How to Start a YouTube Channel and Make Money

January 25, 2021 • Shannon Flynn

This blog contains affiliate links. This means that ReHack may make a small commission if you purchase products through links in this post.

YouTube is one of the most popular entertainment platforms out there. From its creation in 2005 through today, it has stayed consistent with building a base. Part of the reason for this momentum is its overlap of entertainment, social media and education. It combines aspects that other platforms don’t — and it’s the source of income for many of your favorite content creators. To follow their trajectories, here’s how to start a YouTube channel and make money:

Why Choose YouTube?

First, you may be wondering if YouTube is the right platform for you. The answer is yes — YouTube is the right platform for anyone and everyone, as long as you use it correctly.

Take the intriguing channel, 5-Minute Crafts. Due to its absurd and confusing nature, people are still unsure about whether or not it’s genuine or a satire. Regardless, though, the channel has 67.5 million followers as of today — meaning the creators know what they’re doing.

YouTube is a search engine. It may not seem like one, but it’s the second largest search engine behind Google. It’s where you go for information, knowledge and entertainment. From how-to videos to instructions to data and research to recipes — it’s all on YouTube, just like a Google search. Any channel can become huge, hence 5-Minute Crafts’ breakthrough.

With such a vast array of content also comes ways to make money. Revenue from ads, promoting your merchandise, making deals and gaining popularity all factor in to your YouTube revenue. It’s a platform of opportunities for whatever content you decide to make.

How to Start a Channel

Before you start making money from your YouTube videos, you’ll need to set up the channel first.

Have a good idea of what your videos will entail. What audience are you trying to reach? Are you going for a crafty channel? How about recipes? Gaming videos are wildly popular as well. Going with what’s popular is a good bet, but going for something more niche is smart, too.

To start the channel, click on the Sign In button or your icon in the top right corner. If you don’t already have a channel, you should see a prompt to create one. Click on it and follow the setup instructions. You can use your personal name or create a brand name in the process — and you can change it later.

For now, make sure you cover the basics. Upload your photo, write a channel description with keywords and key phrases relating to your content that people will search for and add links to your social media pages.

Explore the customizations that you can work with. On your channel, you’ll also see the YouTube Studio button, which is where the money-making tools are — Analytics and Monetization, primarily.

How to Make Money

The first steps for making money on YouTube is to build your channel. To reach the YouTube Partner Program’s eligibility, you’ll need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. As you work towards that, keep these tips in mind:


Stay consistent. Upload on a regular schedule so viewers can expect when they’ll see another video from you. Also, stick with your brand. Unless your channel is more of a vlog style or entails you doing several things, you’ll want to adhere to one idea.


Engage with your viewers. Answer questions they may have, respond to their comments, give them shout outs and make them feel like you value their time and interactions.

Social Media

Use social media. Promote your content and draw in viewers from all your platforms. It’s a good idea to create social media accounts specifically for your channel instead of your personal ones. However, get your friends and family to spread the word, too.


Get good gear. Using high-quality equipment can make your videos look as professional as possible, but the best equipment doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can get creative — iPhone cameras have high-quality video and you can get inexpensive microphones.

Video Editing

Remember to edit. Part of uploading videos is making sure you video has good editing — including visuals and audio. iMovie is free for Macs and Windows Movie Maker is free for Windows computers. Adobe has video editing software, too, at a higher cost for more features.

Want to learn more about becoming a successful YouTube influencer? Check out the book YouTube Secrets, available on Amazon!

Google AdSense and YouTube Partner Program

As you use the previous tips, you will be working towards getting the monetization features on YouTube.

Go to YouTube Studio and click on Monetization on the left-hand side. Make sure that you input your location if it prompts you. Then, it will show you a screen that says you must achieve 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours before you can monetize your channel. Click on Notify Me When I’m Eligible.

Watch hours signifies the total time viewers have watched your videos. For instance, if you have a three-minute video that gets 100 views, you then have 300 minutes of watch time. With more videos, it quickly adds up to 4,000 hours. Be sure to keep spreading and growing your account in the meantime.

When you achieve those numbers, you can return to your Monetization page and follow the three steps.

The first involves you reviewing the terms and conditions of the YouTube Partnership Program. Then, you link an account for AdSense. Be sure you only link one account and fill out the corresponding information that it prompts you with.

Last, you’ll be under review and YouTube will notify you with the results. With approval, you’ll be able to use ads on your videos however you’d like.

Sponsorships, Affiliate Links and Merchandise

While you build your channel and wait for approval for the partnership program, you can work with other creators and brands. Bond with other YouTubers that can sponsor you and boost your channel.

Similarly, affiliate links are an easy way to make money. If you review, promote or sponsor a product or service in your video, you should link to it. If viewers purchase the product through your link, you receive a percentage of that purchase.

Then, once you reach 10,000 followers, you can start selling merchandise right from your channel. Of course, you can sell merch from other links, but this number is still something to work towards for YouTube.

The Wonder World of YouTube

With these tools, you are now ready to start your journey on the platform. Remember, creating a channel takes time, and with dedication, engagement and consistency, you can build your brand just as thousands of others have done. Use these tips on how to start a YouTube channel and make money from it. It’s an exciting adventure that you can feel proud of, every step of the way.