How We Make $1M+ From YouTube – Passive Income Ideas That ACTUALLY Work

A lot of people question whether you can really make money online. They wonder if it’s worth it. And if it is, what are the best passive income ideas? 

This isn’t something we’d usually do… In fact we’ve never shared this info before! But we thought it was time to share a behind the scenes look into Primal Video’s passive income streams. So that you can see it really is possible to make money from YouTube. 

Important: When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

Today we’re going to talk through exactly how to make money online. We’ll dive into how we use several different passive income streams to generate over a million dollars per year in recurring income from our YouTube channel. 

This includes a full breakdown of our income sources. As well as the strategies we use to maximize them. Best of all, we’ll share the best passive income ideas for beginners. 

Some streams have a much quicker pay-off while others are more about the long game. So we’ll explain exactly which income streams are right for you depending on where you are on your YouTube journey. 

In this guide on how to make money on YouTube, we’ll cover: 

Let’s get started. 

How To Make Money With Youtube Monetization

If you’re a part of the YouTube Partner Program and have monetization enabled on your content, you’ll be able to make money through YouTube ads. 

You can make money on YouTube with ads that appear as a pop-up box while your video is playing

You can make money on YouTube with ads that appear as a pop-up box while your video is playing

How does this work? You’ll receive a percentage of the money YouTube makes from ads that are played on your videos. 

YouTube ads make up 23% of our total revenue. It’s not something that is a huge focus for us. But it has scaled significantly since we started our channel.  

YouTube ads make up 23% of our total passive income revenue

YouTube ads make up 23% of our total passive income revenue

When you first become eligible for the partner program, you probably won’t be earning very much. It’s likely you’ll only be raking in a few dollars a month. 

The amount you’ll make comes down to what type of content you’re creating, how many views you’re getting and the niche that you’re in. These factors will determine how many ads people want to run on your content and how much they’re willing to spend on those ads. 

The other type of YouTube ads are the full screen ones that play before and during your videos

The other type of YouTube ads are full screen ads that play before and during your videos

What we love about this is that you can gradually build out a library of content that continues to generate views for years after you make it. You’re really building an asset that grows and accelerates all your other income streams as well. 

At Primal Video, we upload one video each week. Lately we have been experimenting with Shorts as well. But our strategy is to release one fully optimized regular YouTube video onto our channel every week. 

You can build a massive library of content that will continually generate revenue on YouTube

You can build a massive library of content that will continually generate revenue on YouTube

To make sure our videos get seen, we do keyword research to help us identify what topics people actually want. This helps our content get shown in search results and in the recommended sections on YouTube. Our strategy is very search targeted. 

On recently released videos, the amount of views might seem low relative to our subscribers. But you’ll notice after a few weeks or months, the amount of views significantly increase. And they continue to generate views for years afterwards. 

YouTube videos are an awesome passive income stream - they generate money years and years after release

YouTube videos are an awesome passive income stream – they generate money years and years after release

We’re not relying on a viral video strategy. We’re following a strategy that guarantees our videos get seen because YouTube is a search engine. 

The beauty of this strategy is that by releasing just one video a week, we’re building a massive content library. We have videos coming up on seven years old that are still bringing in views, still generating ad revenue and still having an impact on the rest of our business. 

If you’re just starting out with this, here are a couple of quick tips: 

  • Niche down: Don’t go for super broad, super competitive topics – focus on something specific 
  • Do keyword research: Make sure people actually want the content you’re creating – ask yourself what you would search for to find those videos
Always do keyword research to make sure you're creating videos that people want to watch

Always do keyword research to make sure you’re creating videos that people want to watch

How To Make Money With Products

We’re talking specifically about digital products. 

How much revenue do we get from this passive income stream? Digital products make up 33% of our total revenue. 

Digital products make up 33% of our total revenue here at Primal Video

Digital products make up 33% of our total revenue here at Primal Video

This is another area that has really evolved over time. We started by offering a green screen course that helped people get results with green screens. 

It was called Green Screen Video Academy. As a part of this, we also sold background templates people could use with green screens. 

But, we don’t offer those products anymore. 

The first digital product that generated passive income for Primal Video was a green screen course

The first digital product that generated passive income for Primal Video was a green screen course

Now, we offer our Primal Video Accelerator program. We’ve built this so that it’s mostly passive. Accelerator is the ultimate resource when it comes to growing an audience, creating quality videos and scaling your revenue. It’s basically our YouTube channel on steroids! 

