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Saturday, July 20, 2024

8 Fun Ways to Make Money With Memes


A language of its own – memes have taken over the internet, dominating pop culture and invading our real-life speech patterns. 

There’s a meme out there for every situation, with witty taglines and highly shareable images. In other words, memes are one of the quickest ways to go viral on social media. 

And you can monetize this potential with several profitable business models. Today, we’re sharing how to make money with memes and our 8 top ideas for running your own meme business. 

From small-scale freelance creations to creating a meme marketing agency, you can make some serious cash with a spark of creativity. 

Here are 8 interesting ways to make money with memes!

A woman working at home, sitting at her kitchen table and using her phone.

1. Meme Merchandise 

Because meme culture is so huge, it’s fairly simple to monetize through custom merchandise. For every hilarious meme, there’s someone who would love to see it on some t-shirts. 

From hoodies to phone cases, it’s easy to sell personalized artwork. Websites like RedbubbleTeespringAmazon, and Zazzle handle inventory for you, printing your meme art onto a variety of stickers, mugs, apparel, and more. 

You can even run a dropshipping business specializing in meme merchandise. 

Creators who prefer a more hands-on approach can sell through Etsy or a business website. While you’ll have to handle manufacturing and shipping yourself, you can make more for your artwork, avoiding hefty fees.

2. Social Media Monetization 

Building an organic social media following isn’t easy. But all social media platforms promote and value the same thing: shareable content. 

Memes are amongst the most shareable posts, with funny or relatable captions that make folks want to click “follow.”

Share your own memes or meme compilations (with credit) to start amassing followers. Before long, you can monetize your accounts through collaborations. 

Companies will pay popular meme creators to incorporate their brand into a meme or other sponsored post. 

Looking for more ways to monetize your social media presence? Check out these posts:

3. Freelance Content Creation 

Creating trend-worthy memes requires an artistic flair, an excellent sense of humor, and a deep knowledge of internet culture. In other words, not everyone can do it.

Many businesses will pay you a high rate simply to create memes for their social media accounts. 

You can advertise your services through freelance job boards, a business website, or even a business Instagram account sharing previous work. 

Fiverr is an easy way to try freelance creation. While the rates are low, they are a good starting point. Read more about freelancing on Fiverr, along with alternatives here. 

4. Compilation Memes 

One of the best parts about monetizing meme creation is its longevity. While meme trends are definitely fleeting, the power of nostalgia reigns supreme. 

There are compilation meme accounts all over Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, celebrating both current and past memes. A meme page can garner thousands, if not millions, of views on compilation videos. 

The insights speak for themselves. And with major views comes the opportunity to profit. 

Create a social media account featuring long-form meme compilations, whether it be original memes or a collection of the internet’s most popular. From there, you can monetize through sponsored content, video advertisements, affiliates, and more. 

Want to take it a step further? Create a YouTube channel where you break meme culture by reviewing and discussing trending memes. This is a good way to use and monetize non-original content through fair use. 

5. Digital Sales 

It’s possible to monetize digital downloads of your original memes, selling them through a business website or third-party site like Etsy. This way, meme lovers and crafters alike can use your artwork on their custom creations. 

Digital products are big in the crafting world, giving crafters instant access to scrapbooking, card-making, and Cricut materials

You can even license your most popular meme creations, selling the usage rights to advertisers, media outlets, and more. 

6. Subscription Models 

Creators who have generated a loyal following often turn to crowdfunding efforts to support their artistic projects. 

Subscription platforms like Patreon allow fans to access exclusive content for a monthly subscription fee. 

7. Personalized Memes 

One of the most creative ways to make money with memes is to offer personalized memes as a unique gift solution. You can transport your buyer into their favorite meme, offering digital downloads or custom merchandise sporting the work. 

Market this business as a one-of-a-kind gift, perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, and even roasts!

8. Meme Advertisement 

Creating a meme marketing agency might seem intimidating, but with the right resources, you can start a home business specializing in meme design. 

This is a great goal for anyone with solid experience in social media marketing and meme creation. In this business model, you can offer custom memes to brands looking to “trend” on social media. 

Meme advertisements are made to generate shares, meaning more and more businesses are willing to invest in the possibility of going viral. 

This model can also include consulting and strategy as a further revenue source. 

A woman working at home, sitting at a computer desk and using her phone.

How to Create Trending Memes 

So, you know how to make money with memes, but there’s a lot of work to be done before you start monetizing. 

There’s a specific formula to creating trendy, widely shared memes that will help build your portfolio. Here’s how to do it:

  • Know meme history: We can always learn from the past. Educate yourself on the trends that paved the way with websites like Know Your Meme
  • Stay up-to-date: The best way to stay on top of internet trends is to be an active social media user. TikTok is the best platform for this, and most trends originate here before trickling down to Instagram and then Facebook. 
  • Go universal: Relatable content is sharable content. Period. 
  • Consider format: While image memes continue to generate mass amounts of shares, short-form video is becoming the most popular format. Consider which best suits your social media accounts. 
  • Do it NOW: Heidi Klum dresses up as a worm for Halloween? Your worm memes need to be out within the day. Think of pop-culture memes as breaking news – you’ll be rewarded for your speed. 
  • Keep it short: Text should be quick and punchy to catch and maintain attention. 
  • Share widely: Don’t limit your master meme to a single account. Share across all of your social media platforms and see where it gets the most traction.
  • Monitor: Insights matter. Pay attention to how your audience interacts with the meme and what you can change in the future to generate wider shares. 

Top Tools for Meme Creation

The first step in how to make money with memes is to get designing. Creating memes is simpler than ever, with digital tools and applications that streamline the process. 

Here are the top programs for meme creation:

  • Canva: This user-friendly site lets you create custom memes with their free meme generator. It includes custom layouts, copyright-free illustrations, and stock images to help drive your creations!
  • Meme Generator: This app is one of the most popular ways to create quick and shareable memes, with popular meme images built into the application. 
  • TikTok: TikTok’s in-app video editing can help you create custom memes without leaving the page. 
  • CapCut: CapCut’s custom templates make it easy to create viral video meme content. 
  • Photoshop: While it comes with a learning curve, Photoshop gives you the most freedom in meme creation. 

Ethical Meme Creation

With all this talk of pop culture and trending media, you may be thinking, “How do memes fall under copyright laws?”

It’s true that you can’t pop a speech bubble over someone’s photography and monetize it. Doing so puts you at risk of copyright infringement. 

Original works, including movies, plays, books, music, photography, and even celebrity likeness are all protected under copyright law. 

Memes and Fair Use

Fair use allows you to legally use copyrighted material under specific circumstances. It protects usage for:

  • Comment
  • Reporting
  • Teaching
  • Criticism
  • Scholarship
  • Research 

To qualify for fair use, you must use a small portion of the copyrighted content. The content must also be transformed and used for non-commercial uses, making it more difficult to monetize. 

The least-complicated way to make money with memes is to use original or royalty-free images. This will help you avoid copyright issues and allow you to trademark your work if you choose. 

Conclusion: 8 Ways to Make Money with Memes 

More than just a passing joke, a growing number of creative entrepreneurs can make excellent money with meme creation. 

With these business models, you can transform a fun hobby into your favorite side hustle or grandiose business venture. 

Memes are a unique art form that has become ingrained in the way we interact with the world. So why not take advantage of this unique idea?



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