It is no surprise that each an every year, the influencer industry keeps growing and growing. Influencers, bloggers, and creators are becoming a strong presence in the marketing space and individuals are beginning to not only grow their business but make it a brand. Being a lifestyle influencer, I’m always happy to see this growth and it’s helped me to grow my business.
When I first started in the industry, I wasn’t aware that my hobby would turn into a side hustle and then expand into what it now is – a full fledged business and brand that brings in over $150k a year. I will admit that it wasn’t something that happened overnight and that there is some things that you’ll want to know about full-time blogging that people don’t always share. I don’t bring in the income solely off of a single stream of revenue. It has taken hard work, business planning, and some investment in right tools and building the right team.
I have seen influencers who have entered into the space and became stagnant in their business. They often ask themselves why they aren’t generating the income that they want to and the easiest answer to that is that they are solely focusing on one stream of revenue.
Successful influencers in the influencer space have built businesses that maintain multiple streams of revenue. In my case, I maintain 5 revenue streams in my business in order to maintain strong income in my business even when one of the streams is not meeting the financial goals of the quarter.
So whether you’re ready to take your business from a hobby to a full-time business or maybe you’re looking for growth, I’m going to share with you various ways of how lifestyle influencers make money.
Brand Partnerships AS A LIFESTYLE INFLUENCER
One of the top ways that influencers can make money is through brand partnerships. In the past few years, brands have found that influencers are a great source of marketing because we foster engaged audiences and know what type of content will resonate with the followers that we maintain. As a lifestyle influencer, brand partnerships can be vast since you can work with a variety of different types of brands as a long as you relate it back to your core niche. To get brand partnerships, you have to be creating quality content, actively engaging with your audience, and making the effort to reach out to brand and not simply wait for them to come to you. To main ways to find brand partnerships are:
PITCHINGInfluencers must stay constantly pitching if they want to consistently keep securing brand partnerships. As influencers grow in the business, there will be times where they may have a month where they stop pitching because of the amount of incoming brand partnerships that they are receiving. But in most cases, as an influencer, you want to be actively pitching brands – whether new or ones that you have worked with – to secure brand partnerships from month to month. On average, many influencers are pitching at least 6-10 brands per week in order to secure brand partnerships for the next month, the next season, or long-term. Even if you are pitching and get a ‘no’ the positive aspect of it is that you are able to get onto the brand’s radar.
INFLUENCER NETWORKSInfluencer networks are another way to find brand partnerships. With many useful platforms out there such as Activate, AspireIQ, FYInfluence, Popular Pays, and so many more, as an influencer, you can just connect your platforms and then have brands connect with you to apply if you are a fit or you can browse the open campaigns and apply for ones that interest you. One thing with influencer networks is that there tends to be more limitations on budget and negotiating your rate. In many instances, you may enter in your proposed rate and pitch and receive a rejection with no reason as to why it was rejected and no way to negotiate. But that doesn’t mean that lifestyle influencers aren’t securing great partnerships through the networks.
Affiliate Revenue AS INCOME FOR INFLUENCERS
As an influencer, the one of the main things that you are doing is sharing the products and brands that you use. Whether you are sharing those products on a blog, social media channel, podcast, or another medium, a great way of earning passive income is through affiliate links. The ability to link things has grown exponentially over the past years. At one time, you were only able to link products, but now as the influencer space has grown and influencers are doing so much and share so much, you are now able to not only link products, but link experiences and services to make a commission off of if a reader or follower makes a purchase through the link. There are tons of platforms out there for affiliate linking for influencers to use. Many brands house their own or use the larger platforms such as Shop LTK and ShopStyle Collective. And if you are a blogger who is linking and you create strong SEO for your blog, affiliate revenue may turn into your highest grossing revenue stream within your influencer business.
Digital & Physical Products AS A SOURCE OF INCOME FOR INFLUENCERS
When you think of your influencer business, you don’t want to limit yourself to only creating content for brands and generating affiliate revenue. You want to turn your influencer business into a full brand and create products that you yourself can sell and even engage other influencers to promote for you. As the influencer space is growing, many influencers have began launching their own products to sell on their own websites or on third-party platforms such as Etsy or Amazon. As a lifestyle influencer, you may be reviewing a lot of products as it applies to the content that you are creating and what you are doing in your everyday life. And as you are reviewing and promoting those products, you may begin to realize that there is an opportunity for you to create products that match your brand that you know your community will purchase. With your business being primarily online, you don’t always have to worry about creating products that are physical that would need to be manufactured, held in inventory, and then shipped, you can also create and sell digital products. Below are some examples of physical and digital products that lifestyle influencers have been known to sell and create a strong profit from:
EBOOKSAs creators, influencers have a knack for writing and many have created their own content that they have turned into eBooks. Your eBook could be a book that provides help to others on a specific aspect to guide them through, or maybe you created a fiction or non-fiction book that you are looking to sell. One of my streams of income is my eBook “How Do You See Me?” that I sell on my own site as a digital book but also sell physical copies of on Amazon and Barnes & Noble without having to maintain an inventory. If you like to write, and have sat down to write something that can be turned into a book, there are many ways to easily self-publish your book and sell on your own.
