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

A Inexperienced Bay lady’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 pupil dropped out of school to make TikToks and a College of Wisconsin-Madison graduate teaches different creators the 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 capable of earn cash and develop a following via 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 couple of million of them had 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, changing into a content material creator is changing into extra of an choice to be your individual boss, do one thing you are keen about 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, laborious work and a bit of little bit of luck too.
This is how 5 Wisconsin content material creators have grown their followings and made a residing via social media.
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Amber Clemens has amassed an Instagram following of greater than 61,000 individuals by sharing recipes, exercise routines, weight reduction transformation photographs and snippets of her residing her on a regular basis life in Inexperienced Bay.
Clemens, 31, did not got down to develop into an Instagram content material creator. It simply type of occurred organically, she stated.
Clemens began posting about her weight reduction journey on her private Instagram web page after shedding 50 kilos. She stored dropping kilos and gaining followers and by the tip of 2019, 8,000 individuals had been following her on Instagram.
On Jan. 1, 2020, Ladies’s Well being journal revealed a narrative about Clemens’ weight reduction and her following doubled that day. Now, she’s capable of make a “pretty first rate” revenue from Instagram.
“It is undoubtedly 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 shedding my full-time job due to the pandemic,” she stated. “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 identical time she misplaced her job that her Instagram account was actually taking off. Shedding her job gave her extra time to deal with rising her social media platform, she stated, and in addition, for the primary time in her grownup life, gave her the chance to think about what she wished to do sooner or later.
Clemens stated she places as a lot effort into her Instagram web page as she would every other full-time job. She uploads new content material nearly day by day and posts a number of occasions on her tales, typically sharing wholesome recipes she’s made, grocery retailer hauls, exercise routines and simply chatting along with her followers about her on a regular basis life.
There’s loads of work that goes on behind the scenes as effectively, she stated, equivalent to planning content material, negotiating with manufacturers that need 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 power, who join with you will discover you,” she stated. “Do not attempt to mould your self into what you suppose you need to be as a result of individuals — I feel now greater than ever — are searching for authenticity they usually need 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 group she’s constructed.
“I really feel very blessed to have the group that I do as a result of 99% of the those that I’ve met are so wonderful and it is only a group of individuals there to construct one another up,” Clemens stated. “I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a bunch of people that I’ve by no means met however really feel so linked to they usually simply need the most effective for one another.”
“If my Instagram bought misplaced tomorrow, the one factor that I’d miss essentially the most could be the group,” she stated.
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 a complete day to solely consuming bitter meals for the day — and he fortunately obliges, filming himself consuming breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, often 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 standard in 2019, he joined and began posting what he known as relatable comedy movies.
The following 12 months, he began his “what I eat in a day” movies, he stated, 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 undoubtedly modified my future,” Winkler stated of his on-line reputation.
Due to his TikTok success, Winkler determined to drop out of faculty 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 taking part in on the boys’s golf staff.
“My largest purpose 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 date,” he stated. “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 along with his dad and mom, who had been at first skeptical of their son’s social media ambitions.
“They had been very skeptical, simply type of like, ‘How does this work? How are you creating wealth?’ 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 via your cellphone,” he stated. “My cellphone is the place it began for me and my dad and mom simply thought it was loopy that they bought me an iPhone after which I can flip it into this big, profitable enterprise.”
However now, they’re on board and totally supportive, Winkler stated. 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 loads of cheese and has made it to 16 different states to date, together with Hawaii.
Winkler stated he plans to pursue content material creation and capitalize on his social media success for so long as he can. He hopes to sooner or later personal a restaurant, create his personal meals line or also have a TV present, he stated.
“With the appropriate 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 type of success,” he stated. “I try to set a superb instance as a result of I used to be only a common child with regular plans going to varsity, and it is utterly modified my life in like one of the best ways attainable as a result of I like doing it.”
Discover Tommy Winker on TikTok and Instagram at @tommywinkler and on YouTube at Tommy Winkler.
In case you’re an aspiring content material creator and also you need 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 attempt making his personal movies, however they did not get many views, he stated.
“Whereas I used to be in highschool, I used to be type of identical to, throwing stuff on the wall and hoping it might stick,” he stated. “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 totally perceive the way to actually develop a channel at the moment. I used to be simply importing movies and hoping somebody would discover them in some way. I wasn’t fascinated about it strategically.”
As Shakeel’s freshman 12 months of school on the College of Wisconsin-Madison was approaching, he determined he wished to present content material creation one other attempt. This time, he took it severely, he stated, and taught himself all the pieces he wanted to learn about being a YouTuber.
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He began making gaming content material once more and the movies had 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 might make movies too. So, he uploaded a couple of tutorials and people bought extra views than his gaming movies, he stated.
