By 2023, social media usage is expected to increase to 3.43 billion users worldwide, so it is no secret that social media has become part of our daily lives. I think it’s easy to say that many people will try to make a career off of social media, but there’s more to it than just posting pretty pictures and cute captions. So before you think about going into a career of being an influencer, it’s important to take note of your favorite influencer’s entrepreneurial skills. The most successful influencers have multiple streams of income, and they have used their platform to launch their own businesses.
The truth is that although influencers are on social media, many of them are working on something that will take them to the next level. The savviest influencers will take their influence and make a profitable business off of it. Check out this list of content creators who started off on social media, and turned their content creation into a 6 figure company.
Before social media ever existed, I am pretty sure that if someone asked you if you could make over $20 million dollars in just one year off of reviewing toys you would say “no that’s impossible.” Well, thanks to social media, a young 7-year-old boy named Ryan Kaji made $26 million dollars off of YouTube alone. Children love watching Ryan’s YouTube videos, and chances are that if Ryan likes a toy then his audience will want it.
So what happened next? Well, Ryan branched out and created his own toy line which is now available in Walmart, Target, and Amazon. Ryan is a perfect example of turning something that he loves into a full-fledged business.
If you had a MySpace account over 10 years ago, then chances are you came across Jeffree Star. During the MySpace days, Jeffree Star came to fame through his music, which unfortunately came to an end a few years later. The end of his music career did not stop him from moving forward. He appeared on YouTube with his first makeup video about 4 years ago, and today has a channel with over 18 million subscribers. Five years ago, he launched his brand Jeffree Star Cosmetics which has proven to be successful, especially with the launch of the infamous Conspiracy Eyeshadow Pallete which literally broke Shopify’s system. Although Jeffree Star is not your typical influencer in that he does not do paid advertising on social media, he does have a large influence in the beauty community when reviewing new makeup products from other brands.
Aside from filming videos on YouTube and running a makeup company, Jeffree has investments in the marijuana industry and several real estate investments around the world. So how much is Jeffree Star worth? It is believed that Jeffree Star has an estimated net worth of $75 million dollars.
Unhappy with her finance career, Huda left that behind to pursue a career as a makeup artist and later on launched her own blog which was very successful. Huda also has a YouTube channel with over 2 million subscribers. In 2013, she decided to launch her brand Huda Beauty which started off with eyelashes. As the years have gone by, her brand has expanded to over 100 products and is sold in Sephora. Her current net worth is estimated at $610 million. Huda is another example of turning a passion into a profitable business
Christian LeBlanc’s cinematic videos on YouTube are almost an escape for those who wish to see the world. His travel videos have inspired many young travelers to go out and see the world while creating amazing content of their own. However, Christian’s success on YouTube came from a very humbling experience. After spending a semester in Thailand, he found his calling, which was traveling. In an interview with Vice, Christian shared that he left his accounting job at the young age of 22 to travel. He has traveled the world ever since.
After leaving his job, Christian became a full-time YouTuber, where he would record travel diaries. Today the YouTube channel LostLeblanc has over 1 million subscribers. With the success of his channel, he also launched his successful Lost Creator Academy where aspiring content creators can learn the same skills that he has perfected over the years. Christian generates an estimated revenue of $220,000 per year off of YouTube alone.
Change Your Mindset
The influencers that I have listed are not the only ones who have created profitable businesses, there are many more virtual entrepreneurs out there. As social media continues to grow and a wave of new influencers come in, it is important to have something to fall back on. What happens when social media becomes more restrictive? What will you do if you get banned from social media? Changing an influencer’s mindset from influencer to entrepreneur is what will make all the difference in their future success.
Jen Welter, the first NFL female coach, said it best “if you want to be successful in this world, you have to follow your passion, not a paycheck.” In Jeffree and Huda’s case it was makeup, for Christian it was travel, and for young Ryan, it was a passion for playing with toys. By finding that passion, they were able to turn it into a business that they loved. Something that these four influencers have in common is that their success stems from their ability to turn a hobby into an entire business. After all, it’s more fun that way!