How To Make YouTube Your Full Time Job

By Nic •  Updated: 08/12/17 •  19 min read

I get asked all to frequently how much I make from YouTube, is it enough to live off of, and how do I do it. Well, I think it's time I answer that question. I'm going to be super transparent. I'm going to show you all of the income sources I have that come from my YouTube channel, how much I make from each one, and how you can replicate what I've done. There are hundreds of articles about YouTube content creators, how much money they make, how they make it, and how you can replicate it. The only problem is that these articles are never coming from the creators themselves. They are coming from people on the outside looking in, so it is all speculative and all of those people aren't actually doing it. This article is written by someone who is actually doing it. Making a living off of YouTube. Here is how to make YouTube your full time job. Let's go!

Income Sources

I think we need to start out by analyzing where my income comes from. For this, I am going to be using and analyzing the last full month of income I have received which is August 2016. The interesting thing here is that less than half of my income comes from YouTube advertising. The majority of the income comes from other sources such as affiliate income.

YouTube Advertising

Amount Earned: $1,600.44

This advertising revenue was actually earned in September as earnings with my network, Freedom, are delayed two months. This revenue was earned on 528,322 total views, and as far as monetized views, which are the views I'm actually paid for, I can't give an exact number as I've moved to a managed partnership and lost that information since then. With that being said, it was most likely somewhere around 60% of the total views I get. I'm only paid for monetized views, so that is the number we really want to focus on. As I said, I'm guessing that is somewhere around 60% of my total views or somewhere around 300,000 monetized views. These are the views that I get paid for, and this is what CPM is calculated with also. I do have a much higher percentage of monetized views than other YouTubers. This is for two reasons:

  1. The audience I appeal to doesn't typically use ad-blocker. This is good because of someone is using ad-blocker, their view isn't monetized, and thus, you don't get paid for it. There is a reason that many YouTube content creators are against ad-blockers. This is why. If you are using an ad-blocker, they aren't getting any revenue whatsoever for you viewing their content.
  2. The majority of my views come from PCs. This is important because PC advertisements almost always have higher CPMs than mobile ads. Thus, having the majority of my views, 375,118 of the total view amount, coming from PCs does raise the amount I earn from YouTube advertising. Most creators see an opposite effect where the majority of their views come from mobile devices.

Affiliate Income

Amount Earned: $2,177.78

As you can see, affiliate income earned me $577.34 more than direct YouTube advertising income. This is why building an audience is so important. It allows to you to monetize your channel using outside methods that are more reliable than YouTube advertising as it can be recurring and much more consistent. I make affiliate income from two sources currently, but I do plan on expanding more as I find more products that I like and use to promote. The key here is, however, that you like the products you promote and you actually use them. If those two things aren't true for whatever your promoting, stop promoting it. You're risking sacrificing the trust you've built with your audience. Something that is much more important than money will ever be. With that being said, let's look at where all of this affiliate income comes from.

Game Servers

Amount Earned From Game Servers: $2,162.55

If you're good at math, or just good at looking ahead in articles, you'll see that this made up almost all of my affiliate income. This is because it is super relevant to my audience. I run a Minecraft channel and have videos with over 400,000 views on how to set up a Minecraft server. In which, I specifically promote this affiliate. Thus, my link gets a lot of eyes, and a lot of traffic. These videos are SEO'd perfectly allowing me to actually rank number 3 when you search just “Minecraft Server” on YouTube. You can get more information on how ranking well in search results here.

I do want to mention that I absolutely love Game Server's actual servers. Like I say below, don't promote a product if you don't love it and use it yourself. I tested Game Server's quality, support, and reliability before I even thought about or even checked out their affiliate program, which has changed drastically for the better since I joined. I wouldn't promote their servers if I didn't like them or what they do, and if for some reason that was to change and my relationship with Game Servers deteriorates, I will happily stop promoting them. I do not promote products or companies for that matter that I do not enjoy and use myself. You can check Game Server's affiliate program by clicking here.

