In this article, I’m going to show you how to make money on TikTok by discussing the different ways to do it and explain the exact process I used to grow a following of 14,000 people and generate just over $4,000 in commissions in my first 90 days on the platform.
To put the skeptics at ease, I started with no following outside of TikTok. It’s not like I had a large following elsewhere and brought them with me. This is truly my first success at building a loyal following.
First, here is a screenshot of my profile. I started TikTok on March 31, 2020 and this was taken on June 29, 2020:
And here are my earnings. The bulk of them come from one program, but the rest of the commissions are from products that complement the first. This is as of June 29, 2020.
Different Ways To Make Money On TikTok
Now that my results are out of the way, let’s talk about the different methods of making money on TikTok because affiliate commissions aren’t the only way to do it.
As of the time of this writing, live gifts are the only way to make money on the TikTok app itself. Once you reach 1,000 followers, you have the ability to broadcast live on TikTok.
While you’re talking, performing, or whatever it is that you want to do on your live broadcast, your viewers can give you “gifts” which are usually just little doodle animations on the screen.
These doodles are valued anywhere from $0.50 all the way up to about $10. TikTok takes a 66% cut of the gift and you walk away with the other 33%. I tell people that these gifts are sort of like “tipping the dancer” if you know what I mean. They’re not really a reliable income source.
However, some creators incentivize people to give gifts during their lives by offering a service (usually an account review) for free to the largest gifter. This sort of turns the live broadcast into an auction and the creator can leave with a few hundred bucks. If you have a service business, this could be a viable option to monetize.
A brand deal is when a brand (usually a clothing company) pays a large TikTok creator to post while wearing or using their product. In addition, they usually also give the creator a special code to give to their followers so that they can buy the item at a discount. Right now, there are currently two ways to get a brand deal on TikTok:
A lot of times, a creator will naturally use and love a product so much that it appears in all of their posts. As they grow their following (and viewers keep commenting about the product), they will repeatedly ask the company jokingly in their posts to sponsor them. More times than not, it works. @heavy_haul_n_fool did this with Pit Viper Sunglasses.
The other way is by placing your email in your bio and waiting. Swimsuit brands will often reach out to young women on the platform who have large followings and offer them some sort of a pay-per-post arrangement. My Dad-bod would never get that kind of a deal, so I’m unsure of the specifics on how they work.
TikTok Creator Marketplace
Starting in June of 2020, TikTok has an official creator marketplace where brands and creators can meet up and negotiate deals. However, there are a few requirements to qualify for such a deal:
- 100k Followers
- 18 Years Of Age
- 100k Video likes in 28 Days
- Posted 3 Videos in 28 Days
My account’s not that large yet so I can’t tell you what’s exactly in store (I’m denied access), but if you’re a larger creator, that’s another option…
Gigs On TimeBucks
This is probably the lowest effort, lowest return method, but I did include it because it is legit. TimeBucks.com is a website where you can post your TikTok profile and people pay for you to duet them, shout out their account, or simply watch their video. The size of your account will determine the amount of money you can make, but an account of any size can join.
Affiliate Products / E-Commerce Products
My favorite way to make money on TikTok, and in my opinion the way to make the most money on TikTok, is by selling affiliate products or e-commerce products.
This is the method that I used to generate my commissions. I made those commissions by generating profile views and getting people to click the link in my profile. Clicking on that link led them down an affiliate funnel and I followed up via email. Let’s break down exactly how I did it:
How To Make Money On TikTok With Affiliate Marketing
Here is a step by step guide (and the exact process I used) on how to make money on TikTok using affiliate marketing:
Pick A Niche
The saying goes that “the riches are in the niches” and that is 100% correct. By nicheing down your content, you are speaking on a deeper level to a specific group of people and building a stronger bond with them. This will lead to more trust with your audience and a higher willingness to buy when you place an offer in front of them. But how do you choose a niche?
Education or Entertainment?
There are endless niches for you to choose from, but the first choice you need to make is whether you’re going to be an educational page or an entertaining page.
