Individuals are ditching conventional jobs for social media careers. Right here's how 5 Wisconsinites did it themselves. – Publish-Crescent

A Inexperienced Bay girl’s weight reduction journey launched an Instagram enterprise.
A Waunakee mom of three turned a weblog for household and mates right into a full-time social media profession, whereas a Kenosha father offered his insurance coverage firm to go full-time on YouTube.
A College of Wisconsin-Parkside scholar dropped out of school to make TikToks and a College of Wisconsin-Madison graduate teaches different creators the right way to make profitable YouTube movies.
The rise of social media has introduced with it the rise of content material creators and influencers, people who find themselves in a position to earn cash and develop a following by way of posting content material on YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok and different social platforms.
As of October 2020, there have been greater than 50 million content material creators globally, and a pair of million of them have been incomes six-figure salaries, Forbes reported.
With the COVID-19 pandemic altering many individuals’s attitudes about work and a few reluctant to return to a conventional job, turning into a content material creator is turning into extra of an choice to be your individual boss, do one thing you are captivated with and earn a residing doing it from wherever on the earth — even Wisconsin.
Those that have discovered success on social media say there’s much more work that goes on behind the scenes that viewers do not see. Constructing a viable social media profession takes time, arduous work and slightly little bit of luck too.
Here is how 5 Wisconsin content material creators have grown their followings and made a residing by way of social media.
Wisconsin’s workforce woes: Companies say discovering workers is their high headache. This collection explores the traits.
We wish to hear from you: Did you allow your job through the COVID-19 pandemic and determine to not return? Inform us about it.
Amber Clemens has amassed an Instagram following of greater than 61,000 folks by sharing recipes, exercise routines, weight reduction transformation images and snippets of her residing her on a regular basis life in Inexperienced Bay.
Clemens, 31, did not got down to grow to be an Instagram content material creator. It simply form of occurred organically, she mentioned.
Clemens began posting about her weight reduction journey on her private Instagram web page after dropping 50 kilos. She stored dropping kilos and gaining followers and by the tip of 2019, 8,000 folks have been following her on Instagram.
On Jan. 1, 2020, Girls’s Well being journal revealed a narrative about Clemens’ weight reduction and her following doubled that day. Now, she’s in a position to make a “pretty respectable” revenue from Instagram.
“It is positively not one thing that I got down to do and I by no means thought I’d be on this place, however I am very grateful, particularly after dropping my full-time job due to the pandemic,” she mentioned. “I am very lucky that I am on this place.”
Clemens grew up in Eagle River and in 2014, graduated from the College of Wisconsin-Inexperienced Bay with a level in communications and public relations. She was laid off from her job at LaForce in Inexperienced Bay in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was across the similar time she misplaced her job that her Instagram account was actually taking off. Shedding her job gave her extra time to give attention to rising her social media platform, she mentioned, and likewise, for the primary time in her grownup life, gave her the chance to contemplate what she needed to do sooner or later.
Clemens mentioned she places as a lot effort into her Instagram web page as she would another full-time job. She uploads new content material nearly day by day and posts a number of instances on her tales, usually sharing wholesome recipes she’s made, grocery retailer hauls, exercise routines and simply chatting together with her followers about her on a regular basis life.
There’s a variety of work that goes on behind the scenes as effectively, she mentioned, comparable to planning content material, negotiating with manufacturers that wish to sponsor her and responding to messages from followers.
Clemens credit her success on Instagram to only being her genuine self.
“Individuals who match your vitality, who join with you’ll discover you,” she mentioned. “Do not attempt to mould your self into what you assume you need to be as a result of folks — I believe now greater than ever — are in search of authenticity they usually wish to see you being genuinely you.”
Her favourite a part of being a social media influencer and content material creator is connecting with the supportive neighborhood she’s constructed.
“I really feel very blessed to have the neighborhood that I do as a result of 99% of the those that I’ve met are so superb and it is only a neighborhood of individuals there to construct one another up,” Clemens mentioned. “I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a gaggle of people that I’ve by no means met however really feel so linked to they usually simply need one of the best for one another.”
