TikTok has exploded in popularity over the last few years, becoming one of the most used social media platforms globally.
With its massive audience reach and engaging video format, TikTok offers major money-making potential for creators.
However, you don’t need access to TikTok’s Creator Fund to start earning an income from the platform.
Numerous money-making avenues on TikTok don’t require a certain follower count or watching hours.
In this comprehensive guide, we break down everything you need to know to start monetizing your TikTok account, even as a smaller creator just getting started.
1. Brand Partnerships
One of the most lucrative ways to make money on TikTok is through paid brand partnerships and collaborations. As your follower count and engagement increase, brands will start reaching out with sponsorship opportunities.
You can also take a proactive approach by identifying brands you genuinely like and reaching out yourself. Make sure to customize each pitch and explain why featuring their product or service aligns with your channel.
When putting together a media kit include key metrics like:
- Follower count
- Average views per video
- Audience demographics and interests
- Ideas for creative sponsored content collaborations
The compensation for brand sponsorships varies greatly depending on your niche, audience size, and the specifics of the campaign. Micro and nano influencers often charge a few hundred dollars per sponsored post, while creators with millions of followers can charge tens of thousands.
Types of Brand Partnerships
There are a few common types of branded content collaborations on TikTok:
Sponsored Video Content: Creating TikTok videos directly promoting a brand’s product or service. You may demonstrate how to use it in a short tutorial or skit.
Brand Mentions: Casually mentioning a brand and showing their product in your videos. This is often done in transition or as part of a “what I eat in a day” or “morning routine” style video.
Hashtag Challenges: Participating in a branded hashtag challenge sponsored by a company. This incentivizes creating content around a specific campaign hashtag.
Giveaways: Running a contest sponsored by a brand where users engage with both of your accounts for a chance to win free products.
When participating in sponsorships, you still want content to feel authentic and match the general vibe of your channel. Avoid suddenly pivoting to product promotions that feel out of place or overly salesy.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires paid sponsorships to be disclosed in any social media content. Make sure to transparently state a video includes paid promotion in either the on-screen text or caption.
Brand sponsorships allow you to earn sizable income from TikTok while working with products and services you genuinely enjoy. Just make sure to vet each brand thoroughly and advocate for fair compensation.
TikTok’s creative formats lend themselves perfectly to branded collaborations when executed strategically.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another excellent method for monetizing a TikTok following into income. As an affiliate, you earn commission promoting other brands’ products or services.
Whenever someone makes a purchase through your special tracking link, you receive a percentage as reward for driving the conversions. Affiliate commissions commonly range from 5-30% depending on the company.
To promote your affiliate products, you can apply to partner with leading brands across nearly every category imaginable:
- Home & Garden
- Tech Gadgets
- Meal Delivery Kits
- Online Courses
And many more – 1000+ options and counting!
You can feature these brands directly in your content and then link to them in your bio or with on-screen shoppable stickers. The company you’ve partnered with handles tracking all sales and determining your commission payments each month.
This makes affiliate marketing more passive compared to selling your own products or services directly.
There are even some affiliate programs that pay recurring commissions, which implies that you refer the customer to their products or services once and they keep paying you every month as long as your referrals keep renewing their subscriptions.
Best Practices for Affiliate Marketing
When featuring TikTok’s affiliated brands, focus on showcasing products you genuinely enjoy and align with your channel niche. Don’t just randomly promote unrelated items in hopes of earning a quick commission.
Make sure to disclose affiliate links visibly as part of Federal Trade Commission regulations.
Getting too salesy or promotional can turn viewers off. Try integrating product suggestions seamlessly into your style of content with recommendations feeling like a natural extension of what you’re already creating.
Creating and selling custom merchandise is a popular money-making tactic used by top creators on TikTok and other social platforms.
Image source: Shopify
TikTok has an integrated merchandising feature that allows designing and selling shirts, hoodies, phone cases and more right from your TikTok account and bio link.
