How a 22-year-old with 140,000 YouTube subscribers makes a full-time living as an influencer - and how much money she earns

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How a 22-year-old with 140,000 YouTube subscribers makes a full-time living as an influencer - and how much money she earns

Ruby Asabor
  • Ruby Asabor is a 22-year-old YouTube creator and entrepreneur.
  • She has 140,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, Lavish Ruby, which she started three years ago, and today she has established several revenue streams around her digital business. 
  • Asabor shared how switching up her YouTube content helped her earn more money.
  • "People that have 500,000 subscribers can still be making less than somebody that has 50,000," she said.
  • She said on average she earns around $2,500 for a single YouTube video with 100,000 views. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Ruby Asabor thought she was making the same amount of money off her YouTube videos as everyone else.

"I thought everybody got paid the same, and one of my friends actually posted how much she made on YouTube and I was like, 'How is this possible, she has 400,000 subscribers, how is she making less than me?'" Asabor told Business Insider. "I didn't even have 100,000 subscribers at that time and I was making significantly more."

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Why was Asabor's YouTube channel earning more money? YouTube pays creators a certain rate for videos monetized with ads, based on various factors, and a big one is the video's audience demographic.

Asabor's finance- and business-related videos target an older audience, which is favorable to Google's advertisers. Her average viewer is someone who cares about financial education and the advertisements that play in her videos will often be for banks or stockbrokers, she said. These advertisers pay more than others because there are fewer videos on YouTube that attract their target audience.

The average rate YouTube pays a creator is their CPM, or cost per 1,000 views. This rate varies based on the type of content a YouTuber makes and the advertisers it attracts.

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Asabor said before that moment, she had no idea what CPM was. After discovering that her friend earned an average $5 for every 1,000 views on YouTube (Asabor earns between $10 to mid $20), Asabor decided to do some research and soon learned how much a video's subject mattered.

"It makes sense," Asabor said. "But no one really thinks about it unless they are doing research on it."

 

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How much money Asabor earns from ads on YouTube

Asabor, 22, graduated from college in 2019 with a degree in biomedicine. Now she works full time as a YouTube creator and entrepreneur. She has 140,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel Lavish Ruby, which she started three years ago. She earns revenue from the ads that play in her videos, affiliate marketing, selling both a course and multiple products, speaking engagements (at universities like NYU and UConn), one-on-one coaching, and through brand sponsorships.

Asabor doesn't have millions of followers, but she said she is still able to earn a six-figure income from her wide-ranging business. She sells sunglasses, hair extensions, planners - anything her audience has expressed interest in.

Out of all her revenue streams, AdSense (the money earned off ads that play within a YouTube video) sits in the middle, below sponsorships and above selling consumer products.

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"That's since I changed my content to financial-related videos," she said, adding that in college she didn't pay much attention to AdSense as a source of revenue. "It's [still] not as high as promotions, because I can get a promotion that's more than my entire month's pay. But it's not as low as it was before when I was only making college vlogs."

Once Asabor realized that business-focused content made more money on YouTube, she decided to shift her focus from vlogs to videos on topics like finance and starting your own business.

Typically, Asabor said she will earn between $7 and $14 for every 1,000 views on YouTube - and her finance videos usually earn more, somewhere in the mid $20 range. For a single video with 100,000 views, Asabor can expect to earn around $2,500, she said. 

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"That's really high," she added, and for a single video with that many views to earn that amount of money, it must have a CPM of around $20.

In comparison, her video on how to get a 4.0 GPA from a few years ago, which has 300,000 views, earned only around $2,000 because it wasn't business-related. The most she's earned from a single YouTube video is around $9,000, she said.

Asabor's story shows that follower count isn't always the deciding factor in whether someone can make a full-time living as an influencer. Her success has come from her focus on using the audience she has to make the most money possible, through off-YouTube revenue streams and understanding which kinds of YouTube videos earn more from ads.

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"People that have 500,000 subscribers can still be making less than somebody that has 50,000," she said.

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For more on the business of influencers, according to YouTube stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts: 

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