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The Best Income Stream Ideas to Make Money as an Influencer

September 7, 2022

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!

So you want to make 6-figures with your platforms and truly scale your income as an Influencer?

In my previous post on this topic, I gave you the 6 steps you can take to hit 6 figures. One of those steps was building multiple streams of income.

In this post, I’m breaking down the 11 income stream ideas you can build as an Influencer and the first steps to take action TODAY.

Active vs. Passive Income Streams

As a refresher, when setting up your income streams, you can set them up to be active or passive depending on your lifestyle and what your preferences are.

Active income requires you to show up consistently with the same amount of effort. You are active in making sure that income is coming in

Passive income is when you do a majority of the hard work upfront, at the beginning of the creation process, but then you can set these streams to sell forever (or ongoing in the background).

Then there’s mixed, which is a combination of passive and active.

Categorizing the 11 Income Streams

The 11 incomes streams we’re going to talk about in this post are:

  1. Affiliate marketing 
  2. Brand collaborations
  3. Selling digital products
  4. Physical products
  5. Online courses
  6. Coaching
  7. Offering a service
  8. Memberships
  9. Platform monetization
  10. User-generated content
  11. NFTs

Here they are separated into three categories:

  • Passive: Affiliate marketing, selling digital products, online courses  
  • Active: Brand collaborations, Coaching, Offering a service, User-generated content
  • Mixed: Physical products, Memberships, platform monetization, NFTs

Let’s talk about each of these income streams and how to set them up.

Income Stream #1: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is when you earn a commission or fee for simply sharing a product you love with your followers. This commission is earned through people clicking on a link or purchasing a product that you mention through your affiliate link. 

There is no extra fee or cost for your followers by using your affiliate links. It’s simply another way for them to support you and your business while benefiting from a product they may end up loving.

Getting started with affiliate marketing is easy and there’s no barrier to entry… ANYONE can do it. That said, most people give up in the early stages because they don’t make money with it right away.

Making an income with affiliate links takes time. It’s like a snowball effect.

How To Set Up Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy

What you’re going to do is pick a platform and make an account. My 3 favorite affiliate sites are Amazon Influencer, Share A Sale and Magic Links. (And while you’re at it, feel free to browse through my Amazon store for Influencer must-haves.)

Be sure to read each platform’s different requirements and policies so you can make the most of each one without any unwanted surprises.

Once you have an account set up, start making your links!

And only make links to products you genuinely love, use and talk about. It helps if all of your links make sense within your niche because they won’t be random to your followers.

Then, place your links everywhere: YouTube video descriptions, a highlight on your Instagram, your link in bio landing page, anywhere and everywhere.

If you want a more in-depth explanation of affiliate marketing and step-by-step how to get started, check out this post I have here for a full training.

Income Stream #2: Brand Collaborations

Brand collabs are very common in the influencer world. This is where brands pay you to talk about or post about their product or service.

Believe it or not, you do not need 10,000 followers to start working with brands. I’ve helped students with under 1,000 followers land paid brand collaborations. You can be a nano, micro OR macro Influencer. It does not matter.

What matters is that you’re ready for brand collaborations. How do you know if you’re ready? Here are 3 signs you’re ready to start working with brands:

  • Your Influence
  • Your Parallels
  • Your Content

Influence

How do you know if you have influence?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you MOVE your audience?
  • Have you created a community of people who listen to you?
  • How is your engagement?

Brands pay Influencers because they want access to YOUR audience. If your audience is disengaged from you, brands won’t see enough value in partnering, no matter how big or small your audience is.

If your audience is engaged and listens to you, brands will see that as a worthy investment.

Parallels

Now, what are “parallels?”

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you, as a personal brand, and the brand have in common?
  • Are you the right person to talk about their product?
  • Do you both have a similar niche? Similar values? Similar audience types? 
  • Will partnering with them be a natural fit?

If not, your audience won’t resonate with the brand and the brand won’t see value on either end of the partnership.

If yes, there’s a good chance both parties will benefit from partnering.

For example, as an Influencer who educates other Influencers, it makes sense for me to partner with brands like SocialBook, #paid, and AspireIQ.

But it wouldn’t make sense for me to partner with a men’s deodorant brand… there are absolutely no parallels there. And they know that, so they wouldn’t accept that partnership with me even if I tried.

Content

If you want to start landing brand collaborations, you need to take an honest look at the quality of content you’re making now.

Most people want to just jump into collabs thinking it will be easy money without mastering the art of content creation first. A huge part of partnering with brands IS content creation.

That skill is so important.

If you said “yes, I have all 3 of these things down,” your next step is to make accounts on 3rd party networking platforms! I used these platforms when I first started and still use them today.

3rd party platforms are websites that connect brands and influencers on partnership opportunities. Some examples of platforms are the ones I listed and linked to in the “Parallels” section.

If you’re looking for the next steps, read this post on how to write the perfect pitch to brands and check out my free pitch templates

Income Stream #3: Selling Digital Products

This would look like selling eBooks, templates, presets, all the things. 

