How Small YouTube Channels Make Big Money

Dividends Forever
4 min readNov 10, 2023

Do you know about “The dog that didn’t bark?”

It’s a concept postulated by Sherlock Holmes in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Silver Blaze. In the story, the dog not barking at the criminals is an important clue.

And in life, what people don’t do is often a clue to success.

Here’s an easy example.

A lot of personal finance content focuses on “side hustles.” Yet nobody stops to ask “What does the person ordering a 3 AM Uber ride home from the club do that gives them disposable income and plenty free time?”

YouTube is similar.

There’s a lot of focus on viral content or high-profile creators like Mr. Beast. I have no personal issue with Mr. Beast, but he doesn’t make that much money.

At least relative to his fame.

Mr. Beast is YouTube’s #1 Creator, as well as the subject to endless controversy and scrutiny (we’re talking about him right now!). But he only earns about as much as a daytime TV host like Judge Judy or Drew Carey.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of YouTube channels you’ve never heard of that make comparatively more per view. And with less effort.

Here’s how.

1. High CPM Niches

Has there ever been a worse source of information than the TED Talk?

I don’t think so. In fact, I believe TED Conferences, LLC should face “Big Tobacco” style class action lawsuits for all the terrible, life-destroying advice they promoted throughout the 2010’s.

I say this because making global content for everybody is a very “TED Talk” piece of advice. It sounds nice, but doesn’t align with reality.

Broad brush content can grow a YouTube channel quickly, but it’s a poor business decision.

This is because general entertainment content has the lowest CPM rates.

When you see front page, trending YouTube content like “We Ate The World’s Spiciest Ice Cream!” or “Setting Off 200 Fireworks At Once!,” those videos are earning less than $1 per 1,000 views.

You’d make far more money reviewing barbecue grills or lawnmowers, even if the audience is…

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