Amazon Affiliate/Associates Program

Amount Earned From Amazon: $15.23


With all jokes aside, Amazon Affiliate earnings are extremely variable with peak times coming in December. I've already made $50 from Amazon Affiliate 12 days into December. This income comes from links that I provide in the description of my videos and product reviews. The amount of people that click through and actually purchase a product through your link varies widely, and when you pair that with Amazon's low 4%-8% commissions, I wouldn't rely on Amazon Affiliate for a stable income. The affiliate payout is just way too low, and the randomness of someone buying a product through your link is simply too great. With that being said, it is a good source for a few extra bucks, and you can check out Amazon's Affiliate/Associates program for yourself by clicking this link!

The Total

Total Amount Earned From YouTube: $3,778.22

And there you have it. The number you have all been reading for. The total amount that I made from my YouTube channel through both direct advertising earnings on YouTube and affiliate income. Is it more or less than you expected? Let me know in the comments below this article! I'll be hanging out down there are replying to every comment that is made, so if you have a question, don't be afraid to post it!

With that being said, I do make a livable income off of YouTube. Many, many people do. Many more than you probably even realize. I do want to say, however, this is far from the actual amount of money that I make each month. I have tons of other businesses that bring in quite a bit of income in addition to what I make of off YouTube. My channel is just one of my income streams, and as you can see, it is even made up of a few different sources. Diversification is key when you're making a living from online business.

How I Did It & How You Can Too!

Now, how did I make this happen? How did I, at just 18 years old, make almost $4,000 from YouTube in just one month. Well, there a few ways that I did it, and they can be replicated if you dedicate the time, follow the right plan, and keep working on getting better. Luckily for you, I'm outlining the right plan in this article. I'm going to outline each income stream individually, and tell you how you can replicate it yourself.

Direct YouTube Advertising

This is going to be the hardest thing to replicate as it has thousands of factors. What we're really talking about here is growing a channel, and if you want to do it how I did it, you need to find a niche that has potential but is really underdeveloped in the how-to/tutorial area of YouTube. For me, that was Minecraft. Minecraft was huge, but when it came tutorials, there was no one who was really just knocking it out of the park. There was no one leading the industry and setting the standard. That is what I set out do. Become the best Minecraft tutorial creator in existence. That is something that I feel like I have accomplished. I am at the top of the game when it comes to Minecraft tutorials, and now, I just have to focus on staying there by constantly improving. You need to find a niche/market on YouTube that you enjoy and that needs someone to step in with high-quality content. Attack that market and be the best at it. There a few things that you need to do at first once you find your market. Let's outline those:

  1. Create high-quality content: If you want to be at the top a market, even if it is underdeveloped, you need to create high-quality content. With that being said, what is “high-quality content”? High-quality content is, to me, at least 720p video quality, at least average audio quality, all while providing extreme value in the content itself. If you do those three things, you are, in the minimum form, creating high-quality content. You could add on to this by adding a facecam with a green screen in order to get a personal connection with your audience which, in my opinion, is very important when it comes to building trust and a relationship.
  2. Basic channel improvements: This one is easy. To complete it, all you need to do is get graphics done for your channel, set up playlists and the look of your channel, fill out your channel bio, and add links to your social networks, websites, etc. on your channel's about page. You can get graphics designed on 99 designs or something similar, making a detailed channel page is outlined in sort in this video/article, filling out your channel bio is straightforward and can be done on your channel's about page, and last but not least adding social/website links to your about page is also super easy and can be done, well, on your channel's about page.
  3. Designing recognizable thumbnails for your videos: Thumbnails are a must have if you want to get any traction on YouTube. They add professionalism, and they show that you take YouTube seriously. Also, they aren't hard to create. You can get more information on creative high-quality eye-catching thumbnails by checking out this article.