Most of my digital products are eBooks and templates that I made in Canva. Canva is an amazing tool for creating digital products because they have a free version and templates for you to use. If you’re not a design expert, the templates make it easy for anyone to make a product. Highly recommend.

Another place to get digital product templates is creativemarket.com. These ones aren’t free but you can filter by Canva templates and find options that will upload directly to Canva so you can customize them!

Once your product is created, you can export it as a PDF and upload it to your shop.

Right now, I use Shopify to sell my digital products, but I’m also in the process of transitioning everything over to SamCart. If you’re looking for something more cost-effective (like an all-in-one tool), then you can set up a Stan Store to sell your products.

If these tips are helpful so far, I want to let you know that I do have a FREE 40-page eBook on making money on Instagram, which is like the pretty, design-heavy, downloadable version of this post.

It has all the income streams explained with links and step-by-step processes for getting started. So check it out!

Income Stream #4: Selling Physical Products

Selling physical products can be passive or active depending on what you’re selling and how you set that up.

For example, if you want passive physical products, you can set up dropshipping.

Dropshipping is a business model that removes the inventory aspect of retail. A customer’s order is sent directly to the dropship supplier for them to fulfill and deliver. You, as the seller, never have to keep any inventory on hand.

An example of my passive physical products is my merch. I sell merch through Spreadshop, and they do all the work for me. So, when someone purchases an item from my merch store, Spreadshop deals with the inventory, printing, shipping, customer service, etc.

Since they are active in the process, that makes it passive income on my end.

Everything else, where you’re making the product by hand as orders come in, is active income. A lot of artists that actively create and sell their own products will sell their physical products through Etsy or Instagram Shop.

Income Stream #5: Online Courses

The reason I didn’t bundle online courses with digital products is that the creation process and the website to host your course(s) is completely different for me.

I sell a few online courses (an online Instagram Course and an online Email List Course). These courses are usually a higher ticket item, where my students can learn at their own pace.

All of the lessons are pre-recorded so you don’t have to teach live, which saves you time… after it’s created.

It took me about 9 months to fully create my online courses. Even now, it takes about two full months to update them when they need updating. 9 months is a long time for upfront work, but it’s so worth it.

I love having my online courses because they are my biggest money maker at the moment. I don’t run ads in my courses, and I still make an average of $30,000 a month from my courses alone.

The time it took to create the courses plus the return I now get is certainly a fair trade. It’s absolutely worth the upfront investment.

Resources For Creating Your Own Online Course

Plus, ANYONE can sell an online course. You don’t have to be a master or expert of anything. As long as you can teach some sort of transformation to a specific audience type, you’re in the clear.

It doesn’t have to be tech-heavy either. I used Zoom to record 90% of all my course content, and then I use Thinkific to host my course.

Again, if you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to selling an online course, you can set that up in a Stan Store! They have the ability to host courses inside. While it’s not as in-depth as Thinkific, it is a great alternative if you just want something quick and easy.

I learned the entire course creation and launch process from my coach, Christina Galbato. If you want a step-by-step roadmap, then click that link for her course, where you can learn exactly what I did to have a successful launch.

I don’t think I could ever create a better course than hers on how to create an online course. It’s magnificent, so seriously, check it out.

Income Stream #6: Coaching

Whether it’s group coaching or offering 1:1 services, this is probably going to be your higher ticket item because it’s people paying specifically for both your knowledge and your time.

I offered coaching before selling a digital course to test and make sure everything that I taught worked with real-life people. Once I crafted my teaching, I packaged it into an online course.

Some people prefer coaching because they love to work with people one-on-one. I decided to expand to online courses so that I could reach more people than the 24 hours each day allows me.

Ideas On What To Coach

The best part is that you can coach on ANYTHING. I’ve seen coaching opportunities on a variety of topics ranging from social media, mindset, cooking, design, how to edit photos, how to design your home, organization, party planning, etc.

You’d be surprised what topics have proven to be successful coaching topics.

If you are unsure what your coaching services should look like, I recommend doing research to see if there is anyone else in your field offering something similar to what you want to do. From there, you can create your framework around theirs.

Now, that obviously doesn’t mean copying other creators and coaches, but using them as inspiration for you to customize your own course in your own unique way.

When I first started coaching, I used Google Forms to collect leads. This form was a “get on my coaching waitlist” form, that would stay in the link in my bio on Instagram.

Then when I was ready to start coaching, I emailed the list of people to schedule a consultation call. This was a free, 20-minute call they set up through Calendly to see if we would be a good fit. For hosting the meetings, I used Zoom and I accepted payment through PayPal.

It’s as simple as that!

Income Stream #7: Offering a Service

Are you already an expert at something? Maybe you don’t feel like an expert, but you’re more knowledgeable than most at a specific task that someone else might consider tedious.

Offer a service that people can hire you for!

The service could be anything that you do for somebody else like posting on social media, creating content for another business, managing social media, writing captions, ghostwriting, etc.

The most common place to get started is becoming a VA. A VA is a Virtual Assistant and independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients. Since you’re a contractor you can provide these services from anywhere and typically, on your own time, instead of the typical 9-5 timeframe.