“If my Instagram bought misplaced tomorrow, the one factor that I’d miss essentially the most can be the neighborhood,” she mentioned.
Discover Amber Clemens on Instagram and TikTok at @alittlebit_amber.
Twenty-year-old Tommy Winkler has grown a following of 6.5 million on TikTok by sharing what he eats in a day.
Winkler’s followers will counsel challenges — something from consuming solely Culvers for an entire day to solely consuming bitter meals for the day — and he fortunately obliges, filming himself consuming breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, normally nodding his head in approval after he takes the primary chew.
Winkler bought his begin creating on-line content material when he was in highschool and he and his older brother began posting movies on YouTube. When TikTok — a short-form video-sharing app — bought widespread in 2019, he joined and began posting what he referred to as relatable comedy movies.
The subsequent 12 months, he began his “what I eat in a day” movies, he mentioned, and that is when his content material actually took off. He gained greater than 6 million followers in a few 12 months and a half.
“It is positively modified my future,” Winkler mentioned of his on-line reputation.
Due to his TikTok success, Winkler determined to drop out of college earlier this 12 months to pursue full-time content material creation. He had been attending the College of Wisconsin-Parkside, majoring in advertising and marketing and enjoying on the lads’s golf crew.
“My largest aim in beginning this was having the ability to be financially profitable with it and making a enterprise the place I can begin doing it full time, which is what I’ve achieved to this point,” he mentioned. “It is simply been so exponential as a result of it has been all within the final 12 months just about.”
Now, he lives within the Madison suburb of Mount Horeb together with his mother and father, who have been at first skeptical of their son’s social media ambitions.
“They have been very skeptical, simply form of like, ‘How does this work? How are you making a living?’ The older technology did not develop up round social media and other people turning it into advertising and marketing themselves and making a job simply by making movies and posting them by way of your cellphone,” he mentioned. “My cellphone is the place it began for me and my mother and father simply thought it was loopy that they bought me an iPhone after which I can flip it into this enormous, profitable enterprise.”
However now, they’re on board and absolutely supportive, Winkler mentioned. His mother even has her personal TikTok account.
At the moment, Winkler is engaged on a video collection the place he travels across the nation and tries every state’s most iconic meals. He began in Wisconsin with a variety of cheese and has made it to 16 different states to this point, together with Hawaii.
Winkler mentioned he plans to pursue content material creation and capitalize on his social media success for so long as he can. He hopes to in the future personal a restaurant, create his personal meals line or actually have a TV present, he mentioned.
“With the best work ethic and with simply continually having the ability to innovate and create new kinds of movies that no one’s seen earlier than, anyone can obtain that form of success,” he mentioned. “I attempt to set a great instance as a result of I used to be only a common child with regular plans going to school, and it is utterly modified my life in like one of the simplest ways doable as a result of I like doing it.”
Discover Tommy Winker on TikTok and Instagram at @tommywinkler and on YouTube at Tommy Winkler.
In the event you’re an aspiring content material creator and also you wish to discover ways to make YouTube video thumbnails, appeal to sponsorships or achieve extra followers, then Muaaz Shakeel is your man.
Shakeel, 24, makes movies about expertise, gaming and social media. His movies goal to assist different content material creators develop their platforms by sharing ideas and recommendation that Shakeel himself used to develop his YouTube channel to 281,000 subscribers and greater than 37 million video views.
Shakeel first began watching video gaming content material on YouTube when he was in highschool. He performed the identical video games that he watched movies about, so he thought he would strive making his personal movies, however they did not get many views, he mentioned.
“Whereas I used to be in highschool, I used to be form of similar to, throwing stuff on the wall and hoping it could stick,” he mentioned. “I used to be actually simply throwing up content material, hoping somebody would watch it. However it simply did not work out, so I ended up quitting for some time. I did not absolutely perceive the right way to actually develop a channel at the moment. I used to be simply importing movies and hoping somebody would discover them by some means. I wasn’t fascinated by it strategically.”
