There’s a trend going around where YouTubers are showing how much money they’ve made off of videos that have 1 million views, which I think is great for transparency and super interesting to me. Seeing how much creators with millions of subscribers make is really enlightening — some people are making tens of thousands of dollars on a single video only with Adsense, YouTube’s on-video ad service, before sponsorships or affiliates. It’s neat to see what’s possible, and for me, how it stacks up to what I earn on YouTube.
Now I’ve never had a video go viral and hit a million views… in fact I’ve never even had a video hit a hundred thousand views. My top video kind of randomly hit 80 thousand after being up for two years due to a random spike in YouTube’s algorithm.
But I have been putting out videos on YouTube for over five years consistently and I’ve racked up just under 5 million views on my channel total. So how much does a YouTuber make who’s a “middler,” — who’s never had a viral video, but has consistently put out videos for years.
I started my channel five years ago in April of 2014 to catalog my debt free journey — an accountability partner on the internet and a way to track my progress. I didn’t go into it expecting to make money, though that was an obvious bonus that happened. I currently still make videos every single week along the same subject lines, though I am debt free now.
My First Video
While my audience hasn’t rocketed off into the hundreds of thousands or millions, I consider myself fairly successful. I have made a pretty decent chunk of change over the years and I’m excited to show with you exactly how much I’ve made over five years on YouTube.
Year 1 – 2014
The first year that I was on YouTube was 2014 and between April 9, 2014 and April 9, 2015 I had 28,400 views. I gained 1,300 subscribers and I made $114.01. I didn’t make anything for the first six or seven months, which was about the amount of time that I needed to earn around a thousand subscribers.
Because of YouTube’s current policies, you can’t monetize until you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. Back in 2014, you could monetize immediately, you just could not withdraw any money until you made at least a hundred dollars.
Year 2 – 2015
The second year that I was on YouTube, April 9, 2015 – April 9, 2016, I started doing a little bit better. I had 608,000 views, gained 6,600 subscribers on top of the previous thousand that I had, and I made $3,023.19.
I was making about one to two videos a week, really not focusing at all on quality. I was shooting with an iPhone, in very bad lighting, in a very small apartment in Louisiana, but because I was putting out videos regularly and there was a small cache of people that wanted to watch it I was earning a small chunk of change.
Year 3 – 2016
Year three, April 2016 – April 2017, was where things kind of started to take off. I was towards the end of my debt free journey. I finally reached the million mark and had a total of 1.2 million views. I gained 6,700 subscribers that year and I made $7,445.
Year 4 – 2017
Year four was April 2017 – April 2018 and it was my best year yet. I had 1.6 million views I gained 14,600 subscribers and I made $9,591.80 on YouTube. This is all just through Adsense, so this is not any sponsorships, partnerships etc.
My channel did really well that year. I had just become debt free and everyone was very excited. I got to go on the Dave Ramsey show and do my debt free scream I had a bunch of news clips it was just a really cool time. I was producing so many videos – four-to-five a week, so obviously I was making more money because all the views on all of the videos compounds.
My Debt Free Scream on Dave Ramsey
Year 5 – 2018
Year five, April 2018 to April 2019: I had 1.1 million views, gained 14,000 subscribers and I made $7,746. So that is a little less than I had made the year previous, but the reason that happened is because I was making fewer videos.
I was finally debt-free and was kind of taking a break from the hustle and kind of enjoying things just a little bit. I was still putting out one to two videos a week but they weren’t quite as urgent as the ones where I was getting out of debt. So I still gained the same number subscribers of your previous and I actually got more views but because I wasn’t putting out as many videos didn’t make as much money.
This leads us to what I have made over the past five years and three months onYouTube – everything I’ve done since April of 2014 to July of 2019.
Every Penny I’ve Made From YouTube
I had 4.8 million views, gained 45,000 subscribers and I’ve made $29,373.88 from Google/ YouTube Adsense.
I think that’s pretty great considering this was not always treated as a business. During the first three years, I did not invest into the channel at all, it was just another small earner to put to debt. I’ve invested more in the recent years on camera equipment, giveaways, conferences, etc. and have earned more outside of Adsense through a handful of very carefully chosen partnerships, affiliates, etc.
I’ve put in many hours on nights and weekends, but never did Budget Girl full time and always juggled it with a regular job.
Because I’ve never gone viral, I think this is a fairly average, fairly obtainable Youtube income. It’s what you could likely expect from a regular channel over several years of consistent posting. Some people expect YouTubers to make a lot more and be able to quit their jobs and work full time online, but that might not be realistic for everyone. My numbers are probably a bit more average, though if you do have a channel, I hope it will blow up for you.
If you’d like to see how much I made from my top three videos, or how much I make monthly from YouTube, check out my video here:
How much do you think your favorite YouTuber makes? Are they transparent about their income?