It seems like everyone wants to be a YouTuber these days. And honestly, I can’t blame you. When you look at what some creators are making to tell people to “smash that like button,” it definitely can look like a promising path. 
But as someone who actually makes an income from YouTube (my channel has 383k+ subscribers), I’ll show you just how much you can expect to earn with a pretty significant audience. 
Ready to hear the truth about making money on YouTube? Let’s get started. 
Below are the top highest-paid YouTubers as of 2023. While these numbers are significant, notice just how many subscribers they have to have in order to hit those income targets (spoiler alert: It’s a lot).
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Notice that none of these top earners are making money exclusively with ad sense (YouTube’s ad revenue). That’s because doing so would only bring in around $0.018 USD per view. That’s not much money.
If you really want to get rich from YouTube, not only will you need boatloads of subscribers (at least 1 million), but you’ll also need to spread yourself thin with multiple businesses and partnerships.
But that’s not the only path to take. That’s why I do things a bit differently with my YouTube channel which allows me to have a multi-million dollar business with only 288,000 subscribers (and dedicating only a small amount of time to my channel). I’ll share more about my approach in a bit, but first, let’s take a deeper look at how the top earners make money.
Jimmy Donaldson, also known as Mr. Beast, has over a whopping 162 million subscribers for his extravagant stunts and generous cash giveaways. He gained fame in 2017 with a video where he counted to 100,000, and since then, his content has increasingly focused on surprising strangers with large sums of money. In 2020, he opened a unique burger restaurant that pays customers to eat, solidifying his position as the second highest-paid YouTuber. He’s been making videos since 2012.
Jake Paul, with over 20 million subscribers, gained fame for his extreme pranks and notable boxing matches. Since 2017, his controversial actions and collaborations with celebrities have propelled his online career. Despite generating devoted fans and fierce critics, Jake Paul remains a prominent figure in the digital realm. He’s been making videos since 2013.
Markiplier, boasting over 29 million subscribers, is a prominent YouTuber known for his engaging gaming content and charitable initiatives. His energetic and humorous approach to gaming has captivated audiences since his early days on the platform. Markiplier’s philanthropic efforts, including charity live streams and donations, have earned him widespread admiration, establishing him as a beloved figure in the YouTube community. He’s been making videos since 2012.
Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, known as Rhett and Link, host the daily YouTube show Good Mythical Morning. With over 16 million subscribers and 6 billion views since its launch in 2008, the duo’s channel features a comedic talk show format where they engage in quirky activities, such as eating unusual foods, experimenting, and playing games with celebrity guests. Their popular videos include eating a scorpion, consuming the world’s hottest pepper, and deep-frying peculiar objects like grass and toothpaste. They’ve been making videos since 2006.
With over 24 million subscribers, Ryan’s YouTube channel is managed by his parents to comply with the YouTube Partner Program guidelines. Starting at the age of 3, Ryan gained popularity by reviewing toys through unboxing and playing videos, but his content has since evolved to include science experiments. Additionally, his success on YouTube led to a Nickelodeon TV series called “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate,” and he even has his own line of clothing and toys.
While I don’t have millions of followers like these other creators, I do own a multi-million dollar business that YouTube helped me build. And I was able to do it without embarrassing myself with pranks, doing toy reviews, or spending millions of dollars rebuilding the Squid Games set. And the main way I was able to do this is by selling online courses. You see, each of my YouTube videos leads viewers to subscribe to my email list where I’m able to build a stronger connection with my audience and eventually offer digital products for sale.
My channel doesn’t require extreme production value. In fact, most of my YouTube content is just the video version of my podcast, which is just a screen recording of me talking with my guests. You can see some examples here:
…but you don’t have to take the same path as everyone else. How would it look if you designed a Rich Life on your own terms? Take our quiz and find out:
I’ll get into more about how I use YouTube to do even cooler things (like be on TV), in a minute. But first, let’s take a look at what your typical YouTuber makes so that we have a fair comparison.
It’s fun to look at how much guys like Mr. Beast earn on YouTube. But you have to keep in mind that people like him are in the top 0.00001% of earners. The truth is, most YouTubers barely make a full-time income off the platform. 
If you’re looking to make a substantial income from YouTube, you’ll likely need to have around 1 million subscribers. According to ZipRecruiter, the average YouTuber makes around $60,000 a year, which is slightly above $100 per day. 
The average YouTuber with 1 million subscribers typically makes roughly $936,000 a year. If you’re considering becoming a YouTuber as an easy way to earn some cash, first you should check out these options first.
The highest-paid Youtuber is just 8 years old. His channel, Ryan’s World (formally Ryan ToysReview), has more than 24 million subscribers. 
It varies widely depending on the YouTuber. Typically, 1 million views on YouTube will get you between $2000 and $40,000.
The average YouTuber with a million subscribers makes about $5000 a month.
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