How to Make Money as a Content Creator: Multiple Income Streams

One of the questions we’re asked the most by our followers is “how do you make money” or “how can you afford to travel?” As full-time content creators and photographers we both work online through multiple different streams to make up our total income. 2023 is here and it’s time to start understanding how to make money online and how to create passive income to fund your adventures! The online job space is full of opportunities to help you escape the 9-5 and start living out your dreams.

With that said, making money online can be as easy as you make it or more difficult depending on your drive, skills and time dedicated. You can choose to do online work as a supplement to your full-time job or learn how to make enough money to create content as your full-time job.

Becoming a Content Creator Full-Time

To become a full-time content creator, you should be following some sort of passion that drives you to create. This may seem obvious, but as photographers and travellers we are inspired daily by our passion to create art and explore the world. If you truly enjoy your work and make your hobby make you money it’ll help keep you motivated when you’re beginning your career as a content creator or influencer. People who are excited about what they are creating have a lot of success because people love to see it!

When you find what you’re passionate about you’re already on your first step to finding your niche. This is important because finding your niche will guide you towards paid jobs that you’re well-suited for. As outdoor adventurers and travel bloggers, we’ve found ourselves in a niche that focuses us on brand deals and sponsorships that we would use or pursue in everyday life. To learn more about how to get started as a content creator, keep an eye out for our upcoming Content Creator Guide.

Streams of Income as a Content Creator

Once you’ve started your journey towards working online, you’ll be set up with a profile that states who you are and what you do, content that shows your skills along with your personality or story, and a community of like-minded individuals. Maybe you’re a photographer with a following already and you’re looking to expand your income streams through content creation. Wherever you are in your social media journey, I’m here to share with you the main sources of income to becoming a content creator for PAID deals!

Know that all of these income streams require your effort to create passive income and also require you to constantly be looking for more jobs. You’ll need to become comfortable with marketing yourself as a content creator and pitching yourself for work. You’ll need to know how to set your rates appropriately and stand up for yourself during negotiations. Remember, your self-employed career relies on the work you’re willing to put in!

Content Creation Services

One of the best ways to get started in content creation is to pursue photography services or user generated content. UGC is the short-form nickname for content created for brands by a real person who enjoys using their products. When you create UGC for a brand, you’re not posting the content to your own feed or offering marketing services to them. You’re selling your content to them for their own social media marketing use. Depending on what the brand is looking for, you can often create UGC with just your phone!

How UGC Content Creation works

User generated content works by first pitching to brands that you want to work with! When you’re brainstorming brands to work with, consider items and products that you use in your day-to-day life or something that you’ve recently bought that you really enjoy using. Often times with UGC content you’re performing how you use the product and showcasing why you love it.

UGC is a great way for photographers or micro-influencers to start building a portfolio of brand deals. This is also a fantastic way to secure a retainer deal, which means that you’re paid either in advanced or monthly to create content for the brand. What’s great about a retainer is you’re guaranteed income as long as you perform well for the brand, and you can generate a consistent pay schedule if you’ve built a good relationship with the brand.

How do you price a Content Creation Job?

One of the most difficult parts of the job as a content creator or influencer is learning how to price your content appropriately. It’s also important to consider your skill level, the equipment you’re using, and travel costs when pricing your content. I go over all of this and more in our blog on “How to set your Rates and Image Licensing as a Content Creator” and our Media Kit + Rate Card + Email Pitching Template shares how to make a media kit, rate card and writing an email pitch to land paid deals with templates for you to copy!

Some key tips for pricing include figuring out your base price per photo, what type of usage rights the brand is looking for (social media use, paid social media ads, website use, or offline/billboard use), and the amount of time the brand wants to purchase rights for. Know that giving away full rights in perpetuity is allowing a brand to own your content forever, and that should be priced way more than social media posting. Always pay attention to the terms of your contract as sometimes licensing is snuck in there!

Streams of Income as an Influencer

Working in social media marketing as an influencer is a bit different than creating UGC. As an influencer, you’ve built an audience that appreciates your work and enjoys the same things you do. They often have similar hobbies and trust your advice. This is so valuable to brands because you have a target audience that they are trying to reach and directly market to.

By sharing your audience with brands for marketing purposes you are guaranteeing a target audience based on your location, your interests, hobbies, social status, gender, ect. All of these target audience features are important to marketers and the extra value of trust is so important in influencer marketing. Influencer’s are able to influence your decision to buy something and there are many ways to use this to your advantage instead of letting brands take advantage of you!

Brand Sponsorships on Social Media

Our favourite way to work with brands on social media is through sponsorships or brand collaborations. Brand collabs work as a contractual agreement to perform certain marketing objectives through your platform in exchange for money and product. I always advise my followers to chase after brand deals that will pay you instead of accepting gifted collaborations. Gifts are always nice, but it devalues your influence and if you live in Canada like we do then you will be paying taxes on any gifts you accept.

Brand collaborations work by offering your services as a content creator and an influencer. You’ll come to an agreement on content deliverables (IG photos, IG Reels, TikTok’s, YouTube mentions, dedicated blog posts, ect), and agree on a deadline to submit content for approval. After content is approved, you post content on the agreed social media channels and report with insights after a certain time has passed after posting.

How much do Influencers make from Brand Collaborations?

