8 Steps: How I Became a Content Creator on YouTube (2023)

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I never set out to become a content creator on YouTube.

You see, I’m primarily a graphic designer and a writer by trade. I have confidence in my writing and design abilities. I have little confidence in the video world.

And to be honest, with so many pro-YouTubers out there making incredible videos on the daily, I felt like I would never be able to compete.

But after I launched my first blog in 2020 – which received over 1 million views in its first year – it quickly became clear to me that to be a pro blogger, I wouldn’t be able to ignore the video aspect of content creation forever. Especially if I wanted to rank on Google.

Read Also: How Can I Get a Million Views on My Blog? Our 1 Million Pageview Year

Remember, Google is YouTube. And, as we learned in a July 2020 dated article by the Wall Street Journal, Google tends to prioritize video content from its own platform.

Google also seems to like mixed-media content on blogs – aka content that combines text, images and video.

And so, I made a plan.

Within about a year, we were YouTube monetized.

And in this article, I will share the steps we took in hopes that they may provide a bit of guidance for those who are hoping to launch their own YouTube careers.

But before we talk about how to become a content creator on YouTube, let’s address the elephant in the room.

How much money are you making on YouTube?

Before we get started, it is important to note that I and my team are micro YouTubers in the grand scheme of things. YouTube is not our primary source of income, nor is it ever likely to be. To us, YouTube is still a by-product of our blog.

In keeping with AdSense’s terms of service I’m only going to disclose gross earnings and otherwise publicly available stats in this article.

To give you a bit of context, we’ve only been posting to our YouTube regularly for a little over a year. At the time of this writing, we’ve published 115 videos and have 3,220 subscribers. Against popular advice – we tend to publish videos that are on the shorter end at around 3-5 minutes each. We receive about 40,000 views every month and we make about $200-$250 per month on the platform.

What do bigger YouTubers make?

For comparison, let’s take a look at mid-sized YouTubers, like my friend and fellow freelancer and content creator Evan Fisher. At the time of this writing, his channel has over 80,000 subscribers. And with only 100 published videos, Evan is making around $500 per month on the platform.

My other YouTube friend Josh Burns has 112,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel Josh Burns Tech. He says he is currently pulling in around $2,400 per month all-in (with combined revenue from ads, affiliate sales and sponsorships). He only has 42 published videos at the time of this writing.

Josh says his YouTube channel also produces leads for 1-on-1 coaching calls which bring in an additional $400(ish) on a monthly basis.

The largest YouTubers, like MrBeast for example, reportedly make around $50 million a year on the platform with over 158 million subscribers. To date, MrBeast has over 700 published videos on his channel.

And while those who are earning millions make up only a tiny percentage of the overall channel owners, it’s certainly proof that the sky is the limit when it comes to content creation on the internet.

Now, let’s talk about how you can follow in these creators’ footsteps and launch your own content creation career on YouTube.

1. Choose a niche and a format

The first thing you’ll need to do, if you haven’t already, is choose a niche.

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to pick a topic or industry that:

  1. You’re knowledgeable about
  2. Genuinely interests you
  3. You can easily create content around
  4. Ideally, has mass appeal

In fact, the more mass appeal, the easier it will be to attract views and subscribers for your target audience. Or even better – come up with a topic that has general mass appeal but little existing competition on the platform.

Popular niches include:

  • Gaming
  • Tutorials
  • Business and Finance
  • Health and Fitness
  • Recipes and Cooking
  • Lifestyle
  • Beauty
  • Travel
  • Fashion
  • Family and Parenting
  • Entertainment
  • Comedy

2. Make a schedule and set a goal

Next, you will want to make a content schedule and put some goals into place.

And I’m not talking about financial goals. Sure, that’s important too. I’m talking about deciding on how often, and when to film, edit and publish your YouTube videos.

Consistency is key when it comes to content creation of any kind – and that fact is particularly true on YouTube.