Or you can use third-party merch providers like Teespring, Redbubble, or Shopify.
Effective merch item ideas tend to include:
- Channel logo and icon designs
- Popular catchphrases
- Inside jokes referencing your content
- Holiday and seasonal designs
Make sure to promote your merch visibly in videos and your profile. During live streams is the perfect time to showcase products and do limited time releases to drive urgency.
Set up discount codes for followers and collaborate with other creators on co-branded merch capsule collections for wider reach.
While large follower counts will sell more volume, even channels under 100k can see success. The key is catering designs specifically to your audience’s interests and regularly plugging new products.
4. TikTok Shop
TikTok Shop allows approved creators to tag products from third-party sellers available for direct in-app purchase. Viewers can tap through and transactionally buy items without leaving TikTok.
Offering everything from boutique fashion lines to vintage collectibles and handmade artisanal goods – TikTok Shop brings ecommerce natively into the platform.
To be approved, you’ll need at least 1000 followers and be in good standing with TikTok’s community guidelines. Reach out to TikTok Shop support for questions on the application process.
Once accepted, you can tag brands’ products in your videos while receiving a commission on generated sales volume. This functions similarly to affiliate marketing, compensating you for driving exposure and conversions.
Focus on strategically promoting brands that appeal to your audience and make sense within your content style. Don’t just randomly showcase unrelated items. Maintain your authenticity.
TikTok Live enables monetizing your account through virtual gifting from dedicated fans and supporters.
While live, viewers can purchase and send you coins in appreciation. These gift coins convert into Diamond currency within TikTok which you can withdraw as actual.
Coins range from a few cents to over $100 in value – with the specific amounts predetermined by TikTok. Fans tend to gift more coins to their favorite creators during special events and performances.
To withdraw, you’ll need 1000 followers and be over 18 years old. Paid out balances must equal at least $100 before triggering a transfer.
Successful live stream revenue earnings require consistency and interaction.
- Go Live Multiple Times Per Week: Fans are more likely to repeatedly gift creators they can regularly watch live.
- Schedule Streams: Promote when you’ll be live and deliver value viewers actually want to see.
- Engage With Commenters: Personally thanking people for gifts and answering questions makes followers more invested.
- Offer Members-Only Streams: Incentivize gifting by limiting some streams to top-tier badge holders.
Live streaming works best for creators who thrive off an engaging back-and-forth with their audience in real time. Consider collaborating with similar creators as well.
Once you grow an authoritative presence around a specific niche – cashing in your specialized knowledge and TikTok skills as a paid consultant can be quite lucrative.
For example, if you’ve built an audience around fitness, offer custom diet and training plans. Beauty influencers could provide makeup tutorials and styling. Photographers can sell their editing presets or host workshops.
Really hone in on your unique expertise and how it can be packaged into a premium service. Conduct user research into what your followers and wider audience would find valuable enough to pay for.
Common TikTok consulting offerings include:
- One-on-one video chat lessons
- In-depth online courses
- Custom tailored plans and recommendations
- Downloadable guides and tools
- Exclusive subscriber groups and forums
Promote your services both directly within your niche content and via your TikTok profile. Utilize clickable links, eye-catching graphics informing fans “Tap Here To Learn More”, and limited-time special launch discounts.
Also consider expanding consulting from only TikTok-focused service to a wider range of platforms: launching entire online storefronts, improving branding, social media growth training, etc.
Monetize the audience you have already built while establishing yourself as an expert people return to over and over beyond just viral video views.
Offering exclusive “premium” content and experiences for paying members is an additional way You can monetize a TikTok following into consistent revenue.
This gives super fans the opportunity to gain more intimate, behind-the-scenes access while supporting your work directly.
Common types of exclusive content creators charge membership fees for include:
- Extended Cut Videos
- Blooper Reels / Behind-the-Scenes Footage
- Advance Previews of New Content
- Personal Chat Access
- Members-Only Live Streams
- Additional Entry to Contests and Giveaways
- Merchandise Discounts
And more. Get creative with bonus content that feels heightened and special compared to what non-paying fans receive.