BOUTIQUE / CLOTHING LINEMany of the online boutiques that are popping up online in the past few years are boutiques that are owned and operated by influencers because they saw a need and decided to plunge into the space. As an influencer, you can either start your own boutique and base it on your aesthetic and purchase wholesale pieces to sell, or you can work with designers and design your own line to sell on your site or on third-party sites. There is also the opportunity to partner with brands to create your own line, but in that regard, it would be a brand partnership that could allow you to get the opportunity to see how the space works that would then allow you to create your own line.
PRESETSInfluencers are constantly editing their photos and creating specific color schemes that match their aesthetic. As an influencer, when you are editing your photos depending on the type of photo you are taking using the same settings, you are creating your own preset. Your followers love your style, which is why they are following you, so take that preset and sell it so that others can use it. You may find yourself not only selling to non-influencers but influencers yourself. And if you get them to mention that they are using your preset, then that is more exposure for you.
COURSESWith a lot of people looking to branch out from what they are doing in their current lives and career, people are looking for new skills or learning how to develop their own businesses. Influencers have began launching courses to teach others about various topics such as photography, videography, running a business, creating graphics, creating their own course, etc. and with a number of platforms out there such as Teachable where you can build, host, and run your course, there is a space to do it. If there’s something that your followers love that you do and are constantly asking questions about it, there is an opportunity for you to create a course for you to sell. In my case, I launched the Influencer Biz course that is teaching other influencers how to grow their own businesses and build their brands.
STOCK PHOTOSAs an influencer, you are constantly taking photos to create content. Many influencers have taken their photos and turned them into stock photos that they can sell to others. If you are a master of photography, this may be an avenue that you can explore. Create stock photos by themes or aesthetics and package them together to sell or sell them individually. There are many businesses out there, including my own, that find use in stock photos and will purchase them in order to use in their own content, marketing, and other aspects of their business.
Sell Your Services TO GENERATE INCOME IN YOUR INFLUENCER BUSINESS
As stated previously, influencers house a lot of knowledge and skill. Depending on where your strengths and interests lie, you may be able to sell certain services to others in order to generate another source of income to connect with your influencer business. As an influencer, you are an independent contractor that can be hired as a marker, when it comes to brand campaigns, but you don’t have to limit your contracting to just brand partnerships. Here are examples of services that you could sell as an influencer:
CONSULTINGUse your skillset to consult on projects and to be a coach for other influencers and small business owners. I’ve seen influencers who have been consultants on marketing strategies for larger businesses, coaches for other creators, and consultants for photographers and videographers who like the style of the influencer, but want to start their own business in photography or videography. If you are also selling a course, offering coaching / consulting is something that I highly suggest doing. You can turn many of your students into clients who you coach as many of them begin to look for more 1:1 help. As paired with my course, I also offer influencer coaching for those looking to grow their influencer business.
CONTENT CREATIONMany brands and businesses have their own social media platforms and some even have their own blogs, but don’t always have the time or resources to create their own content to market their business. In that case, influencers have the ability to step into a business as a contractor and work with businesses in order create content for them and help to grow their online and social presence.
GRAPHIC DESIGNERIn you’re an influencer who has a knack for creating graphics using Adobe products or Procreate, you may want to see about selling what you create not only as digital products but as a service as there are many businesses who are looking for custom graphics to align with their branding.
PRODUCER / PRODUCTION DESIGNERBrands and businesses have their own marketing and will have their own photoshoots or video shoots. In those situations, they may look to hire a contractor to help with production so that the images and/or video that comes out of the shoot is able to be used for their marketing efforts. If you have a strong skill in designing shoots and creating captivating imagery and videography, this may be a great service for you to sell.
MODELINGIf you are comfortable in front of the camera, you can offer your services as a model for any upcoming marketing shoots that local brands may have. In Philadelphia, I have worked with businesses as a model for different brands and businesses such as a new apartment building that launched, fashion and beauty boutiques, and for city tourism shoots. Get connected with PR companies in the area or look for casting calls, you can also list it in your services section in your influencer media kit.