- Vanessa Chen has a computer-science level however selected to pursue content material introduction.
- She began posting her outfits as an endemic passion and grew her following to greater than 4 million.
- Now she earns six figures and collaborates along with her favourite manufacturers. Engineering is her backup plan.
This as-told-to essay is according to a dialog with Vanessa Chen, a 22-year-old content material author in Boston. Her source of revenue has been verified with documentation by means of Insider. The next has been edited for period and readability.
Prior to the pandemic, I used to be a computer-science undergraduate with plans to turn out to be a device engineer. Now I am a full-time content material author with greater than 4 million fans throughout YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok who earns a mid-six-figure source of revenue.
My pandemic passion changed into my full-time task because of the best timing. Like many of us, I began posting movies of my outfits only for a laugh throughout lockdowns as a result of I would at all times been into model. Whilst I’ve my biggest proportion of fans on TikTok now, my social-media adventure started with Instagram. It had simply rolled out Reels, and there were not many of us the use of the characteristic but.
I leaned in to video content material from the beginning. My Instagram stats blew up after I began posting movies, and the similar factor came about after I repurposed my content material for TikTok and YouTube Shorts. Prior to Reels, I had about 1,500 fans on Instagram. Inside six months of posting on a daily basis, I reached 100,000 fans.
I wish to take advantage of this content-creation occupation whilst I’ve it as a result of there is not any task safety in social media. My computer-science level is my backup plan.
Juggling content material introduction and faculty wasn’t simple
I grew to become down a summer-internship be offering in 2021 to concentrate on my social media. I used to be frightened to start with, however I noticed many of us who struggled to do each a full-time task and content material introduction, so I knew it was once the best time for me to head all in as a result of it might get handiest tougher.
Thankfully, I finished up making extra money that summer season than I’d’ve comprised of the internship, and by the point I graduated, I would constructed up a large sufficient following to be a full-time content material author.
I construction my content-creation task like a 9-to-5
Whilst many of us suppose an influencer’s task is glamorous, my workday appears to be like identical to a 9-to-5 task, except for it is simply me and my tools in my bed room. I used to have a part-time assistant who was once a pupil and may paintings handiest throughout college breaks, however at the moment, it is a one-woman display. I plan on hiring a full-time assistant quickly.
On an ordinary day, I get up and move instantly into filming. I do know many of us batch their content material, however I movie and edit in the similar day. It is very tiring to repeatedly stay alongside of developments, so I attempt to movie what I am maximum hooked in to. When I am in a rut, I glance via my previous movies to attract inspiration — I will at all times redo a development, a transition, or a legitimate in a brand new method. This offers me a backlog of concepts that optimistically I’m going to by no means run out of.
As soon as that is finished, I most often take a look at my emails, hit the fitness center, return house, and devour. I spend a few hours within the night time with my fiancé, Jason, after which I fall asleep and repeat the entirety the following day.
You would suppose, as a content material author, I’d be up-to-the-minute with the entirety on social media, however I attempt to steer clear of era in my loose time for the sake of my psychological well being.
When I am running, I do take a look at social media to look what others are posting, particularly when I am missing inspiration. However I take additional care to make sure that I at all times put my very own inventive spin or aptitude on content material I am impressed by means of.
I leveled up by means of hiring a leadership corporate
Prior to I had a supervisor, I did not make a lot money. The trade was once new and no person mentioned money, so I did not understand how a lot to price. It did not lend a hand that I used to be horrible at negotiating.
However I did pay attention influencers may make a large number of money, so I made up our minds to rent a talent-management corporate two years in the past, and it was once game-changing. My present leadership corporate reached out to me after I had handiest 10,000 fans. At that time, I wasn’t certain if I wanted it, so I mentioned no. A couple of months later, it contacted me once more, and I noticed I did want lend a hand with negotiating and coping with manufacturers. It is been nice ever since.
My leadership corporate offers with contracts for me, so I will focal point on what I am easiest at: content material introduction.
My source of revenue comes from a couple of puts
About 80% of my source of revenue comes from sponsorship offers, and the remaining comes from associate codes and advert income. I am very fortunate to have labored with many manufacturers I cherished rising up, together with Trainer, Tommy Hilfiger, Lululemon, Reebok, Marshalls, and Nike. Final yr, Amazon requested me to paintings on a clothes line with it, and it was once an exhilarating alternative.
My enlargement was once exponential at the start, and it has began to plateau, which can also be frightening, however I am moderately ok with it. I do not need to chase numbers anymore, and I do know what I am doing.
Some creators suppose upper numbers equate to better source of revenue, however in my enjoy, a large number of occasions manufacturers prioritize high quality content material and prime engagement over fans by myself. I’d a lot slightly have 100,000 fans who really connect to my content material than 1 million fans who slightly know who I’m or do not devour my content material continuously.
Confidently, if I play my playing cards proper and get started making an investment my money in the best puts, I will semiretire, or a minimum of no longer need to paintings each and every unmarried day, by the point I wish to calm down and feature youngsters. I have never invested but, however Jason and I’ve been speaking about making an investment our financial savings quickly into spaces like shares or houses.