Kwabena Okyire

blog, make money online

How To Start A YouTube Channel As A Side Business

Let’s face it, it’s almost 2022 and YouTube is no longer for creative people, little kids goofing around, or only the big media. YouTube has more than democratized video media and now anyone can become their own media brand and even a company. Yes, you can create a business on youtube. YouTube is not only the most visited website globally, but it is also a powerhouse of content with more than 500 hours of content uploaded every minute, which was as of 2019. 

The platform has 2 billion users who are active every month and 30 million daily active users consuming an average of 17 minutes of video a day. If that is crazy, imagine this, about 1 out of every 3 interactions on the internet have to do with video. Sources indicate that video is just getting started which makes now, a good time to get into video content and which better platform than youtube to get started with?

What is a YouTube Business?

There are different ways to approach a youtube channel. Most people get started as a hobby, goofing around. Maybe just playing games, sharing knowledge, or just doing something that they love. That’s a good start. But away from just doing it for fun, youtube is a great earning platform, and seeing it from that perspective changes everything. As your channel grows, you will notice different ways to create a business out of the channel and generate profit. 

For most people, the youtube partner program is the first monetization strategy they use. A YouTube business is a youtube channel to add value and generate profits. In some businesses, several profitable channels are run by a single company. YouTube has special tools to allow managing multiple channels so that you can maximize your earnings while creating content people love. 

Why Start a YouTube Channel as a Side Hustle

If video is the future, and youtube is a great way to get started, why should you get started? Honestly, This is quite tricky. Choosing to create a channel is a personal decision as much as starting a business is, starting a project is and other things you could do with your life, But there are some common reasons why most people start their channels. 

1. Explore Your Passions

There is a reason why youtube is a great way to explore your passions. It does not only help you share your knowledge and experiences, it also helps you connect with people with similar passions. It’s interesting the kind of partnerships you can get just from sharing your story, views, and opinions on a youtube channel. 

2. Create Extra Sources of Income

YouTube has a massive earning potential that you could say is unlimited. There simply is no cap. The Top earners on the platform include Ryan Kaji who is estimated to have earned $29.5 million over the source of 2021, Jimmy Donaldson AKA MrBeast who has made $24 million in 2021 alone, and finally Dude Perfect who also made $14 million from youtube in 2021. These YouTubers are at the end of the spectrum and it may seem a little unfair to bring them. 

But the goal here is to show you the potential earnings from only the youtube partner program. There is no telling how much more you can make from brand deals, advertisements, affiliate marketing, and selling your products. Some finance channels sell their top picks of stock and offer lessons in trading and more. No matter your niche, there is something for you on YouTube. Your creativity is your limit here, folks. 

3. Work With Your Schedule

YouTube is a platform that allows you to create your content as you see fit by their guidelines and there are no work rules. You simply roll as you see fit. If working for someone else is driving you crazy, you could work on a channel that provides you the needed fulfillment to cope or eventually quit. 

4. Something to Call Your Own

A YouTube channel usually starts as a one-person production with your recording and editing while managing the community. But as things begin to take on and your growth gets dramatic, more hands will be a good idea. But through it all, your youtube channel is something you can be proud to call your own. If your kids love it, they could even inherit it. It’s a business after all. 

5. Help Others by Providing Raw Value

Social media is what fuelled the sharing economy. Share your videos on youtube and stand the potential earnings it provides. You don’t have to sell and you don’t have to struggle to get the audience. Many people already come to youtube, all you have to do is position your videos for the ideal audience they are made for and they will value your channel and keep coming back. 

For many, reading the wonderful comments on their videos gives them the inspiration to carry on even when they don’t need the money or have no other reasons. 

How to Start a YouTube Channel

1. Create a YouTube account

Creating a channel is simple without many technicalities. All you need is a google account which you will use to manage your account. However, when creating your channel, it is much better for the future if you use a brand account to create your channel instead of an individual account. This way, you wouldn’t have to share personal passwords with your team. Rather, a brand account allows you to add team members using their accounts without having to share any passwords. 

The first step is to log into your google account and then lead to the YouTube Channel Switcher. You will see your account and any brand accounts you may have created. Here, you will be able to create a new channel together with a brand account. Once you click on the “Create a new channel”, the next screen is where you fill in the details to create your channel. Click “Create” when complete. 

You have successfully created your channel. But that isn’t the end of it, there is more to getting the entire channel setup. 

2. Complete your profile

The secret to getting all the nice customizations to make your channel cool lies in unlocking the customization options. It’s simple. Look for and click the gear icon just beneath your channel art. 

On the pop-up settings page, click the “customize the layout of your channel” option and then proceed to save your settings. Congratulations! You have unlocked the customization options for your channel. 

