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This is the latest installment of Business Insider’s YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.
Marissa Lyda is a budgeting and personal-finance creator on YouTube who shares content geared toward helping millennial women and moms like her save money.
Lyda launched her YouTube channel in 2016 after paying off $87,000 of student loan debt. Over the years, her YouTube business has evolved into becoming her full-time job.
She spends time batch-filming 3 to 4 videos on the weekend while her husband watches their son. During the week, Lyda edits those videos, creates thumbnail images, and answers emails in-between her son’s nap times, she said.
Lyda runs her online business completely on her own, but said she has been looking to hire an editor.
As a YouTube creator, she earns most of her revenue from brand sponsorships, ads placed in her videos through YouTube’s Partner Program, affiliate marketing, and by selling a budget template on Etsy.
In 2020, her YouTube channel earned $15,700 from ads through the Partner Program. (Insider verified her earnings with documentation provided by Lyda.)
To be accepted into the YouTube’s Partner Program and start earning money from ads, creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, and once they are in, their videos are monetized with ads filtered by Google. How much money a creator earns depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics, among other factors. YouTube also keeps 45% of the ad revenue, with the creator keeping the rest.
YouTube also has a few monetization metrics within the Partner Program to help creators track exactly how much money they are making. CPM, which stands for “cost per mille,” is the cost advertisers pay per 1,000 YouTube ad views. RPM, or “revenue per mille,” is calculated by adding up all revenue reported in YouTube Analytics and then multiplying it by 1,000 and subtracting YouTube’s 45% cut.
In short, RPM is the revenue rate the creator earns. CPM does not take into account YouTube’s cut and is a measure of the total ad revenue earned by both the creator and YouTube.
Lyda said her average CPM rate in 2020 was $11 and her average RPM rate was $6.
Those rates generally earn Lyda over $1,000 per month given her view counts.
Lyda broke down how much money her YouTube has earned so far this year per month from ads. Insider verified her earnings with screenshots of her analytics dashboard:
- January: $1,400.
- February: $1,200.
Relying on other streams of income beyond YouTube
Lyda said that usually her top source of revenue is sponsorships, but that a big focus for her is having a variety of ways to make money and a long-term financial view.
“Diversifying income streams is really important,” Lyda said. “When you’re on YouTube you’re going to experience some high highs and some low lows, and it can be hard to budget your personal finances off of that when you have extreme highs and extreme lows.”
Instead of relying on what she’ll earn each month from her online business, Lyda built out a reserve within her business checking account so that she can pay herself a steady salary each month and stay within her budget.
Aside from YouTube, Lyda also sells on Etsy several different budgeting templates that she created. In 2020, her Etsy shop earned $17,000 with 2,300 orders. (Insider verified these earnings with documentation provided by Lyda.)
“I never had a big up-front cost for my business,” Lyda said. “I don’t think that you need to spend a whole bunch of money in the beginning to start a successful channel and you can keep adding and getting better equipment for your channel as your business starts to make more money.”