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How to deal with unstable income – tips for social media influencers

In the vibrant world of social media influencing, the spotlight often shines brightest on fame, followers, and fabulous lifestyles. However, beneath the glamorous facade lies a reality that many influencers grapple with: the unpredictability of income. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, influencers face the daunting prospect of fluctuating earnings that can sometimes take a nosedive. In such a dynamic environment, the key to financial security lies in diversification and strategic planning.

One of the defining features of being a social media influencer is the variability of income. While successful campaigns and brand partnerships can bring substantial rewards, the absence of a fixed salary or stable revenue stream leaves influencers vulnerable to sudden downturns. Factors such as changes in algorithms, shifts in consumer preferences, or even personal burnout can all contribute to a decline in earnings.

Here are some tips for social media influencers who may struggle with unstable income in a way that allows you to build your wealth productively over time.

Before we get started, we are financial advisors for social media influencers. Here are some blogs that you may find useful:

Should you hire a marketing agency?

7 things you need to know about your money

Financial planning for social media influencers

Now let’s get started!

#1 Avoid overextending at the expense of your savings

The first tip we would give a social media influencer with unstable income is this – always make major financial decisions with the long term in mind. Even if you are earning a lot of money at the present, always remember this: because your revenue is subject to the vagaries of consumer viewing trends and the algorithm, you can never be 100% certain that what you are earning today will be available to fund a major long term financial commitment.

By long major financial decisions, we mean:

      • Buying a $2MM house

      • Buying a boat

      • Buying a flashy, luxurious car

      • Investing in a risky business

      • Taking an expensive vacation

    It all sounds like fun, but what’s the net financial impact?

    For influencers, income instability is best solved by prevention. Saving as much money as you can while times are good is critical.  Try asking yourself this question:

    “If I were making a far less humble living in five years, let’s say $80,000 a year, would I want to be still paying for this if it meant having to pinch pennies?”

    Or even:

    “How would I afford this if I were making half of what I earn now?”

    These are the questions you need to ask to avoid becoming financially slaughtered by unstable income. Try to stay grounded (which is hard if you are earning super high income) and don’t overcommit yourself. Safe is better than sorry. By making large purchases after you have established a strong financial foundation will allow you to continue living a good life even when income dips.

    Consider your financial commitments wisely and save as much as possible, thinking as if your stint as a social media influencer were going to be over tomorrow.

    Case study

    We worked with one influencer, let’s call her Samantha. She had tripled her income in the last year and was expecting this year to be the same or more. She was wondering how to balance the priorities of saving money and buying a home. Her goal was in 3 years she could fund her basic lifestyle of $100,000/year out of an investment portfolio.

    We helped her decide a purchase price and she bought her first home with an affordable mortgage payment. Next she paid herself a salary and lived within that, max funding her retirement accounts, and everything else when into her investments. In less than 3 years she has hit her investment goal.

    Now with an emergency portfolio set aside to grow she has the safety net that income could go to zero and she would be fine. She is saving for her dream home and will turn her current home into a rental property at that time. She just purchased herself and her mom nice cars and took her family on a dream vacation.


    #2 Diversify your revenue streams

    There is a multitude of ways that you could earn money as a social media influencer. It makes good business sense to branch out and find alternative ways of monetizing your social media following. You may want to speak with your agency or other social media influencers who have done this before.

    Here are some typical ways that social media influencers branch out and reduce income instability:

      • Running paid retreats or getaway weekends
      • Asking for donations through Patreon
      • Paid sponsorships  
      • Selling your own branded products
      • Sell digital products like online courses or exclusive content subscriptions
      • Posting affiliate links
      • Exploring multiple platforms like a podcast or an emerging platform

    This way, you aren’t putting all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to earning money from your social media channel.


    #3 Put your savings to work

    You also may diversify your income by way of investment. Here are some ways you can generate additional earnings using the money you have saved from your channel:

      • Investing in cash flowing real estate
      • Buying stocks that pay dividends or bonds that pay interest payments
      • Investing preferred stocks that pay a dividend
      • Investing the stock market and earning appreciation on your shares

    All of the investment options above are dependent upon your unique goals, risk tolerance, and preferences. It’s best to speak with a financial advisor if you have questions.


    #4 Create a financial plan

    One way to manage the risk of income instability is to be prepared for it. Conduct a risk assessment and map out what your finances look like after:

      • A 5% drop in income
      • A 10% drop in income
      • A 50% drop in income

    How would you adjust?

    Which expenses would be flexible, and which would you be unable to eliminate?

    Do you have an emergency fund, a pile of cash set aside to support your living expenses for 6-9 months if your income were to decline this way? This type of risk assessment is best performed along with an overall financial plan and budget. This can help you prepare for any variability in your revenues from your social media channel.


    Don’t be a victim of income instability!

    Social media success is a boon – and it can be short-lived – but that doesn’t mean your wealth has to be. Making smart moves can help foster a healthy long term financial situation for you, regardless of what happens with your social media channel.

    We are financial advisors for social media influencers. If you wish to speak with us, please set up a time.

    Nicole Roberts CFP® is a financial advisor for widows, divorced, and single women. 


    Case studies presented are based on actual clients, however, the information has been changed or altered for anonymity. These studies are provided for educational purposes only.  Similar, or even positive results, cannot be guaranteed.  Each client has their own unique set of circumstances so products and strategies may not by suitable for all people.  Please consult with a qualified professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. 

    No portion of these case studies is to be interpreted as a testimonial or endorsement of the firms’ investment advisory services. 

    Rock House Financial (RH Advisors) throughout this website has provided links to various other websites. While the firm believes this information to be reasonably reliable, current and valuable to its clients, The firm provides these links on a strictly informational basis only and cannot be held liable for the accuracy, time sensitive nature, or viability of any information shown on these sites.

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