How to make money on YouTube

If you find yourself sitting around wishing you could find ways to earn some extra cash, YouTube is definitely one avenue to try out, Hamm writes.

Eric Gaillard/Reuters/File
A visitor sits at the YouTube stand during the International Record Music Publishing and Video Music Market in Cannes in this January 2012 file photo. Hamm offers a guide for turning your passion into income on YouTube.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I had an chance to spend some time with my oldest nephew, who has really impressed me lately with the mature young man he’s becoming. He works hard, has a good attitude, values his family greatly, and has an obviously strong relationship with a young woman who seems quite nice (though I don’t know her well).

One thing you’ll figure out about my nephew if you spend much time around him is that he has an intense passion for the outdoors and for hunting – and he excels at it.

Ask him about his successes at hunting and he can show you a large catalog of photographs and tell you a lot of great stories.

Ask him how he does it and he can tell you tons of little tactics and tricks for finding good locations, coaxing animals to come his way, and how to know when to move to a new position. He can tell you how to train for hunting in the offseason and many, many other little tidbits. 

I’ll be the first to admit that hunting isn’t my thing, but it is really impressive when you’re around someone who is both skilled and passionate about something.

Since then, my mind has been working on ways in which he could earn some side money from hunting without a whole lot of effort. I don’t think he should commit to turning hunting into a side business, but there are quite a few things he could do to earn a few dollars on the side from his hunting expertise.

Simply put, I believe he should start a YouTube channel for hunting tips and hunting videos.

I started writing a guide for him on how to do it (and what to reasonably expect from it), but I realized that this would make a fantastic post for The Simple Dollar, so I’m sharing it here.

What’s a YouTube Channel and How Can You Make Money From That?
I’m assuming that we all know that Youtube is a place to watch all kinds of online videos. I use it all the time to watch music videos and also watch instructional videos, among other things.

A Youtube channel is simply all of the videos produced by a given user. If you see a video that’s been made by someone interesting and click on their name, you’ll jump to their channel and you can view the other videos made by that person or even subscribe to those videos.

Some people build up really successful Youtube channels, with lots of viewers. They do this by making videos that are consistently entertaining and/or consistently useful. When I look at my subscriptions on Youtube, though, the vast majority of my subscriptions are video series that are useful to me in some way, though they might also be entertaining.

How does one make money at this? Once you set up a Youtube channel, you can elect to have small ads shown on your videos, and they pay you for those ads. Based on my own experience, an independent new person can make about $2 per 1,000 views on their videos as a whole.

$2 may not seem like much, but it adds up in a very subtle way. Let’s say you manage to make 200 videos over the course of a year, and each of those videos gets 5 views a day on average. That’s 1,000 views right there, so there’s $2 in your pocket. That $2 happens whether you’re actively doing anything or not. You just earn it.

In other words, the effort of a Youtube video often doesn’t translate straight into income. When you make them, you don’t usually earn much of anything up front, but once you upload it, the earnings slowly trickle in.

It’s slow at first. Let’s say you make one interesting video a week, and each video you upload gets an average of 5 views a week. Your first week, you’ll get five views. You might earn a penny. Your second week, each video gets five views – that’s ten views, so maybe two pennies. (That’s on average – you might not earn anything the next few weeks).

But let’s say your channel becomes popular and you have 500 videos up there that each get an average of 50 views a day, and you earn $2 per 1,000 views. That’s 25,000 views a day – you’re earning $50 a day just from your videos.

In other words, this is a great way to build up some side income pretty easily – but it works best if you’re just making videos of something you’re already passionate about.

If you’re already passionate about something, making a video is often just a matter of turning on the camera for a while, talking about and showing something about your passion, then uploading the video. Sure, you can get into editing and all that, but it’s the mix of passion and something remotely useful that often turns a video into one that will get substantial views.

So, how can he get started?

Getting Started
First, come up with some video ideas. Do you want to show off a particular hunting tactic and explain how it works? Do you want to make video of a hunt? Do you want to talk about gear? Do you want to talk about preparation? Do you want to tell a story about a great hunt (make sure you have some visuals if you want to do this)? All of these will be things people will watch if it’s entertaining.

Come up with a little list, then make the one that seems the most straightforward to make. Turn on a digital video camera and make a video showing off your tactic or talking about gear or whatever it is you decided to talk about.

Watch it. It’s probably terrible. Ask yourself why it’s terrible.

Then make the video again, striving to fix what’s terrible about it.

You might go back and forth here several times. That’s fine. You’ll get a little better each time.

Eventually, you’ll get one that’s not bad. Go with it.

First thing: sign up for Youtube and allow ads to be shown on your videos. Create a channel and give it a name such as “Hunting Tips and Tactics by Trent.” Then, upload your video and give it a title so that people who are searching for things related to your video will find it. Give it a name like “Trent’s guide to essential whitetail deer hunting gear.”

Once it’s uploaded, send a link to the video to your friends to get it started.

It won’t get a lot of views at first. You might earn a few cents, and that might seem disheartening. Stick with it.

Make another video. Upload that one to your channel with a good title. Then make another one. And another one. Dig into every idea you have. Make a video of how to clean a gun properly or how to maintain your bow. Make a video where you show people how to find a good spot to hunt.

Don’t worry about talking about obvious things. Mix the obvious things in there with some more subtle stuff. Remember, there will be complete beginners who will watch your video and they’re not going to know anything at all. At the same time, you’re going to have experienced hunters watching, so you’ll want some material for them, too.

Give it time. Keep making videos. I find that making videos and writing articles really helps me think about the thing I’m doing, and it usually ends up making me better at that thing. Writing articles for The Simple Dollar made me more mindful about my finances and helped me figure out new things or how to do old things better. Making these videos will improve you as a hunter because it will make you think about the details more. So, even if you never make much money at this, you’ll get better at your passion because of the effort you put into breaking it down and explaining it.

Don’t worry if you’re not good at presenting, either. Just walk through the steps calmly and focus onshowing what you’re doing. Learn how to use a simple video editor and delete the weak parts.

Eventually, you’ll find yourself waking up one morning and you’ll have earned several dollars while you’re asleep. You’ll have people who enjoy your videos and look forward to new ones, meaning you’ll get a big burst of views when you upload a new one.

You can put as much time into this or as little time into this as you want, but if you find yourself sitting around wishing you could find ways to earn some extra cash, this is definitely one avenue to try out.

Good luck!

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