Alice Thorpe

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How I Earn Money Online | Graphic Designer & YouTuber


I’ve never actually looked into how much of my income comes from where, so after seeing Hannah Witton’s YouTube video and blog post, I felt inspired to do exactly the same. This took me way longer than expected but the results are both super satisfying to see, gotta love a pretty pie chart, and also super terrifying seeing it presented like that. Let me break it down for you.


Much like Hannah did, I’m going to take some time to explain what exactly each section of income is and where it comes from. If you’re confused, or want a more in depth explanation I’ve made a video for you too - I know, I’m so kind right?

My Income for 2018-2019

My income for tax year 2018-19

Brand deals - 74.4%

Brand deals are when a company or brand approaches you to promote their product or service. This year has been a great year for me and as you can see, brand deals make up around three quarters of my yearly income.

This was daunting to see, and although I have been aware of it, I didn’t realise just how much of my income is based around brand deals. Ideally, I’d like this to be at around 60% next year.

Adsense - 8.4%

Adsense is the money that I receive for displaying adverts on my YouTube videos. So those adverts that you see before, during and after videos - thats where this money is from. If you click on those, the creator gets a small amount of money. This amount depends of a whole bunch of different factors that I rarely understand.

As you can see, my Adsense figures aren’t great. And they differ drastically every month so are unreliable. This is why I’ve branched out with merch and commissions because I have a little more control over those.

Merch - 6.3%

If you didn’t know, I have my own merchandise, with more coming out in the near future. And this is probably the section of my income that I am the most proud of. I was surprised to see just how much of my income comes from this, and I want to try and increase this section of the pie over the next year. Seeing my creations in your hands, and heading to the post office multiple times a week is actually really fun for me, so watch this space.

Commissions - 4.6%

I did a lot of commissions right after I left university, so again I’m not surprised at how big this chunk is. Although I do absolutely love doing them, these take the most amount of time, for the lowest amount of money.

I want to look at cutting down the amount of commissions I create, by being more selective when I do them, charging a little more for my time but also not charging an arm and a leg. As you know, time is money and at the moment the return on commissions for my time is not quite balancing out how I would like, so I‘ll need to work this out.

Affiliate Links - 0.5%

Affiliate links allow creators and influencers to earn a little bit of money for recommending a product. So if I bought a top online and shared an affiliate link with you and you bought it through my link, I get a percentage (usually between 1%-8%) of the money. This costs no extra to you, but helps out both the brand and influencer - it’s a win win really.

It’s obvious from this chart that I pay very little attention to affiliate links, and again it’s a factor of time. I usually don’t have the time to go searching for links, and I am just SO forgetful when remembering to include them at all. However, I am going to try and make more of an effort to link what I wear in vlogs because I do get a lot of questions. But I still won’t be putting this at the forefront of my mind, this is just a little bit of extra pocket money for me.

Other - 5.9%

This sections is purely from working at my ‘freelance photographer’ role with my old boss. When I got back from university, I was broke, dazed and confused so went back there for a little while. Hence it being such a big chunk whilst I had multiple post-uni meltdowns.

I’ve now cut down how much I work there, as it doesn’t fulfil me like it used to. I’ll be working there as and when I feel like it, just to see the old team and help out when they need an extra pair of hands. But I don’t want to rely on that for income next year.

So what now?

Making this chart has really opened my eyes to how exactly I earn my money, and how I would like to distribute it in the future. I highly recommend you do the same if you’re in a similar freelance style of work. Plus, its super interesting to see how other people do it too.

Hopefully I’ll be able to see a few changes next year when and fingers crossed things keep going up and progressing.

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