How Do Influencers Make Money?

Let’s start unraveling the secret world of influencers. And what’s more interesting than talking about money? I’m going to dive into all of the different ways that an influencer could potentially generate revenue:

#Ad: Sponsored Instagram Posts

This is generally the most common as I’m sure you’ve seen #Ad several times as you scroll through your Instagram feed. Sometimes I’ve seen some brand partnerships say #[insert brand name]Partner or some variation of that in the caption – but it all generally means the same thing. There was an exchange of monetary compensation between an influencer and the brand.

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Instagram Stories and IGTV can also be sponsored as well!

As a side note, and for additional context on the importance of sponsored posts from a brand perspective, the sponsored Instagram content is great for big product or campaign launches, especially since there are usually more than one influencer involved in the campaign. The group of selected influencers will generally post their approved content either on the same day or within the same time frame for the big initial push. This generates buzz and excitement for a brand’s campaign!

Another way to generate brand and product awareness is through forming a long-term partnership with a set group of influencers. This way the influencers can build trust with their community by being a spokesperson for the brand for a longer period of time. This is where brands are moving toward, as audiences are feeling weary and fatigued by seeing so many ads, so trust is of utmost importance for an effective campaign!

I know that was a bit more detail on that part of sponsored Instagram posts but it’s an important point to mention for context on why you may see ads to begin with!

Sponsored Content On Other Channels

While I feel the hype is around Instagram ads, there can be ads run on any other digital channel, where ever the influencer has an audience. For example, I’ve had blog content sponsored before on a few occasions. Here is an example of a Daiya campaign I did earlier this year. There are YouTube influencers, even TikTok influencers at this point. And of course there is sponsored content on podcasts as well. Basically if you build a community somewhere, and have enough eyeballs/ears in a concentrated channel, advertisers will come.

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Affiliate Sales

Have you seen liketoknowit links in your feed or on blog posts? I don’t use it too much but there are many bloggers and influencers out there who make their whole living off of these and other affiliate network links.

Affiliate links are essentially when an influencer receives a percentage of an online sale that was referred from that link. There are different attribution days associated with each advertiser but the general principle is the same: Click on the influencer’s affiliate link, make a purchase within a certain time frame, and the influencer will then get paid a % of that sale. Depending on the purchase amount, that “cut” for the influencer could be as little as $.10 or it could be $10 or even more.

If you have large enough traffic driving to your affiliate links, this can be a nice way to pay some of your bills. 🙂

It’s also important to note that there is no additional cost to the purchaser. If you buy a $20 top from an influencer, you will only be charged $20. The influencer will receive $1 or so of that (again, all dependent on the specific advertiser).

Digital Products

I’m sure you’ve seen courses you can buy from experts in any kind of field or you’ve seen e-books or paid webinars. These are all digital products that the influencer has created for you.

It is also generally a way for the influencer (who is essentially a marketer at this point) to also collect e-mail addresses to be able to stay in touch with you.

Banner Ads

Many bloggers use banner ads and generate a lot of money this way. Some generate money through the number of impressions the ad runs on the site or money is generated through the number of clicks on the ad. It’s not just bloggers. Large sites like Facebook, CNN, or the like, all generate revenue from the clicks and impressions for the ads that are run on their sites.


Once you get to a certain level of expertise or have a following, you can get paid to attend or speak at events. Often times appearances can be in-kind as they are generally great exposure for the influencer as well but if there is a branded experience that is specific to a certain company, that’s when an influencer can generally charge an appearance fee.

Event organizer

This is where an influencer can host or produce events at a local scale and connect brands with the direct consumer. Brands need feedback. They want to know who their customer is and what their needs are. Events are a great way for brands to have real conversations directly with their target audience.


As brand’s look to influencers to help create social content and media awareness for their products, sometimes the influencer can become a consultant for the brand and help them with the brand’s social and digital strategies. After all there is no one better who understands social than someone who lives it and makes an income off of it!

Photography or Copy Assets

This is similar to being a consultant for a brand. Being a photographer or a copywriter for a brand as an influencer costs the company much less than if they were to hire a creative director, studio, staff writer, etc.

The brand gets to also work with someone who directly understands their brand’s mission, aesthetic, and so on, at a fraction of the cost.

Ok! I believe I covered a good majority of revenue streams that are available to influencers. I hope this helps shed light on how influencers are making money. As I was writing this I was thinking of what my next post will be on this influencer world and I think there’s a lot more to uncover on sponsored Instagram posts – so stay tuned! Let me know if there’s any other questions I can answer!

Leave a Comment


  1. Jessica wrote:

    I never knew there were so many different streams! Now I can definitely see the importance on why we should interact with our favorite people on social media. It helps support their business on so many different levels.

