How to make money on YouTube and Twitch: 12 best ways to start monetizing your channel

You decided to become a content creator. You got your channel going, you worked hard, you put your content out there for everyone to see and it worked. People love it, they follow and subscribe — you have a decent size community behind you. But you are sitting here thinking: ‘Now what?’. How do you actually start making money from this thing that you’ve built over months and months of hard work?

Sit tight, we can help you with this one.

There are many ways for you to monetize, but not every single one may be good for you. We’ve got together a list of 12 different things you can do in order to make money through YouTube and Twitch. Most of those things will work only for bigger channels (10 000+ followers or subscribers), but don’t worry some of them can be really profitable for smaller channels as well.

1. Affiliate links

Joining an affiliate program of a brand you like is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money through any social media content. Do you have a brand of energy drinks you love? A website that you use to buy all of your games from? Check if they have an affiliate program and what their requirements are.

Being an affiliate means that you join up with a company to sell their products through your channel. You will get a special, personalized link through which people can buy products and services online. All you have to do is pop your link somewhere in your profile, video credits or description and you are ready to go!

Most popular ones include Amazon Associate, Microsoft, Green Man Gaming and Razer.

At adshot.io we have some exclusive affiliate programs as well, so register with us and see if we have something for you.

2. Donations, tips, and bits

If you are a Twitch streamer you are probably already familiar with this one — people can cheer on you during your live streams. It’s basic functionality of the website.

But what if I told you there’s more to it? Even if your channel is not on Twitch, or if you are not a live-streamer people can still donate to you and support you this way. There are a few websites that offer this service. They link to your channel and allow you to enable extra features like text to speech or gifs popping up on the screen every single time someone donates. All you need to do is to provide them with your PayPal or bank details and they will generate a donation link for you in seconds.

Check out: Streamlabs , TipeeeStream, and Loots.

3. Subs and Patreon

Subs and Patreon give people a chance to support you with a small amount of money every month. They are designed to provide income on a monthly basis and unless someone subs with Prime and forgets to renew or cancels their Patreon, you are looking at quite a reliable source of income. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about any chargebacks — both subs and Patreon are free of this risk.

While subs are a part of Twitch and you need to be at least affiliate to get that functionality, Patreon is a separate service made specifically for content creators. Usually, your patrons would expect some kind of additional content or goods from you, so think about what you could offer them in exchange for their ongoing support.

Learn more about: subs and Patreon.

4. Sponsorships

Sponsorships are often seen as the Holy Grail of income by content creators. Only the big, bold and established channels get one. It’s great money! There are a certain buzz and high level of expectations around sponsorships, but the truth is…it all depends.

Not only big channels get sponsorship offers — micro-influencers (1k — 10k followers) can also be noticed and approached by a brand or a marketing agency. Also, being sponsored doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be paid every month for endorsing a brand. More often than not, a company will pay you for a tweet, a quick mention of their product on stream or an unboxing video and then they will move on to promote on other channels.

This may seem a bit weird and chaotic, but believe me, working with a good management platform can make it so much easier. Great platforms to check out include adshot.io (shameless plug, but we really know what we’re doing, so check us out), captiv8 and Famebit.

Tip: Learn how to persuade brands in this blog post.

5. Merchandise

Creating your own merchandise is an excellent way of making money, especially if your channel already has some established branding. Do you have a logo that you constantly use? Pop it on a t-shirt and show it off your fans. Do you have a really cool emote? It would be awesome as a sticker. A great thing about the merch is that you don’t have to limit yourself with sales and promotion to your fans only. Most of the places that do print on demand services have some sort of open marketplace, where everyone can browse and buy. If your design is quirky, funny or just simply beautiful, it may catch someone’s eye.

Merchandise is especially great for creative folk out there. If your channel happens to be all about digital art this could become your main source of income in no time.

There are many places that allow you to create and sell merchandise, but just to start you out, check out: Streamlabs (yes, they help you with all of your merch needs now!), RedBubble and SpreadShop .

6 . Ads

No one really loves ads, but they are everywhere and are they are here to stay. So…why do not use them? Both Twitch and Youtube have ways for you to monetize ads that are shown on your channels — you can unlock those options if you have enough subscribers and hours watched (on YouTube) or concurrent viewers (on Twitch).

