As my job is to find different ways to build a lifestyle business you can run from anywhere in the world, I decided to look into how to make money on TikTok.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the last few years (2020 – 2021 in particular) has seen the megalithic rise of TikTok.
Growing to close to 700 million active monthly users by early 2021, it is now one of the largest social media applications in the world.
And it ain’t just for the kids! As of 2022, 55% of TikTok users are 30+!
Image Source – Backlinko
So I started playing with TikTok a few months ago to see how TikTok users and influencers are building their brands and monetizing the system!
To say I’ve not had a meteoric rise would be an understatement! The highest views I’ve received so far is 168 on my 30sec ‘weekend at a hotel’ vid.
Follow me here – you know you want to!
But I got sucked in as apparently TikTok is rewarding new accounts with insane levels of engagement.
Hmm, I’ll let you know when that happens!
But with such an enormous user base, many of whom are happy to spend hours endlessly watching videos through their feed, there appears to be plenty of space to make money online, even for a newbie.
How are people already earning tens of thousands of dollars a month through this platform, despite only having created an account less than 12 months ago?
And how can we get in on the action?
Here are 8 main avenues I’ve discovered that currently exist for making money on TikTok.
Let’s take a look at each of them!
Unless you’re already a well-known celebrity with an audience that just wants to hear from you, no matter what you’re talking about, you probably won’t get far without a reasonably well-defined niche.
Your niche is your chosen corner of the internet. Rather than simply opening TikTok and recording a video about whatever you want to say that day, you ideally need to have a category that your content falls into.
For example, you might choose a popular TikTok niche like:
- Home improvement/DIY
And the wider niches, such as politics, education, and comedy can be successful niches if you narrow your focus even further. Instead of “politics,” maybe you create videos dissecting current events from a feminist perspective.
Or if your chosen niche is “comedy,” find a style or two that your audience can reliably expect from you, like skits parodying life in the U.S. south like @caroline_easom does.
@caroline_easom Southern subtext ep.1? #pov #fyp #southern #subtext #comedy #sketchcomedy ♬ original sound – Caroline Easom
A niche is a great way to build a loyal following. If you have a reliable style and type of content you’re more likely to build a base of regular viewership.
And a chunky base of regular viewers is your key to monetize TikTok.
Don’t be afraid to experiment!
It’s a big wide world out there and it might take you a few videos to find your groove.
Right now I’m posting travel videos, which has been a bit overdone, but hey, it’s my life! Soon I’m going to add some more lifestyle business type videos and experiment with different formats, like my face on camera, voice overs, music etc.
That’s the great thing about being completely obscure, you get to test loads of stuff!
Ok with that covered lets; get into the meat of how to make money on TikTok!
The first and most straightforward way to earn money on TikTok is by using the TikTok Creator Fund.
This fund was established in July of 2020 partially as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for popular TikTok creators to start making money.
Put simply, the more engagement you get out of your videos, the more money you can earn directly from TikTok.
There is no limit to how many creators can join, and there’s also no limit to how much of the fund you can earn on any given day.
TikTok has committed £231 million over the next three years to the Creator Fund, so there’s plenty to go around.
According to the Fund’s guidelines, you’ll need at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 authentic video views in the previous 30 days before you’re eligible to join.
TikTok has done a lot to expand its monetization options lately with the rollout of Creator Next in December 2021.
The Creator Next portal is a central hub for all of TikTok’s monetization opportunities. Not only can you join the Creator Fund, but similarly eligible accounts can accept tips and video gifts directly from viewers.
You can also use the Creator Next online portal to join the Creator Marketplace and collaborate with brands for sponsorships.
One thing to note about joining the Creator Fund (or using other aspects of the Creator Next portal) is that the income you receive can fluctuate daily, so it’s not super reliable.
Also the amount each member gets is based on a lot of constantly-changing factors like:
- Number of views
- The authenticity of those views
- Level of engagement on videos (such as likes, shares, and comments)
- Whether the content is in line with TikTok’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service
- How many videos were published by the Creator Fund community that day
Another catch to the Creator Fund is that only certain creators are eligible; you’ll need to be based in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, or Italy (and be at least 18 years old) to apply.
Joining the Creator Fund is as simple as applying directly through the app. For detailed instructions on applying, check out this step-by-step guide from Later.
Landing branded sponsorships is a more traditional form of monetizing content online.
Just like you can with your podcast, blog, or Instagram profile, you can use the TikTok Creator Marketplace to find brands to sponsor your TikTok videos!
