How to Make Money on Instagram (+how I’ve made millions)

Instagram can absolutely be a great tool to make money–if you know how to use it. Most people choose the route of being an influencer. You know, the wildly attractive people who get paid to pretend they like the product they’re pitching you. 

But this is only one way to make money off the platform. And if you’re someone who would rather not go the Kim Kardashian route of monetizing your Instagram account, you’re in luck. Because later on in this post I’ll show you exactly how I use Instagram to help build my multi-million dollar business. 

New to IWT?

And join over 800,000 readers getting our Rich Life Insiders newsletter:

Table of Contents

Can You Really Make Money on Instagram?

Many people think that you have to drop tons of money on plastic surgery and become an influencer in order to make money on Instagram. While that may help, it’s certainly not the only option.

The truth is there are a lot of people making a good income from Instagram that come from a variety of backgrounds. Let’s take a quick look at the top earners. 

CreatorNumber of FollowersPrice per Post
Cristiano Ronaldo545 Million$3.92 Million
Leo Messi427 Million$2.94 Million
Kylie Jenner379 Million$1.83 Million
Selena Gomez376 Million$1.73 Million
Dwayne Johnson362 Million$1.71 Million
Ariana Grande355 Million$1.68 Million
Kim Kardashian344 Million$1.68 Million
Beyonce Knowles295 Million$1.39 Million
Khloe Kardashian293 Million$1.32 Million
Justin Bieber275 Million$1.28 Million

The first thing you probably noticed from the above list is that they’re all celebrities and have millions of followers. Unfortunately, if you go the influencer route, you’ll need to have millions of followers if you really want to get rich from Instagram.

The average influencer (who doesn’t have millions of followers like the above celebrities) only makes around $901 per post. Obviously, that’s not a lot of money. Fortunately, you can still make a great income from Instagram without needing to drop an album or become world-class at a sport. 

If you choose the right money-making strategy, you could still make 6-figures (or even millions) from the platform without having millions of followers. The way to do this is to make money directly from your audience. I’ve been doing it for years. I’ll give you a bit more details in a sec, but first let’s look at some money making strategies for Instagram. 

Different Ways to Get Paid on Instagram

Instagram offers a number of different ways to monetize your account. The important thing though is to pick a strategy that works well for you and your goals. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to make money on the platform. 

1. Work with Different Brands

When most people think about making money on Instagram, they envision working with brands and becoming influencers with a massive following. Typically, brands will reach out to you, or you can proactively reach out to them if you have a significant following and a strong connection with your audience—essentially if you have influence. On average, an influencer with 100,000 or more followers can earn around $500 per post. However, the catch is that you’ll need to build up a substantial following before you can start earning significant income. Personally, I prefer a different approach—I like to make money directly from my audience, rather than acting as a middleman between brands and followers. I’ll share more about this strategy with you later on.

2. Make Money with Reels

For a while, creators were paid based on the views their IG Reels received, which caused many creators to hop on the reels train. However, Instagram unexpectedly ended the payment program, which caused a huge outcry from those who heavily relied on Reels. Now it’s assumed that at some point they’ll make payment for reels available again (with some changes that I’m sure doesn’t benefit creators). But I bring it up because there’s a big lesson to learn here–you should never depend upon a platform to make money. Instead, I recommend you have a traffic source that you own like an email list. My email list actually plays a big part in how I’m able to monetize my following so well. Doing things this way will allow you to treat Instagram as a marketing channel instead of your main source of income. Here’s an example post of mine where I do just that:

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ramit Sethi (@ramit)

3. Create Your Own Shop

Instagram now enables you to sell your physical products directly on the platform, which is a fantastic tool for any e-commerce business. Every month, over 130 million people click on those shopping tags, indicating a strong interest in purchasing. However, there is one notable drawback to this method of monetization—you’ll need a substantial number of followers to generate significant income. That’s why I personally lean towards selling my premium-priced courses on the platform. Even if only a small group of people make a purchase, I still generate a nice income for myself. This approach is actually something I teach in my Earnable course. 

4. Monetize Your Live Videos

Instagram allows your audience to support you by purchasing badges as a way of tipping. These badges come at different price points of $0.99, $1.99, or $4.99. It’s a cool way for your followers to show appreciation and contribute to your income. However, there’s a catch—you need to have a minimum of 10,000 followers to be eligible for this feature. While there’s a requirement, it can be a great way to earn extra income if you’ve built up a sizable following. 

5. Promote Your Own Business

This is the model I personally use to monetize my Instagram account. It’s a powerful strategy that allows me to leverage the platform to bring attention to my different offers. For instance, I use Instagram to promote my Netflix show, online courses, and even my newsletter where I provide valuable insights on living a Rich Life. The beauty of this approach is that I can monetize my audience regardless of its size. Unlike selling merch, the courses I offer come at a higher price point, which means I can make significantly more money from each follower who decides to invest in one of my programs. It’s a win-win situation! If you’re interested in learning the exact steps to follow this approach, I teach all the details in my Earnable course. 

How Much Does Instagram Pay for 1k Followers?

Hey there, fellow Instagram enthusiasts! If you’re just starting fresh on Instagram, chances are you have around 1000 followers. Now, the big question is, can you make money with this amount? Well, it’s a bit of a mixed answer. It really depends on how you choose to monetize your account and don’t worry, we’ll explore different strategies soon. With that follower count, becoming an influencer with brand deals might not be a feasible option. And many other options mentioned earlier may not be applicable to you either. However, here’s a valuable suggestion: If you don’t have a large following, I recommend starting your own side business, such as creating courses and utilizing Instagram as a marketing platform for yourself. This way, the number of followers becomes irrelevant, and you can still generate income. Exciting, right? In my Earnable course, I dive deep into how you can make this happen.

Like this blog post? Learn how to create amazing content like this that attracts and engages your target buyers with our FREE Ultimate Guide To Remarkable Content.

When you sign up, I'm also going to send you my newsletter full of my best advice for free.