August 24, 2016 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The convenience and far reach of the internet has given millions of people the ability to make a living by monetizing just about any skill, talent or opportunity. But, as is the case with any moneymaking venture, a lot of misconceptions surround certain strategies. Think: YouTube.
Related: How These Four Dads From Utah Quit Their Day Jobs to Make Millions on YouTube
Specifically, you’ll consistently see that platform’s name rise to the top in articles about making money from home. Yet, while you can certainly make money with YouTube, that objective is not usually achieved in the traditional manner everyone wants you to believe.
In fact, to make money from YouTube, you have to dig a little deeper and establish a more sustainable strategy.
The challenges of making money from YouTube
The YouTube myth goes like this: Post some videos, attract viewers and then cash in on revenue generated from ads. It sounds simple and effortless, so that’s the story everyone regurgitates and uses to sell get-rich-quick schemes. However, the reality is that you cannot make a healthy income based on YouTube ad revenue alone.
“Even if advertisers are paying a decent amount to promote their products through video ads, only a portion of their expenditures ever make it into content creators’ pockets,” says entrepreneur Michael Johnston. “For example, if advertisers are paying an average of $20 per 1,000 ad impressions, the videos where those ads are being shown may only generate $2 or $3 per 1,000 views.”
In other words, you’re only going to make a couple of thousand dollars for every million views. And, make no mistake about it, getting millions of views is very challenging. The good news is that YouTube ads aren’t the only revenue-generating opportunities for creative individuals willing to work hard and develop actual business plans.
Alternative solutions for generating YouTube revenue
In order to earn a healthy income from YouTube, stop viewing that platform as a monetize-able medium in and of itself. Instead, think of YouTube as the catalyst. The real way to make money from YouTube is to leverage its massive network. Here’s how:
1. Sell your own goods with Shopify.
Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google? From a marketing point of view, it doesn’t make sense to ignore this massive resource. One of the best money-making opportunities is to use YouTube to sell your own physical products.
Let’s assume that you already have a product to sell. You can set up an ecommerce storefront using a resource like Shopify, then produce videos that fit into your product’s niche. At the end of the videos, you can produce calculated CTAs that funnel traffic to your product landing pages.
There’s obviously a lot more to it than this, but for all intents and purposes, that’s what the conversion funnel looks like. If you have a good product and your videos are simple and engaging, this funnel will work almost every time.
2. Sell premium videos with Yondo.
If your end goal is to actually make money from videos, there’s a far better option than simply relying on your measly allocation of ad revenue. Instead, create a YouTube channel and build an audience. The primary goal is to engage this audience and build a brand name. Then, once you’ve established a reputation, begin driving traffic to your own landing pages where you can up-sell viewers with premium video content.
One of the best ways to do this is by using a solution like Yondo, which lets you create your own store that sells on-demand video content with your own domain. You can sell pay-per-view rentals, monthly subscriptions or anything in between. Best of all, you get to set your price and you don’t have to split revenue down the middle with YouTube.
Related: Here’s Why YouTube Video Creators Are About to Make a Lot of Money
3. Direct traffic to affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing is obviously a hugely popular online money-making opportunity. The issue is that so many affiliate marketers don’t put forth the effort it takes to actually generate a sizable income.
Instead of relying on static blogs to drive people to affiliate links, try creating a lively YouTube channel and using it as the primary catalyst. As the internet continues to move toward video as the primary form of content, you can get ahead of the curve and begin to benefit now.
4. Attract sponsorships.
If you study the most successful YouTubers, you’ll notice the sponsorships and advertisements they have in their video recordings. These deals are opportunities the video-makers have discovered on their own.
The great thing about sponsorships is that you don’t have to give YouTube a cut. Plus, you can negotiate whatever contracts you want based on impressions and the size of your audience. In most cases, the amount of revenue you generate from sponsorships is substantially more than YouTube ad revenue. (Meanwhile, you can still generate ad revenue. So it’s like having two sources of income from the same video.)
5. Transition Into live speaking engagements.
Finally, leverage your YouTube reputation and attract live speaking engagements. If the YouTube channel you produce is focused on a specific niche or audience, do some research about annual conferences or other industry events that have keynote speakers. Then, utilize your YouTube statistics and some of your best clips, to put together a package and pitch to the directors of these events.
Live speaking engagements can be very lucrative. It’s possible to generate thousands of dollars from just an hourlong presentation. So, make sure you’re seeking out these opportunities. and never disregard a chance to grow your audience.
6. Think outside the box.
Can you make real money with YouTube? Absolutely. Are you going to generate a massive income by relying on impression-based ad revenue? Probably not. Instead, you need to identify ways in which you can leverage YouTube’s network to accomplish revenue streams.
Related: YouTube Is a Lousy Place to Make Money
That’s how you can really make money with YouTube.