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How to Make Money with UGC

June 24, 2024

You can make money with UGC, without a huge following online. Here’s what you need to know.

DISCLAIMER: Links included in this post might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting me so I can continue to provide you with free content each week on my blog and on my YouTube channel!

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make money… well, this is not it! 

Listen, I know that UCG is all the rage right now. It may feel like the easiest way to start making money online right now and in a lot of ways it is! You don’t need a huge audience or a ton of gear, but it’s going to take some serious effort on your part. 

You have to put the work in to make money with UGC. But trust me, the trade-off is worth the work! 

Here is how to get started making money with UGC. 

5 Steps to Start Getting Paid with UGC

Step 1: Optimize your social platforms

If you want to make money with UGC, you must first optimize a social media profile. (You can pick the platform whether you prefer TikTok or Instagram.) 

This step will ensure that you are seen as a professional UGC creator. 

Essentially, create an account dedicated to your UGC work. The strongest platform duo is Twitter (X) and TikTok for the UGC industry. 

Twitter is going to act as your LinkedIn. This is where you can network, connect with brands, and connect with other UGC creators. While Twitter is your LinkedIn, TikTok is going to be your resume (it can also be a big part of your portfolio). 

How to set up your profiles for UGC:  

  • Choose your Handle (try to make sure they match each other) 
  • Choose your Name (make sure it’s search-friendly) 
  • Create your bio (on TikTok you’re going to want to include your email address if you don’t have link access.) 
  • Pinned Content (this is where you can save what you’d like brands to see first. Maybe the best video you’ve made or a variety showing your skills)

Make sure that you’re only using these accounts for your UGC stuff. Don’t start using these accounts to share ‘Day in the Life’ videos or ‘How to be a UGC Creator’ tips. Your new TikTok or Instagram account is going to be where you are sharing your UGC videos. From product reviews to aesthetic videos, this is your account to share those. 

Pro Tip: If you’re curious about the different styles of UGC, check out this video next. It will help you get started in UGC, create your first YGC videos, and learn how to build up your portfolio with the different types of UGC videos that brands are looking for. 

Twitter (X) is where you will be doing all of your networking. There you can engage with other UGC creators, follow the accounts they’re following, post your work, and engage with #ugc. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. 

Now that you have your profiles created, let’s move on to step 2: creating your portfolio. 

Step 2: Create your portfolio

I recommend creating your UGC portfolio in Canva. You can create a free website landing page on Canva, using the templates that they’ve prebuilt for you. This will provide you with a link to your work that you can put in your bio on Twitter and TikTok. 

My tips for creating a UGC portfolio on Canva: 

  • Use premade portfolio templates 
  • Look out for templates that say ‘website’ 
  • Narrow down your choices by looking for a template that’s simple and already close to your branding
  • Choose a free template (the ones that don’t have the ‘crown’ symbol are free) 

If you’d like my help narrowing down some beautifully designed templates for your portfolio, check out my UGC Creator Bundle. The bundle includes templates that you can immediately start plugging your own information into. 

UGC portfolio must-haves:

  • Name & a photo of yourself (show brands who they’re going to be working with)
  • 2-3 sentences about you, highlighting your skills and experience
  • Include 3-6 examples of your work
  • Contact info

Optional items for your UGC portfolio: 

  • The niche or content type you specialize in.
  • Rates (I have mixed feelings about including your rates, mainly because that can force you to use those rates when it can be better to customize your rates to a brand’s budget!) 
  • Testimonials from brands you’ve worked with before.
  • Brands you’ve worked with (this can be simply including their logos — with links to the work you’ve done for them)
  • Analytics

Once you have your portfolio designed and set up, you can share the link in your emails, your Twitter and the link in bio on your TikTok. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and share your portfolio! We’ll also talk more about how this can help you find paid UGC jobs in a minute. 

Step 3: Where to find paid UGC jobs

Now that you have your social media and portfolio set up and linked properly, it’s time to find your first clients and get paid. UGC is a relatively new industry, but it’s growing quickly! Luckily for you, that means there are so many places where you can find paid UGC work. 

Where to find UGC opportunities: 

  • Upwork
  • Fiver
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter (X)
  • Cold pitching

3rd party UGC platforms: 

  • Collectively
  • Octoly
  • Aspire
  • Tribe 

The list goes on and on. There are so many places and 3rd party platforms out there where you can find paid UGC opportunities. 

However, my top choices and recommendations for someone who is just starting out would be Joinbrands and cold pitching. 

Joinbrands is a 3rd party platform that connects brands to UGC creators. On Joinbrands you can get ‘certified’ which makes you more trustworthy for a brand to hire. 