Primal Video Accelerator is now our only digital product that generates passive income

Primal Video Accelerator is now our only digital product that generates passive income

However there is an active element to Accelerator. Justin does two live Q&A calls every month with the members. But it’s something he LOVES doing – so it doesn’t even feel like work. 

Another active element to this is that we update the content when needed. A lot of the content is about long term strategies that rarely change, so we don’t need to make these updates too often. 

There is one active element to Accelerator and that's the two monthly Q&A calls

There are some active elements to Accelerator such as two monthly Q&A calls

For anyone just starting out, you could do what we did. Begin by offering simple templates or a mini course. Something that’s of value to your viewers. Build something that is going to help them. 

Start small and remember it doesn’t need to be perfect. Done is better than perfect. Then you can build and improve over time. 

How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when you’re paid a fixed price or commission for referring the sale of another product or service. 

This makes up just over 43% of our total revenue. 

Affiliate marketing makes up 43% of our total revenue at Primal Video

Affiliate marketing makes up 43% of our total revenue at Primal Video

We love affiliate marketing because it’s a win-win-win scenario. 

It’s a win for our viewers who are watching our videos because they’re linked to products and tools that will help them with a specific outcome. 

It’s a win for the company we’re mentioning because we’re sending them people who are actually interested in their product or service. We’re not just spamming links and sending them bogus traffic. 

It’s a win for us because we receive a commission from making that connection. We help that person and that company meet in the middle. 

YouTube video descriptions are just one place you can share your affiliate links

YouTube video descriptions are just one place you can share your affiliate links

How do we implement affiliate marketing? 

  • YouTube: In our video descriptions we insert the affiliate links for products we mentioned in the video
  • Resources Page: We have a Gear & Resources page on our website that features links to all of our recommended affiliate products – everything we use and recommend is on this page (the link can then be easily shared in emails & YouTube videos)
  • Inside mini courses or trainings: When you’re showing people how to use tools or services to get the results that they’re after, you can also include the affiliate links so viewers can easily access them 
You can also share affiliate links on the Gear & Resources page of your website

You can also share affiliate links on the Gear & Resources page of your website

No matter how you implement it, you need to be coming from the perspective of ‘How can I help people with this?’ or ‘How do I help them with a buying decision that will positively impact them?’.

There are lots of different types of affiliate programs. You might get a one-time fee for sending a lead to their website. But it’s more common to be paid per conversion, so every time someone signs up or purchases their product or service.  

When considering different affiliate products & services, always ask 'How do I add value for my viewers?'

When considering different affiliate products & services, always ask ‘How do I add value for my viewers?’

There’s also recurring affiliates. These are more common if it’s a monthly fee that someone is paying. You could receive a percentage or a fixed amount each month. 

Sponsorships is another model that you could easily get started with. But this is something we’ve generally avoided. We receive sponsorship requests daily. Most of these aren’t a fit for us but even the ones that are, we usually turn down anyway. 

Why? Because even though we would never skew our opinions for any review or sponsor, we don’t want our viewers to ever think there’s a chance we would. But this is a possibility when it comes to sponsored content. 

Sponsorships might be a good option for you to start making money online

Sponsorships might be a good option for you to start making money online

So sponsorships is a whole passive income stream that we’ve never really touched. Instead, we find affiliates are a great balance. We’re completely free to change our recommendations. And it’s clear to viewers that we haven’t been paid to say something. 

When trying to find the right affiliates, always ask yourself these questions: 

  • How do I add value for my viewers? 
  • How do I help people find the tools, systems, software, or even physical products that will benefit them? 
  • Do I use these things on a day-to-day basis? 
  • Would I recommend these things to my best friend? 
Search for products and services you really like to see if they have an affiliate program

Search for products and services you like to see if they have an affiliate program

Then you can start researching whether those services or products have affiliate programs. This is usually as easy as doing a quick Google search of the company name with ‘affiliate’. Or by going to the bottom of their website and having a look if they have an ‘Affiliates’ page. 

How Much We Make / Our Youtube Income Breakdown

So, our three income sources are ad revenue, digital products and affiliates. They bring in over 1 million dollars a year.

You may have noticed that there was no consulting or one-on-one income sources. We used to do it and it’s a great revenue stream for anyone starting out. 

Our three passive income streams at Primal Video are ad revenue, products and affiliates

Our three passive income streams at Primal Video are ad revenue, products and affiliates

But, let’s do a breakdown of how our income has been structured over the past few years. And you’ll see why we don’t include consulting or one-on-one services anymore. 

