How To Make Money On YouTube Without Monetization

How To Make Money On YouTube Without Monetization

  • 08 Aug, 2023

YouTube offers a vast array of options for creators to earn, even without full monetization or the YouTube Partner Program. Here’s a quick guide on how to capitalize on your content before you reach YouTube Monetization.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where creators earn a commission for promoting products or services of other companies. Essentially, you recommend a product to your viewers, and if they purchase it through your referral link, you earn a commission.

Choosing the Right Products

The key here is promoting products that align with your content and resonate with your audience. For instance, if you run a fitness channel, you might consider promoting workout gear, supplements, or fitness apps. It’s essential to choose products that you genuinely believe in, as this will come across in your promotion and maintain your credibility.

How to Promote Products

There are several approach to be successful with affiliate marketing on YouTube. Here’s my top three:

  • Product Reviews: Dedicate a video to review a product, showcasing its features, benefits, and your personal experience.
  • Tutorials: If it’s a product that requires demonstration, create a tutorial. For example, a tech channel could show how to set up and use a particular gadget.
  • Mention in Relevant Videos: If you’re discussing a broader topic where the product fits naturally, give it a mention. For instance, in a video about hiking, you could mention and link to your favorite hiking boots.

Be Transparent

Disclosing to your viewers when you’re using affiliate links is a must. Not only is this a best practice, but in many regions, it’s also a legal requirement. Being transparent helps maintain trust with your audience, ensuring they know you’re recommending products because you believe in them, not just for the commission. Feel free to tell your viewers that you earn a little commission when they purchase using your links, and that it’s a great way to support the channel.

Don’t overdo it

Affiliate Marketing can be super powerful, but don’t overdo it or it will dillute the quality of your content. Remember, adding value is always the priority with your videos. The affiliate links are always secondary and shouldn’t overpower the content itself. In other words, plug links where relevant, but don’t plan your videos based on the links you know you will be able to fit in them.


Consider a tech review channel called “TechNews.” TechNews could promote specific gadgets or software they review using Amazon’s affiliate program. In a video reviewing the latest smartphone, TechGuru could provide an affiliate link to the phone’s Amazon page. By doing so, every time a viewer purchases the phone through that link, TechNews earns a commission. Over time, with consistent and genuine recommendations, this can become a significant revenue stream for the channel.

By leveraging affiliate marketing, you can monetize their content effectively, providing value to their viewers while also earning for your efforts. And you don’t have to wait for YouTube to monetize your channel for that. You can start on day 1.

2. Sell digital products

A digital product is a good or a service that can be purchased, downloaded and used online. You create them once and sell them as many times as customers want to buy them. It’s a low cost, very high margin type of revenue stream.

Types of digital products

  • eBooks: Written content on specific topics, like guides, how-tos, or fiction.

  • Software and Apps: Tools or applications that solve a particular problem. Slightly bigger initial investment, especially if you do not have programming skills, but the return can be very lucrative if you serve a specific niche very well.

  • Templates & Presets: Pre-made designs, such as website templates or graphic design layouts, photography presets etc.

  • Online Courses: Structured lessons on a specific subject, delivered through videos, text, or interactive modules.

Integrating digital products on YouTube

Promoting your digital products on YouTube can be highly effective, given the visual nature of the platform. Here’s how you can integrate your products into your content:

  • Dedicated Videos: Create videos specifically about your product, showcasing its features and benefits.

  • Mentions in Relevant Content: If you’re discussing a topic related to your product, give it a mention. For instance, if you have an eBook on photography techniques, mention it in a video about photography tips.

  • Links in Description: Always include a direct link to your product in the video description, making it easy for interested viewers to make a purchase.

  • Pinned Comments: Pin a comment with the product link at the top of your video comments section. This is a great way to convert your viewers into customers.

Pricing and Marketing

Determining the right price for your digital product is super important. Consider factors like production costs, perceived value, and competitor pricing. Additionally, play with occasional discounts or bundles to incentivize viewers to purchase them. Here are some Marketing strategies you can apply:

  • Testimonials: Share feedback or reviews from customers who’ve benefited from your product.

  • Collaborations: Partner with other YouTubers to promote your product on their channels, and vice versa.

  • Email Marketing: Build an email list and keep your subscribers updated about new products, updates, or discounts.


Check out @abiconnick who does this really well by listing social media template bundles and other products on See can see examples of what you created here.

3. Sponsorships & Brand deals

Sponsorships involve collaborating with brands or companies to promote their products or services in your videos. In exchange, creators receive compensation, which can be monetary, free products, or other perks. Unlike affiliate marketing, where earnings are commission-based, sponsorships often involve a fixed payment or agreement. Creators often starts with freebies in exchange for content and monetary incentives tend to grow with the size of the channel.

Finding the Right Brands

It’s essential to collaborate with brands that align with your content and resonate with your audience, aka don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. Carefully select the deasl that makes sense for you. It can be hard to say ‘no’ to a deal sometimes, especially when you begin, but trust yourself to know when something feels right.

  • Research Potential Brands: Look for companies that share a target audience with your channel. Your content will interest them, and you’ll have an easier time promoting their products or services because it will already be aligned with what you usually talk about.

  • Reach Out Proactively: Don’t wait for brands to come to you. Send pitches or proposals highlighting your channel’s value and potential collaboration ideas.

- Use Influencer Platforms: Websites like Famebit or Grapevine connect creators with potential sponsors.

