Whether you’re the next TikTok wunderkind, or a very niche hobbyist, there are several ways to get paid on TikTok. If getting paid for the videos you make anyway sounds like an exciting possibility, read on. Just be ready to put in some work. (TL;DR: Start getting some followers).
In August 2020, TikTok launched the Creator Fund; a $200 million initiative that it estimates will grow to $1 billion over the next three years. According to TikTok, the fund’s purpose is to “support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.” In other words, TikTok will give you money for the videos you create.
Top influencers have reported receiving between two and four cents per 1,000 views. So creators with lots of views can make serious money. For example, TikTok’s favorite plastic surgeon Anthony Youn (@tonyounmd) got 1.5 million views for a video denouncing DIY toe surgery (don’t watch if you have a weak stomach). Based on our calculations, he might have made between $45,000 and $60,000.
To participate in the Creator Fund, you need to already have some traction. You must have at least 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days to be eligible to apply. And you also need to be 18 years or older and be based in the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, where the fund is currently available.
TikTok is vague as to how the funds are actually calculated, citing a “number of factors,” including page views and engagement. It’s worth noting that some creators say they’re making a fraction of what they expected to earn according to reports from VICE and Wired.
If you’re undeterred after reading those reports and you meet all of the requirements, you can apply within the app. Open ‘Settings and Privacy’ in the top righthand corner of the app, then tap ‘Creator tools,’ then ‘TikTok Creator Fund.’ If you qualify to apply, the application basically consists of entering your contact information, and agreeing to the terms of the TikTok Creator Fund Agreement.
Once accepted into the program, that’s where you can access your dashboard and withdraw funds via PayPal or Zelle. Funds show up in the dashboard three days after views from your video are counted, and you can withdraw your money 30 days after the end of the month in which your video was posted.
TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is a platform that introduces brands to creators for paid campaigns or sponsorship opportunities. Brands can search for creators within the marketplace by country, age, topic, etc. and reach out directly for paid collaborations.
The Creator Marketplace is still in its trial stages and TikTok hasn’t shared specific information on who is eligible. For now, the website says that eligible creators, “may be invited to join or apply.” If it sounds like the Creator Marketplace is pretty exclusive, that’s because right now, it is. TikTok says that it will be “expanding the invitations over time.”
If you do join the marketplace, the next step is to set up your creator profile. To access your profile, go to ‘Settings and Privacy,’ then ‘Creator tools,’ then ’TikTok Creator Marketplace.’
There, you can edit profile information and set rates for sponsored videos.
If a brand wants to collaborate with you, you’ll receive a notification in your inbox with the campaign and contract. If you choose to accept the invitation, you can discuss the details of the campaign through the marketplace tool — concept, video-making methods, the look and feel the brand needs, wardrobe, location, etc., basically everything else that has to be hashed out before you can make what is essentially a commercial. TikTok doesn’t currently support transactions of this kind, so payment must be arranged outside of the app.
While maybe not as lucrative as a brand collaboration, hosting a livestream can bring in money too, but the path toward getting actual money in this way is a long and winding one. When you host a TikTok LIVE stream, users buy virtual coins, which can be used to buy virtual gifts. Gifts are converted into diamonds, which are distributed as funds to creators, minus TikTok’s 50 percent cut.
The precise value of a diamond is not something TikTok has officially made public. Thankfully though, users have figured it out for themselves. There are some very helpful breakdowns here and here, but what you need to know is that one diamond equals about 5 cents. So for every 100 diamonds, creators earn roughly $5, which becomes $2.50 after TikTok takes its cut.
Like the Creator Fund and Creator Marketplace, there are some restrictions on who can participate in LIVE Gifting. To host a live stream you must have more than 1,000 followers and be 16 or older. To then receive gifts in conjunction with your livestream, you must be at least 18 years old.
When you go live, users can send you gifts in real time. And at the end of your stream, a summary will show you the coin value of the gifts you received. To see how many diamonds you’ve earned and withdraw funds, tap ‘Balance’ under ‘Settings and Privacy’ and then tap ‘LIVE Gifts.’
Other ways to get paid on TikTok
By this point, you’ve figured out that to you need a significant number of followers just to start making money on TikTok. But, there are other ways to get paid that don’t involve working directly with TikTok’s monetization tools. You’ll still need to show brands that you have some kind of clout, but this way, you don’t need a minimum number of followers to start hustling.
Influencer marketing: Gaining a loyal following, no matter how small, means that people trust and listen to you. And brands want to work with creators who have that kind of influence. If you don’t belong to TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, you can connect with brands directly for sponsored posts, product reviews, account takeovers, product mentions, or playing a song over your video, which has become a popular way for record companies and artists to promote new music. Just make sure you’re being transparent about your relationships with brands and disclosing when there’s financial incentive.
Selling your own merch: You’ll need a lot of followers to make real money doing this, but since TikTok’s announced that creators can soon sell products within the app via Teespring, ecommerce is expected to play a big role on the app. While the Teespring integration isn’t yet available to all users, it’s already pretty easy to sell merchandise by adding a link in your profile to whatever third party selling app you use, such as Shopify or Magento.
Now that you’ve got the nitty gritty (emphasis on gritty) you’re ready to show the TikTok universe what you’ve got. So go ahead, and show us your best white girl dance.