Intro to How to Make Money as a Creator or Influencer
There is no shortage of to ways make money as a creators. But with endless opportunities to monetize, their isn't a guide which contains a clear set of steps to help creators monetize. In this guide, you'll learn how to convert your followers into customers, how to test and validate product ideas, and the how to build your funnel.
Everything Starts With Trust
If your goals is to make money as a content creator, the first thing you need to do is remove dollar signs from your eyes. I know, why the hell am I reading this then. Before you can sell anything and start monetizing you need trust.
Would you buy something from someone you didn't trust? No. Blame spammy sponsored brand post influencers for this. We've all seen and know someone that has tried to sell us their waist trainer, flat tummy tea, or easy way to make 6 figures.
If that's your goal, this guide isn't for you. The whole point of being able to monetize as a content creator is so you have longterm money. Not a quick buck that damages your relationship with your audience in the process. What does this mean? This means trust is your first measure of success. How much does your audience trust you enough to buy from you?
Check your mindset your reasoning want to monetize. Are you broke and need fast money? Go another route. Are you looking to leverage and maintain your relationship with your audience while building your business? Then keep reading?
Where Are You In Your Lifecycle
MrBeast is at different stage as a creator compared to someone who just hit 1M followers on TikTok. Both are successful in their own right but they have different needs. MrBeast can go ahead and make MrBeast burger while the creator that just hit 1M followers would be better off going another route.
The more you're able to identify where you are in the creators lifecycle, the more you're able to set yourself up for longterm success. That's why your goal when just starting out is to create an audience and establish trust. This doesn't mean you can't do brand partnerships, accept tips, or sell merch, etc. It just means the longer you can hold out without asking your audience to purchase from you, the more they'll want to buy from you when you finally release or promote something. We call this jab, jab right hook.
Create value and build trust (jabs) and then sell or promote something (right hook).
For example, I release a lot of content for free because people end up contacting me and wanting to work with me. I provide value and those that are interested ask for more. Build trust and attention for as long as you can hold out. You can take brand partnerships and sponsors or affiliate links, just make sure these products align with your brand. Give an honest review and why you recommend them. The less your content feels like a sales pitch for you to get a quick buck, the less damage it will do. Your fans aren't going to hate you for wanting to make living. They will hate you if you try to deceive them or constantly sell to them.
There isn't a science to know when is the right time to sell a product, but I recommend waiting a 1-2 years before focusing on monetization. Note this isn't a set rule.
Step 1: Build A Creators Portfolio
So, you've built trust and have an engaged audience, but now you're looking to get more cheddar, parmesan, the Alfredo sauce, aka money. Start by building a portfolio. Similar to how ultra wealthy people have 7 streams of income. As a creator, you should also have multiple streams of income. The trick is to make sure you start with one revenue stream at a time. For example, start you might start off with brand partnerships and affiliate marketing vs. releasing merch.
Your niche, audience, and product all play a role in where you start. I recommend getting good at affiliate marketing and brand partnerships first. The reason being is that these are the easiest ways to make money regardless if you drive results.
Here's a break down of how you should build out your portfolio:
This percentage of your revenue should come from direct promotions of products you would actually use, do use or support. The reason being is that when you promote products that are related to your target audience, you can get paid plus get new followers. If your content is good enough, the brand will repost your content across their social channels.
Brand partnerships taint your content when done in excess. Also, depending on your audience and niche, you could lose followers. Affiliate marketing isn't as damaging; just make sure you call out that you get commission for every purchase.
20% Paid Communities/Newsletters:
Paid communities, SMS Groups, Close Friends, and exclusive content groups are one of the easiest ways to get consistent revenue. People who really enjoy your content will pay a monthly subscription for access to your IG close friends, SMS chats, or private community. This also gives you another opportunity to plug other products or services to people directly in your community. Your community is your pocket of true fans who want to support you. Your goal is to keep them engaged, validated, and maintain their continued support.