This is a question we’re asked all the time, and the answer varies from every person. There are accounts with 3 million followers and a huge target audience influence that can make 30K-50K per post. From our personal experience, we only accept brand collaborations that start at at least $1000 for 1 piece of content and have had brand deals that land us over $10k. There are so many considerations that go into building a brand collaboration including exclusivity, usage rights, and cross-platform sharing that will increase the amount you’re getting paid!

Tiktok Sound Promos

One of the newer ways to get into brand collaborations is through Tiktok sound promos. This is an interesting brand collaboration because you’re not directly promoting a product with a sound promo, but you’re promoting the sound in an attempt to make it go viral. A viral sounds means a lot to creators on Tiktok and they’re willing to spend money to make it happen! We’ve been hired for 3 sound promos and they’re easy to complete without having to create an ad.

Creator Funds on Social Media Channels

There are multiple creator funds on social media, and the trick is finding one that applies to you! Unfortunately, in Canada there are not many creator funds available to us as in the USA. One of the best creator funds in social media is with YouTube ads to help creators make money on their videos.

Tiktok and Instagram also have creator funds, and unfortunately Instagram’s Reels fund is not available anywhere but the United States and only to certain creators that qualify. The Tiktok creator fund shares some of the lowest rates.

Affiliate Marketing & Links

Affiliate marketing is an awesome way to get started making money through social media, and a great way to earn back some of the money spent on products that you love! One of my favourite ways to score affiliate links is to look at my favourite products I’m using (example, I wear a ton of Lululemon) and apply for their affiliate program on their website. Since I already buy and love their clothes, it’s easy for me to share my outfits and make commission from anybody who buys from my link.

Affiliate links can be used with a variety of different products and services, and you can really influence people by sharing stuff you like! Some great affiliate ideas for our outdoor adventure niche include brands that sell outdoor products that we use and love on our adventures. Affiliate links for clothes and hiking gear have been really great for us this year, and we follow some awesome influencers who consistently share affiliate links when they’re shopping for themselves (sharing sales, sharing favourite products, and sharing wish lists on Amazon).

Website Blogging & Ad Revenue

I absolutely love having a website and blog writing is something I really enjoy doing. Having your own website is so important because you have control over your own platform. Once you start to gain some traction and page views on your blog, you’re going to start applying for ad platforms to start earning ad revenue. This means that you’ll be featuring ads on your website and earning money when people view your blog.

Another fantastic source of income from blog writing would be to write blogs for other websites/brands! We’ve partnered with tourism boards to write blogs such as our BC Ale Trail feature. Creating a blog and writing posts can be a great way to gain exposure to your social media accounts, make a passive income, and give your audience added value!

Selling your own Digital Products

Digital products are an awesome way to earn a passive income, and you only have to create the digital product ONCE. Every time we sit down to create a digital product we know it’s a lot of work but once the work is done it’s a resource that will continue to make you money! Digital products can range from multiple different things, and some popular ideas are selling presets, creating an e-book, coaching an online course, or even selling prints of your photos. All of these are awesome options and a great form of passive income.

Hosting Group Trips

Hosting group trips can be a seriously great idea for travel influencers as a way to earn money while travelling to new places! Trova Trip is an online platform that works by partnering with influencers to market their trips. The influencer will post about their potential group trip and survey to get an idea of where their audience wants to go, their budget, and what kind of activities they’re interested in. If you’re able to get enough people to join your trip then the influencer travels for free and earns a commission of their group trip earnings.

Working with Tourism Boards as a Photographer

Tourism boards are the only stream of income as a content creator that will require a professional camera and photography skills. Working in tourism is an extremely lucrative job and suits travel influencers really well because of their ability to showcase a destination and influence others to visit. Your location, audience location and photography skills are all important to landing tourism jobs and you’ll be pitching more content deliverables than brand collaborations. The licensing and exclusivity on professional content can be expensive and tourism boards have large budgets.

Hotel & Airbnb Marketing

Hotel and Airbnb marketing is another great way to add to your portfolio of brand collaborations as photographers and content creators. You can create some amazing connections with hotel and airbnb marketing and explore free stays in beautiful locations all while taking gorgeous content!

Other Streams of Online Income

If content creation and influencer marketing is not for you, don’t stress because there are still multiple ways to secure an income online in 2023! If you’re a photographer, working on sessions for clients is a great way to make an income and market yourself online. You can apply yourself to platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to start working as a virtual assistant or a freelance social media manager. There are other ways to work online in your field of choice by applying to remote jobs or teaching online.

Final Thoughts on Making Money as a Content Creator

Content creation is only going to get bigger and bigger in 2023, and the only regret we have is not starting sooner! By starting your career in social media marketing, influencing, or content creation this year you’re creating a business in doing what you love and starting your job as a freelancer. Working for ourselves has been the best thing we’ve ever done and gives us the chance to live the freedom lifestyle that we’ve always dreamed of! This is your sign to start now, good luck!

Comments (3)

  • Melina Alexandra Photography

    January 2, 2023 at 9:20 am

    Beeeaaauuutifully written. I was a marketer for 10 years (and part-time Photographer) before becoming a full-time Photographer in March or 2022 and you have summed up revenue generation perfectly in this post. I couldn’t of said it better myself. I would love to draw up a plan to utilize some of the tips and tricks you have documented in this blog post. Thank you for sharing. I love your work and I can’t wait to see what you two do in 2023! Happy New Year!

  • Sandy

    January 2, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Fantastic article. So interesting and well explained.

  • Stef

    January 9, 2023 at 11:42 pm

    Loved this article. How did you actually learn to do all of those things?

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