It wasn’t long ago that the Internet went nuts over the report that Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg made an unheard-of $7.4 million on YouTube last year. However, even after he addressed the matter in a special video on his channel, many are wondering – can that much money really be made on YouTube

While there certainly is potential in making a living as a creator on the channel, the take-home pay may not be as high as some people think it is. A report from Business Insider suggests that stars actually don’t get all the money from earnings on YouTube. In fact, it points out that Google keeps a 45 percent cut of any ad revenue gathered by one of their videos on the site – and that’s not even counting taxes and operating/editing costs.

Statsheep, a company that specializes in YouTube statistics, provided details on the report, indicating that PewDie pie actually earns $10.5 million a year on his channel. As far as the cut he keeps however, it’s far less.

Following YouTube’s cut of the profits, that number drops to $5.775 million. Then there are the taxes, bringing it down even further to $4.0425 million. So, in short, PewDiePie actually keeps $4 million a year – which isn’t too shabby, but is far lower than the ballooned estimate that some people were getting mad over.

Meanwhile, those on the lower spectrum of YouTube earnings see similar cuts, like Michelle Phan, a make-up tutorial specialist with a huge following on the channel. She earns an estimated $378,000 on her channel, but after cuts and taxes, it goes down to $145, 530. Again, not too bad, but not as high as what she initially earns.

And there are also the estimates of what goes into making videos, and the costs of production and promotion. Jason Calacanis, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was originally part of YouTube’s professional partners program, explained, “We were huge fans of YouTube…but we are not creating content anymore because it’s simply not sustainable. YouTube is an awesome place to build a brand, but it is a horrible place to build a business.”

Calacanis estimates that he spent $25,000 to $75,000 in costs to make ten videos, without any money earned from advertising. So it’s easy to see how some YouTube stars would struggle trying to gain a big audience. It’s important to note that YouTube stars can derive substantial revenue from other sources because of their success on YouTube, such as products, endorsements, and other deals that wouldn’t have happened without their YouTube following.

More estimates and details can be found here.

This report should, by no means, discourage those from giving establishing a YouTube channel a try. Just realize it’s more of an uphill climb than you might think. After all, PewDiePie and company had to start somewhere…