On the same channel page, the next thing is to go to the “About” column and update your channel “Description”. This will be featured on your public channel where people can read about you and what you do. You are also allowed to feature 5 links on your youtube channel. You can add them under the “Links” section in the “About” column. Add important links like your social media links, your website, or other assets like your store. 

3. Create your Channel Art

Time to start brandishing your channel. Your channel art is one of the things people will see first when they visit your channel page. It is often used to give information about the channel and sometimes the day’s videos are uploaded. 

Your channel art should be at most 4 MB and at least 2048 x 1152 pixels. To create one easily, you should use a template from Canva, a free design tool. They have lots of nice templates that are great for beginners. The next thing is your channel profile photo. 

Your channel photo icon is usually linked to your brand account and can be changed. Once you decide to change it, you will have to change the image of your brand account as well. The supported formats for YouTube channel photos are JPG, BMP, PNG, or non-animated GIFs, and should be square 800 x 800 pixels. 

4. Get Set With Your Content

This is the meaty part and you will be spending a whole lot of time coming back to your content strategy and calendar time and again as your audience grows. It doesn’t matter much what you start with. You have a few options though, be an entertainer, make educational videos, or engage in brand storytelling if you already have a business and you are looking to expand your audience by leveraging video and youtube’s massive user base. 

5. Create a Trailer for Your Channel 

Yep! Just like a movie trailer, but in this case for your channel. It is featured on your channel and is the first video your audience will see, so it makes a very good impression and you can leave a powerful call to action there as well. The trailer is simply all about your channel and what people should expect from you and how often they should expect it. Do you talk about entertainment? Or is it about personal development? You know what, maybe personal finance and how people can get rich? The secret is not to try to be everything for everybody because by trying to do so, you won’t be able to capture a core audience which is crucial for your community growth. Stick to something specific. 

6. Upload your first YouTube video

Phew! It’s time for action with your very first video, which isn’t a trailer. In most channels, the first video is an introduction video much like the trailer but a longer version. However, you do not have to do this especially if your trailer covered all the basic must-knows about your channel. If you are a personal brand, at some point, you may have to do a video about yourself. This is important for building a certain connection with your audience. 

What Do You Need To Start a Successful YouTube Channel

You may have heard several big creators blab about starting their channels with their smartphones now with millions of subscribers and revenue enough to retire in the Bahamas and you think well, “They are exceptional”, “they were lucky” or some other excuse. But the truth is that our modern smartphones are very good starting points especially when you have a flagship smartphone. You have high-definition cameras that can shoot quality video. 

So, what do you need to get started? It might as well be the smartphone. It is the single most important thing in starting a youtube channel. Not just because you can shoot videos with it, but because you can also edit using mobile editing apps from the respective app stores. 

But, what if you don’t have a good camera? Or you are shy and don’t want to show your face? Then you may have to get a few skills like audio/sound editing and either use your smartphone microphone or get yourself a microphone. You will also have to learn the skill of video editing and how to make interactive graphic videos. It may sound like a lot but don’t sweat it. The best tactic here is to take one of two classes and get straight into practice on actual videos. We have found that that is the best way to learn; by doing. 

How to Monetise Your YouTube Channel

This is the business part of it all, how to make the money for your youtube channel side hustle project. There are many ways a youtube channel can be monetized. The truth is, it all depends on your creativity but there are some common ways most creators have found to be pretty effective and consistent as you grow. So, we begin with the first and readily available option. 

1. YouTube partner program

The YouTube partner program is an acceptance-based program where youtube shares its ad revenue with the ad publisher, in this case, the channel. For most creators, this is the first line of monetization to use. It offers you the passive income of simply making your videos and getting paid as people watch the ads on them. You are paid based on actions such as impressions and clicks. However, there is a catch. The YouTube partner program is not open to all YouTubers. 

Only when you have reached 1000 subscribers and 4000 public watch hours are you then invited by youtube to apply. The public watch hours are not the usual view count on your videos so you have to take that into account. The best way to do it is to enable the feature by asking Google to email you when you qualify to apply. You can find this option under your monetization options in your channel dashboard. There, you can also check your progress and keep track of your progress. 

2. Patronage through Patreon

One great way to start making money even when you haven’t qualified for the YouTube partner program is by starting a patronage program. Patreon is the most popular one. Your audience can access certain benefits by subscribing to and sponsoring your channel. 

3. Merchandise

Selling merchandise is one of the ways to build your brand and also make money. In most cases, merchandise is great when you have a large audience. Brands may even contact you to work with you to create some merch if they consider your brand apt. 

