How To Become An Influencer And Make Money: 16 Simple Strategies

Being an influencer is one of the most exciting ways to make money these days. But, because it’s not like a “normal job”, getting paid isn’t as straight forward as clocking in hours and accepting a paycheck. That being said, with a little know-how and ingenuity, it’s totally possible to learn how to become an influencer and make money.

Today we’ll explore many ways in which influencers monetize their platforms, from brand deals and sponsored content to merchandise sales and more.

Not sure what an influencer is or how to get started? How To Become An Influencer In 6 Simple Steps (2023 Guide) got you covered.

The Two Main Money Makers

So how exactly do influencers make money? Honestly, your imagination is the limit. There are all sorts of tools you can leverage to make money online. The most successful influencers use a combination of income streams (such as podcasts, merchandise, etc.) that, combined, allow them to quit their 9 to 5 jobs with confidence. For now, we’ll cover the main two ways influencers make the majority of their income: Endorsements and Content Creation.


Also called Sponsorships or Brand Deals, endorsements are where influencers make the majority of their income. In fact “roughly 68% of an influencer’s income comes from brand deals**.” A brand endorsement is when a brand will pay you (or give you free samples, in some cases) to showcase and talk about their product or service on your social media. In other words, you agree to introduce, demonstrate, show off, and talk about their product to your fans. You’ve likely seen examples of this on YouTube and TikTok. Keep reading to learn how you can get your first brand endorsement right away…

Content Creation

Creating original and engaging content on social media is the life blood of any good influencer. This means going above and beyond sharing a meme. Creating your own original art work, photographs, video content, .pdf files and more will keep your fan base coming back again and again, devoured everything you create for them.

There are two main types of content you can focus on; Entertainment and Educational. Of course, it’s a good idea to be both entertaining and educational, but your target niche will likely determine which one you focus on most. For example, Dr. Mike focuses heavily on heath care education based content whereas comedian Ashley Gavin’s content is heavily entertainment based for the LGBTQ+ community. Whichever way you go, originality, quality, consistency, and engagement are key.

We’ll touch more on monetizing your social media following later. Right now, let’s go back to endorsements and dive into HOW to make it happen.

You Don’t Need A Million Followers!

Good news: Contrary to common belief, you don’t need millions of followers to make money as an influencer. A big social media following might look like success, but the truth is it’s usually cosmetic because followers do not directly translate into sales. It’s how you leverage your following that matters.  What we mean by that is this: 1,000 actively engaged fans is always better than a million inactive subscribers. And brands have taken note of this.

Micro-influencers are a category with anywhere between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. This type of “non-celebrity” influencer marketing is becoming more popular among business and brands.

As this BuiltIn article pointed out: Micro-influencers can provide an authentic endorsement of their products at a much lower price tag than celebrity influencers.*

To put it simply, businesses are tired of paying a fortune for celebrity endorsements, but don’t let that discourage you! This is actually great news because it means you can reach out to brands for sponsorship deals much sooner than you might think! Here’s how…

Network & Collab With Other Influencers

In any business, the more people know your name and face, the more likely they are to think of you when an opportunity arises. The same is true for influencers. The more a brand sees your content on their social media feed, the more likely they are to reach out to you (or accept a proposal from you). This is why collaborating with other influencers is vital. The more you can get yourself in front of other influencers’ audiences, the wider your reach on social media will be. Thus proving your worth to businesses.

So, how do you go about finding other influencers to collab with? Well, networking as an influencer is pretty similar to networking in any other job. It’s all about putting yourself out there. We’ve listed a few effective techniques below.

1. Engage On Social Media

Getting likes, comments, and shares is the life blood of any social media content creator. Want to work with someone? Become a fan of their content! Follow their page and regularly contribute positive feedback. Always be genuine! Using people disingenuously will get you a bad reputation. But as long as you are nurturing an authentic friendship with this person, they will notice and likely return the favor!

2. Attend Industry Events & Conferences

Not only is this a great way to meet other influencers in person, but you’ll also meet a lot of brands hungry for potential influencers to showcase their products. Attending conferences lets you shake hands, get contacts, and engage in chitchat with your constituency.

3. Join An Influencer Network

Activate and are two examples of Influencer marketplaces a brand or business will use to find an influencer that matches their criteria. So if you’re looking for paid gigs, you’ll want to list yourself as influencer on these sites.

Here’s a few more:

While all of the above actions are great, don’t fall into the trap of relying on only one method. The most successful influencers incorporate a variety of tactics each day. However you chose to network, keep in mind your end-goal which is to build a portfolio of collaborative content that showcases your personality, skillset, and niche. This will help brands decide if you are the right match for their products.