As Shakeel’s freshman 12 months of school on the College of Wisconsin-Madison was approaching, he determined he needed to present content material creation one other strive. This time, he took it significantly, he mentioned, and taught himself every thing he wanted to find out about being a YouTuber.
RELATED: When players on YouTube need assistance making movies, they flip to this College of Wisconsin grad
He began making gaming content material once more and the movies have been getting a pair thousand views. It was round this time that a few of his subscribers began asking him for recommendation about how they may make movies too. So, he uploaded a number of tutorials and people bought extra views than his gaming movies, he mentioned.
Now, Shakeel’s YouTube channel is devoted to sharing what he is discovered to assist different creators. He works from his bed room at his mother and father’ dwelling in Madison, his neatly made mattress a frequent backdrop to lots of his movies. His channel homepage is filled with eye-catching video thumbnails with colourful backgrounds, daring fonts, intriguing titles and expressive images of himself.
Shakeel has been in a position to develop his success on YouTube into sponsorships from manufacturers, a Twitter account with 23,000 followers and a Discord server — a community-based textual content, video, voice and media sharing platform popularized by the web gaming neighborhood — with 10,000 members. He additionally just lately launched his personal on-line enterprise, Shoish, the place he sells animations that different creators can use of their movies.
Shakeel sees the demand for his kind of content material rising within the subsequent few years as being a content material creator is turning into a extra widespread aim for younger folks at this time. His finest recommendation for aspiring creators is to be per importing and ensuring their video is partaking from starting to finish.
“Again when (my mates and I) have been youngsters, every time our academics would ask us what we wish to be once we develop up, we in all probability say like a basketball participant or one thing like that,” Shakeel mentioned. “However now I am fairly positive that a variety of youngsters would say they wish to be a Twitch streamer or a YouTuber or one thing like that as a result of these are the those that a variety of these youngsters look thus far. So I am positive that over the subsequent few years, much more persons are gonna need to grow to be creators and make that their aim.”
Shakeel graduated from UW-Madison in 2019 with a level in data techniques however plans to proceed making social media his full-time profession so long as he continues to take pleasure in it.
“That is such a terrific job to have,” he mentioned. “It is actually a pastime that turned a profession. So so long as I take pleasure in it, I wish to proceed doing it. And if I do not take pleasure in it, I will discover methods to develop off it. However I am having enjoyable with it, so I wish to maintain doing it for so long as I can.”
Discover Muaaz Shakeel on YouTube at Muaaz, on Twitter @mws and Discord at Muaaz.
Amy Kiefer hopes she may also help different ladies really feel much less alone by brazenly and candidly sharing the struggles that include being a mother, spouse and girl.
Beginning with a weblog and Instagram account, Kiefer has created a bunch of content material all geared towards empowering ladies.
Kiefer first bought into social media by way of running a blog when she nonetheless labored full-time as a nurse. She has a level in train science, so different ladies she labored with would come to her for diet and train ideas. That led her to start out a weblog referred to as Balanced Ames, the place she put all that data in a single place for folks to seek out.
At first, solely household and mates learn her weblog. When she began utilizing Instagram to help her weblog, folks exterior her circle started to seek out her content material, Kiefer mentioned.
Now, Kiefer has greater than 41,000 Instagram followers and is the cohost of two podcasts, HERself and Pursing HER Goal. She and her sister additionally began Anticipating and Empowered, a exercise program for pregnant and postpartum ladies.
Her content material creation ventures are actually her full-time job. She left nursing on the finish of 2019, she mentioned.
By way of her social media, Kiefer has shared her experiences and ideas on being a working mother, marriage, parenting, being pregnant and entrepreneurship. Her Instagram account continuously options her husband and three boys, ages 5, 4 and a pair of. The household lives in Waunakee.
