How to Make Money as an Influencer

Boyfirend and girlfriend wearing white and sunglasses looking at something

Influencers are the modern-day trendsetters and storytellers. A skillful influencer can capture people's attention, but she or he can also turn this attention into a source of income.

In this guide, we're peeling back the curtain on the influencer money-making magic. We'll keep things straightforward, so whether you're daydreaming about becoming a famous influencer or just want to understand the secrets behind the scenes, you're in the right place.

Table of Contents

What exactly is an influencer?

In today's digital era, the term "influencer" has become ubiquitous. Many people tend to imagine charismatic individuals with hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of followers, who captivate their audience with charm and insights. That idea, although amusing, is quite vague and it doesn't really tell much. So what exactly is an influencer?

At its core, an influencer is someone who has an influence over a specific (online) audience. Influencers cultivate authenticity and credibility within their niche. The word is often used as an umbrella term for influencers of all interests, shapes, and sizes. The most usual division is by the number of followers. Mega-influencers have more than a million followers, macro are the ones with 100,000 to a million followers, micro have 10,000 to 100,000 followers, and nano-influencers are followed by less than 10,000 people.

Profile of Charlie Damelio on TikTok

When it comes to the job description for an influencer, it's not all glitz and glamour. They have to fulfill a couple of roles simultaneously: they are trendsetters, content creators, social media managers, community builders… Their work involves:

  • content creation: creating and publishing engaging, visually attractive, and informative content;
  • audience engagement: building a community by communicating to their audience;
  • collaborations with brands: working together with brands to promote products or services that align with their niche and audience;
  • trendsetting: staying on top of industry trends.

Influencers definitely have the power to shape opinions, recommend products, or even drive a change in society. But how to actually money as an influencer? Stay with us and find out!

13 ways to make money as an influencer

1. Sponsored content

Since influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular, brands often look for influencers that will reflect their values and promote their products with engaging content. If you have a highly engaged and relevant audience, you won't need to worry about getting sponsored deals.

It goes without saying that you should accept only those collaborations that align with your niche, style, and values. If you want to maintain the followers' trust, you just have to keep your authenticity! It would be great if you create a compelling story around the brand or product. Besides that, you should always pay attention to aesthetics. Quality images, nicely edited videos, well-written captions, and relevant hashtags can indeed make a lot of difference!

Sponsored content of Philip DeFranco

2. Creating a product line

Another great way to make money as an influencer is by creating a product line. The knowledge you have about niche will serve as the foundation for product ideas. You can also collaborate with experts because they can help you develop and design the product. Once the product is out, the most natural thing to do is to generate excitement on social media to promote it among the community. The Influencer Marketing Factory listed 10 influencers who founded their own companies, Addison Rae, Emma Chamberlain, and Hyram Yarbro being just some of them.

3. Recommend

Recommend is an innovative platform where influencers can share their fashion, lifestyle, and shopping inspiration through Trends – shoppable images and videos. It's not only a fantastic way to engage and inspire your community but also a clever method to repurpose existing content and, most importantly, generate income. Beyond Trend, you can create a personalized online store right within Recommend. This shop comes complete with a shareable link that can be distributed across their social media channels. Every time someone makes a purchase from your virtual boutique, you earn a commission.

Recommend offers an imaginative and creative avenue for influencers to not only connect with their followers but also reap the financial rewards of their online charisma. Also, we'd like to underline that, since there's no previous knowledge required, is also a good option for beginners or teenagers.

Recommend Shop

4. Affiliate marketing

If you're into influencer marketing or marketing in general, you've probably heard of affiliate marketing. A lot of brands take advantage of affiliate marketing by creating their own affiliate programs. When you become part of some brand's affiliate program, you'll receive a unique tracking link or promo code you can share with your followers. You'll earn a commission for every product you sell, and your performance will be tracked with the tracking link.

Keep in mind that in many countries, including the United States, influencers are legally required to disclose their affiliate relationships. So remember to write your disclosure in a clear and easily noticeable way!

5. Event hosting

Event hosting is another exciting way to make money as an influencer. Workshops, product launches, and meet-and-greet social gatherings are some of the events you can organize, either alone or in collaboration with brands and organizations.

At events is essential to create memorable experiences for your community. If done correctly, event hosting won't only bring you an additional stream of revenue, but it will also strengthen your relationship with followers. Also, transforming your online presence into real-world engagement is always a fun idea!

Influencer crew on a real-life event

6. Brand ambassadorship

If you can imagine yourself being the face and voice of a brand you really like, think about becoming a brand ambassador. This position will give you a steady income and overall professional stability. You can reach out to brands you genuinely admire and support, but if you have many followers, the chances are the brands will contact you first.

7. Product reviews

Influencers who review products are often perceived as go-to people when it comes to shopping decisions. That's especially true when it comes to certain niches, such as electronics. Of course, if you want to be successful in reviewing products, you have to be completely honest and give your followers information about the good and the bad sides of every product you review.

Girl reviewing headphones

8. Merchandise and e-commerce

Selling clothing, cute accessories, or some digital products (e-cookbooks, for example), can get you some additional income. Today is relatively easy to create your webshop. Other than that, there's an advertising part - the part of the business process you're probably already quite familiar with.

