If you aren’t living under a rock, you are probably familiar with TikTok, a popular application used mainly by Generation Z and millions of other people. As of the end of September 2021, TikTok has more than a billion monthly active users, ranking it in 4th place for the most used app globally.
These statistics are even more impressive when you know that TikTok was released in 2016 and that this unprecedented growth happened over just five years!
With such a high number of users who spend a lot of time on the app daily, many wondered whether it’s possible to earn some money on TikTok. If we look at other social media applications such as Youtube or Instagram, it’s evident that they’ve undergone a similar path as TikTok.
They started as small companies and grew to be one of the most used products globally. Naturally, people found a way to earn money with them, and nowadays, there are many millionaires who need to thank Instagram and Youtube for their wealth.
TikTok is no different, and with such a huge fan base, it’s evident that people are wondering whether they can make their posting on TikTok a side hustle or a legitimate full-time job. Add to this the fact that it’s thought that TikTok will become even more popular in the upcoming years, and we might have a winning combination for future digital entrepreneurs.
But do we? In this article, we’ll talk more about the phenomenon of Tiktok, its impact on society, its unprecedented growth, and how you can use it to your advantage.
We’ll also see if you can make money by being a creator on TikTok, and if that’s the case, how much? So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into the TikTok hype train and debunk all the myths.
What is TikTok?
If you happen to be one of those people that don’t know what TikTok is, or if you heard of it but didn’t know the exact specifics, we got you covered. A little history of TikTok and explaining it will help us answer the ultimate question: “How to make money on TikTok. “
Let’s start from the beginning. The year is 2016, and TikTok has seen the light of the day. Or Douyin, if we want to be exact. Even though for the rest of the world, TikTok is known as, well, TikTok, in China it’s known as Douyin, and that was its original name upon release.
But what is precisely TikTok? “TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic”. Users can create videos using endless numbers of different filters, add music that they like, or combine several videos into one.
If you are a fan of video knowledge, we suggest that you look at this video from ABC News that explains what TikTok is for newbies.
But, TikTok wasn’t a “unicorn” from the beginning. We said that it was first tailored for the Chinese market under the name of Douyin. It wasn’t known to the rest of the world, and less than 10 million users used it at the time.
In 2017, TikTok launched iOS and Android versions for the rest of the world, but it only became popular after merging with another Chinese social media service called Musical.ly in 2018. This was the key move for the company, as Douyin and Musical.ly became one whole and continued their journey as TikTok.
All users from Musical.ly (about 100 million at the time) were transferred to TikTok, and ever since then, the growth of the application hasn’t stopped. As of October 2021, TikTok has reportedly been downloaded 3 billion times and was the most downloaded non-game app in the first months of 2021, with over 380 million downloads.
Its parent company, Bytedance, which created TikTok and is its developer, reached a valuation of over $280 billion in late August of 2021.
All of this didn’t go unnoticed to companies worldwide, and they found TikTok to be one of the best platforms for marketing in 2021. TikTok became an official partner of UEFA EURO 2020 (held in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic) and was named a global sponsor for the competition.
This is just one of the cases that prove how powerful TikTok really is, and it continues to be one of the apps with the most influence at the time of writing this article. But how can you, as an average user, use such a powerful platform to earn some money, and not just for sharing videos of cats with your friends? Let’s find out.
How to make money on TikTok?
Now, probably the main question that you have is: “How to make money on TikTok” because you’ve probably heard that indeed people make a lot of money on TikTok. And it’s true; people do make money on TikTok - you just need to know-how.
The latest example of a fresh millionaire who became rich virtually overnight is the world-famous TikToker Khabane Lame, known as “Khaby.” Twenty months ago, he was a factory worker that lost his job due to Covid-19 and now, he’s one of the most popular influencers on the platform with over 100 million followers.