As with any 3rd party platform, there is going to be more competition on that platform. Which is why I also recommend cold pitching. When you have your social media and portfolio set up, there is no reason why you should not be pitching brands you’d like to work with. 

Here is an example of an exact pitch email that I would use if I wanted to work with a brand. 

If you want more plug-and-play pitch templates and templates to help you negotiate your rates, make sure to check out my UGC Creator Bundle. Inside are the exact pitch templates that you can use to land your first paid UGC job (and make sure you’re paid well for it!)

Step 4: Setting your rates

There is definitely an industry standard for UGC videos. It’s usually:

  • Organic -> $150 → 3 months usage
  • Paid -> $250 → + monthly fee for usage (10-20%)

What is the difference between organic and paid? These terms refers to the usage rights or in other words, how the brand is going to use the video. 

Usage rights is a term commonly found in contracts that states who owns the deliverables and what they are allowed to do with them while they own them. In this case, it’s whether the brand is going to use the video as an organic social media post, or if they’re planning to use the video for paid advertising.

What to do if you have zero experience

If you don’t have any experience, accepting low-paying offers at a high volume is a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio. I know some people will disagree with that, but it’s no different from other industries. 

If you decided you wanted to be a wedding photographer, you generally wouldn’t set up your website and immediately start charging top dollar to shoot weddings. Instead, you’d probably start shooting weddings for a few family members and friends, at a very low rate (or even for free). This helps you gain experience and build out your portfolio, 

Working with brands is no different, as long as you know that you’re only accepting these low offers to build your portfolio so that you can charge more. 

However, You can have zero experience and still make money with UGC. I have a student who has around 1,000 followers and no UGC experience. She made an Instagram story talking about a product that she already used and loved. She tagged the brand and they ended up reaching out to her to start a connection. The brand asked her to create 21 videos for them, at $50 a video. 

She was then able to negotiate with them to a monthly contract where she gets paid $1,000 a month to make 4 UGC videos for them. 

Keep in mind that the UGC industry is very new. A lot of brands aren’t familiar with standard rates and we’re all learning as we go. So if your first thought is “Wow that’s so low”, have some grace because a lot of brands haven’t done UGC partnerships a lot. 

What you can always do is create a package that fits the brand’s budget and respects your time and work. 

Now that you have your base rates, let’s jump into step 5 and talk about how to know when you can charge more. 

Step 5: Knowing how to charge more

Technically you could stop right now, follow these steps, and start making money with UGC today. However, there is going to be a time when you cross paths with a brand that has an endless budget, so understanding how to create packages and offer upsells is going to come in extremely handy. 

At the end of the day, making more money is always a good thing!

What are UGC packages?

Creating packages for brands is a great way to make more money from your partnerships. You can offer them more videos with each video getting slightly cheaper depending on how many they want. 

In other words, it’s creating a set of deliverable options that can help you make more money while helping the brand get a better deal. 

Most of the time in your packages, the more videos or photos a brand gets, the more money they save.


UGC package examples:
  • PACKAGE 1: 1 video for 150 (full rates) 
  • PACKAGE 2: 3 videos for 375 (17% discount save $75)
  • PACKAGE 3: 5 videos for 600 (20% discount save $150)

You can customize and tailor your packages however you’d like. At the end of the day, it’s your business! You could offer brands a video package, a photo package, and then a video and photo package. 

I like presenting brands with package options because when they see the deal for the highest package, that’s usually what they go for. 

UGC Upsells

The other way you can make more money with UGC is through upsells. These are additional things that you can add to the contract that the brand would consider valuable and pay for. 

Usage rights are one version of an upsell. 

Here’s how usage rights might work for your UGC videos:

Industry standards for 1 video:

Organic -> $150 → 3 months usage

(for extra usage = 10% per month)

Paid -> $250 → + monthly fee for usage 

(for usage = 10-20% per month)

Paid usage: 20% of total = X. X per month for paid usage rights.

When it comes to usage rights, the longer a brand wants to use your video, the more money you can make. 

Now if the terminology is throwing you off, I actually have a UGC Terminology Glossary in the UGC Creator Bundle. It goes over the different UGC terms and other words to look out for when you’re reading contracts. You can grab that UGC Creator Bundle here.  

UGC (user-generated content) is one of the fastest growing industries and the lowest barrier ways you can start making money online today. If you need more help with getting started with UGC, make sure to watch this video next. It answers the top questions I get about UGC and shares some additional information to help you get started today. 

Thank you so much for being here, follow your joy! 

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