Always we heard stories of Instagrammers that they were earning by share images, videos on Instagram every day. Just like bloggers, YouTubers, and anyone who’s amassed an audience around the content they produce.

How Many Followers Do You Need?

If by now you’re wondering how many followers you need to make it happen, the short answer is “not as many as you think”.

The long answer depends on factors that range from

  • What niche you’re in and how easily you can directly tie it to a product category (fashion, food, beauty, and fitness are popular niches, based on top hashtags)
  • How engaged your followers are (100K fake followers won’t amount to much).
  • Which revenue channels you explore.

Naturally, the more engaged followers you have, the better.

How to Make Money on Instagram

Depending on your unique brand of Instagram content, your audience, and your level of commitment, you can make money on Instagram in the following ways:

  • Doing sponsored posts for brands
  • YouTube Advertising
  • Private Consultations
  • Becoming an affiliate and making a commission selling other brands’ products.
  • Sell from your own online store.
  • Sell your photography.

Sponsored Posts

It’s not always about your follower count, but the number of people who engage with your content and look forward to each one of your posts. A lot of brands are moving away from working with major digital influencers to leveraging smaller bloggers’ audiences.

When you start, reaching out to brands is a great way to secure a few collaborations. As you gain traction, brands will discover you and email you about different opportunities.

Every company has its specific rules for sponsorship, so do not use a one-size-fits-all approach when reaching out. Do your research and interact with them on social before initiating contact.

How to Find Brands to Work With

If you’re big enough, chances are brands will find you. But you can also look for brands to work with that are on a similar level in terms of personality and values, so your audience won’t feel like you’re “selling out”. You can reach out to them directly to try to work out a deal, but you can also list yourself on one of the many influencer marketplaces out there to increase your chances of being discovered:

  • Shoutcart: Sell a “shout out” to your audience on behalf of a brand, regardless of how large your following is.
  • Fohr Card: Connect your Instagram, blog, YouTube channel, and other social platforms to create an influencer “card” that shows your different profiles and total reach for brands shopping around for a partnership. You also get access to a list of brands and their wants, so you can take the initiative to reach out too.
  • Grapevine: If you have 5000 or more followers, you can list yourself in the Grape Vine marketplace for the opportunity to work with like-minded brands.
  • Crowd Tap: Do small content creation tasks to earn rewards. This is great if you’ve got a smaller audience. Available in the U.S only.
  • indaHash: Brands put up campaigns that you can participate in. Post a picture with the specified hashtags on Instagram and get paid. You need 700 engaged followers to be eligible.

The rules vary when it comes to sponsored content, but to be on the safe side and respect your audience’s trust, consider adding a #sponsored hashtag to indicate sponsored posts. If you need reassurance, about 69% of influencers in one report said that being transparent about sponsorships didn’t affect how consumers perceive their recommendation.

YouTube Advertising

Monetizing your videos on YouTube can earn you a passive income stream. There’s even a bonus if these ads convert! You are allowed to monetize your videos once Youtube accepts you into its Partner Program.

Private Consultations

Don’t underestimate the skills you can acquire from a side project. Creating content and growing my social media following by creating marketing materials like brochures using graphic design tools, and advertise on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Monetized by offering services to local business owners and startups.

Become an Affiliate

Affiliate is more invested in making sales for the partner brand. This is typically done with a trackable link or unique promo code to ensure clicks actually translate into sales. Since Instagram doesn’t yet allow links anywhere outside of your bio, you can only focus on one product at a time if you choose to rely on affiliate links, making promo codes a better option for Instagram since you can actually incorporate them into your posts.

Consider reaching out to one of the many online merchants that offer affiliate programs that you can participate in. Or you can also explore popular marketplaces like:

  • ClickBank: An affiliate platform with a tier-based commission that’s open to everyone.
  • RewardStyle: An invitation-only fashion and lifestyle influencer network that offers 20% commissions.
  • Amazon’s Affiliate Program: A popular option that pays out a 10% commission.

Tip: Affiliate links can be long and ugly, so I recommend a URL shortener like, especially if they’re going in your Instagram bio.

Sell from your own online store

In terms of time investment, this tactic requires the most by far. However, this can also net you the biggest returns. Here’s the basic process that you’ll follow for this tactic.

  • Open an online store (e.g. sell clothing on Zazzle, sell products on Shopify or on Etsy)
  • Create an Instagram account that’s built around your niche
  • Feature your products on your Instagram account
  • Earn money

Here’s what I love about the Internet. It’s created an immense amount of opportunities for those who are clever enough to use the right resources to their advantage. For instance, there are on-demand printing companies like Zazzle that allow you to design and sell your own clothing, hats, bags, stickers, etc. with absolutely no investment and zero overhead costs. You can then use other free resources like social media to promote your products and create a nice side hustle for yourself.

Sell your Photography

Instagram is a photo-sharing app at its core and photos are assets that can be licensed, printed, and sold in a variety of ways. If photography is what got you into the Instagram game in the first place, you can list your photos in marketplaces like 500px or Twenty20 where brands and publishers might license them.

However, you can also sell your photos as prints and on other physical products using similar methods described in the last section. Services like Printful and Teelaunch can let you put your photos on posters, phone cases, pillows, and more, taking care of fulfilling orders and customer service so all you really need to worry about is making sales.

Hobbies that can be turned into Profession


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