YouTube can be—and often is—a labour of love.
Many people harbour a dream of paying the bills with the success of their channel, but only a small proportion of those people succeed in achieving that dream.
Still, success on YouTube—particularly modest success—is a very attainable goal, which has led to YouTube being seen as a legitimate career choice by many.
With any career choice comes a lot of, frankly, boring questions of a logistical nature. If you are just starting out and have no real financial goals, or, on the other end of the spectrum, if you are an enormously successful YouTuber who makes money faster than you can spend it, you don’t need to think about things like how often you get paid from your YouTubing ventures.
The reality of earning a living through YouTube is a little more grounded, however. There are far more people earning their living through YouTube who are just getting by or perhaps using YouTube to supplement other revenue sources. These people are rarely wealthy, and for them, YouTube is as much a job as any traditional employment you might care to reference.
Still, making an average salary through YouTube is often preferable to a lot of jobs out there.
Do YouTubers get paid monthly? – YouTubers who are eligible for the YouTube Partner Program will accrue income which is paid out a month in arrears. However, you must reach a total of £60 ($100) in the AdSense account to be paid for that month. YouTubers might also have external affiliate arrangements that pay on other terms.
In this post, we’re going to be looking at how often YouTubers get paid, which is a messy, sprawling topic that we can’t give a straightforward answer to since there isn’t one.
Keep reading, and we’ll go over all the ways a YouTuber typically gets paid, along with how often those payments come, and how much flexibility there is in this area. We’ll even through in a little financial advice for anyone just getting started.
How Do YouTubers Get Paid?
To properly understand the messy and complex nature of YouTuber payment schedules, it helps to first understand how they get paid. It is not, as many people seem to think, a single revenue source coming directly from YouTube.
YouTube does offer a monetisation system for which they pay you directly, but the money earned through this method is not typically enough to quit the day job over. In fact, you would have to be getting tens of thousands of views a day to make anywhere near a decent living from this method alone.
That being said, there is more than one way to convert the success of a YouTube channel into earnings… which is also why the topic of how often YouTubers get paid is messy and complicated. Here are some of the most common ways YouTubers earn money;
- YouTube Partner Programme
- Direct Donations
- Brand Deals and Sponsorships
- Merchandise Sales
YouTube has created opportunities to leverage memberships and merchandise directly through the platform for channels that meet certain criteria—10,000 subs for merch, 30,000 subs for memberships—but the main way that YouTube pays you is through their Partner Programme.
Outside of YouTube, sites like Patreon can provide you with a way to offer membership style functionality to your viewers, while there are more merchandise platforms than you can shake a branded stick at!
And, speaking of branding, brand deals and sponsorships are possibly the most lucrative option but are only a feasible option for channels with a significant audience.
How Often Do YouTubers Get Paid
Now that you have seen just a sample of the many different ways a YouTuber can get paid, you should be able to appreciate how difficult this question is to answer.
Fortunately, we do have a common theme among the most popular earning methods, so let’s take a look at that theme;
Google’s Adsense—the vehicle through which YouTube pays you—and Patreon, both utilise a monthly payout system whereby you can choose to be automatically paid every month.
There is a caveat, however. Both platforms have a minimum threshold you must reach before you can be paid. This amount comes to $100 in the United States, and a rough equivalent in other countries. If you work on the average CPM of a YouTube video, that means you would need to hit 50,000 views a month to reach the AdSense payment threshold every month.
Patreon is a different animal. The threshold for getting a payout there is a much more modest $10, and your earnings are not directly tied to your views or audience size. In both cases, you can opt to hold your payments until a later date. In the case of Patreon, this allows you to set payouts to manual and take care of the exact payout times yourself.
AdSense is less flexible, their system allows you to hold your payments for up to a year, but you are stuck with their monthly payouts and payment thresholds if you want to get your money out of your Patreon account and into your bank account.
It is worth noting that many merchandise companies work on a similar system to Patreon—where you have to reach a certain payment threshold, but you can withdraw your money anytime once you have reached that threshold.
Things are a little different for money that finds its way into your payment processor.
This could happen because you are accepting direct donations from your subscribers, but more likely it will be because you have opted to have your membership or merchandise platforms pay into a payment processer (like PayPal) rather than send you a physical cheque.
With payment processors, there are usually no restrictions on when you can withdraw your money and how small an amount you can withdraw, but there may be charges associated with withdrawing your money.
This is especially the case if you reside in a different country to the company who sent the money. For example, at the time of writing, Patreon can payout in USD ($), GBP (£), and Euro (€).
