There are a variety of ways to make money on YouTube nowadays. And it’s a hot topic in the aspiring content creator community.
Most of us are already familiar with the most popular monetization methods, which include (but are not limited to):
- Ad monetized content (through the YouTube Partner Program after you reach 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours)
- Affiliate sales
- Channel memberships
- Merch (merchandise sales like t-shirts or baseball caps)
- Super Chat and Super Stickers
But the question is – how does one cash in on these opportunities without access to camera equipment, video production software and/or video editing know-how?
Well, reader, you might be surprised to learn there are actually plenty of ways to create content and make money on this platform without utilizing film or video footage.
Technically speaking, you don’t even need a YouTube account to cash in on the many opportunities this lucrative platform has to offer.
All you really need, with some of these methods, is a smartphone and an internet connection.
Without further ado, below you will find a list of some of the best and easiest ways to make money on the YouTube platform without making videos.
1. Guided meditation
One of the most popular methods of making money on YouTube without making videos is to focus heavily on audio.
And while YouTube recently started cracking down monetizing audio that they deem “repetitive” in nature – like white noise (more on this later) – unique guided meditations can be a great alternative.
Just take a look at the Bojo Beautiful Yoga channel for instance. This channel currently boasts nearly 2.7 million subscribers with thousands of views on the majority of their videos – which largely feature simple custom videos (you could instead create a custom image slide show for true video-less YouTubing) and a simple audio overlay.
The video above has received 3.5 million views.
Conservatively, assuming they are ad-monetized and making roughly, $0.005* per view the channel has probably made roughly $17,000 or more on that single YouTube video.
*Editor’s Note: I base this number on what we are making on our own YouTube channel per view, which is on the low side of the industry average.
You could also do what the above channel has done and add a store to your channel.
However, it is important to note (as I briefly mentioned above) that YouTube recently started cracking down on videos that they deem repetitive in nature. This is an effort to prevent the platform being overrun with redundant white noise/ambient content.
So if you are exploring this niche, make sure that you are providing a unique experience with unique audio and unique rotating images (like a Ken Burns style slide show).
For better sound quality, you may even want to consider upgrading to an external microphone like this one.
Or hire an artist to create custom music/audio on Fiverr (that’s what we do). Just be sure to review your license agreement(s) before you publish.
2. Record ASMR audio
The second hottest category in YouTube audio is something called ASMR.
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s a term used to describe the tingling sensation generated in response to specific audio triggers like tapping, scratching and whispering.
The example above features a unique compilation of ASMR-triggering sounds without visuals and has garnered more than 241,000 views at the time of this writing – equating to roughly $1,205 in ad revenue.
Although, again, I would recommend adding a simple custom slide show or some other form of custom visual to avoid the repetitive content label.
3. Create sound effects
Another hot audio category on YouTube is Fair Use/Royalty Free sound effects.
Other creators – and even film and tv producers – are constantly on the lookout for easy-to-use cheap/free sound effects.
Why not help other creators out while getting paid at the same time?
Some of the most commonly googled sound effects include:
- Construction noises (like hammers)
- Bodily function (like farts)
- Animal noises
- Nature sounds
You might just be surprised how making a few simple audio recordings around your house could pay off.
The above example features a collection of barking dogs supported by still reference images. At the time of this writing, it has been viewed more than 34 million times.
Again, by using the same conservative calculation we’ve used throughout this article – those views are worth about $170,000 in ad revenue.
4. Make some music
This one isn’t quite as easy as the last few – but if you are a singer, songwriter or musician, you can also produce and record your own music.
Who knows, in addition to getting views, you may even get “discovered” as Justin Beiber did in 2009 after posting home videos of himself singing covers.
That’s right, Beiber owes his entire career to YouTube.
While the above video obviously encompasses video, you can just as easily upload audio-only compilations to showcase your talents.
Next up, we have podcasting.
Podcasting is a great game to get into because you can get some real mileage out of a single piece of content.
Record some audio, upload it to your YouTube channel, upload it to your personal blog, and/or publish it to an RSS feed for nationwide distribution.
Science Magazine sometimes uploads audio-only podcasts to their YouTube channel like the example above, which has collected more than 4,200 views.
6. Stream video games
Like Twitch, YouTube is also a great place to live stream video games and post highlight reels of your biggest wins and/or tips and tricks.
Streamer MixelPix (example above) currently has 228,000 subscribers on his channel and typically receives between 20,000-200,000 views per video.
By my rough estimates, this YouTuber is earning an average of about $500 in lifetime ad revenue per video just by recording his screen and capturing some audio.
