YouTube has come a long way since the first video was uploaded in 2005. More than a decade later, 100 hours of content is uploaded to the video-sharing service every minute. With more than 6 billion collective hours of video, it’s not surprising that the social media channel has launched careers for thousands of aspiring comedians, actors, and singer-songwriters. But what is surprising is just how much some of these YouTubers are making. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot. Here are some of the top earners who’ve made their mark (and millions) on YouTube.
The six-year-old making $11 million playing with toys each year will seriously make you question why you spent four years in college.
Roman Atwood Can Make $9,000 A Day
Since November 2009, Roman Atwood has been cracking up his loyal base of followers. Known for his outlandish pranks and hilarious hijinks, he’s amassed around $18 million since he started his channel. When he’s not pulling pranks he posts daily vlogs about his life, wife, and kids. That is where he really started to bring home the bacon. His lifestyle channel averages about 15,000 new subscribers per day and get an average of 5 million hits every day. Meaning, he makes around $9,000 a day just from that one channel due to his usage of YouTube ads. He’s one of the most successful vloggers of all time.
Germán Garmendia Is A Digital Icon
Chilean YouTuber Germán Garmendia is the most famous YouTuber in Latin America. He rose to fame from his hilarious comedy videos and won the hearts of everyone with his musical abilities. He’s earned over $5.5 million thanks to his loyal teen fan base. He even won the digital icon award at the MTV Millennial Awards in August 2014. In 2016, he continued to grow his empire by publishing his first book, “#Chupaelperro.” The autobiography of sorts includes advice and insight to his young fan base about lessons he’s learned through his own experiences.
Rosanna Pansino Takes The Cake
Rosanna Pansino rose to fame thanks to her adorable and entertaining cooking series called “Nerdy Nummies.” The aspiring actress tried out YouTube as a way to get herself more comfortable in front of a camera. It obviously worked! Pansino has uploaded more than 310 cake, cookie and cupcake recipes as part of the series and her channel has over 9.1 million subscribers and an average of 75 million views per month. She even got a book deal in 2015 and released her own line of cookware in 2017. Plus, she’s made around $6 million dollars. Now that takes the cake.
Michelle Phan Now Partners With Big-Name Makeup Brands
Michelle Phan began taping makeup tutorials in 2005 just for fun. She had no idea it would launch a successful career as a go-to makeup guru. Michelle went viral after Buzzfeed shared her video, “How to Get Lady Gaga’s Eyes,” and she quickly gained over a million subscribers. From there it just kept growing. Thanks to her YouTube success, Phan was able to land deals with big name-brand makeup companies like L’Oreal and Lancôme. She’s also published her own book, launched her own music group and video channel and her own makeup subscription company. All of which have earned her nearly $50 million.
Tyler Oakley Landed On Forbes 30 Under 30
Tyler Oakley gained popularity for being an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ youth, healthcare, and mental health. Oakley, who is openly gay, started his YouTube channel in 2007 after a rough breakup from his first boyfriend. He was struggling with mental health issues, thoughts of suicide and an eating disorder and saw the platform as a positive way to combat these. His videos combine humor with pop culture and politics. Ellen DeGeneres even signed him to her production company and he posts weekly videos on her YouTube channel. He’s made over $6 million so far and in 2017 was named one of Forbes 30 under 30.
Ryan ToysReview Is A Mini Mogul
Ryan ToysReview is actually run by little Ryan’s parents. In 2015, they posted their first video, a review of Lego Duplo train sets. Since he was three years old, Ryan’s parents have been capturing videos of him opening toys, playing with them and “reviewing” them for his channel. Despite being viewed by millions of people each day online, Ryan’s last name and his place of residence are a closely guarded secret and he rarely makes public appearances. In 2017, the 6-year-old became a mini-mogul by earning $11 million in just one year thanks to YouTube ad sale and his incredible boost in video views.
Coming up soon: why Jake Paul is one of the most hated (and richest) YouTubers out there.
Lilly Singh Is The Superwoman Of YouTube
Lilly Singh, also known as Superwoman on YouTube made over $10.5 million in 2017 alone. She started her channel in 2010 to combat her severe depression and build a community around herself. Looks like she found her community — she now has 13 million subscribers. She posts hilarious stand-up videos about her traditional upbringing and comedy sketches about what it’s like to be a girl. In 2017, she published her autobiography, How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life and was announced as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to advocate for children’s rights. When she’s not making videos, you can find her acting in cameo roles for major films and rapping in Bollywood songs.
