How to Make Money on TikTok

It’s no secret that TikTok has taken the social media world by storm. As mainstream interest grows in this platform, so do options for making money through it. Maybe you are already creating content on TikTok and want to see if you can turn your hobby into an actual side hustle.

Or, if you think you have what it takes to make it big on TikTok, you stand to make some major cash.

We’re going to break down how to make money on TikTok so you can get filming and start building your TikTok side hustle.

Erika Taught Me

  • Identify your niche – who do you want to help and what do you want to help them with?
  • Create high-quality, engaging content
  • You can do brand partnerships, and affiliate marketing, sell your own products, or join the TikTok creator fund

Step 1: Understand the TikTok platform

First things first, before you can start making money on TikTok you need to understand how the platform works. TikTok is a social media platform that focuses on sharing short-form video content and live video content. Like any social media network, users can follow accounts they enjoy and can like, share, or comment on content. This is a fun platform to get creative on, thanks to a variety of musical clips, special effects, and filters that creators can use to make their content stand out. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the platform, don't worry there are tons of creators who share helpful tips on TikTok about how to become a professional creator, like this TikTok101 by @jera.bean. Sit back, relax, and soak in the knowledge.

Once you have a strong understanding of how TikTok works, you can begin to take steps to make money yourself. 

Not sure how much you should expect to make? Erika offers a transparent look at exactly how much she earns on TikTok and other social media platforms.

Step 2: Identify your niche

There is a wide world of creators on TikTok that cover almost any topic imaginable. Being too broad won’t get you many TikTok followers because people choose to follow creators who narrow in on what interests them. You want to go narrow and deep here, not wide.

While it may be tempting to choose a niche that feels like it has the most potential to catch attention on the platform, you need to pick one that really resonates with you and your target audience. The more passionate you are about the content you create and the greater expertise you bring to the table, the more your TikTok videos will make an impact. Not sure where to start? Here are some great niches that lend themselves well to video content. 

  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Finance
  • Humor
  • Books
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Gaming
  • Art
  • Home decor

Step 3: Define your brand

Once you decide what your niche is going to be, you can think carefully about how to craft a personal brand around that niche. For example, if you are going to create beauty content, you want to make sure that your hair and makeup always look polished in videos. If you plan to create food content, you can benefit a lot from giving your kitchen a little refresh and making sure it is clean, nicely decorated, and well-lit. Your branding will extend to your handle name, the music you choose, your background, what you wear, and how you present yourself overall. 

With 5.8 million followers, @alixearle is a great example of a creator who has a very strong personal brand: fun, down-to-earth, and glam. Her trademark GRWM (get ready with me) videos are beloved for the personal look they give into her life while she spills all her beauty and style secrets.

girl filming tiktok video on phone: How to make money on Tiktok

Step 4: Create compelling content

It can be tempting to produce as much content as possible to keep your followers engaged, but sloppy content won’t get you very far on TikTok. This app has over 1 billion users, many of whom create content, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Slow down and focus on producing fewer higher-quality videos in lieu of quickly churning out one random, hurried video after another. 

To make a plan for creating compelling content, check out some of the top content creators in your niche and study the type of content they produce. This doesn’t mean you should copy them (originality will get you a lot further), but you can get an idea of what their similar audience resonates with and what steps they take to make their content really shine.

Alongside paying attention to what they do right, it can be really helpful to take note of what you think you can do better and how you can stand out. 

Step 5: Grow your following

Growing your following on TikTok is going to be the hardest part of your journey, but is key if you want to make money on the app. While many TikTokers start out hoping to go viral, that’s generally the exception rather than the rule. You need to anticipate slow and steady growth and not give up if it takes time to attract the right followers. 

When publishing your content, pay attention to what hashtags and trending challenges are currently trending. That way, you can plan content that will resonate with the current cultural zeitgeist. You can also take note of what songs and sounds are trending on the app, as TikTok’s algorithm often promotes videos using those elements more heavily.

When you do start to get engagement on your videos, it is imperative that you engage back. While big content creators can’t respond to every comment or direct message they get, smaller ones can. Engaging with your audience is one of the best ways to build a loyal following that wants to keep showing your account support. 

