23 Ways to Make Money as a Content Creator (+ Examples)
Steal these 23 different monetization ideas that top creators use to make money.
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If you're a creator, your financial security depends on how many active revenue channels you have.
On average, full-time creators have two revenue-generating channels.
The less reliant you are on platforms and unexpected events (like your Twitter account getting hacked or a change in the algorithm), the better.
So having more than one revenue-generating channel is always a good idea.
But how many ways are there for creators to make money? And what's the best one for you?
In today’s article, we want to explore how you can make money as a creator (with real-life examples).
But first, the big question every creator starting out asks👇
Do you need a big audience to make money?
According to a recent survey by the Tilt, creators who run their business full-time have an average of 4k followers across their channels.
So the myth you need a huge audience to succeed is totally false.
It’s not about the size of the audience but the trust you build with them.
Still, financial insecurity is one of the biggest stoppers on people getting started with content creation.
On average, it takes around 5 months to make the first internet $, and just over a year to begin working full-time as a creator.
Despite what some might say, becoming a creator is not the fastest way to make a ton of money. Still, it’s probably one of the most rewarding because, in most cases, you work doing something you love.
But passion and likes don’t pay the bills, so let’s explore the different ways to make money as a creator:
Making money with your content
Overall, sponsorships provide a win-win situation for creators and brands alike.
Creators benefit from a reliable income stream and brands get access to highly engaged and targeted audiences while benefiting from the credibility of the creator.
There are different ways these sponsorships can take shape:
#1 - Newsletter ads
With the surge of email newsletters as a way to avoid platform risk and keep your audience safe, newsletter ads have become one of the primary income sources for creators.
The way these work is simple: you put an ad on your email content for your audience to see with a call to action.
These ads can be placed all over your email content, but the most popular placements are at the top of the newsletter:
Or at the bottom:
Usually, the brand provides the copy and the link, and the creators place it. Still, some creators prefer to write the copy themselves.
From experience, this often drives better results, as the ad feels more genuine.
#2 - Social media ads
You don't have a newsletter but you have some audience on social media?
You can still work with sponsors.
These are a classic on Instagram, but also work on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter 👇
Like the example above, integrating the ad with your content is key. Doing it on social media often causes more friction than on a newsletter, so if you do it, you must be very careful about how you proceed.
Thief tip: If you want to learn more about how sponsorships work, you should subscribe to Justin Moore’s Creator Wizard newsletter. He’s a friend and the #1 expert in sponsorships in the world.
#3 - Brand content creation
Sometimes, brands need content but don't have a creative team. In that case, they might hire creators to create a series of content for them so that they can post it on their own channels.
The creator gets paid for the work and the brand gets high-quality content.
It’s a win-win.
#4 - Platform ad networks
Some platforms like Youtube (with AdSense) are famously known to pay creators for their content. They do that by placing ads on their content.
It’s a great way to incentive creators to post content on their platforms.
TikTok has their “Creator Fund” where they reward creators for views on their content. And other platforms like Twitter are starting to catch up on this and are exploring ways to reward creators for their content 👇
In short, affiliating means recommending a product (that you don't own) to your audience.
This monetization method relies on trust: On the trust that you have that the product you recommend is good and the trust your audience has in your recommendation.
There are many different ways that affiliation can appear, but these are the most popular:
#5 - Blog affiliates
Blogging and affiliate marketing form a symbiotic relationship. When bloggers strategically incorporate affiliate links within their posts, they transform their platform into a monetization powerhouse.
As the readers trust the blogger's expertise, they are more likely to click on affiliate links and make purchases, resulting in a commission for the blogger.
For example, I could write an entire post on how I use Tweet Hunter to create and schedule my Twitter content. And then place affiliate links all over the post. If someone were to subscribe, I’d get a cut.
#6 - Newsletter affiliates
Newsletters are also very popular for affiliate monetization. If you don’t have sponsors early on, you could still have sponsored slots but filled with affiliate links.
I do this often on The Steal Club with links to courses I’ve taken and found valuable.
Every now and then, I get a kickback for the people that purchased thanks to my rec 👇
#7 - Social media affiliates
Similar to newsletter affiliate links, some creators use their social media content to lead people to an affiliate link.
Instead of promoting their own offers (because they don't have them), they promote other creators in exchange for a %.
#8 - Sparkloop Upscribe
Imagine you could get paid for every new newsletter subscriber you drive to other newsletters.
Every newsletter pays differently, depending on their budget, but it's a low-effort way to earn a few extra $$, especially if you recommend newsletters in your niche (so more people subscribe).
If you decide to join, you can do so here. It’s very easy to sign up and you can start earning $$$ almost immediately.