So whether it be one video a week, one video a month or one video every day … set a schedule and do your best to stick to it.

3. Gather the necessary equipment and software

Next, you’ll need to gather the necessary equipment and software.

We try to keep things fairly low-budget on our channel. And I would generally advise you to do the same in the early days. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself before you’ve made your first dollar.

The only equipment we purchased was a decent camera (we use the DJI Osmo Pocket for our location shoots). We hired freelancers for our voiceovers and soundtracks (I’m a big fan of Fiverr). And we use Adobe software to create our thumbnails and edit our videos.

In fact, Adobe Express even offers free tools specifically designed for YouTube banner making and video editing – which I highly recommend for those who might be on a budget or have little experience with editing and design.

4. Film and edit your first video

Next, you’re ready to film and edit your first video.

Be sure to create a general outline or even write a simple script before you film to give your video structure. And don’t forget to start and end with a clear CTA (call to action), such as, “Like and subscribe for more!”

Remember, it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous and uneasy about your first few videos. The entire process will become easier with time and practice.

5. Create a compelling thumbnail (or three!)

Next, you’ll want to create a compelling thumbnail for your video. Again, if you need a free and easy way to create YouTube thumbnails, you may want to take a look at Adobe Express’s YouTube thumbnail creation tool.

Your thumbnail should:

  1. Accurately represent the content of your video
  2. Be bright and colorful
  3. Feature minimal text
  4. Be crisp, clean, and easy to read (even on a small screen)
  5. Be attention-grabbing

And don’t be afraid to test out a variety of different thumbnails for a single video. It is said that pro-Youtuber MrBeast often creates and tests multiple thumbnails for each video to optimize his click-through and conversion rates.

6. Create a YouTube channel and post your first video

Now that you have your first video ready to go, you can finally create your YouTube channel. Choose a channel name that’s both easy to remember and accurately represents your niche.

Be sure to include keywords in your video titles. And don’t forget to write detailed descriptions. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important when it comes to the YouTube platform. And like Google, the YouTube algorithm uses every bit of data it can muster from your uploads to determine how (and if) they suggest and promote your videos to potential subscribers.

Read Also: How to Make Chapters on YouTube: The Most Reliable Method

7. Post new videos regularly

Here comes the hard part – to be successful on YouTube, you have to stick with it.

Remember, it will likely take several months if not years to gain significant traction on the platform. And that’s completely normal.

It is unlikely that you will become a successful YouTuber overnight.

Successful YouTube content creators know that consistency is the key to making YouTube videos a reliable income stream.

Luckily, you won’t be “flying blind”. YouTube Studio can offer analytics along the way that provides data on watch time, conversion rates, duration, viewers, engagement trends and more. This helps you detect positive and negative patterns in your strategy, and adjust accordingly.

But don’t rely on YouTube to do all the heavy lifting. You’ll also want to self-promote your videos via blog posts and/or social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

8. Monetize (with multiple income streams!)

Finally, let’s talk monetization. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of extra cash in their pocket?

And here’s the good news – you don’t have to wait to qualify for YouTube’s Partner Program (through a qualified AdSense account) to start making a bit of money with the platform.

Sure, most of us are familiar with YouTube Ads. And advertising can be a significant source of income for most YouTube content creators. However, the program has a high barrier to entry. Creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000 public watch hours in the last 365 days or 10 million public Shorts views. (Shorts are YouTube’s version of TikTok reels.)

But there are also other ways to monetize your channel without ad revenue. There is even a variety of income streams that you can implement from day one – like affiliate marketing, sponsorships and more.

Are you thinking about creating a YouTube channel? Tell me about it in the comments below. And don’t forget to connect with me on social media.

Photo of author


Morgan Overholt

Morgan has almost 20 years of professional experience in graphic design and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Her successful freelance business has been featured in articles that have appeared on Upwork.com, Refinery29 and Business Insider Prime.

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