You could build this as part of an existing platform like Patreon, SubscribeStar or Floatplane. Or offer memberships directly through providers like Memberful or Bonjoro.
Promote premium content briefly within your regular videos as well as throughout your TikTok profile. Make joining feel urgent and exclusive to incentivize recurring monthly payments.
Just ensure paid offerings genuinely enhance the free experience rather than locking key content behind a paywall which may frustrate general followers. Find the balance between free reach and paid incentives.
Fan Funding Platforms
Direct fan funding platforms are a popular option for TikTok creators to monetize their audience by receiving monetary tips and support.
Providers like Patreon, “Buy Me a Coffee” and ThanksBox allow fans to easily set up recurring monthly payments at tiers of their choosing or send one-time tips.
You can promote these digital tip jars both directly in your TikTok bio link as well as subtly on end screens of videos. Some platforms show users’ identities while others can remain anonymous.
Top reasons supporters financially contribute to creators on TikTok include:
- Showing appreciation for free content
- Access to exclusive bonus content
- Early previews of upcoming projects
- Entry into members-only contests
- Personal connection with creators they love
Fan funding works best when incorporated as an organic extension of your channel rather than feeling forced or overly promotional. Concentrate first on the free content. Offer paid support as secondary enhancements.
And make sure to express abundant gratitude both publicly and privately when fans do financially support your work on TikTok or elsewhere.
Promote Your Own Products and Services
In addition to the previous money-making strategies directly through TikTok – the platform can be phenomenally effective for driving eyes to your own online offerings.
The strong discoverability and viral potential of TikTok makes it perfect for boosting visibility of ecommerce businesses, online courses, freelance services, and more.
Start by organically integrating mentions of your products within engaging content optimized for the platform. Short-form video ads adapted to TikTok’s vertical format also perform tremendously.
Link prominently to your offerings within both your profile and video captions.
Encourage audiences to take clear calls-to-action:
- Sign up for a free trial
- Use a discount code
- Enter a contest
- Shop featured items
TikTok grants access to the powerful advertising infrastructure of parent company ByteDance. Sophisticated pixel tracking and conversion optimization allows pinpointing which video content drives the highest actual sales.
Test an array of videos to determine ideal mixes of entertainment and promotion appealing to your niche while still converting browsers into paying customers.
The platform’s unique Duet and Stitch features even allow collaborating with others to develop memorable marketing campaigns with a community focus.
TikTok presents a tremendous opportunity to showcase your business, drive conversions, and sell directly to warm incoming traffic. Organic content, ads, shoppable links and more reformat your offerings into snappy short videos optimized for “For You Page” consumption.
Referrals and Invitations
Referral programs offer another popular tactic for monetizing TikTok audiences by incentivizing your followers to share your account and content to benefit you both.
For example, TikTok has an integrated invite friends feature where you earn rewards each time someone joins via your unique referral link.
There’s also a TikTok Creator Marketplace allowing you to browse referral offers from top brands in every category.
When followers sign up for third party apps, services, or products you’ve promoted and integrated – you earn commission for being the referrer.
This includes financial platforms, paid streaming subscriptions, business tools, travel bookings, food delivery apps, and much more.
Brands are eager to access TikTok’s communities and visibility. By inviting your niche audiences to special offers exclusive to your channel, you facilitate valuable connections.
Focus on products and services you genuinely recommend. Develop referral partnerships only with brands you actively use yourself to maintain authenticity..
Transparently disclose when posts include your referral links to build trust and uphold regulatory guidelines. But don’t overly hype the referrals either – they will organically convert best when mentioned subtly and woven into content people already crave.
Referral marketing works continuously over time, compounding income from initial mentions while you create new videos and focus on other monetization sources.
Once your individual videos start going viral, another potential monetization avenue is licensing your content to brands, media companies and other creators.
