How Long Does It Take to Make Money on YouTube?

Apr 21, 2020


A big focus has been put on how much money people have been making creating YouTube videos over the last few years. Due to this, the focus has shifted from being on the content creation side of things to the money side of things.

I am often asked: how long does it take to make money on YouTube? In this article, I'll provide an answer to this question, along with some realistic expectations for people looking to earn money from YouTube.

When Can You Start Making Money on YouTube?

We all know it's possible to earn money on YouTube, but when can you start making money on YouTube? Are there certain requirements that need to be met? Ultimately, what determines when you can start making money with your YouTube videos is your method of monetization.

In 2019, YouTube introduced guidelines that affected people's ability to monetize their videos with Google AdSense. In years past, you could begin to monetize your videos with AdSense immediately. After the changes made in 2019, however, you now need to meet a threshold in order to monetize YouTube videos with AdSense.

Is AdSense the Only Way to Make Money on YouTube?

Often times, when people think about earning money on YouTube, they think about earning AdSense revenue. As I just mentioned, there is now a threshold that needs to be met in order to monetize videos with Google AdSense. So, this begs the question- is AdSense the only way to make money on YouTube? The answer to this question is no!

Content creators have started to wake up to the fact that there are many different monetization options available. In fact, content creators are starting to realize that more money can actually be made through avenues other than AdSense!

Affiliate Marketing

The best monetization option (in my opinion) for channels in non-traditional niches such as gaming, vlogging, etc is affiliate marketing.

With affiliate marketing, you essentially earn a commission every time someone purchases a product using your affiliate link. Affiliate products that are sold are typically physical or digital products, but some people recommend services as well.

Why do I believe affiliate marketing is the best monetization option for channels in non-traditional niches? Simply put, you can earn a lot more money, faster with affiliate marketing, than you can with AdSense.

Instead of waiting to reach the threshold for AdSense, then needing to get a significant number of views on your videos, all you need is a single person to make a purchase using your affiliate link. For example, in order to earn $40.00 with AdSense, you'll usually need to get anywhere from 4000 to 40,000 monetized views. To earn $40.00 with affiliate marketing, all you need is a single person to purchase a product with your affiliate link- the number of views you get is irrelevant!

Overall, affiliate marketing is a great option for people looking to make money on YouTube. There's no threshold that needs to be met, meaning you can start affiliate marketing with 0 views and 0 subscribers if you want to. Also, you can earn significantly more money selling affiliate products then you would by monetizing your videos with AdSense as a small channel.

Brand Deals

Another great monetization option for content creators on YouTube is brand deals. Brand deals are essentially sponsored partnerships, where a brand pays a content creator to bring awareness to their brand or product. Popular brand deals consist of mobile apps, websites, and physical products.

The biggest downfall when it comes to brand deals is the barrier to entry. Much like with AdSense, in order to attract the attention of brands, you need to have a sizeable audience. You can get brand deals with a small channel, but oftentimes the exchange consists of a free product for the content creator, rather than a payment of money.

Ultimately your goal should be to combine brand deals with another monetization option, such as affiliate marketing or AdSense. Brand deals are a great source of supplementary income. This is due to the fact that they are fairly non-intrusive for YouTube audiences. They can also be incredibly organic.


Merchandise has been a popular monetization option for content creators for years now. Believe it or not, selling merchandise has a pretty low entry barrier. With so many print-on-demand (POD) websites like Spreadshirt, sourcing and selling merch is very easy.

Something that irks me when it comes to merchandise, however, is when people don't put any effort into designing decent-looking clothing, etc. Everybody has different clothing tastes and standards, but many merch designs aren't suitable for wearing out in public. So, if you ever choose to create merchandise, please actually put effort into designing good products.

When it comes to merch, the potential for earnings is dependant on the price and quality of your products, along with your marketing capabilities. There are countless examples of content creators earning a significant amount of money through merch sales. However, many people struggle to sell their merch because again, they aren't offering a high-quality product.

Overall, much like with brand deals, merchandise should ideally be sold in tandem with affiliate products and/or Google AdSense.

How Easy Is It to Make Money on YouTube?

Okay, so you now know that there are a variety of different ways to earn money on YouTube. But how easy is it to make money on YouTube?

The ease at which you make money on YouTube will depend on a few things. These things consist of your monetization method(s) of choice, your skills, and your work ethic. In fact, this is where many people get mixed up when it comes to YouTube monetization and money-making.

You see, many people who make money on YouTube have pre-existing expertise. Meaning, they have marketing experience and skills. Many "gurus" who create YouTube courses fail to mention this. This leads to unrealistic expectations on the part of the individual with no skills.

The barrier to entry is low for most monetization options. This make it quite easy to try to make money on YouTube. However, like with most things, if you don't practice (learn skills) and you aren't consistent, it will not be easy for you to make YouTube money.


You now know the answer to the question: how long does it take to make money on YouTube? With the right combination of monetization methods, along with some marketing skills and a strong work ethic, making money on YouTube is entirely possible. It may take some time, but if you stick it out, YouTube can become a great income source for you and/or your business.

Daniel James
Hi there! I’m Daniel, the founder, and CEO of Tubefluence. I help businesses and influencers utilize the power of YouTube marketing to grow an audience and generate leads.
TubeRanker offers the ultimate toolset for Creators & Marketers to optimize their videos against the YouTube algorithm and rank higher in YouTube & Google searches and recommendation engines.
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