If you don’t want to join those programs, or if your channel is not yet big enough to meet the requirements, you can always check out other platforms that offer similar things. Some websites will allow you to add ads to your site or display them directly on your content. Just bear in mind that ad revenue is usually quite small, so you will need a lot of viewers, clicks and hours watched to get any significant income this way.

Most popular programs that give you ad revenue include YouTube Partner Programme, Twitch Partner Program, Loots, GawkBox, QuestMode, and Google AdSense .

7 . Services

Some channels out there are focused on creative things like art and design. Others are dealing with specialized coaching and training. There are web design ones, programming ones…the list is endless. If you happen to have one of those channels, that’s great! You could grow and monetize your business and social media at the same time. Just add a section in your videos, streams or in your profile that informs your viewers about the services you provide, their price and your availability. Be consistent about it and promote, promote, promote!

This applies to everyone out there that can offer any kind of services through their channel. Are you taking reservations for your life coaching sessions? Maybe get a website that allows people to book in advance. Are you looking for web design gigs? Create a profile on freelancer boards and start browsing. Are you open to taking commissions for artwork or emotes? Put your price list, portfolio and business email out there. Just don’t forget to link those to your YouTube or Twitch channel!

Websites that can help you out: Upwork, Wix, and Freelancer.

8. Physical Goods

If you are skilled enough to produce some great real-life products, you are already way ahead of everyone else in terms of possible monetization of your channel. After all, you have this new, shiny, tangible thing that can be packed and shipped anywhere in the world. It’s a great time to be a craftsman on social media.

There’s nothing better for a creative channel than a good side of an online shop. This way you can not only showcase your design and crafting process in your streams and videos, but you can also link and sell the finished product afterward. The good news is, that you can sell things online for free or with minimal costs to you, so you don’t lose anything by trying.

Some online shops creators and marketplaces to look at Shopify , Wix, Tictail, and Etsy.

9. Make a game or an app

On the gaming side of YouTube and Twitch there are stories about developers that created a popular game or an app from scratch, with little or no help at all. The most notable examples of that are Eric Barone, who made Stardew Valley , Toby Fox of Undertale and Makoto Kedōin responsible for Corpse Party .

What is great about creating a bigger product like that, is that it can become the focus of your channel — promoting not only you and your skills but also the game after it’s finished. It could be great for marketing and creating a buzz around it. With a little bit of luck, you may be able to create a strong fandom around something that is just being developed.

Tools you may want to consider: Unity, RPG Maker , GameMaker.

10. Crowdfunding

Your channel doesn’t have to be the only thing you’re working on. Do you have an idea for a product or a game, but you have no funds to get you started? You always wanted to write a book or get that kick-ass graphic novel from your imagination into reality? Crowdfunding may just be the thing for you then.

Just write a proposal for your project (don’t forget great visuals!), decide what is it exactly that you need funding for (music, graphics, printing, programming, production, your own salary), set up supporter levels and what everyone will be getting for their money then simply go for it! Maybe your project will be the next big thing? Keep us posted if you decide to go for this one, we are curious.

You can set up your campaign on Kickstarter , Indiegogo and RocketHub.

11. Become a host

Have you ever considered becoming a part of someone else’s channel and be paid for it? Some brands and companies are actively looking for streamers and hosts to run their own shows and appear in their videos. Those are often gaming companies that offer gambling/casino services. But there are more and more opportunities out there, as game and software developers slowly started to catch up to this trend.

To find those kinds of jobs you would either need to be headhunted or you would need to contact companies directly. Find a company that you’d like to work with, find someone that is responsible for marketing, drop them an email and link your sample videos, channel stats and hope for the best. Fingers crossed!

12. Help other channels grow

Is your channel doing really well? If so, maybe you could help other channels grow too? You could make some money using everything you’ve learned so far and there’s a growing audience for this kind of knowledge. You could write an e-book or an online course on how to get new viewers. You could write a blog with helpful articles and premium resources. You could do 1–2–1 mentoring session with new content creators and help them improve.

There is no one good way to do this, as every person and every channel will be different. But with great experience come great opportunities and you could definitely find something that works for you.

Does anything on the list sound like something you’d like to try?