- Make-up expert Michelle, 28, just had her subscription company Ipsy valued at $500 million, making her one of Forbes' wealthiest millennials
- Thanks to advertising and product placements, YouTube stars as young as 23 are becoming millionaires through their channels alone
- Top earners include 25-year-old Swedish gamer Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg who earned an impressive $4.7 million in 2014
Performing silly comedy skits with your friends, exchanging heated opinions about video games online and testing out new make-up looks may have previously been private passions of the youthful masses but now, thanks to YouTube, they have become legitimate, and lucrative career, choices.
Reaching millions of people every day, the most influential YouTubers are not only becoming household names and even red carpet-worthy celebs, but are also making an impressive buck for their at-home efforts. Some, like Michelle Phan, have even used their YouTube success to expand on to other businesses with incredible success.
The 28-year-old make-up expert recently made it onto Forbes' list of wealthiest millennials after her beauty subscription company Ipsy was valued at an eye-popping $500 million.
And she is not the only one raking in the dough - though the truth is a little bit more complicated than just who has the most ludicrously high number of views.
While YouTubers can indeed make into the millions of dollars, those millions do not purely come from people clicking on their videos. Depending on the source of advertising, payments can range right across the board.
From gaming aficionados to toy-testing families, there is no shortage of YouTube users currently raking in big money by creating online video content. Here, Femail reveals some of the highest earners out there.
FELIX 'PEWDIEPIE' KJELLBERG
For the most popular star on YouTube, Swedish gamer Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg, 25, who has over 39 million subscribers, Social Blade estimates his yearly earnings to be between $938,000 and $15 million.
Take away the 45 per cent that YouTube takes from the money he earns on his videos, and the range is reduced to between $515,900 and $8.25 million. Of course, these numbers are prone to fluctuations based on viewership.
YouTube stars can also earn more than $20,000 by simply mentioning a brand in a video, and PewDiePie reportedly earns even more than that for his product placement.
In 2014, the YouTube was revealed to have made $7.4 million according to financial documents - making the Social Blade estimate a fairly accurate summation.
PewDiePie's videos focus on his expletive-filled commentary and reactions to video games as he plays them, and as Variety noted in July, he 'acts like he’s spending time with a friend'.
'YouTube breaks the barrier between the audience and the creator,' he told Variety. 'They feel a connection to the one they’re watching. It’s almost like you’re hanging out.'
The YouTube star also wrote a book of inspirational sayings featuring illustrations titled This Book Loves You, which is due to hit shelves on October 20.
And last month, PewDiePie teased in one of his vlog posts that he is creating a TV show, noting to his 39 million subscribers that the project may keep him from uploading more videos on his channel.
Minecraft is a particularly lucrative game to vlog about, with several of the top-earning gamer YouTubers specializing in the block-building game.
CaptainSparklez - also known as Jordan Maron, 23 - holds one of the most popular of these gaming channels, was among the first to reach one billion views, makes up to $825,000 on his channel views alone and recently purchased a luxurious Hollywood Hills home to the tune of $4.5 million.
Typically Jordan's videos consist of him playing Minecraft, and they have gained him over eight million subscribers, but he also received some mainstream fame for his Minecraft animation parody of Psy's Gangnam Style, Minecraft Style.
Jack of all trades Toby Turner, 30, got his start on YouTube back in 2006 and rocketed to fame with his remix of the audio from the infamous 'Don't tase me bro' incident a the University of Florida in 2007.
He has since produced three different YouTube channels covering comedy, vlogging and gaming, amassing a total of 15 million subscribers and a current combined top earning potential of $325,500, not including his many, many product placements.
Outside of his YouTube career, Toby has acted in several films and TV shows, hosted televised events and has lent his viral video production skills to networks like NBC and Disney - meaning his fortune goes far beyond his millions of YouTube views.
Also high up in the top-earning echelons of the YouTube world, two toy-assembling vloggers are raking in the cash. The first of which is DisneyCollectorbr, who is a bit of a mystery. She is a Brazilian woman who lives in Florida, but little else is known about her.
Her face is never seen on screen so all that fans are familiar with is her hands and her soft-spoken delivery as she sorts through box upon box of toys. The channel has raked in 350 million views in just the last 30 days alone and - after removing Google's cut - boasts an estimated annual income of $550,000 to $9 million.
DisneyCollectorbr and BluCollection have a lot in common - and likely even more than the obvious subject matter.
Both often join PewDiePie in the top three for viewership, both keep their identities under wraps and stranger still, this pair of YouTube giants are rumored to be a married couple in their forties living in Florida.
Like the aforementioned DisneyCollectorbr, BlueCollection's videos come with a focus on Disney products, but with a slight slant towards toys marketed for young boys. The top earning potential for the channel currently stands at $5.5 million.