If you live in a country—or, more accurately, your bank resides in a country—that does not use one of these currencies, there will likely be a conversion fee from your payment processor in order to get that money into your bank account.
If you are asking questions like do YouTubers get paid monthly, you are probably looking at YouTube as a potential career move or at least one piece of your financial puzzle.
After all, there is no law that says you have to make your entire income from YouTube or not at all.
But if you are looking at YouTube as a potentially serious income source, it’s important to plan carefully and be smart.
We could fill an entire post with an in-depth look at this topic, but for now, here’s a quick rundown of the key points.
Build Up a Buffer
YouTube is not the most reliable source of income, particularly if the bulk or entirety of your YouTube revenue is coming directly from the YouTube Partner Programme.
If you choose to make YouTube a significant part of your financial situation, be prepared for the lows that come with those highs.
Never let yourself be in a situation where you are relying on a particular amount from YouTube to pay the bills or meet any other financial obligations you have. YouTube is notoriously unreliable when it comes to making a consistent income, and if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck with YouTube revenue, you could find yourself in serious trouble the next time an adpocalypse hits, or during a month when revenue drops for reasons beyond your control, such as seasonal behaviour.
You can’t necessarily avoid these things, but if you have a reserve of cash, you are at least protected from the immediate damage they can cause.
At the very least, you should have a few months worth of money stored up in the event your earnings dry up, though conventional wisdom states this figure should be closer to six months, if not a year.
Having this cash gives you a bit of breathing room should something happen to severely impact your earnings, and will allow you to figure things out without the axe of defaulted bills hanging over your head.
Diversify Your Income – How To Make More Money on YouTube
Another way to protect yourself against the unreliable nature of YouTube revenue is to not have all of your eggs in one basket.
If the entirety of your income is coming from the YouTube Partner Programme, you are completely at the mercy of the next significant changes YouTube make to their platform, and YouTube rarely make changes that boost everyone’s earning potential.
Making use of things like membership platforms, direct donations, merchandise sales, and any other ways of bringing the money in will protect you against your income being wiped out by one company making changes to their policy.
If at all possible, try to diversify further so that your income sources are not directly tied to your YouTube channel. For example, a Patreon page for your YouTube channel is a good way to diversify your income, but it is still built upon your channel. If your channel were to be taken down for some reason, your Patreon earnings would soon follow.
If, on the other hand, you had a blog running alongside your YouTube channel, earning revenue in its own right, you are further protected from the adverse effects of YouTube changes. Other examples include selling online teaching courses or running sponsored podcasts.
The critical factor being that, even though they may be linked to your YouTube channel by content or branding, these other ventures would be able to exist on their own, should anything happen to your channel.
Plan Plan Plan
We can’t understate the importance of proper planning when you first start out. The first year or being financially independent with YouTube as one of—or the main—income sources is especially critical.
We would recommend setting up a spreadsheet and putting in everything you have going out on a monthly basis.
We mean everything.
Make sure the entirety of your financial obligations are covered so that you can clearly see whether you are making enough money.
Hopefully, you will have taken our advice about having a buffer in place, so you’ll have a bit of a safety net to right the ship if you are not pulling in enough money, but you don’t want to get three months into your new career and find you’ve been losing money and didn’t know about it.
One particularly important aspect of this process is to account for everything. It sounds over the top, but it works. If you spend a dollar buying candy, make a note of it. If you buy a video game on sale for only a few bucks, make a note of it.
Small purchases can be the undoing of a move to become financially independent—they add up in the background while we mentally dismiss them as insignificant.
Don’t Rush Into It
The final piece of advice we’re going to impart here is to take your time with the decision to “go pro”.
Too many YouTubers rush to quit their day jobs when they have a good month or two, only to find those month’s earnings were a bit of an exceptional spike, and then they struggle to pay rent the following months.
When you first hit that magical moment where you are making enough money from your online activities to pay all the bills, wait. At least give it a few months.
Put the excess money you are earning into the backup buffer fund we mentioned above. Once you’re sure that level of income is sustainable, pull that trigger!
Do YouTubers get paid monthly? Yes. Sometimes… if they want.
The exact frequency of payments to YouTubers depends entirely on whether they are successful enough to meet the criteria for joining the YouTube Partner Programme or making money through other avenues that also require a good deal of success.
It also depends on whether that YouTuber is consistently making enough money to meet the various payment thresholds many companies have in place.
That being said, “monthly” is as close as we can get to a typical payment schedule for your average YouTuber.
Most companies work on a monthly basis and, while some YouTubers may get paid far less frequently, very few—if any—YouTubers will be getting paid more frequently on a consistent basis.