This is the latest installment of Insider's YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.
Charlie Chang treated his YouTube channel as a hobby for years until he started making videos about personal-finance last year.
In April 2020, he re-launched his YouTube channel (which only had a few thousand subscribers) and began uploading at least one video a day while also working as a real-estate agent. After finding success making videos about trending topics, like stimulus checks, he shifted away from real-estate content toward personal finance, a topic he was personally interested in.
"Luckily, I had the right type of content to actually be ranked in searches and that really grew my channel," Chang told Insider.
Shortly after the switch, his channel was accepted into YouTube's Partner Program, which lets creators make money through ads Google places on their videos. That's when he realized YouTube could become a business.
Now, his YouTube channel has about 350,000 subscribers, and he spends around four hours a day creating content. Chang's most popular video topics include a list of businesses that don't require any money to start (560,000 views), his sources of income (691,000 views), and top stocks to purchase (771,000 views).
He recently hired a small team, which consists of a video editor and a virtual assistant. Chang edits most of the videos on his main channel, and he hired the video editor to help him produce content for two new YouTube channels he is building.
He's able to earn money each month from his YouTube channel through the ads that play in his videos, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and by selling a course.
But how much does Chang earn each month?
Chang's two main sources of income are usually money earned from advertisers: both through YouTube's Partner Program (where Google places ads in videos and pays creators a cut) and brand sponsorships Chang negotiates himself.
Chang broke down how much his YouTube channel has earned so far from Google-placed ads in 2021 through the Partner Program. Insider verified his earnings with documentation provided by Chang:
- January: $34,900
- February: $33,200
- March: $23,300
'A lot of people don't realize how much money they can charge per deal'
Though YouTube's Partner Program was Chang's first big source of influencer income, brand sponsorships eclipsed it in March.
Chang works with a variety of finance companies and other brands each month, and he makes money by mentioning the company's name within the first few minutes of a YouTube video or by filming a dedicated video about the brand.
He broke down how much he has earned so far from sponsorships in 2021, which Insider verified with documentation he provided:
- January: $23,500
- February: $18,000
- March: $49,500
Chang also works with multiple influencer-marketing agencies, who will reach out to him with new deals.
On average, Chang said he charges around $10,000 to $30,000 for a month-long collaboration.
"I still negotiate all of my deals, and I plan to do so for a long time," Chang said. "Pitch a rate that's higher than you would actually ask. Don't de-value your services, because to be honest, a lot of people don't realize how much money they can charge per deal and how much brands are willing to pay."
"If you use any products yourself, I think a really great strategy is to actually reach out to those brands personally and email them," Chang added. "A lot of times, these companies are really willing to work with creators."
Affiliate marketing is a trending revenue stream for finance creators
Aside from YouTube ad revenue and brand sponsorships, affiliate marketing – where creators earn money by driving sales or sign-ups – has become a popular revenue source for some finance-focused influencers, including Chang.
Finance affiliate programs usually offer a fixed rate per sign-up, and these creators are paid by either receiving a free stock or a cash payment.
Each month, Chang promotes dozens of personal-finance apps, business apps, and real-estate license programs.
From January to March, Chang earned over $60,000 in affiliate revenue, according to documents he provided.
He also sells a course on how to become a YouTube creator and make money. He charges $597 for the course. From January to March, Chang earned over $10,000 in course sales, which Insider verified with documentation provided by Chang.
"A lot of people can create an even more profitable business by not relying on views, affiliates, or brand deals for generating income, but by making their own course, online education product, or mentorship group," Chang said.