1. Sell your social media services

One of the best ways to make money from Instagram is to build a popular profile and then use it to get hired as a consultant or social media manager.

Just look at Gary Vaynerchuk. He built these huge social media profiles with his own content and now makes millions selling social media marketing services with companies like VaynerMedia.

To keep costs minimal, you could use profiles on freelance sites like Fiverr or UpWork to get paid.

Or, you could even use email and PayPal. You don't necessarily need to pay for a website to make a social media services business work.

2. Build new accounts and sell them

Another thing you can do is build new Instagram accounts and sell them at sites like Viral Accounts or FameSwap.

For Viral Accounts, you'll need at least 40,000 active followers before you can list your Instagram profile for sale.

For FameSwap, it can vary, but you might shoot for the same general criteria just to be safe.

3. Sponsored posts

If you want to get paid just to have lots of great followers who love you like many “social media influencers” do, you can try making money from sponsored posts.

There are two main ways you can do this once you have quite a few followers:

  1. Use sites like iFluenz to get matched with brands that will pay you to include their products in your content in exchange for payment.
  2. Have a contact email or website where brands can reach out to you about a sponsored post deal.

iFluenz requires 5,000 followers if you're interested in using them to get matches with brands. You can get an estimate of how much you could make on iFluenz by using their calculator here.

To see some sponsored post examples on Intagram, just search #ad in the search bar. You're required to include that hashtag as disclosure to fans when you are posting something that is a paid promotion.

4. Paid Shoutouts

Another great way to make money from Instagram, especially if you're going for more of the influencer route, is to have paid shoutouts.

Shoutouts are basically endorsements of other profiles in a similar niche to yours.

You might have a photo with you and the other user together with a mention of their profile in the description or something along those lines.

One website you can use to get paid to give people shoutouts on Instagram is Shoutcart.

With Shoutcart, there is no minimum follower count needed and they take about 10% of sales for their commission.

5. Merch-on-demand

If you want to get creative and actually sell some products using Instagram, you can promote your own line of merch.

Merch can include coffee mugs, hoodies, t-shirts, phone cases and much more.

The thing is, you might want to use print-on-demand sites like Teespring or Redbubble because it can be very expensive as well as stressful to deal with manufacturers, packing, shipping and customer support.

With many print-on-demand sites, you just upload your design and you can create many different products for sale.

The company you sell it with will take a cut of the sale in exchange for doing the printing, packing, and shipping of the products.

Lots of gamers and influencers sell their own merch like this.

And if you're not very artistic, don't worry, you can use graphic design sites like DesignCrowd to outsource the creation of your designs.

6. Graphic design services

Speaking of graphic design services, you can also do all sorts of designs on your Instagram profile and then sell your services as a designer.

If you want to sell your services without paying to maintain a website, you can include your email in your Instagram bio or have a link to a freelance profile on sites like Fiverr or DesignCrowd.

7. Affiliate marketing

Another common way to make money online is by earning commissions from product sales through affiliate marketing.

If you want to do affiliate marketing on Instagram, there are a lot of ways you could do it:

  1. Have shortened links in photo descriptions where you show yourself using the product.
  2. Include a link in your bio to a place where you can collect emails and market different products to subscribers over time.
  3. Have a link in your bio to a blog post with pros and cons of product you've been promoting while including affiliate links.

One great example of a niche profile that earns affiliate revenue is ThisIsWhyImBroke.

This profile promotes a lot of crazy gift ideas and has blog posts with affiliate links to buy them.

8. Real Estate Agent/Car Dealer

If you're a real estate agent, car dealer, or something along those lines, Instagram can be a great place to show off whats for sale.

You could do images, video tours, and build a following of locals without having to compete with worldwide creators like most influencers.

Get some ideas by searching you city name with the industry you're in via hashtags like #losangelesrealestate.

9. Get traffic to YouTube channel or streaming

If you're a YouTuber or video game streamer, you can use Instagram as kind of a behind-the-scenes or teaser profile to build you following.

You can cut your videos into smaller clips and post highlights and quick tips on Instagram, for instance.

Of course, you'll want to have a link to your channel in your bio so it is easy for people to find you.

This could lead to more memberships, ad revenue, affiliate revenue, donations, and more.

Check out how Pewdiepie, one of the most successful YouTubers ever, used his Instagram as a supplement to his YouTube channel.

10. Sell digital products

Last but not least, you can sell all kinds of digital products online.

Here are just a few options:

  • eBooks/Audiobooks
  • Software
  • WordPress Themes/Plugins
  • Courses

You could promote them on Instagram with little quotes from books, short tutorials with the software, videos showcasing website themes, or even short teaser clips of courses.