    Posted 10.12.19 Reply
    • Rachel wrote:

      Thank you Jessica! Yes there’s definitely so many different ways people can make money as an influencer. And the interaction and engagement from the community means so much! That’s actually going to be the next blog post this week – talking about the importance of engagement and the ins and outs of what goes into a sponsored Instagram post!

      Posted 10.13.19 Reply


  • Tiger came into my life one month before I was diagnosed with cancer. I had to rest so much in the early days when I had her. I would get tired and have to sleep or lay down for most of the day leading up to my surgery.

On surgery day, I was terrified. I thought I wouldn’t wake up. So on the surgery room table, before I could feel the anesthesia, I told the surgery team my “final” words, ‘Tell my mom and Tiger Lily I love them’. She was always my priority. Always my family.

When I eventually woke up the first thing I asked my mom is ‘Where is Tiger Lily? How is she?’ I was even trying to get my mom to sneak her into my hospital room but security stopped her. I couldn’t wait to have her in my lap.

I eventually got discharged from the hospital and I had to spend weeks on the sofa downstairs because I couldn’t make it to the bed on the second floor. So on a narrow sofa, Tiger and I slept together, all day. I felt so bad for her since she seemed so bored and she was only sleeping next to me because her mama was recovering.

I made little promises to her though, I would make it to the patio and sit down there for a few minutes so I could throw her toy with her (she would only play fetch with me). Then eventually I was able to take slow walks with her and sit down on a park bench while she played.

She helped me focus my energy on getting better for her. No one else could take care of her, like I could. I got stronger for her. Tiger Lily gave me purpose each day. Baby Tiger helped me heal.

Maybe this is part of why the pain is unbearable. We’ve been through so much, even in our short time together. The pain today feels just as excruciating and suffocating like it did a week ago. Praying tomorrow will be better. 💔
  • The story of how my baby Tiger Lily came into my life

March 2018 my family and I lost our family Pomchi, Puffy. She had been with us for 13 years. She was my parents baby and I was the fun sister that got to come hang with her.

When we lost her I felt an emptiness and wanted some doggy energy around. I thought fostering seemed interesting. It’s temporary. I’ll foster a dog for a couple days and then that’s it.

One day I scrolled and found Dogs Without Borders. I came across a little Tiger Lily. What a funny name, I thought. There was something about her that I was drawn to. I think it was the ears.

I was still nervous about it and didn’t know if I could handle it but one day I went out to dinner with friends and we were talking about it. There just happened to be Tiger hot sauce on the table and it said TRY ME. We laughed, I had never seen that type of sauce before! It was definitely a sign.

So I fostered her and I remember I kept her blocked off in an area of my house. There’s no way I was just letting her run free where ever she wanted to go.

Then I started seeing how scared she was. She would regularly shake; so confused as to where she was. ‘I’m a good girl why is my life like this’ she probably thought.  So I became more lenient so she could feel more at ease. I guess fine she could be on the sofa once in a while when I was around but only on her pillow. I guess fine she could be on my bed but only if she stayed on her side. Boundaries only really lasted a couple days. I’m weak.

Then after just less than a week, her former foster family wanted to adopt her. I had been thinking of adopting her but then thought it was better for her to go with them. They were a couple with other animals in the house so it felt like a fun, full home for Tiger to be in.

After just two days, the couple told me they changed their mind. If I didn’t want her then they’d end up returning her back to DWB. I was livid. Once you commit to adopting a baby, there is a no refund policy. Baby adoptions are not merchandise to exchange for another fit. I missed her and didn’t want Tiger to go through another transfer so I decided to adopt her myself. (contd in comments)
  • Rest in peace my love. My little baby Tiger Lily. I don’t know what happened. It was so sudden. You were fine on Friday! Maybe a little stomach upset on Saturday and then Sunday you could barely wag your tail when you saw me. I wish I noticed more signs so I could know how sick you were. Were you telling me something sooner and I didn’t know? You left me and my heart is not broken in half. My heart is completely shattered. I am so sorry for letting you down. I was trying to save you like you saved me. I tried to be the very best mama to you. I barely left you alone. I never wanted you to feel abandoned and lonely because that’s what you grew up knowing. (Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone I would sneak you into places you weren’t supposed to be in.) I always played with you (Stay. Stay. Find it!) I always bought you the best food - nothing but organic, all natural, and premium quality for my baby! I remember I would be so tired sometimes but I’d go out to Whole Foods to buy you steak just as a treat for being you. I wanted you to know how loved and OBSESSED I was all the time. I know you were obsessed with me too. Your grandparents would always call you “piece of gum on mom’s shoe” because you were just stuck to me like glue! You always had to be touching me, no matter what. If you didn’t see me in eyesight you would panic!

