Nzangi Muimi

7 Ways to Make Passive Income on YouTube

The passive income business model is a largely self-sustainable business that requires upfront investment to generate long-term steady gains without having to always actively work on it.  YouTube is a great place to make money online. This article shares practical ideas to help you make money (passive income) on YouTube while enjoying what you do.

Making content for YouTube can be a daunting and challenging task. It would be okay if you could get paid while you create awesome content for your fans.

You need to create valuable content to attract people to subscribe to your channel and continually watch your content. Getting your first 1,000 subscribers to be accepted to the Google Partner program may take longer but that does not mean you cannot make money on YouTube if your channel is not yet part of the Google Partner program.

How then can we make passive income on YouTube?

We discuss below the various ways you can use YouTube to make passive income. I recommend the things I have experimented with and those I am currently integrating into my 12,000-subscriber YouTube channel.

Let’s dive in.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement in which you can promote another creator’s or merchant’s products and get paid a commission (usually a percentage of the value of the transaction) for any sales that can be attributed to you.

You sign up on a merchant’s website as an affiliate. Then, you obtain a unique link with a custom affiliate identifier that attributes back to your affiliate account.

When you share these product links with your audience and they click and make a purchase, you get paid a commission from that sale. It doesn’t cost the buyer more to buy the product.

I do that on my YouTube channel by putting affiliate links in the description of my videos. The products I promote are related to the content I produce so the audience can resonate with them. So, I am selling ArchiCAD objects and templates by Mesolight BIM, Revit families and templates by Balkan Architect, and other BIM content from the BIM Marketplace.

2. Selling Digital Products

Another way of making passive income as a creator on YouTube is by selling digital products.

The nature of digital products is that you do not need to do physical deliveries and shipping. It can be a simple digital file packed with value to your audience that you host online and give access to for downloading by anyone who makes a purchase.

Digital products can be anything: eBooks, plan sets, recipes, worksheets, spreadsheets or your daily newsletter.

Based on the content niche that you have specialised in; you will always find ideas for digital products.

For example, a gym/workout creator can sell meal plans and workout plans as well-crafted and designed PDF guides online. This is possible on websites such as Gumroad.

I sell PDF guides as a complement to the free software tutorials I share on the YouTube channel. For example, I made a keyboard shortcuts collection to help ArchiCAD users work faster, and I have that listed on my store in the BIM Marketplace.

3. Teaching Online Courses

Selling online courses is also another way you can make passive income as a YouTuber.

Depending on the type of content you create, you will always find ideas for online courses.

Let’s say you make content around cooking and kitchen-related stuff. You possess so much professional knowledge that can be packaged into a course and sold online. Maybe, a masterclass on choosing the right tools and equipment for the job, and a step-by-step guide on how to make a certain dish?

I have tried this on my channel. I have courses on Udemy, Skillshare and TutorialsPoint. I use the YouTube channel to build an audience around the topics I teach, share free tutorials with them, and then ask them to buy my courses if they want more structured learning with better instructor support.

And it works. You can check my “ARCHICAD 25 Basics: Drafting, Modelling and Documenting” course on Skillshare.

4. Accepting Donations (Patreon, PayPal or Buy Me Coffee)

What about asking your super fans – those who like your work very much – to consider supporting you financially through donations? It is a great way to add an extra layer of passive income to your portfolio.

People who have received the most value from your content and want you to keep creating more value for them will be pleased to contribute to this success.

I have seen creators successfully do this in several ways. Some set up a link and leave it in the video description, asking their fans to consider donating if they like their content.

Also, others set up Patreon membership tiers and market them to their audiences. Some prefer the Buy Me Coffee platform.

No matter the platform you choose as a creator, it all boils down to the basics: you have to ask your fans to consider funding your work in this way.

You can create and share some extra goodies to incentivise them to consider this. Remember, the only way to get people to pull out their credit cards and pay is by consistently delivering value to them.

5. Google AdSense

Google AdSense is a program that YouTube and Google use to connect content creators and publishers with businesses looking for ad space online. Google charges advertisers and displays ads on your content, then shares the revenue with you.

To have ads displayed on your videos, you need to be a member of the YouTube Partner Program. The following are the eligibility thresholds:

Get 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the past 12 months, or

Get 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public shorts views in the past 90 days.

YouTube Partner Program Requirements
YouTube Partner Program Admission Requirements – Source: Google

YouTube will start showing your audience ads after you get admitted to this program. Then they will pay you monthly.

YouTube users using YouTube Premium also contribute to your earnings when they watch your videos.

That said, this is a very easy thing to implement, especially if you have the required audience size. You should give it a try to add to your passive income on YouTube.

6. Super Thanks, Chat and Stickers

Super Thanks, Super Chat and Super Stickers are additional channel monetization methods provided by YouTube.

With Super Thanks, viewers buy a fun, clapping animation and get a distinct coloured comment in your videos section. This is meant to allow your viewers to say thanks by making a financial contribution to your channel.

Super chats and stickers work the same way as super thanks, but they are available on live streams and video premieres.

This, too, is a good way to add more options for the generation of passive income from your YouTube channel to fund your creative work.

7. YouTube Channel Memberships

You can also explore YouTube channel memberships. This is a way of allowing your fans to make a contribution and get access to more features and privileges.

You can give the channel members access to behind-the-scenes videos, early access to your regular videos, or mention them in the videos you upload on the channel.

Try this. You will be surprised at how willing your fans are to pay something to get special access to your behind-the-scenes content.

I have already launched channel memberships for my YouTube channel, where I share free step-by-step tutorials for construction software. As I create valuable content for my audience, this will begin to show some results.


YouTubers invest their time, creativity, and other resources to create useful and valuable content for their audiences and fans online.

It is fair to be compensated for the value you create.

There are many ways to make money on your YouTube channel. I have recommended these methods because I have tried them and benefited from them.

Try what works best for you, and share feedback or your experiences in the comments section below this post.

Leave a Comment

Discover more from Nzangi Muimi

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading