tips, similar to YouTube’s Tip Jar.
Like Instagram, TikTok has become a social commerce platform that allows creators to sell directly on the platform via TikTok shops.
Making Money With Videos: What Else You Need
Now that you’ve learned how to generate income using video and the platforms you can use to do it, here are a couple of things you need to do to ensure people watch your videos. After all, how will you make money with videos if people don't know your videos exist?
Market To Target Audiences
The best way to build an audience is to market your channel to people who will most likely be interested in your content.
Some ways to do that are to:
- Create useful and relevant content: What does your audience usually search for? What do they want to know? Create content centered around those themes.
- Use SEO-optimized titles for videos: YouTube is one of the world’s biggest search engines, and Google returns YouTube videos as results on search engine pages.
- Use targeted advertising: If you have the extra funds, platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok let you promote your content to a specific audience.
- Offer giveaways and referrals: Giveaway mechanics often involve sharing your account to the participants’ audiences, which is a great way to gain new followers.
- Do collaborations: YouTube collaborations are popular for a reason — besides serving as content, they give creators access to each other’s audiences.
Build a Social Media Presence
Another way to market to different audiences is to build a social media presence on multiple platforms.
Generally, Boomers are often on Facebook, millennials are on Instagram, and Gen Z is on TikTok. You could have a potential audience on Facebook but wasted the opportunity because you don't have a presence there.
Here are some tips for building a social presence to market your videos:
- Engage with your followers: They’ll be more likely to watch your videos and recommend content when they feel you're a friend.
- Share your video on multiple platforms: If you're on YouTube, create a teaser for TikTok or Instagram Reels, share the video link to Twitter, your Facebook feed, or Facebook group.
- Add share buttons to your video: Ask your audience to share the video.
- Use hashtags to help your content be found.
Final Thoughts: Making Money With Video
Making money with video can be a lucrative career for anyone with a smartphone and enough discipline to release content on a regular schedule.
You don't need a large audience to start making money with video — there are multiple ways to monetize your channel and online presence.
When you start growing a following, it’s best to build your own website.
When you post on video platforms like YouTube and TikTok, you're at their mercy. Should the algorithm change, you have to adjust to get the same number of views. And if someone reports you or they think you violated their terms of service, they can remove your video.
All that hard work down the drain.
On the other hand, a website is steady and completely yours. You can control what to put on it, and it will be there unless you take it down.
The good news is, you can build a website without coding knowledge. Nexcess’ StoreBuilder lets you build a fully-functional WordPress site in minutes with intuitive drag-and-drop tools. Enjoy powerful hosting, ecommerce functionality, and world-class support in an affordable plan.
If you're ready to build a website that also supports ecommerce functionality, try Nexcess’ StoreBuilder today.