If you really want to invest in growing your TikTok account, you can always put some money behind your content. Paying for TikTok ads is a great way to expose more people to your content. You can treat your TikTok channel like any other type of small business and create a marketing budget to help speed up growth. 

Step 6: Choose how to monetize

The neat thing about making money on TikTok is you have a few options for how you can monetize. Here are some ideas to get you started on the financial side:

Make money on TikTok: Brand partnerships

Like social media creators on any channel, TikTok creators have the option to partner with brands through sponsored content arrangements. Sometimes brands will reach out directly, but if there is a brand you are excited about you can also reach out to them.

What to charge for sponsored posts depends on the size of your audience and the level of engagement you get. A creator with 100,000 followers could expect to make about $1,000 for a brand deal and a creator with 1 million followers could potentially charge $10,000. 

Keep in mind, that your niche matters as well. Some niches pay more than others and brands that are the most closely related to your niche will be willing to pay more than brands that are not. For example, if you do makeup tutorials Sephora would be willing to pay more to be featured on your platform than Adidas.

Remember the goal for any company is to get their brand in front of as many potential customers as possible.

Often, brands send products for content creators to feature in their TikToks and may require they use certain hashtags or promote the content a certain number of times. When you work with a brand, you should expect them to review and approve your content before sharing it to make sure they are happy with it. 

The key thing with sponsored content is to remember that you have to disclose it so that you don’t mislead viewers into believing you are promoting a brand with no incentive.

Make money on TikTok: Affiliate marketing

If you don’t have a strong following yet, brands may not be willing to invest in you just yet. One way to make money and illustrate to brands that your account has selling power is to take advantage of affiliate marketing. You can promote products you love and use to your audience.

If you provide affiliate links when promoting products, then when someone makes a purchase using your link, you earn a commission. This can be either a percentage of the sale or a set dollar amount. As you grow your following, affiliate income can really add up. As a bonus, you will have the data you need to show brands that you have an engaged audience that trusts your recommendation when you vouch for a product.

To make things really easy, TikTok actually offers its own affiliate program that you can use without even leaving the app. With TikTok Shop, you can showcase and sell products for your community to purchase. TikTok provides you with all the resources you need to get really good at affiliate sales. You gain access to detailed performance analysis so you can track what works well for your audience and can use TikTok’s campaign promotion tools. 

Make money on TikTok: Sell products and services

If you own a business, you may have no desire to engage in sponsored content and promote other brands. The great thing about TikTok is it gives business owners a fun platform to promote their own products or services. If you have a product that really pops on camera, you can make videos showing how to use it.

If you have a service that benefits from detailed explanations before customers are on board, take advantage of having a captive audience to walk them through how your services can benefit them. 

TikTok users also love behind-the-scenes videos. They have an authentic feel that helps people get to know you and your brand.

You can then include a link to your website or shopfront in your profile. Keep in mind that with a small following, you can only include a non-clickable link in your profile. Once you upgrade to a business account and have at least 1,000 followers, you can add a clickable link, which will likely lead to more users getting to your site.

Make money on TikTok: TikTok Creator Fund

One of the reasons that creators gravitate towards TikTok is because this video-centric social media platform has monetization potential built into the app — this isn’t a guarantee on all social media networks. 

Through the TikTok Creator Fund, users can receive compensation for videos that perform well. You have to join this fund in order to qualify and to do so must meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, you need to have a minimum of 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 views on videos in the last 30 days. This may not be a jumping-off point for creators looking to make money, but for those who are picking up steam, it doesn’t hurt to apply. Note that you must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Reports say that TikTok creator fund earnings are 2-4 cents per 1,000 views.

Related: 12 passive income ideas

FAQs

How long does it take to start making money on TikTok?

It's hard to say. To join the TikTok creator fund you need at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 views in the last 30 days. When you hit that point you apply. That might take you a few months, or a few years. It really depends on how quickly you can hit those numbers.

Just create high-quality content, pay attention to what is resonating with your audience, and be yourself.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.