Reach Out To Brands

While having deals come to you is a nice feeling, the truth is you’ll have to do most of the leg work yourself, especially in the beginning. While it is perfectly reasonable to “slide into the DMs”, it’s not advisable to do so without a plan. The people who make the decisions about a brand’s marketing strategy are very busy and won’t appreciate you wasting their time. So before you shoot off that email, you’ll want to take a few minutes to map out the following:

1. Make a list of potential brands to work with.

List any that you already have in mind. Do some research to find more. Your top picks might not pan out. That’s okay! You can always circle back to them once you’re more established. Just keep going.

2. Be absolutely certain their audience matches your audience.

For example, a beauty influencer is not likely to get a deal with Toyota, but they are likely to get a deal with Sephora or MAC cosmetics.

3. Write a good pitch.

Think about what you have to offer this brand. How are you different or special compared to other influencers in your niche? What do you bring to the table? Be prepared to back up your claims with numbers (followers, watch times, any past sales figures, etc.)

4. Know your worth.

It helps to think about how much money you’d reasonably expect for the work you’re doing. Be open to negotiation but don’t sell yourself short. Have a minimum number in mind and stick to it.

5. Get a second set of eyes to finesse your pitch.

There is an art to writing good pitches, so always have a business partner give you some feedback. Don’t forget spelling, grammar, and punctuation!

6. Follow up.

Interested brands will likely have some follow up questions regarding your process, schedule, and so on. Be prepared to answer them in a concise and considerate manner. Think of the follow up step as an extension of your pitch or as a job interview.

Got a sponsorship? Congratulations! The next step is to deliver. Make sure to follow the brand’s directions to the letter and deliver the promised content within the agreed upon timeframe. Nothing kills an influencer’s reputation faster than not doing the job well – or worse, not doing it at all!

Monetize Your Platform

Monetizing your social media platforms is an excellent way to generate additional income for yourself.  It’s also mostly passive income, which means once you set it up, you generally don’t have to touch it again. So long as you keep your platform consistently engaged and growing, you can generate income from things like Ad Sense clicks, hours watched, live streaming, and so on.

Every social media offers some version of  monetization, but the rules and requirements are different for each. For example, YouTube requires you to have 1,000 subscribers, 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months, and an Ad Sense account with Google. Where as with Facebook, you must have a minimum of 10,000 followers to start plus additional requirements for each type of monetization they offer.

In other words, you’ll need to research the specific requirements for each social media platform you use, then achieve each of those milestones. Once you can fulfill all the requirements, it’s just a matter of going in and following the steps to “turn on” monetization and start making money.

Explore Other Ways To Get Paid

If you have your heart set on making the kind of money that will let you quit your day job with confidence and really establish yourself as a fulltime influencer, then it may be time to consider other big-ticket revenue streams that complement the influencer lifestyle. We’re talking about things like paid speaking gigs at conferences, publishing a book (or series of books), teaching an online workshop, selling your own merchandise, or even partnering with a brand to create your own product. Let your niche guide you and explore what’s possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much money do influencers make?

A: The answer differs widely depending on a range of variations but in general, the average influencer earns between $30,000-$100,000 yearly through product promotion. Micro-influencers are generally earning $30,000-$60,000 a year while influencers with more than 1 million followers can generate more than $100,000 annually,

Q: What type of influencers make the most money?

A: According to a report from Oberlo, roughly 68% of an influencer’s income comes from brand deals. The second most popular way influencers make money is through ad shares**.

Q: How many followers do you need to be an influencer?

A: There isn’t really a minimum to consider yourself an influencer on social media. Certain brands may require a minimum number before they’ll work with you, but the requirement is different for each company. That being said, we’re seeing more brands favor micro-influencers (1,000 to 100,000 followers) and even nano-influencers (under 1,000 followers).

Q: How many followers do you need for Instagram to pay you?

A: There are different levels of monetization available within Instagram. To unlock the Brand Collabs Manager tool,  influencers will need at least 1,000 followers as well as 15,000 post engagements in the last 60 days, 180,000 minutes viewed in the last 60 days, or 30,000 1-minute views for 3-minute videos in the last 60 days.

Take Control By Doing What You Love!

In conclusion, influencers make money in many different ways. Whether it is through sponsored posts, selling products, or creating content for their own social media platforms, influencers have the potential to make a significant income. With hard work and dedication, anyone with an online presence can learn how to become an influencer and make money.

Up Next: How To Become An Influencer On Instagram