Whenever I talk on instagram about working from home, or I post something from a nap time work session, people ask me what job I have that let’s me do that. The short answer is that in a few different ways this online world has become my full time job, and income. And I’m extremely grateful and feel very fortunate that I get to do something flexible that I really love to support our family. The longer answer is in lots of different bits, and don’t worry my parents ask me how it actually works and what I ‘actually’ do too – the online world is a weird one.
I was the least techy person alive as a teenager (and beyond honestly) and I never would have dreamed my life would revolve around technology. Ever. But I love learning, and I love a challenge and I’ve loved getting to build a business that lets me be at home, hustle during nap times, and provide a bit for my family! With that said, I know money and social media can be a strange one for people so I wanted to answer all the questions I know you have.
Firstly, let’s dispel a myth I get asked about. Instagram does not pay you to post or have followers. I mean, I wish, but sadly no. Lol. It takes WORK, real live work and creativity to make money through the app, and it’s all kind of ‘via’ the app rather than directly from it – but Instagram has been an amazing space to grow a little world based around the very real life ways we lead a simple, healthy life as a family.
I also want you to know what my life actually looks like… I’m using instagram well for the way I want my life to look. Which means, instagram isn’t killing me, or my other goals in life but I do maximize the options within that. My number one goal isn’t money even though that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s also not to have the most followers. My number one goal online is to help and serve the people following me, to create useful fun content that actually helps people simplify their journeys and is useful in real people’s real lives. But you can do both. So I make the amount that I want, that feels great with how it relates to my overall life. Because I can tell you, having peace and balance when you’re using Instagram for any level of business is essential or it will get to you!
But we’re here to talk money, so here are the ways we’ve found income via social media:
1. Local sales
This turned into an up-till-3am-most-nights-for-a-year job by mistake, but that’s a different story! This was the first way we used Instagram to become a business. I quit my prior day job to be a full time mum, and stumbled on a business creating paleo doughnuts. If you followed us back then you know the story! Although that income wasn’t directly from instagram, it was having an instagram platform that allowed me to build a local business and provide 5 coffee chops and lots of local customers with clean baked goods. I don’t do it much anymore (we do still partner with one shop who makes our recipes for in house and to order) but I loved getting to bring that to our town, and it was the start of me being able to work from home when I first had Clayton which I was SO grateful for.
2. Sales from our ebooks
When I made my first ebook
I had no idea what I was doing. To keep the costs down so I can make them more affordable, I do all the shooting, styling, formatting and editing myself. A friend shot The Whole Doughnut
but after that it’s been all me. It takes a lot (more than I imagined when I first said online that I’d do one ha!) to make them happen with two kids in tow, but I love the creativity, and getting to get the recipes out there! (See them all HERE!)
In short, there are lots of companies who will ‘thank’ you for sending purchasers their way. Different companies do it different ways, but for me it’s one of the most honest ways of making money through the app. I talk about products I love and when someone purchases something they want, I get a small cut without you paying any
extra. I only talk about companies we use personally (with products we’ve paid for ourselves!) so it’s a really honest way to make a bit of money for spreading the word about products that can genuinely help our following. A few examples of places we make affiliate income are:
- Amazon – any time you click on a link I post that takes you to Amazon, I get a small percentage of your
sale without you paying any more. I love that Amazon has everything so it’s also a great way just to reference items even if people find somewhere else to buy them.
- PACT organic clothing – I first discovered them for organic fair-trade kids underwear at an actually affordable price. But now both Jared and I love them for basics and underwear – I live in their sleep tee more than I should admit to! (Here I get money for people’s first purchase, not on-goingly.)
- Everlane – A great first stop for ethically made, transparently produced clothing. They’re not perfect, but they’re great. We both own multiple things from there.
- SafeSleeve Radiation Reducing Phone Cases -The phone cases both Jared and I have and love!
I’ve separated this out from Affiliates even though I see it as another affiliate program because it’s become a lot more and our largest affiliate commission by a long way. My deep search for the perfect clean, eco friendly, effective makeup led me (firstly to realise that there is no perfect!) but that Beautycounter was the best I could find, and I really love it. They have retail stores, and online store, do partnerships with Goop, Target etc and also have a direct sales model through the website so that I can be paid as an affiliate for sales I drive.
Honestly I had some doubts to start with but as I kept searching I knew I loved their products and REALLY believe in their mission of getting safer products (theirs or others) into the hands of everyone. Being a consultant/affiliate also meant I get a 25% discount on anything which was a no brainer to me as a budgeter, and I make a 25% affiliate commission anytime I’m talking about my makeup and you do a swipe up or you hit a link and buy, or if you choose me on the site as your consultant (but no one pays more because I get paid.) If you want to shop or see the products just click the link HERE, or visit my makeup blog post to see my choices from Beautycounter and other places. What I loved was it also let me help people. A little bit more more commission means I could put some extra hours into helping you make choices, answering questions and using the commission to add things to orders, gift things, do little discounts and make it a little less daunting to make switches.
Since starting out just as an affiliate in 2018 this part of my world has really grown, the direct sales model let me begin to welcome on a team of wonderful people one by one who wanted to work with Beautycounter too, to share the mission of safer personal care products, and help other people made switches – they’re all very different people with different lives and work worlds but I love getting to add a few hours a week of mentoring, coaching, social media strategy and helping out my team of 30+ wonderful people!
I love it when life hops off the app and I meet real people! Teaching monthly workshops
(and occasionally private ones too) is SO much fun. See my instagram story highlights so find out what they look like!
Some of you may have seen this at the bottom of my blog posts now
. One night I was scrolling a zero waste blogger’s site at 4am with Roey (such was life) and I saw the option to give her a coffee at the bottom. I loved the idea knowing there was no other tangible way for me to return the favor for the information she’d given me, I thought it was clever! So, I added it to our site redesign!
7. Sponsored Posts
They’re such a weird world that I’ve honestly considered not taking any sponsored posts. But if a company wants to reimburse me for my time in shooting and posting about a product I already love, then I’m down! Right?! It funds the time I spend putting out free content and and so effectively gives me the time to do it. I’ve done probably 10-15 #sponsored posts in the history of Instagram, I’m very picky about which ones I take and hence I’ve done so few. To say yes to something I have to love it, it has to be something we use, plastic packaging free, plastic free, and if it’s food it usually needs to be organic… you can see why I’ve only taken a few! My favourite ones are where I reach out to a company rather than being approached cos then it’s truly know I’m not being bought. I already bought the product with my own money! The next one I have coming up is a company I reached out to, so watch out for it! Some examples of companies I’ve worked with are: Wholefoods, Vitamix, Stasher Bag, Chameleon Cold Brew, and Pela Case (a zero waste phone case company we used to use before we switched to the anti radiation ones!) All companies we adore and personally use. If you ever have questions about a sponsored post just ask!
8. Getting gifted stuff
This seems cool, and it totally is, but it doesn’t pay bills. Sometimes it does indirectly if I get sent something I need or will need in the future, but mostly it’s just fun and makes me look cooler and flashier than I really am 😉 For transparency I try to remember to hashtag #gifted when I’m talking about a product that was sent for free!
And all the little stuff too.
You don’t get to access any of these 7 points without daily some instagram basics that are key to using the app, but I hope that all helps to shed light on how we use the app and where the money can and does come from! There are more ways to use the app for business, but these are all the ones we use and it’s been a gift to get to create content to help and inspire but also provide income for my family at the same time! If you’re thinking of using instagram for business or have any questions shoot me an email or a DM!