How to start a successful YouTube business in 2021
Written by: Dexxter ClarkYouTube can serve as a business model itself, or can be an extremely powerful lead magnet for your existing business.
Both can be extremely lucrative in 2021, if done the right way.
In this article I’ll dive into the best practices and how to make money with your YouTube channel.
Having a YouTube channel is the smart thing to do if you want to sell a product to the whole world.
In the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki, the author talks about assets and liabilities on the balance sheet of a company.
Assets put money in your pocket and liabilities takes money out of your pocket. The rich acquire assets, the poor acquire liabilities Robert says.
Assets are things like stocks, real estate and royalties.
Liabilities are things like debt (credit card, mortgage) and for a company: staff.
A YouTube channel is the perfect example of an asset.
As with most assets Robert Kiyosaki talks about, they require an investment and most people are just too lazy or scared to put in the time, effort or money.
But those who do invest will find out that YouTube is a goldmine for generating warm leads.
I talked in this article about the two types of videos: short and long lifespan videos.
I said that that evergreen content (long lifespan videos) are just the smart thing to do, here’s why:
A short lifespan video is a liability.
You need to keep investing time and money (staff and material) to keep producing content that earns you money.
An evergreen video is an asset.
It is still relevant in a year.
The time and money you invested keeps paying you money, be it via ads or selling your product.
The content will eventually pay for itself when you earn your investment back. After that it’s “free”.
But that “free” still generates money for you.
The same thing applies to sponsorships, you can charge more for evergreen content than short term content.
I probably go a bit fast in those last paragraphs.
Mr. Kiyosaki devoted a whole book to the topic of liabilities and assets topic to explain it.
That’s probably a bit much for the scope of this article.
I suggest you read “Rich dad, Poor dad” (view on Amazon) if you like to know more, I book changed my vision on money entirely.
Multiple YouTube channelsIf you choose to make a business out of YouTube, consider having multiple channels in the future so you have more than one egg in your basket.
People that say that there always should be only one YouTube channel.
I strongly disagree, don’t bet with “money” you can’t afford to lose.
Having one channel leaves you vulnerable, you don’t own YouTube and have no say in what happens in the future with YouTube.
You have to subject yourself to the graces of YouTube and their algorithm.
You wouldn’t be the first to lose a channel, because the algorithm all of a sudden “decides” not to promote you anymore.
You also wouldn’t be the first who’s account got hacked.
You also wouldn’t be the first to get a copyright strike that leads to channel termination. It takes only 3 strikes in a library of 10.000 videos to lose your channel.
This can be as simple as an innocent copyright dispute with a record label that yesterday allowed you to use a song, and today the boss of the label wants a new Ferrari.
If you have only one channel YouTube can take away all your revenue in one single moment.
Make sure you have other revenue streams to support you, like selling a product online that also gets you leads via Google or Facebook.
Always make a backup of your videos, in the worst-case scenario, you “only” have to re-upload them to a new channel.
Multiple channels can be multiple YouTube channels, but also multiple social media to cross pollinate each other.
Your YouTube channel can pollinate your email list, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and your website, but also the other way around.
If you build an entire ecosystem around your channel then you can “fall”, but instead of breaking a leg you only bleed.
It still hurts, but you are quicker back on your feet.
Let’s take a look at two YouTube channels which cross pollinate each other:
A technology channel that makes 10 minutes videos with reviews, explaining tech problems and building computers.
The second channel is a tech news channel.
The same hosts can appear of the second channel, which creates familiarity.
The video format of both channels is wildly different, but they serve the same audience.
The channels can refer to each others channel to gain subscribers for the other channel.
If one channel goes down, the other lives.
I always recommend starting with one channel, see how it goes, learn and try to be successful.
Later create the second channel.
If you want to sell your product, your videos still need to provide value for the viewer.
The principle of reciprocity applies: give value and you will receive value in return.
I don’t recommend turning you videos into commercials, they tend not to be successful.
If you still want to do it, do it in a responsible ratio of videos, like one in five.
In four videos you give value, in one video you target only the sale of your product.
If you only upload commercials to your YouTube channel, it won’t be as effective as when you give value.
Also, remember that YouTube doesn’t like when viewers leave the platform, be scarce with hyperlinks in your descriptions.
When you provide value to viewers, it will be one big testimonial for your knowledge. By showing your expertise, you gain trust.
Based on trust, you can sell a product.
A tutorial on how to use the paintbrush in Photoshop has value, selling the digital brushes you use in the tutorials can be your business.