If you plan to grow a following as an entertainer on TikTok, you need to make sure you are extremely talented or exceptionally funny. It’s incredibly hard to grow as an entertainer when you’re competing with celebrities for followers.
However, if you can grow a following as an entertainer, the easiest path to monetization is via an e-commerce store selling personally branded merch. Feasible, but extremely hard.
If you’re an educational account, you can have both a face for radio and no sense of humor and still experience success. As long as the info you’re sharing is valuable to your audience, you’ll grow as an educator on TikTok. Education accounts are by far the easiest to grow and monetize.
They are the easiest to monetize because all you have to do is demonstrate how a tool works (usually an affiliate product) and explain how it can help the viewer. At the end of the video, direct people to where they can get it (usually your profile link) and you should start selling items in a matter of hours.
But what do you sell on TikTok?
Finding An Affiliate Product To Sell
Picking the right affiliate product is probably the single highest determining factor of how much money you’ll make on TikTok. If you choose to promote a product with low commissions, you’ll never sell enough to make a comfortable living and if you sell a product that is too high ticket, you’ll hardly make any sales. TikTok traffic is cold (warm at best) and isn’t willing to buy a $5000 course on the front end.
Finding a product that is related to your niche and that has a fully developed product ladder is key…
My Favorite Product To Promote
I chose to promote Legendary Marketer for this reason. The main product that I promote is their $7 Online Business Builder Challenge which converts very well. It’s both beginner-friendly and priced low enough where it doesn’t require much thought before purchase.
Once in the challenge, the lead is warmed up via training videos about building an online business (they’re very valuable by the way) and then they’re pitched a $2500 – $9500 coaching package.
I’m currently selling about 1 high ticket package a month (along with about 15 challenges) and the commissions range from $1,000 to $3800 depending on the package bought. If the person chooses to pass on the high ticket package, there are $100 – $500 items to choose from that pay anywhere from $40 – $200 commissions.
Complementary Products = Higher Commissions
When someone buys the challenge from me, I also include a training course that I made which shows them how to get set up and introduces other software tools to them along the way such as sales funnel software and an email autoresponder. This is where the other commissions come from.
But who do you sell to?
Grow A Following
Picking a niche and product is great and all, but it doesn’t make a darn bit of difference if you have no one to sell to. Now, TikTok is in a unique position when it comes to social platforms because it doesn’t require a large following to get a ton of views on a single video (my second video ever got 7500 views) but a large following will ensure that every video gets a ton of views. Here’s how you do it:
Post Valuable Content
This should go without saying. If all you post about is what you had for breakfast, no one would care and they would just scroll past. However, if you’re sharing information that can benefit your viewer and do so regularly, people are going to want to follow you to hear more.
Stay Laser Focused (At Least In The Beginning)
When creating your early TikTok content, make sure that you stay laser focused in your topics and hashtags. This will help “tune up” the algorithm and let it know exactly what your channel is about. The better an idea the algorithm has of what you’re all about, the greater the chances of it showing your stuff to the right people. Once you have a baseline following (5,000 or so) you can start to branch out and give your account more depth.
I tried to branch out and experiment in the beginning, and I noticed that my followers per day would plummet until I released more content that was exactly within my niche. Don’t make this mistake.
Respond To & Like Every Comment
Unless it’s a personal attack, like & respond to every single comment you get. This will not only double your engagement rate (shockingly, your own comments count towards engagement) but it will make the people who commented feel good about commenting and build a bond. Someone who feels good about commenting is more likely to comment again and a highly engaged community will flourish, both in organic reach and in money made for the organizer of the community.
You should even respond to the hate comments. While it also helps engagement, there is a growing trend of creators putting their haters on blast in video replies and some are hilarious. While this would NEVER fly on Facebook or YouTube, it seems to be accepted over on TikTok. I don’t recommend dropping 4 letter words, but you can make fun of your hater in an entertaining way and you won’t lose credibility for it. It’s a trend I can fully get behind because you can say everything you wish you could say to your haters on TikTok.