You can use your social media presence and skills to promote your products, share behind-the-scenes content, and engage with your audience.

9. Live streaming

If you're good at handling real-time stuff, live streaming is a great option to add an additional stream of income to your influencer business model. Besides monetization, live streaming is an excellent way to engage your audience and make them like you even more.

Influencer doing a live-stream

10. Advertising

For many influencers, advertising represents an integral part of their income. You can secure advertising deals by showcasing your expertise within the niche, and by growing a loyal community. Sponsored social media posts, video content, blog articles, and podcasts are just some of the ways you can make money with advertising.

Just keep in mind that every social media - Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok… - has its own regulations when it comes to advertising.

11. Exclusive events

Besides hosting events and doing live streams, you can also organize exclusive events: workshops, webinars, private gatherings… It's expected you'll prepare something special, tailor-made content and specific knowledge you're eager to share. These types of events allow you to connect more deeply with your dedicated fans and offer them a premium experience.

12. Membership sites

Membership sites offer influencers a reliable income stream by providing exclusive content and community engagement to subscribers. To begin, you should identify the niche or expertise for which you have a dedicated and engaged community. You can then create a membership site where they offer premium content, services, or resources accessible to subscribers for a monthly or annual fee.

The content provided within these membership sites can include exclusive articles, videos, webinars, live Q&A sessions, or downloadable resources. Additionally, you can foster a sense of community among members by facilitating discussions, forums, or private social media groups.

13. Donations

Donations are a pretty straightforward way to earn income from your audience's generosity. Many influencers leverage platforms like Patreon, Ko-fi, or even PayPal to accept donations directly from their followers. These platforms allow you to receive one-time or recurring contributions from your supporters.

To encourage donations, offer various perks or incentives, such as exclusive content, shout-outs, personalized messages, or access to private communities. The key is to provide value to those who choose to support you in this way.

The Tim Dillon Show Patreon profile

What else do you need to know if you want to become an influencer?


Now that we've explored the juicy part let's switch to the most common question you might have if you consider becoming an influencer. The first thing that a lot of people ask themselves is: "How much do they really earn?" The answer, as you might guess, is as diverse as the influencer landscape, with niche and the number of followers being the most important factors. Anyhow, here's the general breakdown of influencers' earnings per post:

  • nano-influencers: from free products to 50-100$;
  • micro-influencers: from $50 to a few hundred dollars;
  • macro-influencers: from several hundred to several thousand dollars (some top-tier macro-influencers can even secure five to six figures for a campaign within their respective industries).

Girl starring at a bill

Payment methods

In terms of how you get paid as an influencer, you can receive compensation through various methods:

  • direct payments: brands and agencies make direct payments to influencers for partnership and sponsored content; this can be done via bank transfers, checks, or some digital payment platforms (such as PayPal);
  • affiliate compensation: influencers earn a commission based on sales they generate through affiliate links;
  • product compensation: in return for promoting a brand, influencers get free products

Working with brands and agencies

Collaborating with brands and agencies is the heartbeat of influencer earnings. The process involves pitching ideas, negotiating terms, content creation, brand review, publication, and engagement reporting. The most important element is professional and clear communication. In other words, both sides have to agree on expectations! For influencers, it's crucial to safeguard interests and maintain transparency during the entire process. While one-time collaborations are lucrative, long-term partnerships offer stability and authenticity. They provide consistent income, streamline content creation, and foster brand loyalty, making influencer careers more sustainable.

Partnership of Nike and Cristiano Ronaldo on Instagram

In the next section, we'll explore legal and tax considerations for influencers, crucial knowledge for maintaining a compliant and successful influencer journey.

As you can probably guess, influencers are not exempt from tax obligations - they must report their income to tax authorities. This includes money received from different sources, such as affiliate marketing or sponsored content. Besides that, influencers have to keep track of all work-related expenses: equipment, marketing costs, travel expenses, and so on. Another important legal issue we'd like to highlight is copyright laws. Beware of copyright each time you use other people's images, music, and any other content! If you do use other's people stuff, you should clearly state the source!

NatGeo post on Instagram

In order to protect personal assets and manage liability, influencers should consider forming a legal entity, such as an LLC. It's also important to have clear contracts with brands and agencies that outline expectations, compensation, and content ownership rights.

Other useful tips

Here we put some other useful advice you should consider if you want to become an influencer:

  • be consistent
  • quality beats quantity
  • diversify content formats
  • engage with community
  • be transparent
  • invest in learning
  • network and collaborate
  • analyze your content performance
  • experiment and innovate


As we've explored, influencers have an array of opportunities to monetize their social media presence. Whether through sponsored content, Recommend, brand ambassadorships, merchandise, live streaming, and others, influencers can shape their income strategies to suit their unique style and audience.

While there are many ways to make money as an influencer, success requires a clear understanding of the industry. Building a strong online presence, engaging with a loyal community, and delivering authentic content are fundamental. It's also crucial to navigate legal and ethical considerations, such as disclosure requirements and copyright issues, to maintain trust and compliance.

Influencer marketing is a journey that can lead to fulfilling and financially rewarding experiences. By starting with a clear vision, a passion for a chosen niche, and a commitment to engagement, you can unlock the full potential of social media and turn your hobby into a profession.

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