4. Affiliate

Recommending other brands’ products is another cool way to make money. Depending on your niche, you can find products you use that are great and that you can recommend without destroying your brand, get a custom link from them which you use to direct traffic to their shop or order page. Anytime someone makes a purchase using your link, you get a commission. Some brands may already have an affiliate program so all you have to do is register and get started!

5. Paid sponsorships and brand deals

As you grow, you can either solicit partnerships from brands or they will contact you. Either way, brands can pay you lots of cash if they consider you valuable (or maybe your audience valuable). 

6. Sell courses

If you are an educator, creating and selling courses will be a good idea to run. There are lots of course creation platforms like Udemy and Teachable to help you through. If that sounds like much, you could simply host them on your website and you are ready to go. 

How Much Does YouTube Pay?

Just how much can you make from the YouTube partner program? In the beginning, we gave you a rather grandiose outlook on youtube earning potential. And as much as that is the potential and much more, we must admit that no beginner can make that amount. The magic about youtube starts when you get million-plus subscribers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make any decent money. Most creators can quit their main hustles and focus on their youtube channels with a million subscribers.  

How Does YouTube Earning work?

To understand how you make money from youtube, it’s basically through ads. YouTube could be considered as a giant billboard with different sections that people come to watch AKA “Channels and Videos”. If the ads shown on your video get viewed according to the criteria according to the youtube partner program policies, you qualify to get paid. There isn’t a fixed amount you get paid. That’s the tricky part. 

Google pays 68% of the revenue they get from advertisers to the publishers which are you, the channel owner. This means, if youtube gets paid $100 from ads shown to your audience, you get a $68 cut. In reality, advertisers pay based on views or impressions (Cost Per MilleThousand Impressions…CPM) whilst others pay by clicks (Cost Per Click…CPC). This amount is usually between $0.10 and $0.30 with an average amount of $0.18 per impression or click. 

Therefore, if you get a thousand ad views on a video, you have successfully made about $18. These are of course average numbers and not all niches are the same. Some niches have higher CPC/CPM costs making your 68% on such content much higher than the average. This is the reason why you can not compare channels. There are many factors used to calculate the earnings and there are even online earnings estimators. 

Top Tips for Making It On YouTube

1. Optimize your videos for search 

If you are not a big channel and you haven’t yet figured out the magic of the youtube algorithm, optimizing your videos for search is a good idea. This is because it will allow people to discover your content through a youtube search. It takes mass views to get to the recommended homepage of youtube which is much more difficult to do. The best strategy for a new channel is to optimize for search by using a fitting video title, an elaborate video description, appropriate tags, and hashtags. Also, using chapters in your videos will help youtube break down your content and provide better value to searchers through the native search as well as google. 

2. Be consistent

Consistency cannot be overemphasized. There is a good reason why we feel the need to see our partners when starting a relationship. we just can’t have enough of them. It is important to treat your audience as such. They can’t wait to receive your content. And if you build a community around your posting schedules and content, you can easily become the next influencer in your niche. 

3. Promote your YouTube channel 

Promoting your youtube channel is a must when you are starting. Look out for quora’s questions and answer them with a little direction to your channel for more details. Join discord forums and contribute. Be part of subreddits about your niche and these people will readily join your channel if they think you have a lot of value. In most cases, you can get a couple of hundred subscribers from your friends, family, and colleagues as well. This is important to build the momentum for your first videos. 

4. Engage with your community

You cannot succeed without a community. Eventually, you will need to foster the community in ways that are not only creative but also involve rewards like giveaways. It could be a partnership but either way, it’s good for growing your channel. Live Streams also bring that fresh feeling of community to the channel and make your audience feel much closer to you. 

5. Run YouTube ads

If you want to grow fast, running ads on youtube sounds like a really good idea. Of course, this isn’t necessary and would require some expenses so this might not be an option for most. 

6. Understand your results and optimize your channel

Most beginners never check their analytics and yet keep wondering what is going wrong or right about their channel and videos. Your analytics hold gold in the form of insights about what your audience likes. Explore that nerdy part of your channel for more growth ideas straight from the number because they don’t lie. 


Starting a YouTube channel as a side hustle is one of the most flexible ways to make money while working a full-time job. You have a passion and that is exactly where you can start. Take it online and make some cool videos on it. Focus on the community and pay attention to your analytics. The best thing about youtube is that it provides many benefits right from fulfillment to earning a healthy income. 

About the author

Kwabena Okyire

After 13 years in digital marketing, I left my job in 2019 to work online full-time. Today I run my own agency, help local companies with digital marketing, freelance on sites like Upwork and Fiverr, and share proven marketing and personal branding strategies from my entrepreneurship journey through this blog.