Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen many videos from UGC creators claiming they’ve made $3,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 in their first month.
My first thought when they pop up on my FYP page? B*llshit.
The latest to send me into a tizz was new creator Chelsea Hope. Chelsea recently took to YouTube to reveal her own earnings in her first year of UGC, and it’s safe to say, they paint an appealing picture.
Spoiler alert: Chelsea earned over $130,000 in her first year as a UGC creator. Let’s take a look.
💭 Reminder: UGC stands for user generated content. Brands pay creators to film content that can be used for ads or on their organic social feeds that has a consumer feel to it. This means creators can get started using just their iPhone, with no followers.
How Did Chelsea Get Started With UGC?
Chelsea started creating content back in July of 2022 — you read that right, just a little over a year ago. She tried various jobs, jumping from one to another, but never finding one that stuck. In her own words, she couldn’t stand any of them (and boy can I relate).
She always had side hustles on the side, whether that be eyelash extensions or buying/selling clothes to make extra money, but nothing ever seemed to work.
During the pandemic, she started dabbling in dropshipping. She launched a store in the pet niche, and discovered UGC while working on advertising her pet products. Thankfully for her, the pet store didn’t take off. But she made a lot of UGC content, and decided to put it to good use in a portfolio.
She started talking about UGC on Twitter, and slowly, she began to attract clients.
Her first ever client paid her $500, and quickly, she turned that gig into a $3,000 retainer.
Realising this new job had legs, she went all in. She posted religiously on Twitter about being a UGC creator, offering low rates — we’re talking $100 per video. She worked tirelessly, often starting at 5 a.m., searching for jobs, growing a community, and scrolling endlessly for inspiration on TikTok and Instagram.
It paid off, and in the first month, she had made $10,000.
Chelsea Made $100,000 In Her First Year of UGC
She continued offering high-multiple deals, 30 videos, 10 videos, you get the gist. She produced content consistently, and in her second month, she made just short of $7,000.
This wasn’t a fluke, it was a business, and she had made more than her yearly salary in two months. She quit her 9-5 and over the next six months, she made significant income.
The breakdown of her earnings are a sight for sore eyes if you’re struggling to find your own feet in UGC.
These earnings are incredible. These earnings in the very first year of UGC, unfathomable.
It’s easy to roll your eyes at numbers like this and put them down to luck, or bragging, or downright lies. But by doing that, I think we lose the opportunity to learn from creators like Chelsea who have made it.
UGC is not easy, but it is simple — and clearly, it can be lucrative.
What Did Chelsea Do Differently To Other Creators?
Chelsea’s journey may look like it was all wins and no losses. Her lowest month she raked in $5,500 — but that didn’t come without difficulty. There were moments when she almost gave up, early mornings, late nights and a whole lot of work. Here’s three things that she did.
Going All In
Now, I don’t mean Chelsea quit her job and decided to work full-time on UGC from the get go (although she did get there pretty quickly). Chelsea threw herself into the world of UGC. She was active on Twitter, getting herself out there and shouting loudly about what she was doing. Ask yourself, how visible were you in your first month? How relentless were you when it came to showing up online? If you spent the first two weeks tinkering with your portfolio and sending a few emails, then you’ve wasted half of your month. That’s not to say you won’t be successful as a creator, but I can almost guarantee you won’t see the $10,000 revenue that Chelsea did in month one.
Accepting Low Offers
If you speak to any experienced UGC creator, they’ll probably tell you to stop accepting low ball offers. In fact, I’ve probably said that exact same thing at one point or another. But in the same breath, accepting low paying offers at a high volume is a great way to gain experience and build your portfolio when you’re starting out. Of course, you can put your rates up over time and be picky about what you work on, but initially, Chelsea wasn’t picky about what she was working on or for how much.
Different Income Streams
Ah, the elephant in the room of successful UGC creators. Can we be serious for just one second? Chelsea isn’t making $21,000 in a month from UGC videos alone. That’s not a secret. She’s diversified her income streams to also include coaching, affiliate marketing and social media management. Most of the big creators are not making their living from content alone: they make the move to more passive streams of income. For every person Chelsea manages to sign up to the Brands Meet Creators newsletter for example, she gets $1.50. With an engaged audience, affiliate programs like this can quickly add up.
The main take away from Chelsea’s income report is that it’s possible. Content marketing can open doors beyond your wildest imagination, if you’re willing to put in the work. I’ll leave you with Chelsea’s advice to anyone entering the world of social media and content creation: “It won’t be easy. The most successful people in this field are those who didn’t give up when things got tough. I coach many people who want to make money on social media, but they’re not willing to take risks, put themselves out there, and work with clients whose products they don’t love. If you’re not willing to do the hard work and charge lower rates in the beginning, you won’t progress as quickly as those who hustle relentlessly.
I can tell you that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to, but ultimately, your success depends on the work you put in.”
I don’t know about you. But I’m off to put some work in.