TikTok launched its Content Licensing feature allowing you to customize exactly how your videos are permitted for reuse:
- Compilation Licenses: Aggregate channels can include your content in roundup clips with credit
- Commercial Licenses: Brands pay to repurpose videos across advertisements and social campaigns
- TikTok Creator Licensing: Share directly with other creators for Duets, Stitches and Reactions
The platform intuitively tracks eligible views and facilitates all license requests and negotiations. You maintain total approval authority deciding how videos publish beyond your channel.
This presents a great passive income stream as your old evergreen videos continue reaching new audiences while brands repurpose top clips already created.
Make sure to only approve licensing requests closely aligned with your niche and brand values. Decline all political organization requests upholding nonpartisan neutrality.
Linking your TikTok presence to an ecommerce store, service-based business or lead generation funnel?can be massively profitable beyond just platform ad revenue.
Serve your followers custom product recommendations, limited time offers, and direct purchase links woven within engaging social content.
Linking TikTok to Ecommerce Platforms
Connecting your TikTok account to established ecommerce platforms is straightforward:
The Most Popular Options Include:
- Wix Stores
- Amazon Seller Profile
Install the associated TikTok Shopping integration app within your store’s dashboard. Authenticate linking your TikTok account.
You’ll instantly be able to tag products directly within TikTok posts for frictionless checkout.
This also tracks all conversions generated from TikTok click-throughs – attributing revenues driven specifically by your videos.
Optimizing TikTok Content For Ecommerce Sales
With ecommerce platforms connected, focus your content strategy on intentional, strategic product showcasing and tagging.
Rather than random hauls or recommendations – concentrate on exactly which items you want to push followers to purchase in any given batch of uploads.
Proven Selling Tactics Include:
- Spotlighting Specific Best Sellers
- Offering Limited Product Drops
- Promoting Seasonal Collections
- Tutorials Demonstrating Product Application
- Announcing New Arrival Showcases
- Featuring User-Generated Reviews and Unboxings
- Sharing Discounts and Special Bundles
This drives urgency and exclusivity – incentivizing purchases directly attributed to your TikTok influence and enticing video content.
The final way for TikTok creators to generate income from their platforms skills and expertise? Offer yourself for hire as a freelance contractor assisting other brands and businesses directly.
Take the audiences, authority, and content best practices you’ve developed and offer your specialized TikTok marketing services to clients.
Especially consider freelancing if your personal TikTok account is in a niche with limited product potential like comedy, dance, and commentary channels.
Monetize your platform expertise instead with skills like:
- Content Production
- Account Management
- Growth Strategy
- Hashtag Research
- Editing Services
- Ad Campaigns
- Performance Analytics
Small business owners and brands recognize the incredible reach yet untapped potential of TikTok for connecting with Gen Z audiences. However, many lack the first-hand experience crafting viral-worthy videos optimized for the platform.
That’s where you come in – contracted as their in-house TikTok expert guiding everything from ideation to distribution.
Set rates based on the extent of services provided:
- Individual Video Production
- Post Scheduling
- Hashtag Strategy Documents
- Monthly Retainers Overseeing Entire Accounts
Promote your specialty services both directly to your TikTok audience and via online freelance boards like Upwork and Fiverr.
As businesses increasingly prioritize mastering short-form vertical video content – fluency in the TikTok realm sets you apart as an invaluable DIRECTION resource.
Create an Online Course
Expand your niche expertise into a premium online education course sold to followers seeking to master your specialized skillset.
One of the most lucrative ways to leverage your TikTok audience and skills is to create a premium online course. This allows packaging your niche expertise into a comprehensive video learning program.
Followers looking to master abilities highlighted on your TikTok channel will pay for access to in-depth training unpacking key concepts step-by-step.
