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In every industry, there are Key People of Influence. Their names come up in conversation, they attract opportunities, they make more money and have more fun.
Key People of Influence (KPIs) are different from traditional Influencers associated with “influencer marketing.” Influencers focus on increasing their follower count on social media and aren’t taken seriously unless they have over 100,000 followers. In some industries, it takes a million followers to be considered an influencer. For an influencer, income comes when brands pay to promote products to their followers.
Key People of Influence typically have a smaller but more respected profile; people know who they are and are clear about their value. Some Key People of Influence have just a few thousand high-quality followers while others are a little more “industry-famous” with upwards of ten thousand followers on social media.
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KPIs are considered to be thought leaders in their field and you’ll often see them speaking at conferences or publishing content about relevant industry-related topics. You probably already know of dozens of Key People of Influence. You watch their videos, you read their blogs, you buy their books and follow them on several social media platforms.
Behind the scenes, Key People of Influence have money-making empires that include an ecosystem of products and services. Below is a list of 12 of the most common ways these industry Key People of Influence make their money:
1. Selling books
Most KPIs have written at least one book. Books earn the author about $1–2 per copy sold and sell typically 500–25,000 copies per year.
2. Earning speaking fees
It’s common for KPIs to be paid $2,000–$20,000 for speaking engagements at conferences and events. Large corporates regularly seek out industry influencers to present at their in-house training and events.
3. Selling tickets to events
KPIs often run their own events. The normal profit on an event ticket is about 30% after you take out the costs of the venue, promotions and AV hire.
4. Running workshops and retreats
Workshops or retreats are live events focused on teaching a skill or implementing a strategy. Often these range from half-day to multi-day events and tickets can be several hundred to several thousand dollars. Profit can be as high as 70% after the cost of the venue, workshop materials and promotional costs.
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5. Newsletters and other subscriptions
Many KPIs have a subscription newsletter, research paper or other information product that people pay a monthly subscription to receive. This typically ranges from $10–$100 per month.
Many KPIs have an inner circle of highly-engaged followers who want ongoing access to ideas, discussions or networks that revolve around the prominent individual. These ongoing memberships usually center around an online group with regular video updates. Participants pay anything from $20 per month right up to $2,000 per month for these memberships. They are an excellent source of recurring income for KPIs.
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7. Writing fees
KPIs get asked to collaborate on books, white-papers and contribute to industry publications. They can charge a fee for the time it takes them to write or the value of having their name attached to the publication.
8. Commissions and introduction fees
Key People of Influence sometimes benefit from commissions or introduction fees. With a high-value network of contacts, a KPI can earn 1-3% of a finance deal or up to 10% for introducing a high-value client to a firm.
9. Licensing deals
When KPIs have created training materials, bespoke software or media assets, they can license these to other organizations that wish to use them rather than creating their own. Licensing fees can be based on numbers of users, a percentage of revenue or a fixed annual fee.
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10. Consulting and coaching
Key People of Influence are often engaged by organizations to work on specific consulting projects. Fees can range from $10,000–$100,000 for these sorts of engagements.
11. Board participation
KPIs are sometimes invited to be part of a Board of Directors or a Board of Advisors for companies. These companies might be large companies that want an outside perspective or fast-growth startups that want a respected name attached to their unknown brand. These deals often involve part fees and part equity (shares or options) and can be worth between $15,000–$150,000 per year in total value to a Key Person of Influence.
12. Owning a business
Many Key People of Influence own their own business that sells its own products and services. With a prominent individual as the founder or CEO, the business will typically thrive and run profitably without day-to-day input from the Key Person of Influence.
Now that you can see a dozen ways of making money as a Key Person of Influence in your industry, all that is left to do is become one!
Related: 6 Steps to Becoming an Influencer