LittleBabyBum, a channel run by British man Derek Holder and his wife that creates lullabies for children could make up to a whopping $9.9 million.
Derek's idea for the channel formed in 2011 when he and his youngest child - nicknamed Little Baby Bum - were on the computer looking for nursery rhymes to watch together on YouTube. Derek couldn't belief how many views some of the most poor quality clips had.
Derek created LittleBabyBum that year with the belief that other parents would be looking for nursery-rhyme channels on YouTube. The channel also boasts original songs that teach children about a variety of things, including numbers and letters.
'This wasn’t by design, it was by luck - we were in the right place at the right time,' Derek told The Guardian in March. 'It’s been mind blowing. Staggering. We pinch ourselves every day.'
Children's education is a big business in the online world - Baby Big Mouth, a children's learning channel, has also been sweeping the board recently with a current estimated yearly income of between $605,000 and $9.8 million.
Comedy duo Smosh, who are made up of Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, have been making videos since 2005 but actually first met in their sixth grade science class.
The pair have a variety of channels and sub-channels to their name where they showcase their brand of parody and slapstick sketch comedy. For their original channel alone, they boast over 21 million subscribers and rake in between $147,000 and $2.4 million per year.
In July, the two celebrated the premiere of their movie Smosh: The Movie, in which they play exaggerated versions of themselves, as they jump into YouTube to try and remove embarrassing videos of Anthony from the internet before their high school reunion.
'If this movie does well, then we could hopefully get a bigger budget, etc., and make something even crazier next time,' Anthony told Variety in July of the flick.
At the movie's premiere in Los Angeles fellow YouTube sensations Jenna Marbles, Grace Helbig, Joey Graceffa, Rebecca Black and more walked the red carpet in support of Anthony and Ian.
'It’s just something that’s part of our life,' Anthony said of YouTube. 'For the past ten years, YouTube is the reason we do anything. It just made so much sense to us.'
Lower on the list, but likely more widely known are female comedians such as Jenna Marbles who, with a top earning potential of $534,700 per year, ranks lower on the income list, but still boasts an impressive 15.5 millions subscribers.
The 29-year-old, whose real name is Jenna Mourey (Marbles is the name of her Chihuahua), was working a variety of odd jobs to pay for her $800 per month rent for her shared apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2010 when she uploaded a video of herself putting on make-up for her job as a go-go dancer at a nightclub.
The video, titled How to Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking, became an internet sensation, and five years after it was posted, it boasts more than 62 million views.
A 2013 New York Times profile of the star calls her videos 'a highly shareable cocktail of comedy, sex appeal, puppies and social commentary, laced with profanity'.
Earlier this week, Jenna teamed up with reality star Kylie Jenner, 19, to do their own version of Jimmy Kimmel's 'Mean Tweets', which sees celebrities reading insulting comments about themselves from Twitter.
However, for their Snapchat video, Jenna and Kylie did their own version in which they read negative comments about their beloved dogs after the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star invited the comedian to appear on her fashion app.
THE MAKE-UP MAVENS FOLLOWING IN MICHELLE'S FOOTSTEPS
Beyond the gamers and the toy makers, there are the less lucrative, but arguably more well known make-up gurus. Like Michelle, YouTube is far from the only source of income for some of these ladies, but they are still making quite the pretty penny on their channels alone.
The channel of British YouTuber Zoe Sugg, 25, of Zoella fame, is estimated to have an annual income of between $35,600 and $550,000 - and that doesn't even include product placement, her book deals, promotion spots or her very own beauty product line.
The young Brit must certainly be making a mint for these combined efforts as she splashed out on a $1.5 million five-bedroom mansion earlier this year in Brighton.
Nikkie De Jager, a make-up artist who shot to fame with her Power of Make-up video earlier this summer now has a relatively low amount of 1.7 million subscribers, but still boasts an estimated yearly income between $12,050 and $193,000.
Another recent leaper to big-time fame is Ingrid Nilsen, who gained plenty of new followers after she came out as gay in a touching, 19-minute clip.
She currently has 3.8 million followers and an estimated yearly income of $8,580 to $137,390. Of course, this is before counting her outside ventures such as guest appearances and work as a COVERGIRL Glambassador.
Bethany Mota, who is only 19 years old, started her YouTube channel as an escape from bullying, simply doing haul videos - where she would go through a bag of recent purchases or gifts - and eventually amassed millions of followers as she moved into beauty and DIY tutorials.
She currently has a top earning potential of $362,000 on her channel.
But YouTube is not the only lucrative pastime keeping her occupied; Bethany has since moved into fashion design, creating lines for the likes of JC Penney, QVC and Aéropostale. She has also competed on Dancing with the Stars and appeared as a guest judge on Project Runway.
[By Valerie Siebert] [Read More] [First Image from Huffington Post]