It takes work to make money on YouTube. It’s easy enough to start your own channel and takes just a few minutes to set up. You’re good to go as long as you are over eighteen and have a cellphone. Shoot your first video and wait for the money to start rolling in.
Well, it’s more complex than that because YouTube has a couple of milestones you must pass before your content can earn money. First, you need to have 1,000 subscribers, and second, your channel must have racked up 4,000 watch hours within the previous twelve months.
So you’ve bullied your relatives, friends, and friends of friends into subscribing and reached 4,000 hours. A rough rule of thumb is that you will make about $5 for every 1,000 views of your video. If you get 1 million views, you might make $5,000. And getting that amount of views is the problem.
Roughly 500 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s a lot of competition, and it isn’t easy to deliver engaging content that will keep your viewers watching and boost your bank account. So let’s meet some YouTubers who achieved these milestones and more. Here are 10 YouTubers that are richer than you’d think.
Related: Top 10 YouTube Channels To Make You Seem Smarter
Based in Los Angeles, Mark Edward Fischbach goes by the name of Markiplier on YouTube. Since his debut in 2012, Markiplier’s channels have reached 20 billion views and attracted 34 million subscribers.
He is best known for doing playthroughs of indie and horror games. Plenty of other channels cover more or less the same ground, but Matkiplier works hard to make his videos stand out. He is funny and engaging—personality is an important part of success. He involves his viewers in the charities that he supports. His live streams feature him playing a game while encouraging viewers to donate to a good cause.
His net worth is estimated to be around $35 million. He demonstrates that you can make money on YouTube with great content, an engaging personality, and involving your viewers.
9 Lilly Singh
Canadian Lilly Singh has been posting on YouTube since 2010. By February 2022, people had viewed her posts over three billion times, and she earns well over $10 million a year. She has used her popularity to branch out into TV, books, and films. Her first video reached 10,000 views in a single day—an astonishing number for a YouTube newbie.
Lilly has attracted and kept a dedicated following due to her open, honest, and endearing personality. The key to success in this cutthroat business is the ability to form a relationship with the viewers; Lilly manages this effortlessly. She comes across as someone you might know and certainly someone you would like to be friends with.
8 Dude Perfect
Dude Perfect’s website states:
“Five dudes, a camera, and a friendly bet. That’s how Dude Perfect was born. … There’s more to Dude Perfect than just having fun. We’re about giving back, spreading joy, and glorifying Jesus Christ. And we’re stoked you’re part of the crew. So pound it, noggin, and let’s get big!”
And they are big, with nearly 60 million subscribers and a revenue of around $20 million. They’ve extended their YouTube presence into live tours and books. Plenty of other channels feature “epic antics,” but few are as popular as Dude Perfect. Part of the key to their success must be that they manage to convince their viewers that they form “part of the crew.”
7 Jake Paul
Jake Paul has 2.4 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. Nowhere near as many as the others on this list. Jake is Logan’s younger brother, who also has a YouTube channel with similar content.
Jake started his social media career on the now-defunct Vine platform. Successful there, he moved on to YouTube via a stint on the Disney Channel show “Bizaardvark.” When the budding actor was just 20, Disney fired him from the show for unacceptable behavior. Controversy has always been a feature of Jake’s career. His YouTube channel, full of practical jokes and hip-hop, is often controversial.
YouTube has also served as the launch pad for Jake’s boxing career. He has made considerable money by marrying the two—a reported $38 million from boxing in 2021.
Speaking of marrying… Jake and fellow YouTuber Tana Mongeau got married in Las Vegas in 2019, or rather, they nearly got married. As they didn’t have a license, the marriage was invalid. Still, fans could watch the ceremony for $50 on pay-per-view. Don’t miss an opportunity to make some extra cash!
Most gamers will know PewDiePie’s YouTube channel. Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, the man behind PewDiePie, registered his first YouTube account in 2006 and registered the successful PewDiePie channel in 2010. By 2016, he was so famous that Time magazine named him on their “World’s 100 Most Influential People” list. With 111 million subscribers and nearly 30 billion views, his channel is the most-subscribed individual channel on YouTube.
Let’s Play videos featuring PewDiePie’s humorous commentary formed the basis of his initial content, but Felix has expanded his content over the years. And subscriber numbers kept growing. He has branched out into video games of his own and a unisex clothing venture. His various activities have brought him an estimated net worth of around $56 million.
Considering the competition from other gaming channels on YouTube, this $56 million is truly astounding.
Nastya was born in Russia in 2014. Her Like Nastya channel is the 5th most viewed channel on YouTube. Amazing in itself for one so young; it’s even more so when you consider that doctors diagnosed her with cerebral palsy and believed that she would never speak. But she can and does.
Carefully managed and guided by her parents and corporate management, Nastya has an annual income of around $18 million. Her content includes songs, stories, and adventures that her young audience can’t get enough of. Nastya has branched out into merchandise and sold her back catalog of videos for cash.
Her current success depends on successful marketing to children of her own age. It will be interesting to see if she can adapt her content as she grows up and retain her audience.
English YouTuber JJ Olatunji is worth an estimated $25 million. He started on YouTube in 2009 and has invested his earnings in property, a chain of restaurants, and a vodka brand. Better known as KSI, his channel focuses on music (he is a successful musician in his own right), gaming, and his boxing career.
His success comes from the fact that he is very talented and has an easy, relaxed style. Like many other YouTubers on this list, he supports a variety of charitable causes.
3 Emma Chamberlain
2019 was a good year for Emma Chamberlain. Time magazine listed her as one of the “25 Most Influential People On The Internet,” and Jonah Engel Bromwich of The New York Times wrote that she was “the funniest person on YouTube.” Some have said that she has redefined how videos are presented on YouTube.
Her net worth is estimated to be around $12 million, and some analysts suggest that she might earn up to $2 million a year from her videos alone. Add this to her income from other ventures—she has deals with luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Cartier—and she is obviously a very successful woman indeed.
Emma is a natural in front of the camera whose channel offers a variety of videos on different topics, with fashion being the underlying theme.
Unspeakable is unstoppable on YouTube. His real name is Nathan Graham, and he illustrates an important point—to make money, you have to spend money. Unspeakable sold his back catalog to Spotter and used the proceeds to invest in his YouTube escapades. There’s no reason why you can’t make some cash from YouTube with just your cellphone, but to make big money, you have to invest.
Some people might find that his over-the-top personality would get a bit tiring after a while, but his 20 million subscribers would disagree.
Unspeakable’s net worth stands at between $20 and $30 million. He adds to his YouTube income through merchandising.
He started his career with a Minecraft Livestream in 2012 but is always looking for new ideas.
1 Mr. Beast
Jimmy Donaldson (Mr. Beast) started his first YouTube channel in 2012 when he was just 13. Our video neatly illustrates why he is so successful.
The idea behind the challenge is simple. But Mr.Beast keeps up the viewer’s interest by offering a high reward and breaking the flow with side challenges and prizes. He has a team of 100 people—a lot of them old friends—helping him with his videos.
His philosophy of investing large sums to ensure higher income pays off. His net worth is estimated to be $60 million, and he has over 100 million subscribers. The Insider website reported that a business had offered Mr. Beast $1 billion for his content, but he turned the offer down.
He keeps his videos manageable by making the challenges easy to explain and fun to watch. This takes a lot of preparation. Mr. Beast is a true YouTube phenomenon.