If you don't want to deal with a website yet, check out Udemy for courses and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for eBooks.

Here's how you can start selling eBooks:

11. Hands-Crafted Goods

If you're more of an artist, you can try selling prints, paintings, custom jewelry, sculptures, and other handcrafted goods on Etsy or Amazon Handmade.

On Etsy, you can even make passive income by selling art that is available via direct download. This way there's no packing and shipping that you have to do to sell your prints.

You can use Instagram to show off your work and then have a link in your bio to your Etsy or Amazon Handmade store.

12. Direct Monetization

Back in June of 2020, Instagram was supposed to start rolling out direct monetization where you could make money from the following:

  • Instagram Live Badges – Badges could be purchased by fans for $0.99, $1.99 and $4.99 on Instagram Live videos (Like YouTube Super Chat).
  • IGTV Ads – At least 55% of revenue would be shared with creators, so it is pretty similar to how the split is with YouTube.
  • Instagram Shopping – This is supposed to let users tag products. This will later expand to users being able to sell their own products directly on the platform.
  • Instagram Collabs – this is a marketplace where influencers will be able to connect with sponsors.

Hopefully, you'll soon be able to start earning money through at least a few of the above options directly on Instagram kind of like how you would on other sites like YouTube.

For more on the Instagram direct monetization news, check out this article.

13. Video Editing Services

Another way you could make money from Instagram is by showing off your video editing skills.

You could make really creative, short videos, post them on Instagram and then have a link in your bio to your business/freelance page if someone wants to hire you.

For a great example of someone who built an Instagram following using animation/video editing, check out Andrea Animates.

For selling your video editing services without your own website, try creating a freelance profile on UpWork or Fiverr.

14. Sell Kindle eBooks

Another great way to make money online is by selling eBooks using Kindle Direct Publishing.

With KDP, you can self publish your books without having to deal with publishing companies.

Plus, they get sold directly on Amazon!

No matter what your books may be about, you can use Instagram to get more readers.

You could share quotes, partial chapters, and other teasers.

You might have some images or videos of you behind the scenes working on books or going through your daily routine as a writer.

There are plenty of ways to interest people using Instagram while having a link in your bio to the book purchase page or your own website.

One example of a famous writer who uses Instagram is Malcolm Gladwell.

Check out how he promotes books and other projects on Instagram to get some ideas.

15. Brand Ambassador

Another great way to build an Instagram business is to become a brand ambassador.

Now, you might be thinking that's the same thing as an influencer who does sponsored posts, but it can be different.

For instance, an influencer is just anyone who basically has a following on social media and makes money from it.

Many of them make money from sponsored posts, but these are a lot of times just one-off deals.

They might do one post on behalf of a company, get paid, and be done until another opportunity comes along.

Whereas, a brand ambassador will usually have more of a long term relationship with a company, will do multiple promotions with them, and maybe even come out with their own signature line of products.

An example of this would be an NBA basketball player that has a shoe deal with Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, etc.

So a player like Stephen Curry has his own line of shoes because he signed a long term deal with Under Armor.

Here's an example of one of his Instagram posts showing off a pair:

Another example would be of an influencer like Jay Alvarrez, who has a travel bag line with a company that sponsors him.

Check out the promotion on Instagram here.

Now, obviously being a brand ambassador is something would come way down the line after you've built up a SIGNIFICANT following.

But, there is good news if you don't have a huge following yet.

You can also find brand ambassador gigs/jobs at sites like Third Channel.

At Third Channel, you can actually apply for jobs where you get to travel around to different stores as a brand ambassador for companies like Oakley, Fender, New Balance, etc.

You can get paid around $15-$25/hour, design your own schedule, gain different kinds of experience, and get to rep one of your favorite brands.

Here are the responsibilities you usually have with these gigs:

  • Create and commit to a monthly cadence of retail store visits in your market
  • Merchandise displays that are set according to planograms
  • Build meaningful relationships with store teams
  • Educate and engage store teams and consumers on the features and benefits of Luxottica products
  • Submit store visit reports, including taking before and after photos and writing summaries, using the ThirdChannel technology on a smart device

So, there you go.

You can become a brand ambassador one way or the other, but either way, it can be a great way to make money using Instagram.

15 Instagram Business Ideas Without Investment

Justin Bryant
Justin Bryant

I'm an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.

    3 replies to "15 Instagram Business Ideas Without Investment"

    • Sakariye maxamed

      I want work

    • Sakariye maxamed

      I want need work

    • Priya Sharma

      Heya Justin,

      I want to start an online business on Instagram and was finding some tips to start a business without any investment and I got your blog. I will surely select one of these and will start as soon as possible.

      Thank you for the informative post.

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