2016 – Majority of income from consulting & production: 

  • Affiliates 0.4% 
  • Other digital products 5.7% 
  • YouTube ads 0.4%
  • Consulting & production 93.4%
in 2016 our most prominent income stream was consulting and production

in 2016, our most prominent income stream was consulting & production

2017 – Majority of income still from consulting & production but digital products & affiliates have increased: 

  • Affiliate 10.4%
  • Other digital products 11.5%
  • YouTube ads 4.7%
  • Consulting & production 73.4%
In 2017 consulting and production was still our main income source but to a lesser extent

In 2017, consulting & production was still our main income source but to a lesser extent

2018 – Consulting & production has decreased to half and affiliates have significantly increased:

  • Affiliate 27.8% 
  • Other digital products 7.9%
  • YouTube ads 11.1%
  • Consulting & production 53.2%
In 2018, consulting & production lowered and affiliate marketing really took off

In 2018, consulting & production lowered and affiliate marketing really took off

2019 – The focus has moved to affiliates and Primal Video Accelerator:

  • Affiliate 36.4%
  • YouTube ads 15.8%
  • Consulting & production 15.8%
  • Primal Video Accelerator 27.8%

*Other digital products >5%

In 2019, affiliate marketing became our number one passive income stream

In 2019, affiliate marketing became our number one passive income stream

2020 – Consulting & production and the other digital products have been phased out: 

  • Affiliate 45.2%
  • YouTube ads 18.1%
  • Primal Video Accelerator 36.4%

*Other digital products >1%

In 2020, other digital products were phased out and we had the 3 income streams we have today

In 2020, other digital products were phased out and we had the 3 income streams we have today

2021 – Our current three revenue streams:

  • Affiliate 43.2%
  • YouTube ads 23.4%
  • Primal Video Accelerator 33.4%
In 2021, our business is thriving with the three best passive income ideas (in our opinion!)

In 2021, our business is thriving with the three best passive income ideas (in our opinion!)

Remember that this isn’t an overnight thing. This took us years to achieve! You can see how we started with consulting & production as the bulk of our income. But over time we were able to phase it out as the higher leverage income streams began kicking in. 

Starting out with things like coaching, consulting and freelancing are great ways to begin building out the more high leverage streams. They allow you to bring fast money in the door until the passive income streams start ticking over. 

How To Make Money With Email Marketing & Automation

We can’t do a guide on how to make money online without highlighting the biggest thing that’s allowed us to grow these streams: email marketing & automation. 

This is when someone opts in to receive one of our PDF guides, checklists or exclusive training by entering their email address. 

Providing people something of value in exchange for their email address is a great way to build an email list

Providing people something of value in exchange for their email address is a great way to build an email list

We’re then able to automatically send that user emails with links back to our existing video content that’s relevant to the thing they opted in for. 

For example, if the user opted in for a video editing checklist then we’re able to send them links to more videos specifically on video editing. This drives traffic back to our YouTube channel and it benefits the user by sending them content they’re interested in. 

In these emails, we can also link to our Gear & Resources page so they have access to the tools and services that will get them results. This is something that accelerates results for our email subscribers and for our business. 

You can even link to your Gear & Resources page in emails to drive more traffic to this page

You can even link to your Gear & Resources page in emails to drive more traffic to this page

We can even share information about our Accelerator program (when the doors are open) so our subscribers have the opportunity to join a program that’s going to fast-track their growth. 

Again, all of this can be completely automated. So this happens in the background 24/7 when someone opts into our email list. 

Best of all, you can make this process completely automated!

Best of all, you can make this process completely automated!

The top two tools we recommend for this are: 

If you’re looking for a simple email marketing tool that still has lots of awesome features – ConvertKit would be a great option for you. If you love tech, want all the features and all the controls – you should definitely check out Active Campaign. 

Now You Know How To Earn Passive Income Online

There you have it – a behind the scenes look into Primal Video’s passive income streams. We hope this has given you some insight on how to make passive income online. YouTube ads, digital products and affiliate marketing are our passive income streams. And we think they’re the best passive income ideas for you to try as well. 

By following these steps and implementing some of these ideas, you can earn smart passive income too! 

If you found this passive income tutorial helpful, please share it on social media or with others who would also like to learn about how to make money online. 


Links

When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

How to get your first 1000 Subscribers:

Get started with Affiliate Marketing: 

Email & Marketing Automation:


Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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