One question that comes up a lot is how I’m able to earn money doing “this”— meaning, sharing recipes and lifestyle content geared to helping others live healthier and more balanced lives. Most people are really surprised to hear that I actually make more money now, than when I was practicing law at big law firms. It’s true.
But it’s not easy. Nothing is easy. A full-time job in social media and blogging is a 24/7 job, where you are fully responsible for creating boundaries and maintaining them. No one will tell you to take time off, it’s up to you, and it isn’t easy. Why? Because being consistent with posting is one of the biggest keys to success (in terms of engagement and growth), and taking breaks can put a little dent in that.
But engagement and growth isn’t everything. Your mental health and well-being, outside of social media, is most important. Why? Because outside of social media is actually where you get to live your damn life. And trust me when I tell you, your community will thank you for role modeling the messages you preach (which is, in my case, balance).
Back to the topic at hand. Let’s talk about how I make money, because perhaps you want to make money too, and there’s very little transparency and information about how bloggers make money. I’m here to share that information.
Please keep in mind, that every blogger is different, depending on their niches and what social channels they use. For instance, there are many successful YouTubers, but I am not on YouTube, and that is simply because I don’t have the bandwidth right now. My main channel is Instagram, which has been super successful for me.
The main way I earn an income is through sponsored posts on my Instagram account. Given my large following, brands and PR companies reach out to me directly, and I am able to share my rates and negotiate on my own behalf. Of course, if there are brands that I really want to work with, then I pitch them myself. And when I pitch a brand, I always do it via email, and I always include my media kit and put together a heartfelt message telling the brand more about myself and including a few reasons why I want to work with them. If you want to learn more about what information to include in your media kit, check out this post on How to Land Paid Social Media Partnerships.
When it comes to sponsored posts on Instagram, you can charge for IG posts, stories, videos, Reels, pretty much everything. When it comes to sponsored posts, I would advise all creators to partner only with brands that you love. Why? Because people don’t like ads, and they don’t like seeing influencers promote every product. Be selective about what you choose to promote. And in the beginning when your prices are low, it’s tempting to book a million sponsored posts to rack in the money, I advise against it. Quality over quantity, even if it means that it will take you a bit longer to reach your financial goals.
You can also charge for usage of your content. For example, if you create an Instagram post, you should always find out how/if the brand plans to repurpose your content. My rates include organic usage, meaning brands can use it on their social media channels, but anything beyond that (in their marketing materials, website, boosting the post, whitelisting) is all extra.
The larger your following, the more you can charge, so be sure to really focus on creating quality content that stands out. And be patient. It took me a few years of posting for free and accepting free product from brands, before I earned a single penny!
Additionally, I think it’s important to diversify your social media platforms, so you have different places to land paid partnerships. If you are on Instagram, you will should be on Tiktok also. Why? Because a) you can repurpose your Tiktok content on your Instagram Reels, while growing a following on both channels, and b) you never know when one of your social channels will disappear. What if Instagram was banned tomorrow? And also, remember – the larger your accounts, the more likely you are to land paid partnerships on all your channels. It just takes time.
A note to you guys on sponsored posts: I know that when you see sponsored posts, a lot of people eye roll and scroll right by. But it is extremely important that when you see those posts, that you engage with them. All you have to do is hit the like button and leave a comment. The reason why engaging on sponsored content is so important, is because the brands that hire me decide whether to work with me again based on the engagement of the post. So every single like and comment matters. It matters because these posts are how I earn an income to support my family, AND it allows me to continue creating all the free content that you see here on my blog.
Think about it. Every time I create a new recipe that I share with you, I spend my own money purchasing ingredients to test the recipe several times before sharing it with you. And you get that recipe for free. As you can see, the sponsored posts allow me to put money back into my business, purchase ingredients, to create more free things for you. See how that works?
From time to time I share discount codes and swipe up links to products and services that I love. For me, this is more about finding ways to save you money instead of making money. Why? Because affiliate commission is usually super small. For instance, if I share a discount code for my favorite honey, I might earn $.50. I’d have to sell a ton of f’ing honey before that $0.50 adds up. But it all adds up! And a piece of advice I have for you is to be selective about sharing discount codes, again, sharing codes only for products and brands that you love and believe in. No one wants to be spammed with your discount codes, so keep that in mind too.
I make money from blog posts the same way I make money from Instagram–I charge brands a flat rate for a blog post. To date, I have opted against adding paid ads to my website, and that is because I like the aesthetic of a clean website that doesn’t have any ads. However, in the future, I might include some ads, simply because it’s passive income, that, while small, can add up, and help pay the bills (and news flash: running a blog isn’t free and I have expenses associated with that too). But don’t worry, when that happens, I will be super selective about what that’s going to look like.
Most people don’t know, but when I was leaving law and growing rapidly on Instagram, I managed the social media accounts for brands, helping them strategize and grow their Instagram followings. These days, I work with individual clients and brands looking to strategize, grow, and land paid clients. If you are interested in learning from me, contact me, and we can set up a 1:1 consulting session.
As you can see, there are so many different ways to make money from social media. I’ve shared my main avenues for making money, and I hope these help you on your journey, as you get into a groove and figure out what is best for you.
If you like this post, make sure to leave a comment below, and leave your own tips for others. Why? Because we are all in this together!