How can you build and monetize a YouTube channel if you don't already have a large following?

youtube Mar 09, 2022

If I had to choose between access to over-the-air TV, cable, streaming-services, or YouTube, I would choose YouTube. I don't watch a lot of TV because it's mainly what I would consider to be mindless fiction. But YouTube is filled with content that helps me learn things or go deeper into subjects that help me create new things or learn new skills.

Several years ago, I started experimenting with creating YouTube content. I put some family videos online and watched to see what would happen. People seemed to like the videos I shared from our vacations and visits to amusement parks, but nothing else seemed to happen with what I was posting.

Then I got the idea to create a short video to teach people how to kill a lawn weed called nutsedge. I had been struggling to get rid of it and when I finally learned how to do it, I wanted to show others. That video blew up and at present, it's been watched over 80,000 times.

A year later, I created a short video that teaches people how to kill crabgrass if it starts taking over their lawn. That video really exploded. At present, it has been viewed over 660,000 times, and I'm convinced it will exceed one million views very soon.

In the meantime, I have started to earn hundreds of dollars each month from the content I'm sharing on YouTube. During the summer months, my channel is earning me well over $1,000 / month, and I don't even have much content on it.

So what's the secret to creating, growing, and monetizing a YouTube channel? Let me share a few of my thoughts based on what I have learned so far.

  • 1. Create helpful content that solves problems.
  • 2. Be interesting and get to the point.
  • 3. Place affiliate links in your episode description.
  • 4. Monetize the channel when YouTube invites you to do so. At present, you'll need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to qualify.
  • 5. Be prolific with the content you create.

Let me give you a few examples of people who are doing what I'm suggesting.

1. The Pressley Girls - The Pressley Girls are two sisters who were inspired by their mother to start a YouTube channel. At first, they were occasionally posting videos of them singing together. At the start of 2021, they decided to take their channel more seriously. At the time, they had 600 subscribers, but they decided to post more music and other content from their daily life. They did so several times a week and made sure to keep their content fun and inspirational. Their subscriber base grew to over 17,000 and they were able to monetize their channel through YouTube's partner program and through sponsored ads with companies like Skillshare. At present, this has become their primary source of income.


2. Claw Kicker - More than a decade ago, Aaron Hipps started a channel called Claw Kicker that highlighted him and his friends winning things from claw machines at various arcades. In time, his subscriber base grew and he was able to monetize the channel as a YouTube partner. He now owns an arcade business and gives people an inside glimpse of what his daily responsibilities as an arcade owner include. Some of his videos have millions of views.


3. Celebrating Appalachia - Tipper Pressley is the mother of the Presley Girls. She has a channel called "Celebrating Appalachia." On her channel, she shares about the history and the distinctives of living in the midst of Appalachian culture. She also talks a lot about some of the unique words and phrases that are being used in that region. Her content is very friendly and calming. It's also rather interesting if you enjoy studying the development of languages and cultures. She has millions of views and a very high subscriber base.


If you're interested in creating a YouTube channel, all you need is your phone, a theme, and the willingness to produce regular content that people find helpful in some way. I also think it's wise to give your videos titles that will closely match what people are searching for. In my experience, it doesn't take much to gain traction on this platform. And even before YouTube invites you into their partner program, you can monetize with affiliate links and sponsored content.


You can listen to John's discussion of this topic on the Platform Launchers podcast by clicking here.


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