• Charge for access to your IG close friends
• Create a private iPhone group text or Whatsapp group
• Create a private community with Circle.so
Paid communities often times require outside resources such as community managers. They also reach a point that if they become large, they lose their appeal. Think about how many times a once great community of 50 people declined in quality or the experience suffered because it grew to 50,000 people. If your community is growing, up your price of entry for new individuals so only those people that are serious can join.
30% Digital Products & NFTs:
If there is an area to over emphasize when building your portfolio, it's digital products and NFTs. Digital products are the most scalable and easiest to deliver. There's virtually 0 costs of goods sold (only the transaction fee for platforms) plus they're easily shareable which gives you more opportunities to generate more sales. NFTs while they aren't as scalable, they have a higher likelihood of bringing in substantial revenue. People are spending millions for NFTs and depending on what you mint, they can become your biggest levers for making money.
• PDF Printables
• eBooks and guides
• 2nd brain (collection of your ideas, blogs you read, sites you look to for inspiration)
• Digital art
• One off or limited release music and essays
• Sports highlights
There aren't many warning when it comes to digital products. Lean into digital products as much as possible.
15% Physical Products:
Physical products are relatively straight forward. Sites such as Fanjoy, Spri.ng Printful, and Shopify allow you to easily hit the ground running and start generating sells in minutes. The challenge with physical products, especially if you're drop-shipping, is that your can sometimes margins are razor thin. For example, you have to take in account shipping costs per shirt, platform transaction fees, ad spend, and software used to generate each purchase. In short, you need to know your unit economics. Physical products are great and can generate a good sum of money, you just need to crunch the numbers and determine how you profit per sale.
• Private labeled products
Make sure you calculate your unit economics so you're profiting per purchase.
Everyone has knows something or is learning something that can be taught. There are a number of courses creators who've hit 6 figures. This comes from the ability to charge a premium (if you can guarantee results) and the virtually zero cost of goods sold.
There are two types of course:
• self-paced: some one downloads a course and completes it at their own pace
• cohort based: individuals signup for an in person or virtual school style curriculum taught by yourself or a panel of experts.
Due to the sheer number of bad self-paced courses, cohort based courses are getting better results because you're giving direct access to yourself or an expert during the curriculum. This doesn't mean you should shy away from self-paced courses, it just means that you have to be able to deliver results.
Building Your Funnels
So, you've got your portfolio or the building blocks of your portfolio, but how are you going to get people to your different product or services. That's where your funnel comes into play. Funnel is marketing and sales lingo for a series of steps people take to get them to buy your product, service or signup to stay in contact you.
You should have 2 main funnels
Your product funnels are the series of steps that someone will take from seeing your content to purchasing a product or service from you.
• Someone sees your content
• Visits your link in bio
• Heads to your product page or sales page
• Purchases a product or books a meeting
Engagement & Retention Funnels
The series of steps someone will take from seeing your content to signing up for your newsletter, Text messages, or free community to stay up to date with you as a creator.
• Someone sees your content
• Visits your link in bio
• They signup for content updates
• They receive curated source of best content
Bringing It All Together: How to Determine What to Sell
A poor funnel with a good product leaves money on the tables, and a poor product with a good funnel results in headaches. To determine what to sell, you need to pay attention to what your followers want but also anticipate what you think they want.
Here's how to determine what to sell:
1. Survey your audience
• Create a short list of questions and ask your followers what they want
• Run a poll on stories
• Run 1:1 interviews with your top followers
2. Study your comments and content
• What questions do you get asked the most?
• Why do people engage with your content?
• What do you help people achieve with your content?
How to test your ideas:
1. Test Ideas with highest level of confidence
• Lay out your various product ideas and on a scale of 1-10 test the idea that your most confident about.
2. Create mockups
• Design mockups and write copy of your product.
3. Create a landing page + waitlist
• Make a landing page and post the mockups and copy.
• Make a signup list that allows you to create a waitlist.
• Create a landing page that describes what you're going to sell with examples of your product or service.
The Biggest Challenge In Monetization
The hardest part in monetization is building an audience that wants to support you. Money and products are easy. The challenge is making sure you don't get greedy and look at your audience with dollar signs in your eyes.
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