Smosh Are YouTube OGs
The guys behind Smosh — Ian Andrew Hecox and Daniel Anthony Padilla — are two of the original YouTube superstars. They began posting comedy sketches and pranks in the fall of 2005 and quickly became one of the site’s most popular channels — a title they still maintain. In January 2018, they had 7 billion video views, 22.8 million subscribers and an estimated net worth of $11.8 million. In 2017, Padilla left the group to pursue a solo career with his own channel but still maintains his duties as one of the co-founders. The group now includes a full cast of other comedians, musicians, and YouTubers to create the same quality of entertainment they always have.
PewDiePie Uses His Earnings For Good
Swedish YouTube sensation, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg took the site by storm in 2012 due to his vlogs and gaming videos. Kjellberg’s videos show him playing various video games, while a box in the top corner of the screen shows his reactions to what’s happening. He’s gained an extremely loyal fan base which he coined his “Squad Fam” thanks to his high level of engagement with them. He’s been praised for responding to questions and comments regularly, a rarity for a YouTuber of his popularity. He’s also done social good with his “Squad Fam.” Felix frequently does charity work and raises money for important causes with the help of his “fam.” He’s worth a reported $15 million.
Markiplier Games For Charity
Mark Fischbach, also known as Markiplier, specializes in online gaming videos. He gained fame and popularity from his emotional outburst while he plays. Prone to yelling, screaming, cursing, and even crying while playing has gained him the adoration of 19 million subscribers and $5.5 million. Apparently, playing games really pays off! But when he’s not having a breakdown on camera, he’s raising money for charity. He runs charity Livestreams where he plays games and collects donations for charities like Best Friends Animal Society, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and children’s hospitals. According to Fischbach, he and his viewers have raised a total of $1,118,645.14 as of July 2016.
In 2009, twins Colby and Cory Cotton began filming their serious sports skills. They joined forces with their Texas A&M college roommates, Garrett Hilbert, Cody Jones, and Tyler Toney to break as many Guinness Book of World Record sports challenges as they could. Thanks to their hilarious group dynamic and natural athletic abilities, they quickly racked up 26.8 million subscribers, 4.6 billion views and a net worth around $10 million. They also gained the title of the most subscribed sports channel on YouTube. When they’re not performing their own sporty stunts, they team up with incredible athletes like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Odell Beckham Jr., and the Arsenal F.C. and Manchester City F.C. teams.
Jake Paul’s Controversial Channel
Jake Paul is the younger brother of the infamous YouTuber, Logan Paul. Jake rose to fame on the platform Vine, posting shenanigans and pranks with his friends. That led to his role on the Disney Channel series, Bizaardvark. He then followed in his brother footsteps and began video blogging. Known as a bit of a bad boy, Paul has had his fair share of controversies. The first was when he released a video entitled “I lost my virginity” and used a thumbnail of his then-girlfriend half-naked on top of him. Many parents were outraged at the lewd sexual nature of his post for his young audience. He’s also faced disputes regularly in his Beverly Grove neighborhood. Despite his so-called, “haters,” Paul’s net worth stands at around $11.8 million.
Jake Paul isn’t the only one in the Paul family who is making a killing on YouTube either.
Evan Fong Games And Gains
Evan Fong, also known as VanossGaming on YouTube is worth a reported $7.8 million. By posting gaming videos and hilarious gaming commentary he gained the attention of 22.3 million subscribers and 8.8 billion views in just seven years. Fong was studying economics at the University of Pennsylvania but became so wrapped up in his channel that he dropped out after his second year to focus all of his attention on gaming. Thankfully his risk paid off big time. Despite being so successful Fong initially struggled to be in front of the camera and actually didn’t appear onscreen until 2013, two years after he started his channel.
Daniel Middleton Was The Highest Paid YouTuber Of 2017
English YouTuber and professional gamer, Daniel Middleton has one of the most popular channels in the United Kingdom. He started posting daily gaming videos, mostly about Minecraft and eventually set up a separate channel of vlogs, posting about his everyday life, performing stunts and making audiences laugh. His vlogs really took off, skyrocketing the gamer to the highest paid YouTuber of 2017. He made $16.5 million! Later in 2017 he also had a world tour that included four sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House. When he’s not gaming onscreen he hangs out with his wife, Jemma who is also a Minecraft YouTuber!
Kan & Aki Review Toys, Make Millions
The adorable sister duo, Kan & Aki are two of the tiniest toy reviewers you’ll find on the web. The best part? They’re making bank doing it. They pull in around $3.2 million a year to give their thoughts on what’s trending in the toy world. They’ve also amassed more than 1.9 million subscribers as well as 4.3 billion views. Since 2010 they’ve been charming fans with weekly uploads and also run a blog on the side about their lives. They’ve also uploaded nearly 800 videos since they joined. When they’re not busy making videos, they enjoy playing with their other sister, Asahi.