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 dad and mom’ 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 photographs of himself.
Shakeel has been capable of 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 net gaming group — with 10,000 members. He additionally not too long ago 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 sort of content material rising within the subsequent few years as being a content material creator is changing into a extra standard purpose for younger individuals in the present day. His greatest recommendation for aspiring creators is to be per importing and ensuring their video is participating from starting to finish.
“Again when (my mates and I) had been youngsters, each time our lecturers would ask us what we need to be after we develop up, we most likely say like a basketball participant or one thing like that,” Shakeel stated. “However now I am fairly positive that loads of youngsters would say they need to be a Twitch streamer or a YouTuber or one thing like that as a result of these are the those that loads of these youngsters look to this point. So I am positive that over the subsequent few years, much more individuals are gonna need to develop into creators and make that their purpose.”
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 get pleasure from it.
“That is such an awesome job to have,” he stated. “It is actually a interest that turned a profession. So so long as I get pleasure from it, I need to proceed doing it. And if I do not get pleasure from it, I am going to discover methods to develop off it. However I am having enjoyable with it, so I need to preserve 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 can assist different ladies really feel much less alone by overtly and candidly sharing the struggles that include being a mother, spouse and lady.
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 via 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 known as Balanced Ames, the place she put all that data in a single place for individuals to search out.
At first, solely household and mates learn her weblog. When she began utilizing Instagram to help her weblog, individuals outdoors her circle started to search out her content material, Kiefer stated.
Now, Kiefer has greater than 41,000 Instagram followers and is the cohost of two podcasts, HERself and Pursing HER Function. 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 stated.
By her social media, Kiefer has shared her experiences and ideas on being a working mother, marriage, parenting, being pregnant and entrepreneurship. Her Instagram account incessantly options her husband and three boys, ages 5, 4 and a couple of. The household lives in Waunakee.
“Everybody’s human, everybody has struggles,” she stated. “I feel 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 probably the greatest issues I’ve ever executed for myself and I shared that entire journey with (my followers). Something I can do the place I am like, ‘I do know that one other lady simply wants to listen to that.’ It is essential to me to guarantee that different individuals are feeling supported and never alone like that.”
Along with sharing her personal views, Kiefer additionally likes to convey specialists, like therapists and authors, into her content material to assist her followers be taught and develop.
She hopes her content material exhibits ladies that they’ll have a number of passions and do not must preserve themselves in only one field.
“It is simply unbelievable to attach with ladies from throughout,” Kiefer stated. “I am going to put up one thing and I simply can’t consider how effectively it is going to resonate and somebody will say, ‘I simply I wanted that in the present day.’ Nowadays, individuals actually can have a deep connection on Instagram, particularly with these mothers which are possibly breastfeeding in the course of the night time or no matter it’s, they are going via a season the place they’re type of in isolation, as all of us had been when the pandemic began. The connection is really wonderful. And that is my favourite half nonetheless in the present day. “
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 develop into a full-time YouTuber at the start of 2020.
Becker, 43, began posting movies about backpacking, mountaineering 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 most likely different individuals on the market who had been searching for 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! Folks truly watched this,'” Becker stated. “And I simply thought, ‘Effectively, possibly I am going to make one other one.’ And I made one other one and extra individuals watched it after which ultimately I used to be like, ‘This can be a factor. I feel I might do that.'”
Since then, Becker has amassed a following of greater than 125,000 subscribers and his movies have practically 12 million views. His Instagram account has greater than 12,000 followers.
Becker’s channel is all in regards to the outside. He posts opinions 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 evaluation or pay for him to journey to a brand new location, like Yosemite Nationwide Park in California, to make a video. Becker stated he travels about as soon as a month from his dwelling in Kenosha — the place he lives along with his spouse and youngsters — to movie movies.
When Becker first began making movies, he knew little or no about utilizing a digicam, modifying or posting on social media.
“It was simply type of like, here is a dad who’s nearly to show 40 who’s going to be a YouTuber. Okay, let’s attempt it.”
He and his spouse made the choice that YouTube could be Becker’s full-time profession once they realized he was capable of make a gradual revenue and his earnings had been projected to develop.
Becker, now 43, by no means got down to be a web based content material creator. However for individuals who do, Becker desires them to know that it is not as simple as it could seem on-line.
“I feel individuals are tremendous discouraged once they make 15 movies, they usually look again and no one watched any of them after which they provide up,” he stated. “The truth is that it could be your a hundredth video that you have made that individuals begin watching you. It is loads of work for individuals who need to do it. However it may be very profitable on the identical time. It is undoubtedly a enjoyable job, for positive.”
For Becker, the most effective 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 along with his household.
“I get to make content material about one in all my largest passions,” he stated. “I am simply mainly 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.

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