If you find yourself wondering, “How do influencers make money?”, this post is for you. In this post we are breaking down the top ways influencers make money (and some misconceptions about it).
One of the biggest things to know is that the majority of influencers, especially those making the big bucks, have multiple streams of income. They are not depending on just one of these sources of income – instead they try to build many options to make money.
Having multiple streams of income means that if one stream dries up or disappears, they still have income from other things. When you put all of your eggs in one basket, it is much easier to lose that one source than to lose several at once.
Whether you are just wondering how influencers make money or trying to find some other income streams as an influencer, here we go with the top income streams for influencers as well as some misconceptions about influencer income.
Looking to make more money as an influencer? Need help understanding the influencer business? Find out how we can help right here!
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HOW INFLUENCERS MAKE MONEY
There are quite a few misconceptions about influencers and money. It is understandable when you see lavish lifestyles on their Instagram feed and stories that you assume that they make big money.
However, many influencers are not making as much as you might assume looking at their feed. Others are making a lot more than you might think but not just from brand collaborations.
The biggest misconceptions seem to relate to influencers who work with luxury brands. You see huge, recognizable brand names and assume that they got paid for the work when they put #sponsored or #ad because of their large following. However, often luxury brands, especially luxury travel brands, do not pay (or do not pay as much as you would think) because the price of the product is already so high.
You see the luxury hotel in the Maldives and assume the influencer was paid to go there. Instead, they might have just gotten the hotel in exchange for posts and had to pay their own way to the Maldives.
Don’t get me wrong – a lot of people would love a free hotel room in the Maldives. However, if your job is being an influencer and you are paying more than you are making (or paying and not making anything), it becomes hard to have a sustainable business.
Many influencers who are just starting out or people outside of the influencer business assume anyone who is working with brands is making money. Especially if the person is a smaller influencer, they are probably doing the work on an exchange basis.
Just like working with luxury brands does not mean they are getting paid the big paychecks you might expect, the same is true of follower numbers. Just because they have over 100K followers does not mean they are getting paid either.
Some of these bigger influencers are negotiating their own deals and don’t really know how to get more money (or get paid at all). Others don’t have an engaged following and can’t get the bigger deals because of that.
In addition, when influencers do talk about making money and how much they make each year, very few break down the income streams. The influencers making the big money are usually not making most of it from brand partnerships. That’s why we are diving into how influencers make money here, so here we go.
INFLUENCERS MAKE MONEY BY…
HAVING A FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME JOB
Many influencers are still working some sort of traditional job. Some are working full-time while others work part time. They work a 9 – 5 job all day and use lunch breaks, evenings, weekends, and vacation time to work on growing their influencer side hustle.
Some people love their job and don’t want to leave it. Some people love the stability that comes from having that regular paycheck and benefits. Even if they are making decent money as an influencer, they may still chose to keep their job.
HAVING A BUSINESS OF THEIR OWN
Instead of working for someone else, some influencers work for themselves in one way or another. There are plenty of things you can do to work for yourself or freelance for others while still working as an influencer.
Here are just a few ways influencers make money on their own:
- Jewelry lines
- Clothing lines
- Creative agencies
- Online courses
- Other digital products such as ebooks
- Physical products
As a word of caution, presets can still be a great way to make money, but the field is highly competitive now. A few years ago, only a handful of influencers sold presets. This made it easy to release presets and make a lot of money.
Now influencers all seem to sell presets. With that, it makes it harder to make as much selling them, especially with these huge bundles that keep coming out.
Before you go through the hassles of perfecting them for sale and setting up a place to sell them, make sure your audience is interested and will actually buy them. You don’t want to spend a lot of time just to not make much money from it.
Blogs can be a great source of income. Better yet, they can be a great source of passive income. I know some people feel like blogging is dead, but it is still very much alive.
Even if you are wanting to work with brands, having a blog helps. It gives you something else to add in to a package deal to get more money for the partnership. If you have some good traffic for your blog, you can offer blog posts as a part of a brand partnership and get paid a decent amount for just one post.
As for passive income on your blog, the two most common ways are ads and affiliate links. Ads let you get paid when someone views the ad or clicks the ad (depending on the ad platform). The most popular one if you are just starting out or have a small blog is Google Adsense. Don’t expect to retire on that one though.
Once you get to 10K page views in a 30 day period, consider Monumetric or Ezoic. And once you get to 25K sessions in a 30 day period, apply for Mediavine.
For affiliate links, it depends on your niche. Think about the things you naturally talk about your blog that cost money. See if those things have an affiliate program.
For example, with travel, there are affiliate programs like Booking and Agoda. Most niches can use Amazon affiliates as well. See what other affiliate programs are out there in your niche and start using those links right away in your posts – it is much easier than trying to find and add them later!
Finally, the one everyone assumes all influencers do. Those who are making big money for the most part are not making the majority of their money from brand partnerships.
However, there still can be some very lucrative brand partnership deals out there. Some brands truly understand the value of influencer marketing and content creation, and they are willing to pay for quality work and an engaged audience.
Always make your goal to work with a brand long term and not on a one-off partnership. Build up a long-term deal for them to stretch out the income over a longer period of time.
If you don’t have a huge account yet, find other ways to provide value. Creating a package deal no matter your size is a great way to increase income on brand deals, but it can be especially important for smaller influencers.
Because so many influencers offer their services for free right now, it makes it harder for other influencers to make decent money at it. If you are struggling with negotiating and getting paid by brands, we’ve got you covered.
Because many brands want to pay as little as possible and get as much as possible (or even just get what you will do for free), it makes it harder to make a sustainable living. They often are willing to gift something or do an exchange but not pay for your work.
If this describes you and you are doing some brand deals or getting offers for freebies and exchanges, Boost Society is now offering a one-of-a-kind small group coaching program on the influencer business.
This is not teaching you how to be an influencer or how to grow on social media but how to negotiate from gifting to paid partnerships, how to read and understand contracts, how to pitch brands, and more. You can check it out here!
If you aren’t quite ready for that, you can still get our free tips for pitching brands below!
Subscribe to get your FREE “12 things to include in a pitch email” PDF & to get more tips and tricks from Boost Society!
If you are an influencer, what are your top income streams? Any that we missed? If you are still working towards making money as an influencer, what would you like to have as your income streams?
For more Influencer tips, check out these posts:
- 14 Things to Influencers and Content Creators to Work on When at Home
- Money Talk: When to Charge, How, and How Much
- The Top Mistakes Influencers Make Without Even Realizing It
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