My first hire was a VA and it was the best thing I ever did. So if you possess any of those skills, you will be a hot commodity.

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, you can list your services on places like:

Upwork, Fiverr, Boldy, The VA Handbook, and Horkey Handbook.

Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself too! My first VA I hired was someone who reached out to me on Instagram, asking to help with Instagram engagement and posting!

Think about who you’d want to work for, then find them and pitch to them.

Income Stream #8: Memberships

Having a membership requires your members to opt-in to a subscription (monthly or yearly payment) in exchange for exclusive access to you, your business, or ‘goods’.

There are different ways to provide value to your members, all depending on what your niche and business model are. When I created my first membership, I used Patreon.

Hosting a membership is a great way to curate a community within your following while creating a guaranteed monthly payment for you and your business.

Memberships are a mix of both passive and active income. Whether it’s active or passive depends on what you’re promising members access to.

For my membership, I offered weekly live training. That required active participation on my part to script, prepare and host each weekly training.

Passively, I planned posts to auto-post throughout the rest of the week. I scheduled a mini-video training, answering a commonly asked question to auto-post every Wednesday.

My membership involved active participation to foster a positive, growing community, which led to passive results from planning content to keep the community up to speed.

Get Started With Memberships

Nowadays, you can create memberships on almost any platform. As stated, Patreon is a very popular one to start off with, as is Stan Store.

If you have monetization status on Instagram, you can start a subscription service on Instagram where members can get exclusive access to specific content from you. And the same goes for YouTube.

Income Stream #9: Platform Monetization

This is when you qualify for monetization on a social media platform! Hurray! That’s pretty self-explanatory.

Monetize on YouTube

To qualify for monetization on YouTube, you need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within the past 12 months.

You can make money on YouTube through MORE than just ads. You can also set up your merch shelf, memberships, YouTube Shorts Bonus, and supers.

Monetize on Instagram

Instagram isn’t as clear. To get monetized on Instagram, each feature has different qualifications.

For example, you need to be in a country that’s eligible for monetization, follow community guidelines and have a business or creator account.

Some monetization features require that you have at least 10,000 followers and actively use their features. For Reels Bonuses, the more you use Reels, the sooner you’ll get invited to their bonus!

Instagram has a lot of monetization tools on its platform: Instagram Reels and Video Ads, Bonuses, Live Badges, Subscriptions, NFTs, Affiliates, and Brand Partnerships.

That’s a whopping 7 different ways you can make money on Instagram. That’s amazing.

Monetizing on TikTok

To qualify for monetization on TikTok, you have to be 18 years or older, have at least 10,000 followers, have 1,000 or more video views in the last 30 days, and have three posts or more in the previous 30 days.

On TikTok, you can get paid through views and gifts from viewers when going live.

Income Stream #10: User Generated Content (UGC)

Maybe you want to be a full-time content creator, but you have absolutely no photography or videography experience.

Fear not! UGC is the perfect place to start.

UGC stands for User Generated Content.

What’s the difference between UGC and high-quality product photos/videos?

UGC doesn’t have to be “high quality”. The point is for it to look like an everyday person (or user) created it.

Why do brands love UGC?

Oftentimes, this content comes across as more authentic to viewers because it doesn’t look like a typical ad. They get to partner with people who are genuine users and fans.

How To Get Started With UGC

Here’s how to get started with UGC:

  1. Go to this website to see brands that are currently running ads (aka they have the budget to work with you)
  2. Filter the ‘Industry’ section to find an Industry that makes sense with your niche
  3. Scroll through the videos to find a business that you’re already a fan of and whose products you already use
  4. Make a video of yourself talking about the product, using the product, and hyping the brand up
  5. Send the brand a DM on Instagram saying:

“Hi [BRAND],

As you can tell by this video, I’m a huge fan of [PRODUCT]. More specifically, [REASON].

If you wanted to use this content on your social media channels or for running ads, I’d be happy to make more content similar to this for you to use. Does your team currently allocate some of your Marketing Budget to UGC?”

This is a great way to make connections and get your foot in the door. You also have to be willing to hear “no’s” or be ghosted.

Make sure you do your following up and just go for it!

Income Stream #11: NFTs

For those of you who don’t know, NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token.

“Non-fungible” means that it is unique and can’t be replaced.

For example, we have bitcoin. You can trade one bitcoin for another and you’ll have exactly the same thing. That’s fungible

On the other hand, one-of-a-kind trading cards are non-fungible.

NFTs use blockchain technology to keep track of who’s holding and trading which NFTs.

Aaaand that’s as far as I’ll go on that. Personally, I still don’t completely understand NFTs or blockchain technology, so I don’t want to even attempt to educate you further on it.

If this income stream intrigues you and you want to learn more, check out Social Media Examiner’s post on getting started on creating NFTs. (I’m a huge fan of Social Media Examiner. They always stay up to date in the cryptocurrency space and Social Media space.)

With all of this information on the eleven ways to make money as an Influencer, there’s no reason you can’t start making that money today!

So get going! Go make that bank!

If you have any questions at all, comment below. I’m happy to chat.

Follow your joy!

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