Sometimes brands will ask permission to sponsor a video you’ve already published, while others will ask you to create a video specifically advertising their product.
One creator, @kallmekris, makes one-woman comedy skits on her highly popular account. She acts out elaborate ads for her sponsors that are engaging for her fans.
@kallmekris #ad Sticky Situation Solution with @vessi ♬ original sound – Kris HC
The requirements for finding sponsors are a little more vague than the requirements to join the TikTok Creator Fund, which makes sense, since it’s up to the brand whether they think your platform is big or successful enough to be worth the advertising investment.
Every situation is different, and it depends on the brand’s goals. If you have a super niche audience base that the brand is trying to target via sponsored content, they may not care if your follower count is low.
Micro-influencer marketing is becoming more popular with brands for that very reason; micro-influencers can have a smaller but very dedicated fan base, while the price tag for sponsorship is much lower than going for a bigger influencer.
In fact, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, micro-influencers get an engagement rate of 18% on TikTok, while mega-influencers get less than 5%.
But as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to get at least 10,000 followers before you start looking for brand deals. And of course, don’t forget to follow TikTok’s Terms and Conditions so that you’re in good standing with the platform.
If you’ve already got a popular account and are interested in posting sponsored content, start by making honest, non-sponsored posts about your favorite brands.
Likes and engagement are great, but if you can demonstrably drive actual sales with your magic links (which can earn you affiliate sales on their own—more on that below), you’ll be much more likely to catch the eye of brands looking to advertise.
Patreon is a really straightforward service, where loyal followers pay you every month to just keep being you!
Creating great content is by no means free, and can be extremely time-consuming.
And people realize this.
That’s why thousands of TikTok influencers make a good living each month just through Patreon, where followers pay a set amount each and every month (usually $5 or more).
This may not sound like a lot, but when you have hundreds, or even thousands, of followers paying these small amounts, it really adds up.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to go begging followers to pay you just for making new funny TikTok videos.
Instead, those who successfully use Patreon are offering something as a reward for their money, such as exclusive member-only content or the ability to talk to them directly and ask questions.
For more inspiration, check out this detailed list of Patreon earners. For some of these TikTok creators, their monthly income through Patreon alone ranges up to a quarter of a million dollars.
So, how do you convince people to sponsor you through Patreon?
Well, it all comes down to what you stand for.
People won’t give you money for the sake of it. Instead, they need to understand your values and believe in your mission.
It helps for you to be doing something truly rewarding with your time, like spreading awareness for a cause, for your audience to fully realize why their financial support is important.
If you’d rather not depend on brands to sponsor you or your audience to support you out of the kindness of their hearts, you have another option: selling your own merch.
The good news is that highly visual platforms like TikTok are great avenues for promoting products. You can give a demonstration of the product on your own account, and viewers will see exactly what it will look like in person.
And while TikTok is a highly effective content channel for promoting products and selling merch, it also comes with low overhead.
You don’t need to worry about paying to promote your products; if you have an audience, they’ll see your videos promoting your merchandise and if it appeals to them, they’ll be able to click through the link in your bio to complete the purchase.
You might sell branded items like:
- Clothing (T-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.)
- Tote bags
Or maybe you want to skip the hassle of finding a supplier to slap your logo or custom image onto a T-shirt.
In that case, you’ll likely prefer selling digital products like Erika Cuni, The Burnout Coach, does.
@ericacuni #breakups #selfworth #selflove #believeinyourself #fy #fyp #keepgoing #yougotthis #selfcare #selfrespect #danceitout #realtalk #positive #smile #joy ♬ original sound – The Burnout Coach
Erica’s content is all about dealing with work-related struggles, and she sells related coaching services and training materials on her website—which can be accessed by clicking the link in her bio.
Compared to selling physical products, I would say that digital products can be far more lucrative.
And best of all, they require minimal upfront capital.
Instead, you simply need to invest time and effort in developing a product, such as a course or eBook.
This digital product should be jam-packed full of valuable information and insight and designed to make the buyer’s life better in some way.
And the great news is: after you develop a digital product, you can use TikTok as a way to generate huge sales.
Let’s take Tori Dunlap as an example. Already a successful blogger, she specializes in helping other women become financially independent.
She’s done it for herself already and has packed her knowledge into a select range of digital courses and templates that she sells to other women looking to reach the same success she has.
As TikTok began growing in popularity, she jumped on the bandwagon and quickly grew a following of more than 1.2 million followers in less than a year.
