How to Become a Paid Influencer - In 12 Easy Steps

If anyone believes there are 12 easy steps to becoming an influencer, you don't have what it takes to become one. We will share the commonalities of those who have succeeded.


Bill Arnold

1/12/20246 min read

How to Become a Paid Influencer
How to Become a Paid Influencer

We live in a world where it seems everybody wants to be a paid influencer. If you spend any time on TikTok, Instagram, X, YouTube, or any number of social platforms, your “FYP” is filled with those who want to quit their 9-5 and become the next internet sensation.

We have all seen those sensations that have millions of followers and are pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars for posting about a particular brand. I have seen firsthand individuals who set out to become the biggest influencers in their field and succeed, so I know it is possible. There is a price to pay to achieve any degree of fame. It requires discipline. The relentless drive to continue long after your friends and family have quit “liking” your content. To get up every day with the dogged audacity to believe you can defy all odds and be “The ONE” who has amassed a large following. To continue long after the motivation has left your soul and all that is left is the discipline to soldier on.

If you are prepared to create content that nobody sees, shares, or cares about, until they do, you can be an influencer.

There is no roadmap to how to become an influencer. If there was, I would be one. So why do I have the audacity to tell you how to become an influencer? Well, besides my big ego, I have hired and worked with influencers on countless marketing programs. I have heard their stories and began to draw certain commonalities. I have watched people who have made the commitment and become the top influencers in their field. I saw their drive and determination to defy all odds and achieve their goals. While they would be better discussing how they did it, your path will not be theirs.

I have already written much about influencers, what they can earn, and how best they can be used in a series of blogs:

They all looked at it from the perspective of the marketer who wants to find and use an influencer who can help its brand awareness and sales. This article is for those who want to be an influencer.

The 12 Steps to Becoming an Influencer

If anyone believes there are 12 easy steps to becoming an influencer, you don't have what it takes to become one. Nothing about becoming an influencer is easy. Like any entrepreneur, you will quit your 9–5 job making a livable wage to work constantly for little or no recognition or money for the foreseeable future. It is hard work and there is no guarantee of success. Did I talk you out of your dream? If not, then let’s begin. Maybe you do have what it takes after all.

Find Your Passion – Finding your passion may not be as easy as you think. If you have natural talents, like singing, comedy, painting, etc., you have a leg-up on many of us untalented wannabes. Certain passions have a natural audience that makes it easier to find committed followers. For others, it is a much heavier lift.

Tale of Two Passions – I have a passion for marketing. I see life as opportunities to market ideas, products, or services. I believe that in every interaction, someone is always trying to sell something, even if it is just an idea. The person who is better at marketing, and presenting their thoughts, usually prevails. Despite the fact that every human interaction has a marketing component, it is extremely hard to find marketing devotees.

However, if you pick a topic like Gaming, Fashion, Travel, Politics, Cryptocurrency, Beauty, etc., you will have an easier time finding interested followers. The moral is to find a passion that already has a built-in audience looking for content.

Choose the Right Platforms Creating a strong online presence is essential for aspiring influencers. Start by choosing the right social media platforms that align with your target audience. Whether it's Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or a combination of platforms, ensure that you consistently produce high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

Sometimes, the choice is obvious. If your expertise favors long-form video content, you will need to focus on YouTube as your primary vehicle and use short videos on the other channels to promote it. We have seen the same content die on one platform and flourish on another.

If you are not sure where to begin, experiment with them all, trying different variations, lengths and formats of the content. The metrics will soon give you the right path.

Know your Audience - Understanding your targeted audience is critical. What type of content do they prefer? When do they frequent the channel for information? Do they prefer long or short-form videos? What hashtags do they follow? Do your research and create content that strategically utilizes the information.

Learn From Others - Study those who are trying to engage the audience in a similar manner. Study those who are targeting the same audience for a different purpose. Learn why they are succeeding. The point is not to duplicate them but to improve your content, pull ideas, and present them in your style.

High-Quality Content – Produce great content. Remember that the first exposure a potential follower might see is the one you are least proud of. Make sure that every post, story, and video gives a person a reason to follow your journey. Always favor quality over quantity. It is better to start out in a modest way and deliver exceptional content than to deliver mediocre content daily.

It is important that your content is unique and authentic. Do not be a poor version of someone else, even if they are successful. If you want to be an influencer, then you need to have a brand that shows who you are and what you bring to the table.

Consistency – Being consistent is the key to becoming a fan favorite. Commit to a schedule that allows you to produce high-value high-quality content and stick to it. That does not mean you don’t show up every day to create content. It means that you find the flow that allows you to release consistently great content on a predictable schedule.

Develop a content strategy that showcases your expertise, provides value, and engages your followers. Use a mix of photos, videos, and captions that reflect your unique personality and style. Consistency is key, so establish a regular posting schedule to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Engage with Your Audience - Building a loyal following involves more than just posting content. Actively engage with your audience by responding to comments, messages, and direct interactions. Show genuine interest in your followers' opinions, questions, and feedback. This interaction not only helps you build a stronger connection with your audience but also provides valuable insights into their preferences and needs.

Encourage your followers to share their experiences and tag you in their posts. This user-generated content can help expand your reach and attract new followers who resonate with your brand and message.

Engagement is much like a game of tennis. You always hit the ball back. If someone likes, comments or shares your content, let them know you appreciate them and their actions. Engage with them and build a relationship.

Attend Real World Events - As your influence grows, you may receive invitations to attend events or speak at conferences. Use these opportunities to network with industry professionals, fellow influencers, and potential collaborators. Speaking engagements can also be a source of income, as event organizers often pay speakers for their expertise and insights.

Ensure that you prepare engaging presentations that provide value to the audience. Use your personal experiences and expertise to inspire and educate others. These events can enhance your credibility, expand your network, and open doors to new opportunities.

Collaborate with Brands - As your influence grows, brands and businesses will take notice. Collaborating with relevant brands can be a lucrative way to monetize your efforts as an influencer. However, it is essential to choose partnerships that align with your values and resonate with your audience. Authenticity and transparency are key to maintaining trust with your followers.

Reach out to brands that align with your niche and propose mutually beneficial collaborations. This could include sponsored content, product reviews, brand ambassadorships, or even affiliate marketing partnerships. Negotiate fair compensation for your work and ensure that the collaboration provides value to both you and your audience.

Ignore the Trolls – You will always have someone who takes offense or dislikes what you do or stand for. Do not give them any oxygen. Ignore, delete, and block the negativity and the comment.

Study the Metrics – All the social media platforms have excellent analytics. They will tell you what and how much of your content is being watched, shared, and liked. After you get several months of data, you will see patterns and can begin optimizing what is resonating with your audience. Optimize, Optimize, and Optimize every day. Never get complacent.

Just Start – Don’t wait for everything to align before you begin, just start. It doesn’t matter if the first 100 videos are crappy, as nobody is watching anyway. You will begin to find a pattern and learn what is working for you. By the time you start to get a following, you will have honed your craft and will be ready for your fame.


Becoming an influencer, and monetizing your efforts, requires dedication, authenticity, and strategic planning. By identifying your niche, building a strong online presence, engaging with your audience, collaborating with brands, and attending events, you can pave the way for a successful influencer career.

Remember, building influence takes time, so be patient and consistent in your efforts. Stay true to your values and provide value to your audience, and you will be on your way to becoming a successful influencer.

Above all - believe in yourself, and when you stop feeling motivated, become disciplined. It is much better to have the pain of hard work than the pain of not fulfilling your dreams.