Ask For Engagement In Your Videos
The easiest way to get people to comment on your videos is to just ask them to. I struggle with this myself, but on the rare video where I ask for comments, the comment numbers are way higher than average. Again, having an engaged community is the key to growth.
Give People A Reason To Come Back (Series Content)
My favorite way to grow a following is by creating a series and I try to create a new series every month. A series is just begging for followers because they will want to know what happens next and the TikTok algorithm makes it almost impossible to find someone again if you don’t like or follow them.
The types of series that work best for me are “10 best ways for XXX” and “live” case studies. The “10 best ways” type series are great for bringing in viewers from new audiences, while the case studies are great to show behind the scenes & transparency.
I strive for transparency on my page and I find it’s easiest to sell Legendary by simply proving it works. I usually ask my viewers to pick a product for me to sell, and then I document the building of the sales page, the running of the ad, and the results I achieve. The followers flock to me because they want to see what happens next and whether I’ll be able to sell the item or not. Even I don’t know what’s going to happen so it’s the closest thing to reality TV on TikTok.
Use Relevant Hashtags
People only follow you if they like what you have to say. If you’re very niche-specific with your content, only a small group of people will like what you have to say enough to follow you. To find those people, you’ll need to use relevant hashtags on your posts.
This goes back to the concept of “tuning up” the algorithm. TikTok hashtags are like YouTube video tags. They tell the algorithm what your video is about, so take them seriously and make sure they are related to your content. Good hashtags will show the video to the right people and when that happens, the followers pile up.
Drive Traffic To A Sales Funnel
When trying to make money on TikTok, here’s where the rubber meets the road so to speak. Having a large and engaged following is all well and good, but if you can’t harvest money from them, you’re dead in the water.
Get Them To Your Profile
Affiliate Marketing with TikTok is all about profile traffic. The videos do not allow anything clickable so a description link like YouTube is out, comments can get buried so placing a link there is unreliable, and the videos move too fast to have a link displayed at the top of the video.
However you are allowed a clickable link in your profile and obviously, people only see that link if they view your profile. To make sure people are looking at your profile, there is a super-secret trick that pretty much guarantees it…
Ask them to!
At the end of your videos, direct people to check out your profile and point to your face on the screen. this will encourage the click into your profile, and that’s half the battle. Once there, you need them to click the link.
Optimize Your Bio
To encourage people to click the link in your profile, you need to have something enticing in your bio. Your bio is only 80 characters long and some of that is giving people a reason to follow you, so you have to be concise when asking people to click. I test my bio all the time, but right now it says “Leave Your 9-5, Click Here” with a pointer emoji. Simple, to the point, and describes the benefit.
Once they’re in your funnel, you better collect an email address so you can execute on the next part…
Make Big Money On TikTok With Email Follow-Up
Getting a bunch of clicks on your profile link and making sales on the front end is good and all, but the real money is made with email follow-up. TikTok should be viewed just as a traffic source and not the end game. By grabbing people from TikTok and putting them into your email sequences, you’re giving yourself access to that person FOREVER! Even if TikTok shuts down, you’ll still have access to your most loyal followers because you grabbed an email along the way.
Not only does this help you retain access to these people, it also gives you the opportunity to bring them further into your ecosystem and sell them more products. Many TikTokkers, myself included, have a YouTube Channel and a blog. Email follow-up can put your TikTok followers on both of those channels as well and increase their authority.
Email follow up also allows you to introduce complementary products and sell more than just the product you’re promoting through the TikTok funnel. This is how you turn one affiliate sale into 3 or 4. Spencer has a free email follow course HERE to learn how to better do that.
So there you have it. A comprehensive guide on how to make money on TikTok. The process is very simple and all that’s left to do is to get out and do it! Pick a Niche, Find an affiliate product or two, grow your following, send them down a funnel, and follow up with email. Rinse and Repeat.
The biggest thing you need after this is time. Making money on TikTok doesn’t happen overnight. The effects need to compound over time before the big commissions start rolling in.