Turn Your Instagram into a Money-Making Business: Part I

How to Turn Your Instagram Account into a Money-Making Business

Are you ready to understand, negotiate and realize your own marketing value as an Influencer? Learn how to turn your Instagram into a money-making business with our first-hand advice. 

desk computer to start money-making business on Instagram

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Whether your initial motivation to begin your Instagram feed was monetarily based or not, making money with your feed is appealing to most everyone. Turning your Instagram into a money-making business certainly appeals to you, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Jodie and I began our Instagram feeds for other reasons.

We wanted to share our passions, connect with people, build friendships, and have fun. We have done all those things; honestly, joyfully, passionately, and in the process, we became influencers. With all the time and commitment that is required, our Instagram feeds have taken on all the characteristics of a serious part-time job. 

You can Google until your fingers cramp up and not find any hard facts. Why? Number one, influencers don’t really talk about getting paid. It’s all very hush, hush, which works against us. Number two, influencer marketing is evolving at the speed of light.  This is the wild west. There are few rules, and they are constantly changing. 

The power we have as influencers is increasing in the marketplace at a mind-bending pace. We need to learn how to harness this power so we don’t give it away.

1. Turn Your Instagram Into a Money-Making Business: Know Your Own Worth

We’re going to paint a picture for you. Imagine you go to school or work as an apprentice where you learn your trade. Let’s say you put 500 hours into learning your craft. Now you have something to offer. This is the equivalent to building a following on Instagram. Once you have a loyal, sizable following you have some worth as an influencer.

The bigger and more engaged your following is, the greater your marketing worth. By the way, companies look at all components of your feed, not just how many people follow. They have the tools to see if likes or followers are acquired in any other way but organically.

Your account value is based mainly on: follower count, engagement rate, audience authenticity, and audience reach. To understand your current value, including the details of all your analytics, read “How to Avoid Influencer Fraud.”

white keyboard money-making business

2. Know the Value of a Post

When someone offers to send you something in exchange for a post it’s important to know what this is worth. Depending on how big your feed and how engaged your following will determine your marketing reach. This in turn determines the value of a post on your feed.

This is generally how we calculate. We consider the time it takes to receive, style, photograph and create a high-quality post. Suddenly, that free item becomes a job. We do a little math and figure out our hourly wage based on the product value.

Ask yourself, do you want the item and how much is it worth to you?  If you love the product, love the vendor, have the time to spend, and know that it will add to your feed, then negotiate accordingly. If any of these components are missing, you might want to politely decline or negotiate appropriate compensation.

For more inspiration to turn your Instagram into a money-making business, read Sprout Social’s, “7 Simple Steps to Master Instagram for Business.”

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3. Know the Power of a Post

We always consider what the post will do to our feeds (positive or negative), how our followers will react to each post, and ask ourselves: Is it in line with who we are? Every post has the power to grow or diminish your following. If you are not careful and purposeful you may compromise your growth. Now that free product has a real cost.

Consider this: Your reputation is at stake with every collaboration. Your followers’ trust is at stake with every collaboration. Be sure you are always authentic and honest with your followers. Make sure what you advertise fits your brand.

4. Turn Your Instagram Into a Money-Making Business: Be Proactive

Be proactive in our marketing endeavors. See a brand or product you would love to represent? Go to them. Sell yourself. The more you do this the more confident you will become. Companies love people who are passionate about them and their products. Plus, it never hurts to ask, right?

turn your Instagram into a money-making business with organized lists

5. Back to Number One: Know Your Own Worth

We have to say this again, because if you don’t know your own worth and negotiate for it then you won’t have it.  

We begin this IG journey, and our feeds do not have any value. At what point does that change? It’s hard to say. The more informed you are on this topic the more power you have.

If you want to turn your Instagram into a money-making business, you must start treating your account more like a business. Each post is an opportunity to grow your marketing value. Our advice is that once you have built something meaningful, and thus powerful, do not sell yourself short. It is truly up to you to negotiate, manage and realize your own value.