Note: this is a bit meta but the link above is an affiliate link. See what I did there?
→ Paid Content
Charging for part of your content is a common strategy to monetize as a creator. This can be done in a few ways, but these are the most common:
#9 - Content subscription
Offer a recurring subscription to access your content. This can be a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee that provides subscribers with ongoing access to premium or exclusive content.
This is a widespread model for newsletters 👇
What most of these creators do is have 1/4 of their content for free to attract fans, then convert them to their paid content (once you’ve shown the quality).
#10 - Content Licensing
In Content licensing, the owner of original creative work (aka you) grants permission to others to use and distribute that content in exchange for compensation.
You get to monetize your content, and the licensee gets access to it (to sell, distribute on their platform, or whatever they prefer.
I haven't seen many creators leverage this, but it's genius and the low-effort, high-ROI type of bet we all love.
A great example is the partnership that Jay Clouse has with LinkedIn Learning:
He had his old Freelancing School content lying around, but he switched content topics. So, instead of letting that die, he partnered with LinkedIn to offer his content on their learning platform.
Every month, Jay gets a payment from the platform for content that would sit idle otherwise.
Crowdfunding relies on seeking financial support from your audience, there are many ways to do so, but these are the two most common:
#11 - Getting platform subscribers
Several platforms support this form of monetization (Twitter, Twitch, YouTube…
These subscriptions are often low priced ($3-5/month) and are a straightforward way to show support to a creator.
What you get depends on the platform and the creator, but these often include exclusive content (like private AMA’s on Twitter) or emojis (on Twitch)
#12 - Donations
Donations are a way for fans or supporters to give money directly to content creators as a form of appreciation or support for their work.
Unlike purchasing a product or service, donations are voluntary and typically do not come with specific benefits or rewards.
How to make money with your time
→ Service based
#13 - Freelancing
Freelancing is time-consuming, but one of your best bets to start making money online. The reasons?
It's flexible, meaning you set your own schedule. This makes for a great fit with your creator work.
Higher-income potential. You get to set your rate and decide on what projects to work on.
You get better at your skill. As a freelancer, it's a great chance to hone your skillset. If you are a freelance writer, you write every day. And you become better at it.
But the best one, IMO, is that you get insights directly from the horse's mouth. Freelancing means you are working 1:1 with your target audience. You get to understand your problems and fix them.
What smart creators do with that information is productize that knowledge and, instead of offering your time as the solution, offer that product.
Some popular freelancing gigs in the creator economy:
Productized services are a type of service offering that is structured and packaged like a product.
Instead of offering custom or bespoke services that vary from client to client, productized services are standardized and have a fixed scope, deliverables, and pricing.
One of the most prominent examples of this is DesignJoy.
→ 1:1 Offers
#15 - 1:1 Consulting
By offering 1:1 consulting, creators can leverage their expertise and make money by providing one-to-one guidance to others 👇
If you have your audience’s trust, this is a pretty easy way to start monetizing.
#16 - Audits and teardowns
One of my favorite monetization ideas because it's super simple to do. You need a screen recording program and one specific promise (aka what you will be auditing). It can be as simple as a Twitter profile 👇
Be creative! You can audit virtually anything. I’ve seen landing pages, social media profiles, workspaces…
Once you are more established, being a speaker becomes a very interesting option for monetization. You can…
#17 - Guest workshops
Many private communities and memberships pay creators to come and give a workshop on a topic. The best way to get invited is to be prolific about one specific topic so you get people’s attention 👇
You can also start for free and work your way up as you get more experience.
#18 - Event Speaking
Speaking engagements can be lucrative for creators to make money while sharing their expertise. They not only provide a platform to monetize your knowledge, but they also enhance your visibility, credibility, and professional network.
Many industry conferences are happening today, so plenty of opportunities are out there.
How to make money with your products
#19 - Low-priced digital products
These are products that you can sell for less than $40-$50. We could include here ebooks, templates, trackers, planners…
Someone who does this really well is Easlo. He has niched down as “The Notion Guy” and has tons of low-priced products around Notion 👇
A big promise + a really low price makes this an instant buy for most people. Easlo made $300k in 2022 with this approach, so we know it works!
#20 - Self-paced courses
Self-paced courses are the THE digital product.
These courses can often be consumed in a few hours (usually in video or writing) and teach something specific.
The scale really varies from creator to creator. Some last for 1h and others for over 40.
As you can see, plenty of ways to make money as a creator exist. Even if early on, it's good if you focus on one of these revenue streams, thinking long-term diversifying should always be in your mind.
From all of these, have you tried any? Which one surprised you the most?
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