The Fine Bros. Landed A Spinoff With Nick Cannon
Rafi and Benny also known as The Fine Bros, took YouTube by storm in 2005 with their high-quality and hilarious videos. Fun fact — they are biological brothers and their last name really is Fine. The siblings are popular for their React series, where they show kids funny clips and viral videos and record their reaction. Kind of like a digital age, Kid’s Say The Darnedest Things. The series was so successful it led to a spinoff with Nick Cannon, hosted on Nickelodeon called, React To That. They now have a net worth of over $13.8 million and run a full-service production company of digital series, television shows, and feature films.
CrazyRussianHacker Prefers A Quiet Life
Taras Kulakov or CrazyRussianHacker as YouTube fans know him gained popularity for his incredibly inventive videos where he displays life hacks, scientific experiments, and scientific demonstrations. He is an avid YouTuber, posting between one and three new videos every day. His channel now has over 1,000 videos and he has 10.4 million subscribers and 2.2 billion views. Taras moved to America in 2006 and worked at a Walmart to save up enough money to produce as many videos as possible. His hard work completely paid off and now he’s worth an estimated $7 million. Despite his frequent posts, Taras avoids all media inquiries and events and prefers to maintain a quiet life, steering clear of fame.
Logan Paul’s Insensitivity Got His Sponsorships And Account Suspended
Successful YouTuber, Logan Paul became a household name in 2018 for all the wrong reasons. The 22-year old gained enormous success on YouTube, leading to dozens of other projects including the Disney channel show, Bizaardvark, and his own series called Logan Paul Vs. All of which earned him a reported $12.5 million in 2017. But on December 31, 2017, Paul posted a horribly insensitive video called, “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest” in which he treks through the infamous Japanese forest, Aokigahara. The forest is one of the most popular suicide spots in the world and Paul’s video shows a hanged suicide victim dangling from a tree behind him. The internet was outraged and Paul’s sponsorship deals and YouTube account were suspended.
The “Internetainers”: Rhett And Link
Despite outnumbering their fellow YouTubers in age at 39 and 40 years old, Rhett and Link can hold their own in terms of subscribers, views, and net worth. The comedy duo of Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln Neal met in first grade and have been making each other laugh ever since. The self-proclaimed “Internetainers” (Internet + entertainer) have gained a loyal fan base thanks to their hilarious viral videos, comedy songs and morning talk show called Good Mythical Morning. They’ve done so well they’ve caught the attention of major corporations like Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Cadillac, and Alka-Seltzer – all of which partnered with the duo for commercials and other promotional goods. They are worth an estimated $5 million.
Haters Can’t Keep Colleen Ballinger Down
Comedian Colleen Ballinger is best known for her character Miranda Sings. Miranda is an egomaniac who, despite lacking any real talent, posts regular videos of herself singing poorly and telling jokes that aren’t funny. In her spare time, she fights off her haters. Ballinger created the character as a satire of the many different types of personalities living on YouTube. Miranda Sings has helped Colleen land both a memoir called Self-Helf, and a Netflix series, Haters Back Off along with a stand-up tour. Colleen is reportedly worth around $2 million. When she’s not performing as Miranda, Ballinger is actually a stage actress and classically trained singer.
KSI Says It’s All About The Personality
British YouTuber Olajide Olatunji, more popularly known by his online alias KSI, told his fans in a video, “Essentially, I’m a 21-year-old who’s a millionaire through gaming, vlogging, and my online experience.” As a teen, Olatunji started out on YouTube by posting videos of him playing FIFA video games while making hilarious commentary. He told Vice, “A lot of people think being at the top means you have to be the best at a certain game. You don’t. It’s more about personality.” Olatunji’s personality has earned him 17 million subscribers and a reported net worth of $4.5 million.
Lindsey Stirling Has Major Violin Skills
American violinist, Lindsey Stirling began her YouTube channel in 2007, wowing people with her talent on the violin combined with impressive dance moves so much, that she became a quarter-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2010. Although she ultimately didn’t win the competition, it was enough to boost her career and multiply her YouTube following, where she now boasts over 10 million subscribers. All that has led her down a path that padded her bank account with a reported net worth of $6 million! Stirling has toured the world and continues to produce beautiful music.