For more tips on how to improve your Instagram business game, read our other Instagram related blog posts.

jodie & julie


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Turn Your Instagram Into a Money-Making Business
Article Name
Turn Your Instagram Into a Money-Making Business
Understand, negotiate and realize your own marketing value as an Influencer. Turn your Instagram into a money-making business.
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The Design Twins
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  1. Sonia Saunders says:

    What a wonderful post! Thank you! I am a SAHM of 3 wonderful, active kids, and my husband and I are currently designing our own modem farmhouse to build. I have become involved in the home decor community, and I can’t get enough! It’s such a delightful community and I want to get involved! This blog post has given me a huge amount of inspiration!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Sonia, It’s so nice to “meet” you! Nothing could make us happier than to have inspired you here! Just so you know, you’ve made our day with that response!! The home decor community on IG is amazing. Besides oodles and oodles of decor and design inspiration behind the beautiful pictures are many loving souls. Being involved in this community has brightened and impacted our lives in meaningful and gorgeous ways, mostly because of the people. We are happy to welcome you “to the fold” and wish you much success. Gratefully yours, Julie & Jodie

  2. Cindy says:

    I am navigating this right now, both with my IG and blog {already getting requests for sponsored posts and wondering what to charge}. Many factors come into play for me…is it a small shop or a large company? How long does a post on IG need to stay up before I can post again? Company/shop requirements too constricting? Anyway…such a fluid thing. Thanks for a great post. And thanks for encouraging us to know our worth as creators and influencers.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Welcome to our blog, Cindy! We are thrilled that you took the time to visit, read and respond! Your reply is spot on. There are so many considerations and every single collaboration is its own unique “animal”. There are many factors to consider. I also love the way you described it as “fluid”…yes! Fluid as in ever-changing, ever-evolving. Fluidity is a big part of the struggle and the fun of it all! This is just the beginning of our blog series, so we hope you will stay connected (sign up if you haven’t already) and tune in for the continuation of this and other related topics. We wish your joy and success in all your endeavors, Julie & Jodie

  3. Patty says:

    Thanks for all the great info. I am fairly new to Insta gram and it’s great to find those who are willing to share what they have learned. Hats off to you ladies. Blessings !

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Patty! We are so glad you found this topic engaging. Jodie and I are both teachers, well, former teachers….but once a teacher always a teacher 🙂 We also pride ourselves on authenticity and honesty. Even though this topic was a bit risky we feel it is valuable. Of course we are only sharing our own experience, and everyone’s perspective is different. That being said, we are excited to continue to share and so happy to have you with us on this journey! Much love, Julie & Jodie

  4. Resa Bartlett says:

    Thank you so much for this inspiring post! As a fairly new IGer this has honestly never occurred to me! Lots of thoughts now going through my head lol… I look forward to your next post on this subject! Sincerely and with Love and Hugs,
    Resa @TheFarmhouse31

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Resa! Firstly, thank you so much for reading and for your kind reply. Jodie and I were “dedicating our lives” to IG for a long time (maybe a year and a half) before we had any notion of where it might lead (besides making friends and being inspired). The idea of it leading to making money didn’t occur to us, and honestly, I think is one of the reasons for our success. Everyone has a different path for sure, but leading with your heart and being truly authentic is the all-important foundation. Success comes as a result of selfless passion and dedication. The truth is in this saying, “Do what you love and the money will follow”. If money is the first goal I don’t think it works. We wish you great success, Julie & Jodie

  5. Kate says:

    Great post! I’ve recently been putting this to action and have been reaching out to companies that I truly love. I couldn’t agree more that my time is money! Great ideas here ladies! Keep up the great work!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Kate, Thank you so much for reading and your kind response. We are so glad you found our post helpful and in line with what you are doing. Everyone is at a different stage, so it’s hard to create a post that addresses everyone. For some, this will be ahead of where they find themselves, and others, this may be behind. We hope that through the series we will help and address all stages. Jodie and I are so happy to be connected to you. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  6. Karen King says:

    Thanks so much sisters!!! I’m printing this out to reference as I begin production and organizing my own blog. Love you girls!! You’re truly are influencers!!!❤️❤️

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Karen, We are so happy that you found our information here helpful. This is only the beginning. There are many other aspects we will be discussing regarding the topic of making money on Instagram, so we hope you will stay tuned. Thank you so very much for your wonderful heart-felt response. We feel your love and return it happily. God bless, Julie & Jodie

  7. Shelly Barnes says:

    This is such a wonderful post! Already learning so much from you lovely ladies! ? Excited to read part 2!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Shelly, we are incredibly pleased to hear that you feel you are learning from our posts. We are working hard to create content that can shed light on topics people care about. Today’s was a bit risky, but we felt absolutely worth it. We are committed to honesty and enlightenment. Anything we can do to help pave the way and create honest dialogue we are willing to do. Thank you again for your amazing support, Julie & Jodie

  8. Lindsey says:

    I’m not a person that likes to look though blogs or read toon of information on a subject unless I am really interested in it. I’ve been on your blog a couple of times now because I follow both of you on IG and to be honest both of those post have been tremendously helpful and to the point. Thank you for being honest, humble and straight to the point I really enjoy your blog.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Wow, Lindsey! We are so excited to read your reply. What a compliment to hear that our posts have been helpful. This is all we hope for. Your support and encouragement means everything to us. We will continue to do our best to create useful and concise content. This is our ultimate goal and one we are absolutely committed to. Thank you for your sweet praise. God bless, Julie & Jodie

      • Amanda says:

        Hi, I’m so excited about someone finally talking about these topics. I started an instagram page just dedicated to my new house and decorating but my thing is when you post something you may gain 1 follower and lose 2 or 3 and it hurts. Then you play along with a tag hoping to gain friends or likes and it doesn’t happen and then it seems the same set of people keep winning or get posted about and my question is and it’s sort of off topic a little but how do you go about gaining a following or find people to collaborate with. How do you get in on the tags that say follow this person to play and so on and so forth? There are some people who started after me but have 10k in no time but keep posting the same staircase etc and they are gaining followers or started a month ago and have 45 posts and 2000 likes…..I’m sorry for all the questions it’s just so mysterious and no one wants to talk about it when you ask. Thanks

        • jjdesigntwins says:

          Hi Amanda, We are so glad you are here. We can tell you are frustrated, and we have to admit, we have both experienced our share of frustrations along this IG journey. But the positives for us have far outweighed the negatives, so we forge on. It’s a bit like life. We find this journey to be one long learning curve. We have learned what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. Over time our focus has narrowed, our IG “identities” have emerged, our picture-taking has improved, etc. etc. It all takes time. IG is its own animal…we don’t have explanations for why so many things happen, but we don’t waste time focusing on the unexplainable. Many things don’t seem “fair”, but that’s life too. Our advice is to focus less on others and what you can’t control and more on what you can control. There are a lot of topics and questions of yours which we hope to answer as we continue this series on Instagram and how to make it successful. We hope you will join us. Wishing you all the best, Julie & Jodie

  9. Pamela says:

    Great information!!! Loving your blog ladies ❤️❤️❤️

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Greetings Pamela! Oh we are so glad to hear that! Your support means so much to us. We know it takes time to visit, read, and then reply and we are ever so appreciative. We hope you will continue to enjoy our posts. And we will always love to hear your feedback regarding what topics you are interested in etc. Until the next time, God bless, Julie & Jodie

  10. jjdesigntwins says:

    Rachel, Sweet Rachel! Thank you love! Your support means everything to us!! It is so important to have open lines of communication as we navigate these uncharted waters. True friendships have been forged (yours included 🙂 and are a priceless gift beyond all other compensation. When your heart is full, money doesn’t compare! That’s how we feel about you, darling friend. Blessed beyond words to be traveling this road with you! Always, Julie & Jodie

  11. Great post, ladies! I would love to become an influencer, as you know, I still have a lot to learn to get there,! Your post provides great inspiration, can’t wait for Part II!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Ellen, Thank you so much for popping on and leaving a sweet comment. Our advice is enjoy the journey and the destination will take care of itself. We all are learning. Hopefully we grow and learn just a little with each passing day. We hope you will sign up to receive our email so you won’t miss any of our IG advice. This is the first in our serie,s and we plan on covering many more topics regarding Instagram. We wish you great success as you travel your road! Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  12. Jamie says:

    I’ve been following you both for about a year now and am inspired by you in many ways. Everything you do on Instagram is perfect. Your pictures, your uplifting words and comments; your whole presence. I always know that if it’s a post from one of you, it will be beautiful and positive.. Thank you for being good role models. Thank you for sharing these tips. ?

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Wow, your comment just made both of our day!! We are truly touched by your kind praise. We do dedicate a lot of time to our Instagrams and it makes us so very happy that you find our feeds inspiring. And we are even happier that you made it over to our blog. We are far from perfect, but we are so glad you enjoy our posts, our pictures, and our words. We look forward to continuing to help motivate and inspire. With love and gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  13. Lisa Edwards says:

    Thanks for the advice.
    Meet you girls.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Lisa,
      You are so very welcome! Jodie and I are so glad you found us, took the time to read, and also took the time to leave a kind reply. It means a lot to us. We know that everyone is on Instagram for a million different reasons, but we hope our experience and advice on the topic can help others understand the platform better and how to use it. We hope you will continue to read our blog and reach out to say “hi” when you do. Grateful for your follow, with love, Julie & Jodie

  14. Well, my ignorance is going to be very clear on the subject. Truth be told while I have discovered you and others on Instagram I still sit here like a dummy not understanding how to,post my own Instagram. I asked my 15 year old granddaughter to help, the problem – her finding time in her hectic schedule. But I am motivated, and trust me, where there is a will there is a way and I will prevail. Quick question if I may – I collected antiques, primitives primarily, for close to 30 years (now you understand my inability to simply figure out Instagram – age-) I am looking to downsize and share my finds with others who have a love for what once was. My prices are more than reasonable – IS INSTAGRAM A VENUE I COULD USE?

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      Thank you for your comment and for being so open about your “ignorance” when it comes to IG. You are in very good company because no one knows it all…and especially when it comes to technology! Social media is always and forever changing so just when you think you have figured something else, something NEW comes along to challenge you and put you back in your place. For example, I am very much a novice when it comes to Pinterest and Facebook. Go figure. We all have our domains and areas where we can improve. That’s just life. To answer your question, YES, IG is a place were you could offer your items for sale. You could do “pop up shops” or “flash sales” and that is when you post items up for sale all at one time. You announce it ahead of time and tell people to be ready at that time and you post your items one after another. You can search for this being done currently and follow the models you find. I must admit, IG is not very user-friendly at first. But the good news is that it’s not THAT complicated. Once you know what each of the buttons means it’s not hard to navigate. I might suggest searching “IG for beginners” on Youtube and watching a video tutorial. And come back to ask more questions! Always happy to help! xoxo With love and blessings, Jodie & Julie

  15. Jodie & Julie:

    You are as kind as everyone says.

    I Thank YOU soo very much for the information, it is appreciated more than you know.


    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Kathleen, You are such a dear! Thank you for your kind words! We are hear to help….so to know that others are benefiting from our efforts makes it all worth while! God bless! xoxo Jodie & Julie

  16. Ann Miller says:


    Love your posts and feels so blessed that I met you at the store Julie. Meetings like that happen for a reason so I am following it. As I am trying to learn the in’s and out’s and upside downs of IG, I am trying to understand tagging and the influencer end of it. . I am hoping that soon some of the complexities of IG will fall into place.In the meantime, I am so happy for you and Jodie!