7. Create tutorials
Speaking of tips and tricks, another way to make money on YouTube simply by capturing your computer screen is with tutorials.
Walk people through how to troubleshoot software, game, code, or fix things on their computers.
Popular Googled subjects in this category include:
- Coding and software development
- Graphic design
- Microsoft products
Take HTG George for example (above). He currently has over 69,000 subscribers and his top tutorials rake in hundreds of thousands of views over the course of their lifetime.
8. Create an online course
Or, kick those tutorials up a notch by instead creating an entire YouTube course.
Take a look at Hector Garcia’s YouTube channel for inspiration.
He is not only creating entire online courses about how to use Quickbooks (which means extra long view durations and multiple views per session), but he’s also promoting the software through an affiliate partner program with the company.
This means he’s likely earning revenue from both YouTube Ads and directly from Quickbooks.
Each video in the above series has a minimum of 7,000 views. Some have more than 1.5 million views.
Again, in this example, Hector does show his face, but you could implement the same type of course with screen captures alone.
Popularly searched computer-based online courses include:
- Graphic design
- Microsoft products
- Social media marketing
- Cyber security
9. Create slide decks
In that same vein, if you feel as though you have a skill set that you would like to share with the world that can’t be explained through a screen-capture-style tutorial – consider creating a slide deck instead!
Simply create a tutorial or an online course with Powerpoint or Google Slides, capture your screen as you present, and publish.
Popular niches in this category include:
- Foreign language
- Real estate
- Driver’s safety
- Interior design
10. Use a digital whiteboard
In lieu of a slide deck, you could also create a digital whiteboard.
While the example above features hand illustration, you could create a similar effect using computer software like Paint or Adobe Illustrator.
11. Utilize a digital whiteboard service
Not an illustrator or an artist? No problem – just subscribe to one of these online services to generate a whiteboard for you:
12. Create computer-generated animations
This one will obviously require a bit of skill.
But if you happen to be an animator or artist, consider using software like Adobe Animate to create cartoons, stories or again, online tutorials.
13. Utilize stop motion
Here’s another idea that doesn’t require any video captures, film or illustration – old-school style stop motion.
Stop motion is a filmmaking technique in which objects are moved or manipulated in tiny increments, captured in a series of photographed stills, and stitched together to create an animation.
Popular mediums include puppets and clay – but you can use almost anything you have lying around the house to create this effect.
The above example was created by YouTuber Guldies. At the time of this writing, it has garnered more than 10 million views.
14. Use stock and royalty-free videos
Alternatively, if you have a bit of money to invest in your new YouTube channel venture – consider purchasing stock video and audio from a site like Shutterstock and create your own compositions.
Just be sure to review the licensing agreements before you publish.
Hey, if it’s good enough for Ryan Reynolds, it’s good enough for you.
15. Hire a freelancer
If it’s simply a lack of video editing, script writing, or voiceover skills that are holding you back from YouTube success – consider simply hiring a freelancer (or many freelancers) to do it for you.
In the video above, a pro-YouTuber shows his viewers how he created an entire channel using freelancers from Fiverr.
Upwork is also a great place to find and hire freelancers.
16. Create content for other YouTubers (freelance)
Next, let’s talk about a few ways to make money on the YouTube platform without the need to even create your own channel.
Spoiler alert: All three methods involve some type of freelance.
As mentioned in example #16 (hire a freelancer), there’s a hot market on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork for talented individuals, looking for online jobs who can script, shoot and edit videos for others.
And if you have any of those skills and want to cash in on the creator economy, you may want to consider becoming one of those freelancers.
Freelancing is a great way to earn a little (or sometimes a lot of) money on the side while gaining valuable experience in your niche.
17. Design thumbnails for other YouTubers (freelance)
As all YouTubers know, thumbnail creation is a delicate yet important art. And more and more content creators are turning to sites, like Upwork and Fiverr to find graphic designers who are skilled in the art of creating thumbnails that can ensure optimal impressions, views, and engagement.
If you’re a graphic designer, you may want to consider adding ‘thumbnail creation’ to your list of services and even targeting content creators in your marketing strategies.
18. Record voiceovers for other YouTubers (freelance)
Finally, there’s voiceover work – another in-demand skill in the content creation niche.
We love outsourcing voiceover work because it makes us sound professional. And our freelancer loves making a few extra bucks here and there.
Are you currently looking for side hustle ideas but don’t know where to start? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to connect with me on social media.
PS: If you’ve found any of the above advice helpful, and you feel so inclined – buy me a coffee (leave a tip) on Kofi!