Lindsey Stirling Uses Her Fame For Good
Lindsey Stirling has found success for his violin skills and made millions on YouTube and beyond. But she is also one of the most charitable YouTubers out there. Stirling teamed up with the non-profit Atlanta Music Project to help spread appreciation of music to children. She made two limited edition t-shirts and collect money from the sales which went directly to the Atlanta Music Project She was able to raise enough money to provide music training for 50 children.
Jenna Marbles Tells It Like It Is
Jenna Mourey, popularly known as Jenna Marbles, has made a name for herself on YouTube by making hilariously, relatable videos about being a girl, posting hilarious tutorials such as “How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking” and “How To Avoid Talking To People You Don’t Want To Talk To.” Her down-to-earth personality combined with her conventional “hotness” has made her a speculation among many, but she is the one with the last laugh, raking in a reported net worth of $2.5 million.
Jenna Marbles Now Has The 32nd Most Subscribed Channel
While Jenna Marbles isn’t in the spotlight as much as she used to be, she is still credited with being one of the original funny ladies on the social media platform. Her success on YouTube has only led her to bigger (and more lucrative) opportunities. Since reaching YouTube fame, Marbles has released a brand of dog toys called Kermie Worm & Mr. Marbles. She also hosts a weekly pop countdown on SiriusXM Hit 1. But most interesting, Jenna Marbles has the honor of being the first social media star to have a wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s!
Vlogging Is The Way For Joey Graceffa
YouTuber Joey Graceffa has two active YouTube channels with a combined 1.7 billion views. While one is dedicated to video gaming content, he is perhaps more well known for his vlogging content after joining the massive StyleHaul network in 2013. His popularity made him a contestant on The Amazing Race both in 2013 and 2015, and has landed him roles in short films and web series that were distributed by YouTube. After all is said and done, Graceffa has a reported net worth of $3 million and he continues to make videos to this day.
Making Money By Pranking Each Other
You’d think it’d be terrible to make a living off humiliating your significant other for views, but that’s exactly what Jesse Wellens and Jeana Smith did with their channel PrankvsPrank. Wellens and Smith became popular for pranking each other, filming their very genuine reactions. They started this concept in 2007 and the number of views their channel generated each day was making them as much as $820 a day! Although they really only got around $300k a year, it’s still enough to make the average person jealous. Unfortunately, mixing their relationship into their work put a strain on the couple. They broke up in 2016 and are on separate paths.
Vegetta777 Is Playing Games
Samuel de Luque is known as Vegetta777 on YouTube, where he posts gaming videos playing everything from Minecraft, Battlefield, WatchDogs, Grand Theft Auto, and more. The Spanish YouTuber has the second most subscribed Spanish-speaking channel on YouTube and has 21 million subscribers, with an average of 10,000 new subscribers each day. This amounts to an estimated net worth of $4 million, as he reportedly rakes in over $4,000 per day which amounts to $1.5 million per year! He often collaborates with other popular gamers on YouTube who have strong followings, thereby increasing his own popularity by association.
This Anonymous YouTuber Is Still A Millionaire
DisneyCollectorBR has become popular on YouTube by posting videos of unveiling new Disney-themed toys and playing with them. The only thing anyone knows about her is that she is from Brazil, but as for her identity, it remains a mystery. Many people note that her popularity stems from her soothing voice, which is helpful for children and a relief for many parents. What’s interesting is that it seems no one knows this YouTubers identity at all — even YouTube execs. So just how much is this mystery gal making? Find out next.
The Anonymous YouTuber Has Made $12.2 Million
“Unboxing” has undoubtedly become one of the most profitable niches on YouTube. For whatever reason, viewers can’t get enough of watching other people open toys. This anonymous YouTuber’s videos have amassed over one million views and have earned her 1.3 million subscribers. Despite her choice to remain anonymous, somehow her reported estimated annual earnings vary anywhere from $1.5 million to $12.2 million.
From Minecraft To Lady Gaga
Adam Dahlberg makes a killing on YouTube for his Minecraft videos. Popularly known as skydoesminecraft, Dahlberg got his start as a member of “Team Crafted” which was a Minecraft-themed YouTube channel. Since branching out on his own, Dahlberg has managed to gain almost 10 million subscribers and has over a billion video views to boast about. This reportedly has him making between $702,500 and $5.9 million, according to CNBC. He’s become so popular that he was in a Lady Gaga video, “for G.U.Y.” and has such avid fans that they even write fan fiction about him.