    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Ann, It’s Julie here. I definitely believe that every single thing happens just as it should. I couldn’t believe how my sis found and replied to you regarding your beautiful barn door completely unaware of our encounter. You should have seen my face as she told me the story! Learning something entirely new is tough, and I can certainly relate as Jodie and I try to tackle the “back side” of blogging. If it were just writing and taking pictures it would be a snap. However, it involves SO much more than that. And we’re also trying to learn the business side of Facebook and Pinterest all at the same time. It is overwhelming. But if celebrate each small victory we will both get to where we want to be eventually. As I have said many times, it is way more important to enjoy the journey than to simply shoot for the destination. I wish you so much success and hope you will come back here often and “visit”. Blessings, Julie

  17. jjdesigntwins says:

    Loi, Again, thank you for reading and for your kindness! Congratulations on your new home! Jodie and I went and visited the Cotswolds last year for the first time, and your home really looks like that fairy tale place! Oh, and how you can tell us apart is I (Julie) have a narrower face. With identical twins there is always one who has a narrower and one who has a wider face. Did you know that? Also, Jodie colors her hair lighter than I do. That’s probably the easier 🙂 Happy to be connected and looking forward to helping you with our continued series on Instagram Insights. Best, Julie & Jodie

  18. Jodi says:

    Thank you ladies for these posts! It truly is motivating!!my photography is getting much better and after reading your post I do many things well, but lack in others. I totally believe in responding back to others. It felt like last year I couldn’t get over 300 followers and now I’m getting close to 700. I know this is nowhere near the 100k, but that would be a dream! ???????? The other thing I’m not doing is posting more often. I probably only post once or twice a week on average. While I want to keep going my Instagram account going strong I don’t think I could post every single day. :/ I love to post decor, but I’m also posting family shots as I have teenagers who are athletes and I want to share this because I feel there are so many more young moms with young kids and they will be in the teen years in no time. I just adore these years! I really enjoy doing this combo! Do you think this will be a detriment? You gals are just the best!! Thanks for all you do!!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Jodi, Welcome to our blog, sweetheart! We are so grateful you are here. Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. Those are good questions. To answer your questions you need to address: what are your goals? It’s important to define your niche. Are you lifestyle? I wish I knew your Instagram name so I could look, but when you receive this you could DM me. If there is a community on Instagram that is interested in family life photos and home decor you could be successful there. Since I am not in such a community I am not sure. Most people keep their kids and family lives private or separate. There are successful family life blogs and therefore IG’s out there, I’m just not in that realm so it’s harder for me to know what advice to give you. I know for a fact that someone in the home decor community who is posting family/personal photos regularly will definitely lose followers. Jodie and I try to mainly keep our personal side limited to stories and the writing part and keep the home decor inspiration photos consistent. Also, twice a week is probably going to slow your growth way down compared to if you posted once a day. But these are decisions you have to weigh for yourself. You say that you are enjoying what you are doing…enjoy! Jodie and I enjoy what we are doing. You really do need to enjoy it. We hear a lot of back chatter of people complaining about IG or the “work” involved and Jodes and I just don’t feel that. We get so much positivity out of it that it makes it joyful. Wishing you a joyful journey, dear Jodi! Your friends, Julie & Jodie

  19. Keri says:

    This post was so insightful. I love y’all’s authenticity in all that you do. So excited about March Madness! Keep up the creative work!

  20. Bobbi says:

    Both of you are so kind and inspiring.
    I look forward to reading your Blog Posts and
    Want to tell you again, thank you for all the work you put into teaching and guiding all of us!

  21. Great article. Thank you for all the wonderful tips.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      You’re so welcome. We are so glad you found this blog post helpful. Hope to hear from you again in the future.
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

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