Maintaining Authenticity

Always ensure that your sponsored content feels genuine. Many creators make this mistake to promote anything and everything. This is the best way to lose your credibility and damage the bond you created with your viewers. They always have to come first.

  • Transparency: Clearly disclose sponsored content to your viewers. This maintains trust and is often a legal requirement.

  • Choose Products You Believe In: Only promote products or services you’ve tried and genuinely

Negotiation and Contracts

When entering a sponsorship deal:

  • Understand Your Worth: Know your channel’s value. Consider factors like your audience size, engagement rate, and niche and average cost per acquisition of a customer for the brand you are considering.

- Read Contracts Carefully: Ensure you understand all terms, including deliverables, payment details, and any exclusivity clauses.

Seek Legal Advice: If unsure, consult with a legal professional before signing any agreement.


Consider a travel vlogger named “WanderlustJourney.” They could collaborate with a travel gear company to showcase a new backpack designed for backpackers. In a video exploring a hiking trail, WanderlustJourney could discuss the backpack’s features, how it made their journey more comfortable, and provide a link for viewers to purchase or learn more. The brand benefits from targeted promotion, and WanderlustJourney receives compensation for the integration, creating a win-win situation.

4. Merchandising

Selling merchandise is a way for creators to offer tangible products that represent their brand or channel. This not only provides an additional revenue stream but also strengthens the bond between creators and their community, as fans get to own a piece of their favorite channel.

Designing Merchandise

The key to successful merchandising is offering products that resonate with your audience:

  • Relevance to Content: If you have a catchphrase or a recurring theme in your videos, consider incorporating it into your designs.

  • Quality Matters: Ensure that the products are of good quality, comfortable, and durable.

  • Diverse Range: Offer a variety of products, from t-shirts and hoodies to mugs, posters, and more.

Promotion on YouTube

To boost sales, it’s essential to effectively promote your merchandise on your channel:

  • Dedicated Videos: Create videos showcasing the merchandise, perhaps sharing the design process or the story behind them.

  • Mentions in Videos: Casually mention or wear/display your merchandise in regular videos.

  • Links in Description: Always provide a direct link to your merchandise store in the video description.

  • Community Posts: Use YouTube’s community tab to announce new merchandise or offer limited-time discounts.

Fulfillment and Shipping

Consider using platforms like Teespring or Merch by Amazon, which handle production, shipping, and customer service, allowing you to focus on design and promotion. They will take a cut of each sale, but you really don’t want to manage inventory and fullfillment yourself. Keep your eye on the ball, your focus is content creation, not administrative sales & logistics.


A channel focused on astronomy and space exploration, “StellarSights,” could sell t-shirts with beautiful illustrations of constellations or famous space quotes. In a video discussing the wonders of the Milky Way, the host could wear one of their shirts, subtly promoting it to viewers.

5. Patronage & Donations

Patronage allows dedicated fans to support their favorite creators directly. It’s a way for viewers to contribute to the content they love, ensuring its continued production.

Platforms for Patronage

There are several platforms where creators can set up patronage systems:

  • Patreon: Probably the most popular, it allows creators to offer different tiers of membership with varying perks. Link here
  • Ko-fi: A platform where fans can offer one-time donations or “buy a coffee” for their favorite creators. Link here
  • Buy Me a Coffee: Similar to Ko-fi, it’s a simple way for creators to receive support.Link here.

Offering Exclusive Perks

To incentivize patronage, offer exclusive content or perks:

  • Early Access: Allow patrons to view your content before the general public.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Content: Share the making of your videos or personal vlogs.
  • Exclusive Merchandise: Offer special edition merchandise only available to patrons.
  • Community Interaction: Host Q&A sessions, polls, or live chats exclusively for patrons.

Promotion and Engagement

Promote your patronage platform in your videos, explaining the benefits and how it supports your content creation. Engage with your patrons regularly, showing appreciation for their support.


An independent documentary channel, “RealWorldDocs,” could use patronage to fund their in-depth projects. In return for support, they might offer patrons early access to their documentaries, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, or even credits in their videos.

YT Tracker & Brand Collaboration Hub

For a while now, I have been considering adding a brand collaboration feature in YT Tracker. It would allow creators to opt-in to be considered for sponsorship campaigns with various brands.

This feature would aim to seamlessly pair creators with brands, facilitating meaningful collaborations that resonate with the channel’s content and audience.

If you’re a creator eager to explore brand collaborations or a brand looking to connect with authentic content creators, you will love this feature. To gage interest for it, please contact me via the Settings tab in YT Tracker or via email at edouard.developer @ to let me know that you are interested in this feature. Suggestions & feedback are always welcome too.

You can download YT Tracker here if you’re not already reading this in the app.

Conclusion: Balancing Monetization with Content Creation

In the dynamic world of YouTube content creation, diversifying income streams is a smart strategy. By integrating one or two monetization options, creators can establish a more stable financial foundation. However, it’s essential to remember that each additional revenue stream comes with its own set of responsibilities and workload.

While it’s tempting to jump into multiple monetization avenues, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Overextending oneself can lead to burnout and may inadvertently affect the quality of the content – the very essence of a channel’s success. Instead of striving for perfection in every revenue stream, creators should focus on mastering one or two that align best with their content and audience.

Ultimately, the content should always remain the priority. It’s the heart of a channel, drawing viewers and building a community. By carefully selecting and managing monetization methods, creators can ensure that their focus remains on delivering exceptional content while also enjoying the benefits of diversified earnings.

Til next time! Peace ✌️ Ed

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