YouTube Money: Is It Worth the Time to Build a Channel?

Over the past year, YouTube has had a rough go. Between the different versions of the “Adpocalypse” and tightening security against nefarious creators, it seems extremely difficult for new creators to become a success on the platform. While making that sweet YouTube money is attractive, is it worth your time?





I’ve been toying with the idea of producing videos for Writer Sanctuary. Mostly to help people like my dad learn how to use WordPress. I admit, I dreamt a few times of being a popular creator. But today, it’ll take far more effort than I might have time for.

Unfortunately, a lot of smaller creators received a bombshell of bad news from YouTube as revenue is essentially ripped away because they don’t have 1,000 subs or their videos are just too short.

YouTube Money and New Creators

Recent events have sparked YouTube to demonetize a lot of channels. In fact, a new threshold for monetization is in effect. For instance, new creators will need at least 1,000 subscribers and maintain 4,000 hours of watch-time within 12 months.

In reality, it takes a long time to achieve such an illustrious goal. For those who want to make it big on the platform, prepare for a rude awakening. It’s highly unlikely you’ll make enough money to quit your day job.

Lack of Views

Google AnalyticsWhen a small channel is created, it takes a long time to reach a certain viewership. Unless you create something that is instantly viral, don’t assume you’ll make that YouTube money inside your first year.

Trending, popularity and competing content makes it exceptionally hard for new creators to get seen on the platform. In essence, they are buried deep in the bowls of the system. Unless you match criteria precisely with a viewer’s search term, don’t expect visibility right off the bat.

Level of Engagement

Creating videos doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have viewers. If you don’t create engaging content, no one will watch. For example, I have more than 20 videos on my health and fitness channel. I probably get one viewer every other day who doesn’t even watch the entire video.

In reality, I guess I’m just not that entertaining. It’s nothing to be ashamed over. Some people have it, others don’t.

Style of Content

Another factor that contributes to making YouTube money is your style of content. On average, most of the news channels I watch on YouTube have far more subscribers than the gaming channels. Gaming channels then have more subscribers than the fitness accounts.

The type of content you create and how you present it will play a major factor in whether or not you make a significant amount of YouTube money.

Time is Money

For many of us, it takes a great deal of time and effort to create a video. If you’re new, all of the work is probably done by yourself. Depending on what you want to create, this could take up a good chunk of your day.

In one instance, I spent more than three hours prepping a five-minute video. If I spent that time on Textbroker, I could have made about $45 or so. Instead, I make nothing on the video because I only have three subscribers – all family.

Realize that until you meet YouTube’s threshold, you’re not going to be paid for your time. Well, at least in traditional YouTube money. There are other ways to monetize your channel. Sponsors, eCommerce and Patreon are only a few.

Understand the Payout

Making Money with AdsenseYouTube uses the Adsense system when paying creators. This means you need to agree to YouTube as well as Adsense to get a payout. For instance, Google will not send money in any particular month if it’s less than $100.

For a small creator, it will take an exceptionally long time to reach $100 in any given month. And according to YouTube, a large portion of small creators don’t even make that in a year.

Which means you’ll need to:

  • Reach 1,000 subscribers
  • Have more than 4,000 hours watch-time in 12 months by your viewers
  • Generate more than $100 before a payout is issued

The truth is it could take more than a year, possibly two, to reach all of these requirements before seeing a dime.

It might be doable for some new creators, but not everyone is going to have the same luck.

So, Is it Worth the Effort to Make a New Channel?

Even though the ad money dried up for new creators, it may still be worth the time you invest. However, this depends greatly on your content and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Personally, I’m getting ready to start a new channel for Writer Sanctuary. I doubt I’ll hit any impressive numbers, but that’s not the purpose. Depending on how you look at it, YouTube is still a good video platform for getting a message across.

Instead of being upset about these changes, perhaps it’s your mindset that should change.

Don’t Rely on YouTube Money

A lot of people start producing videos with the dream of making lots of YouTube money. Back in the day, it was much easier. Today, not so much.

Instead of relying heavily on YouTube Adsense, branch out into other avenues for making money. For instance, Twitch has been expanding rapidly as of late. With a donation button, you cut out the middle-man for income. That is, outside of fees from services like PayPal.

The point is a channel’s income varies on the systems you use. Adsense on YouTube should be viewed as more of an addition than a staple.

In other words, YouTube is the vegetables on your plate. A balanced diet requires a diverse selection of food.

Use the Platform as Marketing

Social MediaFor me, YouTube is used mostly for marketing. Sure, I have a chance to make YouTube money. But the primary purpose in the Writer Sanctuary videos is to help clients and other people who want to learn how to write from home.

Giving my dad a link to watch how to do things in WordPress saves a long phone call. Plus, he can watch them no matter what time it is.

Because videos can easily be shared on social media, YouTube is still a good platform for engaging your audience. For instance, a click of the mouse later and I share my newest video with everyone following me on Facebook.

You can also easily embed videos in websites. Which is what I’ll do with the tutorials I plan on making.

Think of the YouTube money as more of a bonus than a primary source of income. It’s a terrible wake-up call when you realize you quit your job only to see a paltry payout from YouTube, if any at all.

Don’t Aspire to Be a YouTube Celebrity

New creators are far less likely to generate any real popularity in the beginning. In fact, a lot of them will mostly likely give up after a few months of spinning their wheels.

It’s OK to have aspirations. Just don’t rely on making it big. It’ll be a shock when you realize your channel has been up for three years and you still only have three subscribers.

Of course, putting up regular content will make the difference in those numbers. Which is something I’m not all that good at.

A Different Approach

If you still want to give YouTube money a try, make sure you have the right mindset. It may take a very long time to gain any traction, especially thanks to the immense competition on the platform.

I’m not saying that new creators will instantly fail. However, YouTube has made it far more difficult. Don’t throw all your financial eggs in one YouTube basket. Keep yourself diverse and don’t quit your regular job until you’re making the money to sustain your household.

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Michael

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 5,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel.

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