When I first got you I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would you like me? Would you be a lot of work? I could not have asked for a more perfect baby. You always listened to your mama, except for when it was bed time and you insisted on taking my side of the bed. I always pretended to be annoyed but what did I tell you every night? I said ‘Little baby Tiger Lily I love you, you’re the very best girl. I’m going to see you tomorrow and I hope you dream about all the yummy treats we’re going to eat’. Sweet baby, you were so strong. You struggled all day yesterday and when the doctor said there’s not much hope I took you home so you could be comfortable. You were so brave to be strong enough to be in the car in my arms and to make it all the way home. I didn’t let you go and you took your last breath in my arms. Snuggled with all your blankies. (contd)
  • 💔EMERGENCY: Is anyone a vet or a homeopathic animal doctor? Tigers condition has worsened over night. Doctors don’t know what the cause is, they’ve thrown out words like sepsis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, anaphylaxis, they just don’t know.

Facts: Swollen gallbladder, low body temp, stomach is fluid filled, slight water in lungs, now in an oxygen cage... - doctor says her stomach and gastrointestinal system is not working. I don’t know what to do. Maybe another opinion or doctor would know. I have a copy of blood results to help.

Please forward to anyone who might have another opinion. My heart hurts I can’t breathe and I need to save her like she saved me. 💔🙏
  • Currently at the emergency animal hospital where I had to admit Tiger Lily for overnight observation and testing. She had been feeling ill since yesterday. Little stomach upsets usually go away quickly but today she started also having slow reactions, not blinking and experiencing heavy breathing. The vet said she is “pretty sick” with low blood pressure. She may have pancreatitis or some type of gastric complication.

Pancreatitis is what my 13 year old family dog, Puffy, passed away from back in 2018. So to hear that Tiger Lily may have this... 💔 Pray for Tiger please. Anyone that knows me even a little knows exactly how much she means to me and I just can’t have her be sick because I need her. ❤️
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  • What is your approach to food? I try to eat mostly plant-based but I allow myself the freedom to eat what my body craves that day. All foods fit over here!

Today on the blog I’m breaking down an easy approach to changing mindset around food choices. 🥑 #intuitiveeating #eatingwell #allfoodsfit #healthyliving
  • There is chaos everywhere. The turmoil can be easy to ignore sometimes because it feels so far away and quite honestly, we all just have our own individual lives to live and most of us feel like we are not directly affected by it. But we are.

This isn’t the typical content I generally write about but I think it’s important to make a difference in some way. As much of a health advocate as I am, I’m really an advocate for change; change for the better. We are all capable of so much and collectively the possibilities for positive change in our communities are limitless. But change comes when there is action behind it.

I’ve been politically active for years. I’ve traveled, canvassed, phone banked, fundraised for the candidates/issues I support. It’s tough, invigorating, gratifying, and eye-opening all in one.

Rather than speak about partisan politics (there’s enough of that out there) – I wanted to give a PSA to remember to register to vote! Your voice can make a difference when you show up for yourself and for others. I listed a state by state breakdown with voter registration deadlines up on the blog today. I encourage you to check it out. ❤️#bethechange #advocacy #registertovote #positiveimpact
  • In my reader feedback form (that’s still up in my profile!) the majority of people said they’re interested in skincare and beauty. So I listened and did a round up of my favorite nontoxic, natural cleansers up on the blog. ☺️Do you have any favorites? Some brands listed are @indie_lee @biossance @100percentpure @oseamalibu @cocokind // #naturalskincare #cleanskincare #cleanbeauty #holisticwellness
  • I’m really excited to make this my healthiest year yet! Will you join me?

We all have dreams and goals we want to achieve but it’s just going to be that much more difficult to reach them if you don’t have your health! 🙏 I wrote a blog post on how often you should be seeing your doctor as a general guideline to help you. Remember to feel empowered to ask questions, listen to your intuition and get a second opinion if you need it!

Set aside half an hour today to track down phone numbers, check your calendar, and schedule those appointments.

This year, I want us all to not just survive but to THRIVE. 💕🙌
#selfcare #newyearbetteryou #healthfirst #wellnessjourney
  • I hope everyone had the best January 1! Tradition in my family is to make homemade Korean potstickers/dumplings and put them in a rice cake soup, so I spent all afternoon making these with my mom ☺️ Do you have any traditions? #떡국 #떡만두국 #familytradition #happynewyear
  • 2019 - You’ve come with a lot of deep emotions. I found myself struggling with my mental health more than ever before. I was more anxious, more triggered, more depressed. Things felt really messy and broken for a lot of the year.

But like with most things - I found a path toward healing and growth once I allowed myself space for reflection and exploration.

More 2019 reflections and a final giveaway for you, on the blog. ❤️
Thank you to everyone for the continued support throughout the year! Sending you all health, love, and growth as we approach a new year and new chapter! 🥳 #happynewyear #2019reflections

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