Final Photo Project

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Monetizing Your YouTube Content

For many small YouTube creators, the idea of making money from content creation seems hard to grasp. While you won’t be able to make your YouTube channel into a career like some, it’s still possible to get paid for your efforts. There are more paths for monetizing YouTube content creation than one might initially believe, and the sooner you start thinking about how these monetization models fit with your channel, the better.

Below, I’m going to explore two common monetization models that YouTube creators use. This isn’t to say that these are the only two models that exist, however. If you’ve found a monetization method that you’d like to share, be sure to post about it in the comments section below.

Ad Revenue

Ad Revenue

The simplest and most “official” YouTube monetization model is through ad revenue, powered by Google AdSense. Through AdSense, YouTube places advertisements within your videos and creators take a percentage of the ad revenue. While small channels may not make a noticeable amount of revenue at first, your earnings will scale with your viewership and you will be paid after passing an initial revenue threshold.

Ad revenue, despite being Google’s official monetization model, does come with some downsides. YouTube recently blocked channels with less than 10,000 lifetime views from being able to monetize, which can slow the process down for people starting completely fresh channels. Additionally, this model puts creators at the mercy of advertisers. Recently a large number of advertisers have withdrawn ads from Google’s services, which has led to diminished ad revenue for creators.

Ad Revenue (1)


Patreon is a service that allows fans to pay creators monthly and fund content that otherwise wouldn’t be able to exist. Initially popular in many indie art and music circles, Patreon has now become a source of income for YouTube creators such as Red Letter Media. By being funded directly by fans, you no longer have to worry about Google and its partnered advertisers making changes that affect your income beyond your own control. However, the obvious downside of this model is that you need an initial group of dedicated fans that are willing to pay out of their own pocket to fund your content, which is no easy task for a young YouTube channel.

Despite initial difficulties, Patreon may be a more sustainable way for many YouTube creators to monetize their content. Video essayist and crowdfunding consultant Ian Danskin made a compelling video on the philosophical and financial differences in being funded directly by fans vs ad revenue that I’ve embedded below.

At the end of the day, the only one who can decide how to monetize your content is you. Explore different methods and choose one that fits not only the type of videos you make, but your personality as well.

Dealing With Creative Burnout

The problems of creative burnout and demotivation have existed for as long as humanity has used imagination to entertain, make art, solve problems and innovate. No matter what type of video content you produce on your YouTube channel, you’re likely to encounter these challenges as well if you plan on making regularly scheduled, long-term videos.

Many big-name YouTube creators have suffered from burnout, in part due to the site’s search and suggestion algorithms prioritizing channels with extremely frequent upload rates.  Sooner or later, you’ll have a day where the ideas just aren’t forming in your head and you can’t bring yourself to start recording. Creative burnout and motivational issues are difficult to deal with for many, but they’re not impossible to overcome. Below, I’ve listed some tips for creators who are struggling.


Take Your Time

This is easily the simplest yet somehow underappreciated solution to creative struggles. Take a break! While it’s true that long breaks can hurt your SEO, your mental wellbeing should take priority to your channel’s schedule. Physical activity and relaxational mental exercises can calm your mind and reduce stress. If taking this approach, be sure to notify your viewers with a quick update video and/or post on social media. Just like any other job or hobby, you’re going to need to take a “sick day” at one point or another. As a side note, if you’re thinking of quitting altogether, chances are you just need a long break.


Try Something New

If you feel like you’ve been pigeonholed into making certain kinds of videos, it might be time to branch out. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and experimenting may be the spark you need to reignite your creativity. If you’re worried that parts of your current audience won’t be interested in your new videos, you can always make an additional channel to keep your content separated. Popular vlogger Philip DeFranco has successfully taken this approach, separating his more personal and family-oriented content from his main account and into secondary channels.

Don’t let your creative slump get the better of you. These feelings are natural, and are bound to occur no matter what type of content is being made. What do you do when you’re feeling unmotivated and can’t seem to find the energy to make more videos? Let me know in the comments section below!