Let’s be real for 5 minutes here. Chances are, you’re trying to balance UGC with a full-time job. UGC creators can make a lot of money, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Only 22% of UGC creators are doing it full-time. 22%. That means 78% of creators are spinning plates to get their business off the ground. Trying to juggle a full-time job or studying whilst doing UGC isn’t easy, but it is necessary for a lot of people in the early days.
You can’t pay for your groceries with a top-notch creative concept. But you can with your 9-5 paycheck.
I’ve been there: I’ve worked the late nights and the long days and I’ve wanted to give up more times than I can count. But I stuck with it, and I’m now a full-time UGC creator. In this post, I’m running through my tried and tested strategies to manage your UGC business when you can’t do it full time.
Getting Started in UGC When You Have a Full Time Job
If you want to get started in UGC, I’ve written a whole host of content to take you from A-Z: but I want to talk about getting from A-B first. It’s easy to look at UGC as end-game. Every creator on TikTok seems to be telling you about their five figure invoices, so why wouldn’t you expect the same?
The answer is that you’re starting on the back foot.
With a full time job your daylight filming hours are cut drastically. Let’s say you go from 7 possible days of filming to 2. You might only have one working day in the week where you can jump on client kick off calls. Chasing invoices can drain your entire working day if you only have two hours.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible, it means you need to manage your expectations. Instead of spending the entirety of your time pitching for new work, the aim needs to be landing retainer clients or getting in with agencies.
Why retainer clients?
UGC retainers are contracts between you, the creator, and a brand, to produce a predetermined amount of UGC content over a specified period. Unlike one-off collaborations, where a creator produces content for a single campaign, a UGC retainer establishes an ongoing partnership where the creator consistently creates content for the brand on a regular basis. Think 6 new concepts a month for paid ads, or 30 organic TikToks.
Financial Stability: With a retainer agreement in place, you can count on a steady stream of revenue, which offers financial security and reduces the uncertainty of one-offs.
Scalability: Retainers allow you to plan efficiently. How can you work out when to quit your job if you don’t have set, reliable income to weigh up?
Less Time On Client Acquisition: This is the kicker. You don’t have time to do 6 hours of outbound a day. Retainer clients are long-term partnerships, meaning you spend less time on constantly seeking new clients.
Agencies are going to be your best friend for finding work. They constantly need people and they want to work with people they trust and know. However, as a creator, you might have noticed that agencies often prefer adding you to their roster rather than committing to a retainer. This is normal: like creators agencies grapple with inconsistencies and tight margins. Since clients can churn or switch agencies at any time, agencies must remain adaptable and flexible. Committing to a retainer, where they promise a creator a set number of projects or a fixed monthly fee, can be financially risky.
With that being said, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re a go-to for agency clients:
1. Be Available and Keep Leads Warm:
To become an agency’s go-to creator, make yourself readily available and maintain warm relationships with agency contacts. If the agency uses Slack or similar communication channels, request access and offer your expertise as a resource. By staying engaged and offering assistance, you become a trusted resource agencies are more likely to turn to.
2. Offer Unique Value:
Set yourself apart by offering something unique that other creators may not provide. Whether it’s additional services, a distinct creative perspective, or specific expertise in a niche, offering unique value can go a long way.
How To Get Started As A Part-Time UGC Creator
If starting UGC again while working a full-time job, here’s how I would do it:
〰️ Research: I’d be the most knowledgeable UGC creator there was. I wouldn’t need to focus on taking the crappy jobs because I have another income, so I would focus on learning the creative strategies that take D2C brands to the moon. I’d drown myself in Dara Denny and UGC social content.
〰️ Portfolio Building: I’d make a UGC portfolio of my work and then I would stop fiddling with it because you don’t need to change the color scheme forty times. You just don’t.
〰️ Pitch To Brands: I’d perfect my pitch and then target brands that were already collaborating with UGC creators. By starting with these brands, I give myself a higher chance of getting her foot in the door. I wouldn’t care about how much they were paying as long as it was above a minimum threshold (~$200 per concept).
〰️ Film: I’ll use 1-2 days per week to film, and only film on these days. Batching content allows me to deliver for clients efficiently and maintain a consistent presence online. This approach is helpful for those with limited time to devote to UGC.
〰️ Overdeliver: Whether it’s an agency or a one-off client, I’m going above and beyond the scope of your original arrangement. Create additional organic content along with your one-off, or variations of hooks and include them in the folder watermarked. If they choose to purchase them, I’ll then raise the option of a monthly retainer, which would work out significantly cheaper and give them X, Y and Z benefits.
〰️ Have A Ceiling: As a part-time UGC creator, I’m going to understand that I have a ceiling and I’m going to respect it. Whether that be three retainer clients, or two retainers and an agency for one-off work, when I hit my ceiling, I’m not taking on any more work.
How To Balance Full-Time Work with UGC
So now that we’ve gotten started, it’s time to maintain the momentum.
The key to success here lies in time management. There’s no two ways about it. Learn to time block, and respect your blocks. If you’re constantly going over you’re allocated time, you’re underestimating how long it takes you to do a task.
While it requires hard work and dedication, it’s a journey that can be incredibly rewarding. Managing a full-time job while pursuing UGC can be demanding, but it’s entirely feasible and I know you can do it. Good luck!