By doing this, you will start getting views, and that is what you need for direct YouTube advertising revenue. The more views you get them more money you will make from direct advertising revenue on YouTube. There are ways to SEO your videos and have the chance or getting more views on the videos you create. You can get more information on this by clicking here to check out an article on how to grow your channel using SEO in the title, tags, and description of your YouTube videos. I would outline it here, but that would add an additional 1,000 words to this article, which is already pretty freaking long.

With that being said, this is the hardest part of making money on YouTube, and you need views for the rest of this plan to work. You'll also need a niche, so be sure that you have one. Once you master the above paragraphs, the rest really just falls into place. I do want to say though that you don't need thousands of dollars/month coming in from advertising or millions of views to make a living off of YouTube. Since this model focuses on affiliate income as the primary way to generate revenue, the amount of views you need depends on what we talk about next – affiliate income. The higher the amount or percentage you get per sale, the less views you need to make a sustainable income.

Affiliate Income

This is where the money is at. You've got the audience, and companies want the sales. It's simple marketing and it's the best place to be in. You don't put forth the work of creating the product at all. All you do is promote it, and as I have said a ton of times, you should be perfectly fine with promoting it because you should already love and use the product. That is the most important part of affiliate marketing. Only promote products that you use and that you actually enjoy. If you just promote everything, your audience will leave you as they will stop trusting you. Trust with your audience is everything. Moving on, let's get into the logistics of actually building some affiliate income.

Choosing The Affiliate Product

When it comes to choosing the product you are going to promote, it is very important that you don't choose a product that isn't relevant to your niche and the audience you have built. For example, I promote Minecraft servers on a Minecraft based channel. 95% of my uploads are Minecraft, and thus, it just makes sense. With that being said, if I were to randomly start promoting swim ware no one or very few people at the very least would buy it, and for that reason, I wouldn't make anything off of it even if I loved the product. If it's not relevant to your audience it won't sell, so make sure that you find a product that matches your specific niche in addition to you enjoying it and using it.

Marketing The Affiliate Product

Once you've chosen the affiliate product you are going to start promoting, it is time to, well, promote it. This is most likely the most important part of the process for the simple reason of this is where you actually get a sale and make the money. What you're doing here is selling the product you decided to promote. Getting eyes to the product that you are promoting and selling it. There are few ways to do this, but I'm going to list a few things here that you can easily do to start drawing eyes to the product that you are promoting.

  1. Adding the product to your old videos: One way to drive sales to the product you are promoting is by putting it in the description of the videos that it is relevant to. I've sold a few hundred Minecraft servers by simply linking my affiliate link in the description of old videos. I would also recommend adding annotations to old videos that link to the product you are promoting. This has helped me drive a few extras sales, and it should help you do so as well.
  2. Creating new videos: The best and most effective way is to create a new video that features the product you are promoting. You don't want to just feature the product. You want to feature the product in addition to a normal video. Doing a dedicated video almost never does well, and it doesn't SEO well either. You can see an example of how to promote a product without making a dedicated video by clicking here. That is my Minecraft server tutorial in which I don't hard sell the server. All I do is mention it at the beginning and end as an alternative to what I'm showing into the video. It's not a hard sell, but it works.
  3. Product reviews/unboxings: Another great way of drawing traffic to your affiliate product is by simply reviewing it. This is different from a dedicated video about just buying the product because it adds value to the video as it will give people your exact thoughts on it. As I have said tons of time now, you should actually like and enjoy the products you promote regularly, so doing a good review that will get people to buy the product should be no problem. Now, it is important that you be honest. If there is something you don't like, make sure you point it out. Don't hold anything back as again we want to have trust with our audience. Notice I keep mentioning that. It is super important.
  4. Adding links to your descriptions: If you go and look at any video on my channel, there are links to both products that I use in my videos, and Game Servers in the descriptions. This is actually more effective than one might believe. 90% off my Amazon affiliate income comes from the links in the description of my videos, and thus, it is worth mentioning here. Every penny counts, and this is another very easy way that you can make a few extra pennies.