Effective course topics might include:
- Makeup Tutorials
- Dance Move Breakdowns
- Finance and Investing 101
- Fitness and Diet Fundamentals
- Photoshop Tips and Tricks
- Comedy Writing Masterclass
Get very niche specific with course subjects tailored to your specialized knowledge. Conduct user research through polls and conversations to validate course ideas resonating with your target student demographic.
Course Creation Tips
- Outline a clear curriculum covering beginner to advanced lessons around core skill pillars.
- Chop content into short 5-10 minute video chunks matching TikTok’s pace and format.
- Balance educational lectures with engaging demonstrations and challenges.
- Promote with alluring free previews driving sign ups.
Effective platforms for hosting and selling online courses include:
These integrate seamlessly with TikTok allowing promotions directly to warm incoming traffic. Share tangible transformation stories and results from initial students to boost conversions.
Online courses present recurring passive income allowing you to earn from a single evergreen piece of content while focusing efforts on additional money-making pursuits.
Crowdfund Creative Projects
Leverage your audience reach to crowdfund production budgets for music albums, films, fashion lines, and other artistic works.
Paid Newsletter Sponsorships
Monetize an engaged email subscriber base by featuring sponsored content and brand deals within regular update newsletters.
Expand to Additional Social Platforms
Repurpose TikTok content into Snapchat Spotlights, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and similar vertical video formats – broadening monetization avenues.
Live Event Appearances
The popularity of “TikTok Meetups” allows creators to generate income from hosting performances, workshops, and exclusive parties. Charge tickets and sell adjacent merchandise.
Launching a podcast allows incorporating lucrative integrated sponsor spots and mid-roll advertisements – especially if discussing topics related to your popular TikTok niche.
Voice Acting and Branded Sounds
Earning royalties from audio snippets, branded song integrations, voiceover work, and general music licensing agreements.
The options are truly limitless. Use TikTok as your launchpad for accessing widespread visibility and fan bases across entertainment categories from comedy to ASMR.
Convert digital influence into diversified income streams monetizing short-form video content production into a full-time living and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lot of followers to earn money without the Creator Fund?
No, you can earn your first TikTok income with even just a few thousand engaged followers. Focus less on follower counts and more on building genuine human connections through quality over quantity videos.
Monetization stems from audience loyalty. Reach expands exponentially from there by delivering consistently captivating content rather than follower milestone chasing.
How much money can I realistically earn?
Income potential varies widely across niches, content styles and types of monetization selected. Generally expect to earn a few hundred dollars initially from the beginner-friendly options like affiliate links, merchandise, and fan support payments.
Earnings scale to thousands per month over your first year as you compound audience growth with multiple monetization streams. Top creators leverage their accounts into 6 figure incomes and beyond in many cases.
What niche is best for earning the most money?
Consider your innate talents, interests and creative passions first rather than just revenue potential. Maintaining motivation requires covering subjects you genuinely enjoy rather than following the money alone. Monetization stems from authenticity.
However, evergreen “how-to” focused niches around beauty, finance, cooking, gadgets, and similar topics tend to sell well across digital courses, affiliate links, sponsorships, and related opportunities.
How many videos should I post to start earning?
There’s no magic number for success. Begin developing a regular upload cadence matching your bandwidth, ideally 2-5x weekly.
Consistency breeds loyalty and predictable value. Mix trending hashtag challenges with evergreen content showcasing your unique personality and skills. Views and subsequent earnings directly correlate with upload frequency, although quality trumps quantity.
Measure data beyond vanity metrics to determine what specifically resonates most with your audience. Let genuine connections motivate uploads rather than arbitrary numeric posting goals.
In summary, TikTok contains limitless income potential regardless of follower size when you:
- Strategically select money making avenues aligned with your talents
- Maintain consistent visibility through regular value-focused uploads
- Obsess over serving your niche audience remarkably vs chasing algos
- Interact abundantly with supporters
- Prioritize authenticity over optics with revenue as the natural byproduct of audience resonance
The platform grants manufacturing creative influence into livable income better than any before. May your earnings stem sustainably from the value you uniquely provide.