This Toy Collector Is Also Anonymous
BluCollection is pretty much the male-version of DisneyCollectorBR. Like DisneyCollector, BluCollection has chosen to remain anonymous, though Internet sleuths have concluded that he might be from New York based on his Twitter account. He mostly unboxes and plays with Disney toys, although he also does other brands as well. He only has over 700,000 subscribers, however, experts estimate that his 1.5 billion video views are raking in anywhere from $576,900 to $4.8 million a year. Unlike DisneyCollectorBR, however, BluCollection primarily posts videos showing all different features and ways of play with the toys, rather than in-depth commentary.
El Rubius And His Over-The-Top Comedy
Ruben Doblas Gundersen, known on YouTube as El Rubius, is another wildly popular Spanish YouTuber. The half-Spanish, half-Norwegian Internet phenom started out making gameplay videos but has expanded into vlogging, challenges, and sketch comedy and he even has published several books. Gundersen is credited with having the most subscribed YouTube channel in Spain, boasting over 6.2 billion video views and 27.4 million subscribers. CNBC estimates that Gundersen is raking in anywhere between $471,500 to $3.9 million per year. In 2016, Gundersen received the “YouTuber of the Year” award at the 1st Play Awards that were held in Spain.
A Master At Parkour In Minecraft
Mitchell Hughes is a Canadian YouTuber who goes by the name TheBajanCanadian. He became popular for his Minecraft-themed videos and is particularly known for his ability to perform parkour while giving commentary on the game. While his videos primarily show him obliterating the competition in Minecraft mini-games, Hughes has also expanded his popularity as a part of the channel Awesome Sauce Films, which he co-owns with other YouTubers. His Minecraft videos earn him up to $3.8 million a year, boasting 3.6 million subscribers and more than 680 million video views as of 2014.
It All Started With Gangnam Style
Jordan Maron is known as CaptainSparklez on YouTube and he first rose to prominence after he made a Minecraft-themed parody of the viral Korean hit, “Gangnam Style.” He, like many others, maintains millions of subscribers (10 million and counting!) by posting Minecraft plays, animations, and reviews. As of 2014, CNBC estimated that he was possibly making up to $3.6 million from all his video views. Since then, he’s ventured outside of YouTube and started a mobile gaming company called XREAL with Howard Marks, who was a co-founder of Activision. In 2016, he was even featured in Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Zoella Is The Girl Online
Zoe Sugg is an English YouTuber who got her start creating fashion and beauty vlogs under the username Zoella. As of late 2017, she has an estimated net worth of $3.5 million and this is not only from her YouTube career but also through endorsement deals and other business ventures. In 2014, she released her debut novel, Girl Online, which sold almost 80,000 copies in its first week, which broke the record for highest sales by a debut author. Her incredible popularity has even led to her having her own line of housewares and beauty ranges, which are more than likely found in the U.K.
Making Videos For All The Young Girls
Rachel Levin started her YouTube channel, Rclbeauty101, back when she was a teenager and in 2015, it was the fastest growing YouTube channel in the world. Primarily posting makeup tutorials, Levin’s popularity has generated an estimated net worth of $4 million and she just barely hit her early twenties. As of late 2017, she had over 13 million subscribers. Her making videos in the age of social media have led her to earn a spot among top social media influencers under 21. The college girl boats 3.8 million followers on Instagram and just as many on Twitter as well.
Gabby Wallace Started Teaching ESL On YouTube
Not all YouTubers are making millions of dollars each year, but some are making enough money to support themselves and that is pretty cool too. Take for example Gabby Wallace who made a cool $120,000 on YouTube in 2015 — and it all started with her desire to travel.
Wallace’s desire to travel the world inspired her to begin teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). She knew this career would allow her to help students learn while also allowing her the benefit of traveling. Wallace had been working as an ESL teacher for five years but decided to start uploading bite-sized videos to her YouTube. Little did she know her channel was about to take off…
Her Channel Grew And She Made a Six-Figure Salary
Wallace started her channel with no technical experience and no equipment. All she had was her trusty laptop and a smartphone! But despite that, her students responded well to the videos so she kept making them. After making videos for six months, she noticed a box pop up that said, “Yes, I would like to be able to monetize my videos.” She clicked it and that’s when the money started to trickle in.“Honestly, seeing the first few cents and the first few dollars come in just amazed me,” she says. “I was like, ‘This is possible; oh my gosh, it works.’”
Gabby Wallace Went All-In Back In 2014
For the first few years of her YouTube channel, Gabby was only treating it like a part-time job. She had 10,000 subscribers and was doing one-on-one lessons. In 2014, she decided it was time to turn things up a notch. She started creating video courses, complete with lessons, quizzes, and other exclusive content for paid members. Now, between her courses, YouTube ad revenue, and sponsorships, she earned $120,000 last year!