A YouTuber with 250,000 subscribers explains how much money she makes from her videos, which is more than her salary from her day job as a teacher

  • Maya Lee is a YouTube creator with 258,000 subscribers and a full-time elementary school teacher. 
  • Lee started her YouTube channel in 2017 and now she posts productivity videos and vlogs about her daily life. 
  • She earns more money each month from her YouTube business than from her day job as a teacher, she said. 
  • Lee shared with Business Insider how much money she makes as an influencer and how she grew her YouTube channel. 
  • Subscribe to Business Insider's influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard.

This is the latest installment of Business Insider's YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.

Maya Lee started her YouTube channel in 2017 as a side hustle and would film videos about her job as an elementary school teacher. 

"You don't go into teaching for the salary, you go into it for other reasons," she told Business Insider. "And I knew that with living in LA I needed to do something else on the side." 

Now Lee has 258,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel where she posts productivity videos, like her popular 5 a.m. morning routine (which has 4.8 million views), along with vlogs about her daily life.

Lee said that she earns more money from her YouTube business than teaching. She earns money off YouTube directly (through Google-placed ads) and through sponsorships and occasionally earns some revenue other ways, like through affiliate marketing. 

Lee is part of YouTube's Partner Program, which lets creators with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours monetize their content with ads. These ads are filtered by Google, and how much money a creator earns (known as AdSense revenue) depends on the video's watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics — among other factors.

Monthly, her channel earns about $1,500 on average from Google ads, she said. In May, she made exactly $1,471 from YouTube directly and in June she earned $1,676, according to screenshots of her Creator Dashboard viewed by Business Insider. 

She also said she earns between $1,500 and $2,000 a month on average from brand sponsorships. She keeps her business email in the description of all her YouTube videos as a way for brands to easily find her and reach out. 

"My monthly YouTube revenue is much higher than my teacher salary, especially when I do a lot of sponsorships," she said. "For Google AdSense, every month it depends on how many videos I'm posting and how well those videos are doing. My monthly revenue from Google AdSense is not consistent, but from sponsorships I can talk to a brand on how much I'm willing to accept and gauge for that month how much I'll make." 

How Lee grew her YouTube channel to 250,000 subscribers 

Lee started her channel by talking about life as a teacher and her journey becoming one. 

"I realized that people don't want to watch a channel if I only talk about my own life if they don't feel a connection with me and I don't really have an audience yet," she said. "I knew I had to find a specific niche."

Within a year, her channel gained around 10,000 subscribers, she said, all due to landing an audience by talking about teaching. 

"That's when I started getting monthly paychecks from Google AdSense," she said. "They don't deposit a paycheck until your month hits $100. It was a goal of mine to make sure I always got a paycheck from Google." 

Shortly after, she decided to switch her content away from teaching to more about her morning routine waking up at 5 a.m. and her tips for a productive morning. 

"That was also when I saw a huge jump in my channel's growth," she said. "I started noticing people engaging with my content a lot more."

Lee has several videos on her channel about waking up early. Her 2019 viral video, "Waking up at 5AM | My Productive Morning Routine," has 4.8 million views and has earned $8,900, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider. Lee said that video continues to earn money each month and bring in thousands of new subscribers to her channel.

Lee said her goal is to eventually have YouTube be her primary career.

"My hope is to be able to turn this full-time," Lee said. "But for now I'm OK with doing teaching and YouTube at the same time." 

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

  • CRASH COURSE: A YouTube influencer explains how creators get paid, her advice for making more money, and how much she earns: Natalie Barbu breaks down how she earns money as a YouTube creator and her strategy for maximizing her earnings on the platform.

  • A recent college grad living in New York says she makes a 6-figure income as a YouTube influencer. She broke down how she does it: YouTube creator and entrepreneur Ruby Asabor shared how switching up her YouTube content has helped her earn more money.

  • A YouTube star breaks down how much money a video with 1 million views makes her: Shelby Church breaks down how much money on average a video with 1 million views earns.

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