The most prominent video-sharing application on the Web, YouTube, is the first platform you should consider if you’re looking to create and monetize video content. Collectively, viewers watch over a billion hours of content each day on YouTube. And because of that, advertisers pay competitive rates to air ads on the platform. Content creators like yourself can share a piece of that action and make money. But while it may seem as simple as grabbing a smartphone and selfie stick and shooting a quality video about an interest of yours, making money on YouTube is a bit more involved than that. And generating consistent income from YouTube is a lot more complicated.

First, you’ll need to join the YouTube Partner Program. To be eligible for the program, you’ll need to live in specific geographic regions, have a Google AdSense account, and agree to the terms of service. You’ll also have to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours worth of views within the past calendar year. These criteria help YouTube filter out casual content creators from committed ones who will consistently put out high-quality videos.

Once you’ve joined the Partner Program, you can make money off the ads YouTube will air during your videos. You’ll need a substantial number of views to generate a decent income. Videos with a million views can earn as little as a couple hundred to a couple of thousand dollars. However, depending on the number of ads being shown, your viewers’ demographics, and other variables, you may be paid more. And because people need to find your videos, the YouTube platform gives content creators options to optimize your content to maximize your chances of being found.

To make money through the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll want to:

  • Consistently put out high-quality videos that entertain or fulfill a need
  • Optimize those videos for search
  • Drive traffic to them from social media and other websites
  • Leverage creator-friendly apps like Patreon to solicit funds from viewers
  • Use your videos to drive viewers to purchase products you’re selling online, such as through a Shopify store
  • Joining the Amazon Influencer program, recommending products, and getting paid when a viewer clicks on a link in your video and purchases them

Perhaps above all else, the biggest key to your success will be consistently producing and publishing videos, as well as driving traffic to those videos. It looks easier than it is. But with hard work and time, you can make a substantial income from your creative endeavors on YouTube.