“Everybody’s human, everybody has struggles,” she mentioned. “I believe that my followers actually join as a result of I am prepared to be actually open about issues. I used to be in remedy for a 12 months. It was top-of-the-line issues I’ve ever accomplished for myself and I shared that complete journey with (my followers). Something I can do the place I am like, ‘I do know that one other girl simply wants to listen to that.’ It is crucial to me to be sure that different persons are feeling supported and never alone like that.”
Along with sharing her personal views, Kiefer additionally likes to deliver specialists, like therapists and authors, into her content material to assist her followers study and develop.
She hopes her content material exhibits ladies that they will have a number of passions and do not should maintain themselves in only one field.
“It is simply unbelievable to attach with ladies from throughout,” Kiefer mentioned. “I will submit one thing and I simply cannot consider how effectively it’s going to resonate and somebody will say, ‘I simply I wanted that at this time.’ At the moment, folks actually can have a deep connection on Instagram, particularly with these mothers which might be perhaps breastfeeding in the course of the night time or no matter it’s, they are going by way of a season the place they’re form of in isolation, as all of us have been when the pandemic began. The connection is really superb. And that is my favourite half nonetheless at this time. “
Discover Amy Kiefer on Instagram at @ameskiefer.
Dan Becker was a 40-something father of three who owned an insurance coverage company when he determined to promote his enterprise and grow to be a full-time YouTuber initially of 2020.
Becker, 43, began posting movies about backpacking, climbing and tenting in 2018 after he turned to YouTube for recommendation about how to not be claustrophobic in a hammock. He could not discover any movies on the subject, so he needed to determine it out on his personal.
He realized there have been in all probability different folks on the market who have been in search of comparable recommendation, so he made his personal video and uploaded it to YouTube.
“I got here again a pair days later and went, ‘Holy cow! Individuals really watched this,'” Becker mentioned. “And I simply thought, ‘Effectively, perhaps I will make one other one.’ And I made one other one and extra folks watched it after which finally I used to be like, ‘It is a factor. I believe I may do that.'”
Since then, Becker has amassed a following of greater than 125,000 subscribers and his movies have almost 12 million views. His Instagram account has greater than 12,000 followers.
Becker’s channel is all in regards to the outside. He posts critiques of tenting gear, ideas and recommendation for fellow hikers and takes his followers alongside on his backpacking adventures everywhere in the nation.
He works with outside manufacturers that ship him free gear to overview or pay for him to journey to a brand new location, like Yosemite Nationwide Park in California, to make a video. Becker mentioned he travels about as soon as a month from his dwelling in Kenosha — the place he lives together with his spouse and youngsters — to movie movies.
When Becker first began making movies, he knew little or no about utilizing a digital camera, modifying or posting on social media.
“It was simply form of like, here is a dad who’s nearly to show 40 who’s going to be a YouTuber. Okay, let’s strive it.”
He and his spouse made the choice that YouTube can be Becker’s full-time profession once they realized he was in a position to make a gentle revenue and his earnings have been projected to develop.
Becker, now 43, by no means got down to be a web based content material creator. However for many who do, Becker desires them to know that it isn’t as simple as it might seem on-line.
“I believe persons are tremendous discouraged once they make 15 movies, they usually look again and no one watched any of them after which they offer up,” he mentioned. “The fact is that it might be your a hundredth video that you’ve got made that folks begin watching you. It is a variety of work for individuals who wish to do it. However it may be very profitable on the similar time. It is positively a enjoyable job, for positive.”
For Becker, one of the best factor about being a full-time content material creator is that the flexibleness that comes with being his personal boss permits him to spend extra time together with his household.
“I get to make content material about one among my largest passions,” he mentioned. “I am simply principally filming what I like to do.”
Discover Dan Becker on YouTube at Dan Becker and on Instagram at @danbeckeroutdoors.
Contact Natalie Brophy at (715) 216-5452 or nbrophy@gannett.com. Observe her on Twitter @brophy_natalie.

supply