There are several ways to make money on TikTok: Try your hand in influencer marketing, create sponsored content for brands, create and sell your own merch, use TikTok to market your other endeavors (for example, your album or YouTube channel), or become a TikTok consultant and guide others on how to grow their following and monetize off of it (the latter is assuming you already nailed that part yourself).
You can also make money growing accounts and then selling them, collecting donations from viewers (followers will pay creators in coins, and then creators turn those coins into diamonds and cash out through PayPal), and you can also run paid ads on TikTok (similar to Facebook, Twitter, and Google ads).
But do you need a certain amount of followers to get paid? Yes and no.
How many followers do you need on TikTok to get paid?
There's technically no minimum amount of followers you need on TikTok to start getting paid, but the higher the following, and the higher amount of views, the more money you're likely going to make (assuming you didn't buy all your followers). Plus, TikTok just started the TikTok Creator Fund, which rewards the creator and influencer community with more of a monetary incentive to make videos. To be qualified for the Creator Fund, you need 100,000 followers.
According to TikTok, the platform created the Creator Fund because, "We want to show our appreciation to our brilliant creator community by rewarding them for their incredible TikTok videos and creativity. We want all creators to have the opportunity to earn money doing what they love and turn their passion into a livelihood."
Here's how funds are calculated: "The funds that each creator can earn are worked out by a combination of factors; including the number of views and the authenticity of those views, the level of engagement on the content, as well as making sure content is in line with our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service."
But you can still make money on TikTok if you have less than 100,000 followers. It just really depends on how you want to leverage TikTok. You can use this TikTok payment calculator (it's not actually created by TikTok, so take it with a grain of salt) to figure out how much money you should be making. It's been estimated that you can make 2-3 cents per 1,000 views.
Most influencers make money on TikTok by developing direct partnerships with other brands and creating branded content (i.e. an #ad). "Companies have been known to pay $200 to $20,000 per branded video promoted by influencers, depending on the individual’s level of influence," according to Influencer Marketing Hub.
How exactly does one get to create a branded video? Either the brand will reach out to the creator, or vice versa.
Brands look at a number of thing before going into a partnership with an influencer, but the main numbers they look at have to do with engagement (how many followers are commenting, and what is the nature of their feedback? Brands typically don't want to get involved with an influencer who creates negative or inappropriate material), video views, and yes, followers (because they want to reach the largest number of people possible).
Brands also pay close attention to that influencer's "brand" and what their message to their followers is. Do they have a unique audience? For example, a vegan influencer who posts vegan recipes may catch the eye of a company like Beyond Meat, or So Delicious.
So, if you're trying to earn some cash through TikTok, know that you totally can, even if you're not Addison Rae.