Best of all, the vast majority of these followers are like-minded women who love her short, motivational videos on how women can grow their wealth, starting with as little as $50.
This one video has so far been viewed more than 4.7 million times and encourages people to head over to her website to discover more information about what she can offer.
In her first 6 weeks alone, she made more than $60,000 through TikTok. Not bad at all!
Affiliate marketing is hands down one of the best ways to make money on TikTok.
Because you don’t need to have millions of followers to already start making a decent recurring income.
First, what is affiliate marketing? Simply put, it’s where you receive a commission for promoting somebody else’s product.
Say, for example, you add an affiliate link on your TikTok profile that directs visitors to a page where they can buy a new baseball cap.
In return for generating that sale, you will receive a percentage commission.
These percentages can vary wildly, from just 1-2% all the way up to 50% or more. Better still, many affiliate commissions can be recurring.
So if you recommend someone signs up for a paid monthly service, you receive a commission every single month while that person remains a paying customer.
Okay, let’s say you’ve already crushed the TikTok game.
You’ve built a giant audience of rabidly loyal fans. You consistently get hundreds of thousands of views on your videos, and you’ve mastered the art of going viral.
Sounds great already, right?
Well if that’s you, there’s another monetization option available to you besides the things that are already obvious, like sponsorship and affiliate marketing.
You may also be able to take a leaf out of Sean Young’s book and get paid to teach other brands and creators how to grow their own TikTok follower counts.
Sean Young took his brand of content creation that made him so popular on Vine and turned it into viral content on TikTok. He’s famous for his collaborations with other former Vine creators, as well as creating prank videos like this one:
@seansaucetv CLAP ACTIVATION PRANK👏😂 #prank #prankwar #foryoupage #fyp #seansauce ♬ original sound – Lil tiktok
Now, he earns up to $10,000 a month from consulting with businesses and celebrities who want to build their presence on TikTok.
Lots of people are watching TikTok these days, but it can be tricky for traditional celebrities and companies to find the knack for it. For many, doing well on TikTok is all about learning how to capitalize on the latest trends on the app, so if you have a solid understanding of those, there’s a massive market for your expertise.
This brings me to my last suggestion on how to make money on TikTok!
Another way to use your TikTok micro-influencer status is to build and flip profiles on the app.
There are plenty of businesses and brands that want to have a successful TikTok profile, but they don’t have the patience or inclination to lovingly nurture one from the ground up.
That’s where you come in.
If you enjoy the nitty-gritty of building a social following on TikTok from scratch, you may be able to sell those accounts to brands for a pretty penny.
This solution may sound a bit sketchy, but it’s nothing new. In fact, it’s a monetization strategy made popular on Instagram by users like Ramy Halloun of TooFame.com, who made $120,000 over five years buying and selling accounts part-time.
But if you want to get into account flipping, keep in mind that you’ll need to choose a narrow niche at the outset.
For obvious reasons, relying on your personality or personal anecdotes to keep your audience interested makes it difficult to hand the account over to someone else when you sell it!
So there’s a few ideas for you (and me).
I myself am particularly drawn to the creator fund, selling merchandise & digital products and in time marketing my travel books (which I haven’t written yet)!
Clearly the key is to build up that viewership, so if you haven’t yet, create your TikTok account today and start posting!
You won’t get anywhere just thinking about it!
Did I forget to mention that it’s a really fun platform! I love playing about with videos and editing them to music, etc.
So if video is your jam and you want to have some fun while making money. TikTok may just be the platform for you!
Come and connect with me and we can support each other on this fun filled journey!
According to reporting by Variety, the highest-paid TikTokers in 2021 were Charli D’Amelio, who made $17.5 million last year—followed by her sister Dixie, who earned $10 million.
Of course, there are ways to pay for followers or use other sneaky tactics to grow your audience base. But the best (and most reliable) method is to do it the right way:
- Create highly valuable and entertaining content,
- Post consistently,
- Regularly engage with your commenters (and other creators) on the app!
Sure, TikTok hasn’t been around as long as platforms like Facebook or Instagram. But its money making potential is still sky-high, if you’ve got the social media savvy to build a solid audience.
To start earning money fast, leverage your account’s popularity by joining the Creator Fund, which will pay you based on your engagement (like views and likes).
Then, start experimenting with alternative monetization strategies like sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and selling your own products. And if your TikTok game is strong enough, consider consulting with others or selling accounts to other brands!
- Download the app
- Create your account
- Add a profile pic and a short bio
- Start posting videos