5 Ways to Monetize Your Audience

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Paulina Sáez

Last week I shared how I gained 200 followers on X in a single day. But why would I want to have more followers? Why does this matter?

I believe that building an audience is one of the best routes to earn a living doing what you love.

An audience is a group of people who are interested in what you have to say and what you or your business does. It’s not simply a number of followers or potential customers. These are people who trust and respect you, who share your beliefs, and who align with your principles and values.

Reasons to build an audience

Here are my reasons to build an audience:

  • I want to connect with interesting people (yes, that’s you!). My goal is to share things with people who share my passions.
  • I want to increase my chances of getting lucky: more exposure means more chances of stumbling upon unexpected opportunities.
  • I want to learn about how can I better help my audience, directly from their mouths.
  • I want to create a support network to get feedback and ask for help when I need it.

Why should you care?

Because building an online audience can benefit you, no matter what you do:

  • If you’re a freelancer or an agency owner: Imagine if clients came to you directly, without having to submit a lengthy application or having to chase them. This is what you could get by building an audience: they follow you, they like what you share, and then they decide to buy from you.
  • If you have a product to sell: When people see how much effort you put into building your product you earn their trust, making selling so much easier. Even without direct promotion, building in public can lead to sales.
  • If you are building a startup: You can attract opportunities without actively seeking them, like Jon Yongfook, who received an offer from Hithen Shah for an image generator he created just by putting himself out there. He didn’t even have to ask for it!
  • If you’re unemployed: An audience can be a safety net. You can always reach out to your audience to get a job if everything goes wrong.

Still not convinced? Keep reading anyway because I’ll show below how others have successfully leveraged their audience to earn a living.

5 Ways to Monetize Your Audience

  1. Infoproducts
  2. Services
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Tools
  5. Speaking

1. Infoproducts

Infoproducts are products that give value in the form of information like books, courses, or guides.

Lucy Simkins from English with Lucy earns over 7 figures annually through a mix of courses, ads, sponsorships, and YouTube. She sells self-paced English courses, averaging $280 each. Her premium plan includes access to her community and personalized feedback.

Eric Partaker, an ex-McKinsey consultant, is the creator of the Peak Performance newsletter. He offered a Peak Performance Master’s Program for $297 (now closed for enrollment). If he offered it now to his 235k readers he could earn well over $1 million (at a 2% conversion rate).

2. Services

While other content creators struggle to monetize their audience, these two entrepreneurs have cracked the code by offering services and turning their followers into their financial backbone.

Kyle Vamvouris is the founder of Vouris, a sales consulting company that helps companies improve their sales processes. He generates $1.4 million in annual revenue with just 5,000 monthly website visitors. He’s able to achieve this sum by offering group coaching and consulting services.

Ben Meer offers 1:1 coaching to help people become thought leaders on LinkedIn. He earns $1.5 million annually from coaching, courses, newsletter sponsorships, and affiliate marketing.

3. Sponsorships

Sponsorships are a popular revenue source for those with a decent following.

The Pour Over is a newsletter that delivers news with a Christian perspective to over 500k subscribers. Jason Woodruff, the creator, started it in May 2018. He generates revenue mainly through sponsorships, bringing in over $1 million per year.

Wojciech Wegrzynski has a podcast for a super niche audience: fire scientists. Despite  The Fire Science Show averaging just 500 downloads per episode, it generates over $20k per year mainly through sponsorships.

4. Tools

If you’re a nerd tech-savvy you can build software or apps to solve your audience problems and charge for it.

Austin Belcak, the founder of Cultivated Culture, built tools to help people with their resumes and job search. It operates on a freemium model, giving users 10 free credits each month and charging ~$100 per year for additional credits.

Tim Stoddart built a directory of rehab centers to assist followers from his Facebook page in finding help. He generates income by charging these centers for listing in his directory or for advertising opportunities. This alone brings in $250K per year. Additionally, he supplements his earnings by offering digital marketing services to businesses within his directory (a clever way to upsell!).

5. Speaking

If you’re not afraid of public speaking (or if you’ve decided it’s time to overcome that fear once and for all), speaking gigs can be a great way to earn some extra money.

Heather Cox Richardson is the author of  Letters From an American newsletter. With over 1.2 million subscribers, this makes it the largest publication on Substack today. She earns an impressive $1 million per month through a combination of Substack-paid subscriptions, her teaching salary, and speaking fees. Her speaking fee is listed between $50k-$100k for live events. Not bad for a history teacher.

Khe Hy, a former Wall Street professional, shares his insights with 50k readers in his newsletter, RadReads. In addition to his course earnings, he supplements his income with speaking gigs where he discusses topics like productivity and alternative career paths for people in the Financial Services Industry.

Building an audience is definitely a challenge. But creating a connection with your people is worth it, even if you don’t monetize it at all. Personally, the most enjoyable part of writing this newsletter is the feedback I receive.

As for the future, I’m considering monetizing the newsletter by offering you something valuable, like an ebook or some handy Notion templates, and exploring sponsorship options.

How about you? Are you thinking of trying out some of these strategies with your audience?

This Week’s Picks

  • Stories From The Trenches: How Jordan Hughes built a 6-figure Figma template business in 3 years​
    This deep dive reveals how Jordan managed to grow Untitled UI to 100k users in just three years, despite being a newcomer to the world of UI and product design (he read his first UI book in 2019).
  • Bring Me The Money: How To Build A Sales Funnel That Makes Money
    The key to any successful business is a healthy sales funnel. In this video, the founder of The Smart Marketer simplifies the process. This one’s focused on setting up a funnel in Shopify, but the principles can be applied to any type of platform or offer.
  • Audience & Content: To Share, or Not to Share
    “What can I share? What should I share? Do I have to share everything?”. This is what Kevon Cheung, from Public Lab answers in this article. He shares a framework to evaluate what’s worth sharing and give value to your community.
  • It’s All About You: Coping mechanism and process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things)
    In this post, Tim Ferriss shares eight strategies that have enabled him to overcome procrastination and achieve significant outcomes even when he’s not feeling efficient.
  • Re-Sources: Making of a Membership Community Course
    This is a free workshop to help entrepreneurs launch and grow profitable online membership communities. It draws on the experience of Pat Flynn, the owner of Smart Passive Income, offering strategies and insights for effective community building.
  • Internet Candy: The pefect setup doesn’t exi—

I would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment below.

Stay humble,


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Paulina is the creator and main writer at UpGroves. She spends her days analyzing how successful creators and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. She's a curious generalist that likes to spend her time going down on internet rabbit holes, reading, and walking in nature.

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