Many people see YouTube as a way to generate supplemental income; the perfect side hustle that pays you while you sleep. The reality is that you need to put in some serious work and be covering a topic people are interested in, before you can expect to generate any income at all.
With that being said, we got our answer by listening to an actual small, mildly successful part-time YouTuber with around 13,000 subscribers, Don from Affordable Desert Living, describes his YouTube income journey. After all, before we aim to be the next billion dollar YouTube brand like Mr. Beast or Dude Perfect, we should understand what ordinary but successful YouTubers can expect to make.
Affordable Desert Living started generating income in October 2020 and between that time and November 2022, his YouTube videos generated $6892.75. That works out to $6.40 per 1000 views (or 6/10 of 1 cent for each view). This is also called RPM.
The first year income was $1770.89 or $4.15 RPM.
The second year income was $4945.93 or $7.83 RPM.
His best month ever was June 2022 where he made $1220.33. That month he received almost 180,000 views. It was driven by posting his most popular video that month.
You Need an Interesting Topic
Affordable Desert Living is all about low cost, off-grid living and various projects that you can do yourself to improve your property. Examples include installing solar panels, rainwater harvesting, building a driveway, dealing with monsoon storms. So he is sharing really interesting things that he is already involved with, and that are appealing to not only retirees but young people who are seeking to live like this.
You need to ask yourself before you get started, whether your topic is interesting and whether it will be able to attract attention in a sea of other videos out there. You can’t advertise your way to success, either. Your topic and your videos need to have organic appeal where people will find them and subscribe to you on their own.
Number of Videos Per Month
Affordable Desert Living puts out about 4 videos per month. Some make very little money while others are big successes. Sometimes it is unpredictable which videos will succeed.
Minimum Number of Views and Subscribers
You have to have 1000 subscribers to get monetized. So you will not see any income on any of your videos until you have crossed that threshold. There is also a minimum of 4000 watch hours, although the easier thing to shoot for is just getting up to 1000 subscribers.
If you don’t have 1000 subscribers, ads will still come up periodically on your videos, you just won’t be getting any money from them.
Don’t Forget the Equipment
Affordable Desert Living points out that people will click away if the sound quality is bad or if the camera is not stabilized and moving around on the video.
For these reasons, a good YouTube video is typically not recorded on someone’s phone.
Other Income Opportunities
If you start building a fan base, you might find other ways to make money from your YouTube channel. For instance, fans of Affordable Desert Living pointed out that you can have an Amazon Wish List. Don put a wish list together, and he actually received $1800 worth of tools as gifts from his subscribers.