The other day I wrote about how I realized that you don’t need to be a big YouTuber to make good money.
It took me several years of actually being a “YouTuber” to realize this. But I don’t want you to wait that long.
The truth is: making a full time income from YouTube is really hard if you’re just relying on ads.
And if you’re anything like me, the self-doubt and criticism from people hiding behind a screen just isn’t worth it.
When I wrote about how you’re probably monetizing YouTube wrong, I gave a simple, 3 step outline of how to make more money as a smaller, niche YouTube channel.
But since I’m a nerd for money and numbers, I thought it might be fun to calculate a comparison to see if I’m right.
As a YouTuber with 36,000 followers, I’m no expert, but I do have some experience here. I can use the data and knowledge I have to calculate both scenarios so we can see which one will make more money.
Which is the better business model:
Chasing views with a big YouTube channel to make ad revenue OR creating a smaller, niche channel and making money with products or affiliate sales?
Using my numbers as a starting point
For these calculations, I looked at my average RPM (how much you get paid per 1,000 views), which is currently $26. The thing is a $26 RPM is pretty high. I’m in the making money niche which pays better than most, so I’d be more comfortable chopping that in half to $13 for these calculations just to play it safe.
So, we’ll use $13 per 1,000 views.
Now we need to figure out how many views are “a lot”, but also realistic for most people. Most of us aren’t going to be regularly getting 100,000 views per video, even if we work super hard.
At 36,000+ subscribers, my highest month for views on YouTube ever was 61,140 views in Jan 2022.
How many views you can get is dependent on so much and I am not the most popular YouTuber in my niche, so I jumped into VidIQ which lets you track your competitor’s views.
I’m going to ignore the one in the middle that has over 500,000 views and just go with the second highest at 150,000 views for this calculation.
Remember: this is just me playing with numbers.
How much you could make chasing views
If you work to get 150,000 views per month at $13 RPM, you’ll earn $1,950 in ad revenue.
That’s a good amount of money, but not exactly enough for most people to quit their jobs and live comfortably. I would think you’d need to at least double or triple that to make a secure full-time income.
How much you can make with a niche channel
Now we’ll compare it to a hypothetical smaller niche channel that sells digital products or affiliate products.
Let’s say you only get 10,000 views per month. You still make $130 in revenue from ads (if we’re using $13 RPM). But let’s say that 1% of those 10,000 views each month purchase something that earns you $30.
This could be a $30 digital product you created or $30 in commission from an affiliate product. (Again, these numbers are a hypothetical example.)
1% of 10,000 is 100 people.
100 people x $30 per sale = $3,000.
$3,000 in sales + $130 in ads = $3,130.
So you could hypothetically make $3,130 from 10,000 views (totally doable) vs $1,950 from 150,000 views (a little harder).
What do you think? Would you rather be a big-time YouTuber or quietly make five or six figures as a smaller channel monetizing the smart way?