If you’re a creative person, influencing may seem like an awesome career, or even just a fun side hustle to share your knowledge and earn some money. Figuring out how to turn a profit with your online presence, though, is confusing.
There’s a ton of different ways influencers can earn money online. I’ve laid out the 10 best ways below, to help you get started with your influencer business. Read through the list to find the best methods for you and your unique personality. I’ll also give you some expert tips on how to get paid for your work.
10 Best Ways to Make Money as an Influncer
1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you share links to specific products and receive a small commission every time someone clicks your link and buys that product. For influencers, this is an easy and very common method of making money.
It’s especially great for newer influencers that don’t have huge followings yet, as brands generally have minimal guidelines around who can become an affiliate partner. Since you don’t get paid unless someone directly buys the product through your link, it’s a win-win: it’s low risk for the brand, while still providing you with the ability to earn some early revenue.
2. Sponsored Content
One of the most common ways for influencers to make money is through content sponsorship. This is when a company pays you to feature their service or product in your personal content and promote it in some way. Most commonly, you might do a sponsored write-up of the product in your blog, or post about it on social media.
Sponsored content is paid for by brands and unlike affiliate marketing, it doesn’t require people buying through your link in order to get paid. Basically, you are creating an ad with your image for the company to distribute to your followers.
3. Brand Ambassadors
Brand ambassadors work to promote the brand through genuine and organic engagement, to help build the brand’s reputation. Some brand ambassadors may earn money, but others only earn free products or trips as payment.
In most cases, brands will approach you about being an ambassador, but some also accept applications. As it is generally an ongoing arrangement, it’s crucial to define scope and payment terms before agreeing to being a long term brand ambassador.
4. Selling Products
Big influencers sometimes create their own lines or products to sell through their channels. For beauty influencers, this may be makeup or skincare products. For fashion influencers, it may be a line of clothing.
This requires a bit more work than some of the other methods, but can help you differentiate yourself from others in your niche and grow your brand awareness. Most influencers that start their own product line partner with an existing manufacturer and license their brand image. This helps keep costs low and establish your product with an already reputable brand.
5. Creating Digital Products
Depending on the type of influencer you are, creating digital products can be a great way to earn money. If you’re in the fitness and diet space, this could be downloadable workouts or food guides. If you’re in the travel space maybe it’s a location eBook or travel guide.
Downloadable resources, eBooks, online tutorials, templates, and more can all be digital products that your followers may be willing to buy. Unlike physical products, these have low upfront cost – just the time it takes to create them. Once they’re made, they can continue to be sold forever, making you some passive income.
To sell either physical or digital products online, you can sign up with Pay.com and easily accept payments through your website.
6. Selling Ad Space
If you host a website or YouTube channel, you may be familiar with the concept of selling ad space for revenue. The host usually makes money per click or from the amount of time the ad runs. While it only amounts to a few cents per click, this can add up quickly if you have high traffic to your platform.
The downside is that ads are often seen as spammy and annoying, so many people have started using ad blockers, which can adversely affect your earning potential. More influencers are moving away from relying solely on ad revenue, for this reason.
7. Creating “Members Only” Content
If you’re a blogger or YouTuber, creating an exclusive membership may be a great way to increase your earnings. You can keep general content free for anyone, but offer a higher tiered membership with more specialized and exclusive content for your most devoted followers.
This could include access to an email newsletter, live video updates, behind-the-scenes footage, or more in-depth content. Sites like Patreon are popular for this sort of membership, but you could also add these memberships directly to your site, which can help you avoid Patreon fees.
8. Tipping and Donations
Some content creators online don’t want to put their work behind membership paywalls, but may instead ask for tips and donations as a way for fans to further support their channels, while still leaving all content free for anyone to access.
You may earn less than by selling memberships, but it also allows you to be more easily able to grow your following, which can pay off down the line.
Some sites like Twitch and YouTube have tipping functions directly built in. If you post content on your own blog or website, you can also include a tipping or donation feature. When you integrate Pay.com’s payment system into your site, your loyal followers can choose from a variety of payment methods to support you.
9. Hosting Webinars
For influencers that may have expert knowledge in a particular field, hosting webinars can be a great way to share that knowledge, allow attendees to ask questions, and earn some revenue in the process.
Many followers are willing to pay to attend an event where they can directly ask questions and get advice from influencers they find valuable. Additionally, you can record the webinar and continue to sell it as a digital product after the fact. Just be sure to make it actually valuable for attendees, or you may risk hurting your reputation.
10. Public Events and Appearances
Influencers today are on par with many celebrities and are often invited to conferences, events, galas, and more as special guests. Even being a featured speaker at a small conference has the potential to earn you some decent money.
For instance, if you’re a gaming influencer, you can find live events at conferences, eSports tournaments, or new game releases. Companies are willing to pay for your presence, knowing it will help draw paying attendees to the event.
How to Get Started as an Influencer
If you want to become an influencer, you’ll need to do a few key things in order to succeed.
- Find a niche – this can be anything that interests you, but should be specific. Some common niches include, but aren’t limited to:
- Personal finance
- Decide which channel(s) you’ll use – YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Medium, Twitch, and your own website are the most common ones.
- Plan a content strategy – determine how often you’ll post and what type of content.
- Engage with your users regularly to continually grow your following.
- Evaluate and track what works and what doesn’t
Influencer success rarely happens overnight, but by being consistent, engaging with your followers, sharing content from other influencers, and staying relevant, you can grow a successful following. This, in turn, will allow you to make money from your channels.
How to Get Paid Online as an Influencer
Earning revenue online as an influencer can be exciting, but with it comes the responsibility to accurately track and report on your finances. Since influencers often receive money through several income streams, you need a system to easily keep track of it all.
Pay.com offers you the ability to accept through a variety of different payment methods, including credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, and more.You can easily set up a checkout page and customize it to match your branding.
When you need to invoice a brand or send a payment request for sponsored posts, Pay.com offers several options. You can invoice your clients directly or generate Pay Links to send to them via email or SMS.
How Much Money Can You Make as an Influencer?
The amount of money you can make as an influencer really depends on your niche and the number of followers you have. While top influencers can make millions and you should always aim for the stars, you’ll also want to keep your expectations realistic.
Even without millions of followers, you can still earn a decent living as an influencer. Micro influencers with between 10,000-50,000 followers can make between $40,000-100,000/year. Even nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers can earn between $30,000-60,000 a year.
The Bottom Line: Should You Become an Influencer?
Being an influencer can be a very lucrative career, but it’s a lot of work to build a following and stay consistent. Influencing also usually requires putting your name and image online for everyone to see – which isn’t for everyone.
Gaining a following online can be a rewarding way to share what you’re passionate about, promote new ideas, and embrace a community of like-minded people.
If you decide to become an influencer, you’ll want to run it like a business. That means having an easy way to receive payments. Pay.com offers a full payment infrastructure, including a user-friendly dashboard to stay on top of all your pending payments. Click here to sign up now!