It’s estimated that his net worth is now somewhere between $1.3 million and $2.7 million. Thanks to his funny clips, he became a mascot for UEFA EURO 2020 and regularly met with famous football players such as Pogba or Ronaldo.
He isn’t the only millionaire that became rich out of TikTok. Here is a list of the ten wealthiest TikTok influencers that broke the $1 million thresholds.
It would certainly be great if you could become a millionaire just by posting 15-second video clips. But let’s face it, that is unlikely to happen (although we would like to see you show us that we are wrong!)
The scenario that is more likely to happen is that you make some sweet side-money with TikTok and use it for investment, gift, or something else. And, in some cases, that side-money doesn’t have to be that small.
Depending on the number of followers you have, the type of content you produce, and other factors, you can make more than the average US pay if you’re lucky enough. For example, if you are a TikTok creator with more than 100k followers, you might earn $200-1000 per month.
For influencers with more than 1 million followers, $1000 to $5000 is more realistic. The higher the number - the better. Keep in mind that these numbers are purely speculative and that they depend on many factors and different ways of your income on TikTok - which we will now list.
How to make money on TikTok with live streams
Live streams have become extremely popular in the last couple of years, primarily thanks to platforms such as Twitch, where people stream playing games. Streaming is one of the digital sectors that has seen the most growth this decade, with 113 percent of growth year-over-year.
TikTok knows this, so they incorporated live streams into their platform as well. If you have at least 1000 followers, you’re eligible to live stream, which can be an excellent way to interact with your followers or promote your products.
Since you are doing something live, it has more value than regular clips that you post. You can answer questions that your followers ask, engage in conversation with them, or show some of your products in more detail.
You can also have products with affiliate links to showcase to your viewers, which can be a sweet way to earn a bit of extra income with every sale.
How to make money on TikTok with merchandise sales
One of the best answers to how to make money on TikTok is definitely to sell your merchandise to your followers. This is one of the paths most influencers take when they build a somewhat big audience, and it’s obvious to see why.
Not only can you make your brand presence even greater if you sell your own merchandise, but you’ll also earn quite a bit of money for every single product you sell. For example, many influencers sell T-shirts of their own or often pricey hoodies - we can only guess how much money they make from that.
Selling merchandise can also help you grow your business, and TikTok has been an excellent way to promote your small business in the last couple of years. You should try it out!
How to make money on TikTok with brand sponsorships
This way of earning money with the help of TikTok requires that you have an account with a somewhat big audience. If you are a small creator, you’ll need to step up your game and become more popular and gather a fan base.
But once you have an audience, everything from that point onward is smooth sailing.
There are many cases where specific brands choose TikTok accounts for promoting their products. Some statistics say that brands are willing to pay anywhere from $200 to $20,000 for a short promotional video!
Now imagine that you do such videos weekly - it’s obvious that you could make a lot of money. Depending on your audience and the country that they’re coming from, these brands can be from any industry you can think of - sports equipment, gaming, food, and so on.
How to make money on TikTok with Creator Fund
There is also a way you can be paid directly from TikTok for the content that you make. In August 2020, TikTok announced a long-awaited initiative called “TikTok Creator Fund.”
This is great news for many influencers eligible to become part of the fund (you need to have a set number of followers, likes, and a certain number of posts). The fund itself has one ambition - to support ambitious creators seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.
The fund currently has $200 million in total that can be shared with video creators - and this number is expected to move up to $1 billion in the next few years. Influences report making anywhere between 2 and 4 cents per 1000 views for the fund. You can imagine how much money one would make if they had a video with 100 million views - a lot.
It is possible to make money on TikTok
As you can see, it’s possible to make money on TikTok - you just need to know-how. Although some of the strategies mentioned in this article aren’t for everyone (you need to have a fair amount of followers), you can surely utilize them even if you aren’t a big creator.
The key to making money with TikTok is to share your brand awareness and gain more followers. By the time you become a big brand, you’ll also have a successful small business and a big audience for sure. From there, everything will be buttery smooth.