How to Start a Youtube Business

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Our guide on starting a youtube business covers all the essential information to help you decide if this business is a good match for you. Learn about the day-to-day activities of a youtube business owner, the typical target market, growth potential, startup costs, legal considerations, and more!

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Start a youtube business by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your youtube business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

STEP 1: Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

  • What are the initial costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How long it will take you to break even?
  • What will you name your business?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you. Skip on ahead to the Business Overview for more detailed answers to all your questions.

Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your youtube business is sued. Consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get Business Insurance

Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.

STEP 8: Define your brand.

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Business Overview

If you are looking to spread information, improve the human condition and help others, you should consider starting a YouTube business. YouTube businesses provide informative and helpful videos that benefit others in countless ways. Though anyone can start a YouTube channel, the channels that provide useful and insightful content amass plenty of viewers. Such successful channels are legitimate businesses.

Who is this business right for?

This business is ideal for those who would like to make money by providing helpful video content to others. This is your chance to make educational, entertaining, and captivating video content for the masses. If you have a passion for spreading information, helping others, and making videos, a YouTube business is the perfect way to make money.

What happens during a typical day at a youtube business?

YouTube business owners spend the majority of their workday creating and editing videos. The bread and butter of this business is the continuous generation of high-quality video content. The best YouTube business owners are willing to invest the time necessary to edit the smallest details of their videos. A portion of the workday is also spent brainstorming ideas for new video content.

What is the target market?

There is no single market for YouTube businesses. The target market hinges on the types of videos you upload to your channel. However, it must be noted that many YouTube users are youngsters. Gear your video content to the younger crowd and the odds will be in your favor.

How does a youtube business make money?

Popularity is essential to success as a YouTube business owner. Create helpful, entertaining or otherwise meaningful video content and people will flock to your channel. If one of your videos reaches 10,000 views, you can monetize your channel. It does not matter what your subject matter is as long as your videos do not violate YouTube's and terms of service. Abide by these rules and you will be compensated for views. Just be sure to change your YouTube channel's settings to “Monetize with Ads”. This way, the ads placed in your video will provide you with revenue.

What is the growth potential for a youtube business?

This business has unlimited growth potential as the entire world is your audience. Everyone who has access to the web can contribute to your business's success. It is possible to amass a significant subscriber base, generate millions of views per video and grow the business into a massive video production company with several employees. Or, you can operate every aspect of your YouTube business on your own and still grow your subscriber base and the business across time. The direction you take your channel is completely up to you. The bottom line is high-quality video content will catalyze your subscriber base, subsequent views, and the growth of your channel.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful youtube business?

Experience making and editing videos will certainly help. Those who have a background in entertainment, marketing, and psychology tend to do quite well with their YouTube businesses. Stage presence is the most important characteristic. Though you probably won't be filming YouTube videos on any sort of stage, it can be argued every setting in which you film your videos is the equivalent of a YouTube stage. If you are comfortable speaking while in front of the camera, you stand a good chance of building a successful YouTube business.

What are the costs involved in opening a youtube business?

You will need a camera of some sort. Some YouTube business owners film their videos with their smart phone camera. Others use professional video equipment. Start out with a high-quality smartphone. It will cost a couple hundred dollars up front and between $50 and $150 per month, depending on your data usage. It is advisable to use a high-quality microphone. A microphone will cost between $20 and $100 or more. It will also help to have a computer with a high-speed internet connection and video editing software. Budget at least $750 to $1,000 for this initial equipment.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a youtube business?

Spend some time performing market research. Find out what people are looking for in online videos. Match your strengths and knowledge base to the desires of prospective channel subscribers. As an example, if you have a passion for video games, consider launching a YouTube channel that features video game reviews or footage of your gameplay. If you have a broad knowledge of technology or electronics, consider launching a YouTube channel centered on reviews or previews of high-tech items. Even “reaction” videos to current events, movie trailers, and video game trailers generate a massive number of views. Also, be sure to avoid risque language. YouTube administrators recently decided to pull ads from content creators who curse in their videos. Above all, your videos should provide some sort of value to the audience, whether it is in the form of entertainment, education, or something else.

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Growing Your Business

How to promote & market a youtube business

One of the best ways to promote and market your videos is to collaborate with others who own YouTube businesses. Contact individuals who are building successful channels or have already established successful channels. Ask if they are willing to feature you on one or several of their videos. You can reciprocate by featuring collaborators on your videos. Be sure to inform the audience of the featured guest's name, YouTube channel name and social media information. This information should be presented verbally during the video and also in text form below the video.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

How to keep customers coming back

YouTube businesses do not market their channels like traditional businesses. As noted above, collaboration with fellow YouTube business owners is one of the best ways to attract new customers. Be sure to fill out your videos' title and thumbnail with the most important information. Such information leads to promotion in the form of “suggested videos” next to related content. Always ask viewers to subscribe to your channel and hit the “like” button.

Key in on making videos about trending content. If people search YouTube or the web for information that is referenced in your videos' titles and thumbnail, you will gradually attract new viewers. In terms of customer retention, cater to the masses. You never know who is going to watch your videos so you have to cater to all ages and demographics. Entertain, inform, make people laugh, and solve their problems. Add such value with your videos and people will come back for more.

How and when to build a team

This is a one-man operation for at least a few months. If your YouTube business grows by leaps and bounds, you can consider adding a camera operator, script writer, researcher, and possibly a few actors. However, many YouTube business owners have enjoyed considerable success without the help of others. This is one of those rare businesses that can be operated by a single person.

Legal Considerations

Maintain Personal Asset Protection

Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
A smiling man sits at a computer and learns about corporate veils


To learn more about maintaining your LLC's corporate veil, read our guide and protect your personal assets.

Trademark & Copyright Protection

If you are developing a unique product, concept, brand, or design, it is prudent to protect your rights by registering for the appropriate trademarks and copyrights.

Learn more about trademark and copyright protection

The nature of legal requirements in distance education is ever changing, especially in regards to copyright laws. Here is a frequently updated resource, which can help keep you aware of the legal requirements.

Earning Potential

How much can you charge customers?

YouTube business owners are paid a specific amount of money for views and clicks of sponsors' ads. This means the business owner does not choose how much to charge clients.

What are the ongoing expenses for a youtube business?

The business owner who uses his smartphone for videotaping content must pay the monthly smartphone bill of $50 to $150 or more. He will also need an internet connection. A high-speed internet connection will cost about $50 to $100 per month. A computer with video editing software is necessary to produce high-quality videos. Plan on spending at least $500 per year on hardware and software.

Lighting, soundproofing, a green screen, a microphone and support staff might also be necessary. Plan on spending $50 to $100 per month on such equipment. If you are insistent on using paid actors for skits and other content for you channel, budget in at least $50 to $100 for each actor's day of work. More accomplished and experienced actors will make more money yet beginning actors might be willing to work for little money to build their resume. If you add staff for video production, editing, lighting, audio etc., plan on spending at least $10 to $30 per hour for their assistance.

How much profit can a youtube business make?

This business has the potential to make anywhere from a couple hundred dollars per year to tens of millions of dollars per year. The most popular YouTube business owners like PewDiePie reportedly earn more than $10 million per year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

It is possible to make additional money by promoting certain products or services during YouTube videos. You can also redirect your audience to your personal website or blog where you can sell ad space. Some YouTubers also sell clothing, coffee cups, stuffed animals, and other items that feature their brand or likeness.

Next Steps

Get more ideas with our Business Ideas Tool.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

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