With more than 2 billion active users each month, YouTube has become more than a place for cat videos. A lucrative YouTube career is now possible even for ordinary folks. Just take a look at famous YouTubers like Pewdiepie, Shane Dawson, Jake Paul, Smosh, and Jimmy Donaldson a.k.a MrBeast.

It’s safe to say YouTube has become the de facto launchpad for the next generation of creators, personalities, and even celebrities. So, it should come as no surprise that many are enticed by the idea of starting a YouTube channel to earn a full-time living from the platform and become full-time YouTubers.

After all, being a YouTuber seems like a fun and lucrative job. Plus, you only need a camera and a solid internet connection … right? Well, there’s much more to a Youtube career.

A YouTube career: Dream job of the young

According to a survey conducted by MediaKix, a whopping 75% of children ages 6 to 17 want to become YouTubers. Older generations share the sentiment. A study by The Sun also revealed that three-quarters of GenZ and Millennials choose a YouTube career as their dream career.

The question is: “Is it a smart idea to quit your job and pursue a YouTube career?” Or “Is it a good idea to start your first-ever career as a full-time YouTuber?”

How to become a YouTuber: Essential skills you need

Even though it might sound easy to become an overnight YouTube sensation, making a career out of YouTube does take work. Contrary to what many people think, a YouTube career isn’t quick and easy money.

That’s because, with more than 500 hours of videos uploaded every minute, you can’t expect your channel to stand out and get massive views without lifting a finger.

Here are some essential skills you should bring to the table to become a successful YouTuber:

1. Out-of-the-box ideas

YouTube videos are all about content. After all, video is a medium that lends itself well to creative expression. That’s why you always need to come up with fresh and unique content to catch more eyeballs and gain subscribers.

Simply following hot trends on the platform can only make your videos get lost among the crowd. When you offer viewers something unique and create original video content, it’ll most likely spark their curiosity and generate clicks on your Youtube video.

On the other hand, don’t go too far and turn into one of those obnoxious “influencers.”


2. Solid content research

To make your content ideas even more entertaining and informative, you also need proper content research skills. The more well-versed you are with your content, the more viewers will engage with your channel. This, in turn, will help you grow your channel faster. We will talk about content ideas more in the later section.

Use trusted websites and sources to back up your stories on your content. Not only will it make your content more trustworthy, but it will also make your channel more professional.

Well-researched content can show your viewers that you take your YouTube channel seriously, making it more worthy of a subscription. High subscriptions and viewership are key to a successful YouTube career.

3. Video editing skills

Unless you’re willing and able to hire a video editor, you need basic video skills. You can make a great impression with superb video editing. Editing skills are a must to create professional-looking, high-quality video content—whether you create daily vlogs or educational explainer videos.

Don’t worry. You can always rely on video editing tools to help you edit your videos stress-free. Many of them offer simple user interfaces with basic features so that you can easily use and operate them even if you have no experience in video editing before. Your computer probably came with video editing software for non-professionals. And YouTube also provides simple video editing capabilities.

4. A good understanding of the platform

Another skill you need to have for becoming a YouTuber is a good understanding of the platform. You need to know how YouTube actually works (such as the mysterious YouTube “algorithm”) and what types of videos prominent YouTubers prefer, as well as how they perform. Make sure you carefully read and understand YouTube guidelines.

You also need to get clear about what kind of viewers you are targeting, so you can create relevant and relatable content.

How to become a YouTuber: A 7-step guide

Here’s a step-by-step process for becoming a YouTuber:

1. Choose a niche

Niche is the specialized segment of a broad category of things. For example, if you want to start a YouTube channel on vegetarian recipes, think about how you can narrow it down to something more specific like oil-free vegetarian recipes, sweet vegetarian recipes, or maybe even just vegetarian dinner recipes.

Your niche can be based on your passion, your knowledge of the subject, or a combination of both.

2. Understand your audience

Before creating the actual content, you must dig deep to understand who are you creating the content for. For starters, answer these questions:

  • who is my content for
  • what age group do they fall in
  • what are their hobbies/interests
  • what kind of work they do
  • why are they watching my videos
  • what will they gain/learn from my videos
  • what time they are most active on YouTube

Answering these questions will help you create a persona for your target audience. The persona will lead you to create the most relevant content for them.

3. Goal

What is the goal behind your YouTube videos? Do you want to become famous? Do you want to help a particular set of audiences? Or do you want to build a personal brand to sell a product or service?