When you talk on your channel about editing videos, you “must be” an expert in the field of video production (in the eyes of the viewer).
For that reason, you can ask four times the fee of a normal video production.
A YouTube channel with tutorials on how to solve problems IT problems.
Those problems are solved with your (software) product.
“How to get found on YouTube”, “how to count your cash register fast”
This is sheer brilliance:
First of all, you show what your product can do.
Second, it is a tutorial on how to use your product.
Your target audience is existing and new customers.
With 100 videos on your channel you have 100 sales pitches that generate warm leads.
How can you make money off YouTube?
- Selling your product - You have a product or make it to sell on YouTube
- Ad revenue - It may not be a lot, but it’s still money.
- Crowd funding - with sites like Patreon or Gofundme
- Merchandise - t-shirts, caps, hoodies, mugs, mobile phone cases
- Digital products - brushes for photoshop, script templates, ebook
- Video courses (outside YouTube) - Use YouTube to tease people enough to buy the full extended tutorials
- Affiliate marketing - Link to products that you mention in your video. For every sale you get a small commission free.
- Sponsorships / brand deals - You can make brands sponsor your videos. I’ll dive into sponsorships in this article including a formula of how much money you can ask.
- Selling coaching/training, support calls - You can ask huge fees for personal support/training calls. The bigger your YouTube channel, the more you can ask.
Ad revenueYouTube advertisement revue has a Cost Per Mile (CPM) of 2 - 25 euro, depending on niche, country that the video is viewed in, how much advertisers are willing to pay for ads in the auction, the video topic and target audience.
A video viewed in India will earn you less, than a video viewed in the United States.
A video with a teenage audience will earn you less, than a video with a 40+ age audience.
Some videos on the same channel will have a higher CPM than others.
Videos with a wide target audience (gaming, vlogging, comedy, entertainment etc.) in general will have lower CPM than a targeted audience (video editing, computer programming, photo editing, music production tutorials etc.).
You only get payed if viewers click on the ad, not when viewing the ad.
So if the ad campaign of the advertiser is bad, you will earn less.
You can regard ad revenue on evergreen videos as passive income.
Passive income is work that you have to put in once and get paid over and over for.
More about evergreen videos in this article.
When you have ten videos, which earn you 50 euro a month each, that will earn you 500 euro.
When you make video number eleven, it will earn you 50 dollars more the next month, so 550 euro.
Views and CPMs are highly inconsistent and rise and fall all the time, so it’s not so straight forward as the picture I’ve painted here.
What I’m trying to say is that, don’t look at the 600 euro that one video generated for you over it’s lifetime.
Look at the monthly earnings of all your videos together on your channel.
This pays your salary.
Regretfully earnings of ad revenue are abominable.
Let’s assume a CPM of 2 euro, 100,000 views a month will earn you only 200 euro.
Based on 100,000 views: when you sell a T-shirt in the video and 1% of your audience will buy a t-shirt for 3 euro in affiliate revenue, you make with those same 100.000 views: 3000 euro!
When I reached 100.000 views a month on my first channel, I had no business model in place to cash in on that success.
That was a missed opportunity!
How to make more money with YouTube
Longer videosTo increase ad revenue, try to make longer videos.
If your video is longer than ten minutes, you can add mid-roll ads.
Also you can add an ad at the end of your video.
Ads at the end of your video are disabled by default.
Sometimes I make compilation videos to increase discoverability, watch time and ad revenue.
Add extra adsAdd an extra ad in your most popular videos.
Off course, don’t overdo it, there is something like too many ads.
Targeted adsMake sure that “display targeted ads” for your audience is enabled in your YouTube settings.
Targeted ads will help to increase CPM.
Advertisers are willing to pay more per ad on a targeted audience.
Fourth quarterThe fourth quarter of the year is the most lucrative period for a YouTuber, especially around Christmas when everyone has time off from work and is able to watch more YouTube.
The CPMs much are higher in the fourth quarter.
If you increase the amount of new content published in that period, you can make an extra buck.
If you publish a video once a week, look if you can double that.
If you publish 3 times a week, see if you can do it daily.
If you are looking to take it a step further with YouTube as a business model, check out my article: The golden YouTube business triangle.
If you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my YouTube e-book.
The book takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a YouTube channel.
How to get more views, subscribers, make money with YouTube, go viral ... and much more.
Click here for more information about my YouTube e-book: "What Big Tubers Don't tell you"
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Content creator / YouTuber
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Content creator / YouTuber
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