Expanding Your Affiliate Income

After you start seeing some success from affiliate marketing, you'll want to expand it, but it is very important that you don't expand it too quickly. Doing so could result in your audience losing trust in you, and if they lose trust in you, they will stop watching your videos and leave your channel. I would only suggest adding at most one affiliate marketing method per month. This prevents your audience from feeling like they are getting affiliate products shoved down their throat, and it makes sure that you test, use, and actually like the products you promote. If you have to wait a month before you can promote another product, you'll use that product for a month and make sure that you actually like it before promoting it.

Nevertheless, to expand your affiliate marketing income just repeat the above two steps. Choose another affiliate product that you like, use yourself, and actually enjoy, and then, market that product using the methods above: link it in relevant old videos, upload a new video to your channel that soft-sells it, do a review of the product, and add it to the descriptions of new videos. Keep doing this, and the money you make from affiliate marketing will very quickly become much more than what you are making from YouTube direct advertising. You'll also find that affiliate income is much more reliable than YouTube ad revenue as you don't have to worry about things such as fluctuating CPMs.

Additional Options To Make Money on YouTube

Now, while YouTube ad revenue and affiliate marketing worked for me, there are a few other options you may want to consider in order to make some more money from YouTube in order to turn it into a full time job. I' going to go over these in detail below, and I will continue to update them as more and more options appear over time.

Merchandise Sales

Many YouTuber content creators do it, but selling merchandise like t-shirts, hoodies, leggings, and back-packs is an incredible way to make consistent money on YouTube. Everyone from Logan and Jake to Paul to Phillip Defranco use merchandise to fund their channels and create extremely consistent incomes. This is a great monetization method for YouTubers who have an audience that consistently comes back to their channels and watches nearly every video they put out. I would recommend creating merch around your channel and brand. Do you have a slogan? Make a shirt! Something funny happens in your vlog? Create a shirt around it!

There are tons of ways to do this, but the most profitable way is to use an e-commerce platform like Shopify and a custom merchindise dropshipper like Printful. This does require a bit more technical knowledge, but once you get it setup, profiting $10 per every shirt, poster, or even coffee mug you sell isn't crazy. As time goes on and you sell more merch, you'll be able to get better production prices and thus profit more. Selling merchandise has become one of the most common and profitable ways to make money from YouTube videos.


Another great way to make money from YouTube in order to turn into your full time job is through sponsorships. Sponsorships are becoming more and more commonplace on YouTube, and I know content creators who charge $2,500+ for every sponsorship they do on their channel. They typically do about one per week. Now, let me be clear. You will need around 50,000 subscribers before sponsorships become consistently available, and even then, you are probably going to be charging around $100/video, not $2,500.

Still though, sponsorships are a great way to make a little extra money every month, and once you have success with a few companies, they will keep coming back to you again and again and again. A great place to start looking for sponsorships is the Famebit marketplace. That is how I got into sponsored posts on YouTube, and I have built great relationships with companies using that platform.

The Wrap Up

This is everything that you need to know when it comes to how much YouTube content creators can potentially make, and how you can do it yourself and start earning income today from YouTube.

I do want to say, however, this is not easy. I've got a very exact laid out formula here, and it won't be easy to complete nor should it be. YouTube is one of the hardest platforms to grow on and starting it won't be easy, but you can do it. You can make a living off it you just have to be in the “I can do it” mindset. 90% of success is having the mindset for that success. If I didn't have the mindset and didn't truly believe that I could make more money than both of my parents combined at 18 with no college degree, I wouldn't, but since I do have that mindset, I do. If you don't have the right mindset, you will go nowhere not just on YouTube, but in business and life in general. Now get out there and make YouTube your full time job!

While this has worked for me, and I truly believe anyone can do it, it isn't easy. This method is not promised nor guaranteed to work for you. I am providing this as a guide, and for your own review and use. It may not work for you, and if it does work, it will not be easy.


I have been playing and modding Minecraft since 2010. In 2014, I started getting interested in creating Minecraft servers and teaching people how to do it online. This led to thousands of videos covering how to do anything and everything in Minecraft!

Keep Reading