Whatever the goal is, you should be clear about it from the very beginning.

4. Content ideas

After you are clear on your niche, audience, and goals, it is time to come up with content ideas. One of the hard parts of being consistent with YouTube is coming up with new content ideas.

We have combined some resources for you to get started:

5. Content calendar and content scheduling

Just coming up with content ideas will not be enough. You also need a solid content strategy and a plan to work it out.

Build a plan to lay out your YouTube content for the week or the month. This way you will be organized and be able to stay ahead of time. This will also give you time to work on other aspects of building your YouTube audience like promoting on social media.

Some of the simple tools to help you with creating a content calendar are:

  • Microsoft Excel,
  • Google Sheets,
  • Google Calendar,
  • Trello,
  • Asana, etc.

You can also look at the following templates and resources to build your YouTube content strategy:

You can use the following tools to schedule your YouTube content:

6. SEO

Just recording and publishing videos on YouTube won’t make it. You also need to optimize your videos so that they appear in front of your target audience. SEO or keyword optimization is required in the following areas:

  • video file name
  • video title
  • video description
  • video tags, etc.

Also read: How to Become an SEO Specialist: Skills, Salary, & Tools

7. Promote

Now that your video is up and running, it’s time to promote it. Don’t be shy. Promote your video everywhere – leverage social media channels (the ones that are applicable to your audience), and even try out email marketing.

Also read: Become an email marketing expert

How to become a YouTuber: Practical tips to get started

1. Consistency

Being consistent in producing fresh content is key to successful content creation. So if you want to become a successful YouTuber, you must be consistent in your efforts.

2. Patience

YouTube success takes time and may take even years to show solid results. Stay patient and believe in yourself.

3. Staying updated

Make sure to keep in touch with popular YouTube trends. When relevant and applicable, take advantage of the trends and produce related content.

4. Understanding techniques

Last but not the least, the lighting and angle of your videos are a make or break when it comes to YouTube videos. Make sure to use the best possible recording equipment, and have an understanding of good angles and proper lighting.

How to make money as a YouTuber?

Making money might not be the main reason you start your YouTube channel. You may just enjoy making videos and interacting with your viewers. But you can also earn bucks while you’re enjoying the whole process of being a YouTuber.

Here are some of the ways to make money as a YouTuber:

1. Signup for YouTube Partner

You can monetize your YouTube channel by becoming a YouTube Partner and earn income from ads displayed on your videos. However, you can only do this once you’ve hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over a year.

One thing you should know about monetization is the viewers have to either watch the ad for a minimum amount of time or click the ad for you to get paid. How much does YouTube pay you? There are many factors that influence this, but it’s been estimated that, on average, a YouTube Partner makes $3 – $5 per 1,000 video views. That means to make a full-time income, you need to have millions of views!

2. Work with brands as an influencer

If you already have many followers on other social media platforms, it’ll be easier for you to build your audience on YouTube and become an active influencer in a short period of time.

You can work with a brand or take sponsorship, promoting their products or services. You can review their products, run giveaways, or simply mention the products and brands in your video to get paid and even get free stuff from the brand.

3. Sell products

You can also use YouTube to promote your own products or services, or other people’s products as an affiliate. The platforms will help you boost your brand awareness and expand your reach.

To sell products on YouTube, you can create product videos, post customer reviews, or upload how-to videos. The key here is to reach a bigger audience and help them become more familiar with your brand.

4. Crowdfund your channel and other projects

Being a YouTuber also offers you an opportunity to crowdfund your channel and other projects. This means people give you a one-time or monthly donation so you can keep creating content or complete a specific project.

Many successful crowdfunded projects have a trailer video that gets people excited to support the project. Trailer videos are also a great way to pitch your ideas. You can use it as a source of donations from your viewers or subscribers. Don’t forget to always include reasons why your project is worth supporting and what donors can get from spending money on it.

Become a YouTuber

Becoming a YouTuber is now a dream job for many young people. And if you’re one of them, understand that building a YouTube channel takes time and patience. It pays to gain real-world experience in creating content and managing a YouTube channel. Even if you decide you don’t want a full-time YouTube career, it can still be a side hustle.

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Either way, consistency is key. Aim to upload new videos at least every week and be active on other social media platforms outside YouTube to let other people know about your channel.


Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2021. It was updated on 25th March 2022 by Alisha Sharma, Content Manager at Acadium.