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Wisconsin social media creators earn living as content creators – Post-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 bought 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 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 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 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, changing into a content material creator is changing into extra of an choice to be your personal boss, do one thing you are obsessed with and earn a residing doing it from anyplace on this planet — 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 just a little 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 images 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 form of occurred organically, she stated. 
Clemens began posting about her weight reduction journey on her private Instagram web page after shedding 50 kilos. She saved dropping kilos and gaining followers and by the top of 2019, 8,000 individuals have been following her on Instagram. 
On Jan. 1, 2020, Girls’s Well being journal published a story 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 positively not one thing that I got down to do and I by no means thought I might 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 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. 
It was across the similar time she misplaced her job that her Instagram account was actually taking off. Dropping her job gave her extra time to deal with rising her social media platform, she stated, and likewise, for the primary time in her grownup life, gave her the chance to think about what she needed to do sooner or later. 
Clemens stated she places as a lot effort into her Instagram web page as she would some other full-time job. She uploads new content material virtually each day and posts a number of occasions 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 number of work that goes on behind the scenes as nicely, she stated, reminiscent of 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 will discover you,” she stated. “Do not attempt to mould your self into what you assume you must be as a result of individuals — I feel now greater than ever — are searching for authenticity and so they 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 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 related to and so they simply need one of the best for one another.”
“If my Instagram obtained misplaced tomorrow, the one factor that I might miss essentially the most can 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 an entire 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 chunk. 
Winkler obtained 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 — obtained common 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 positively 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 taking part in on the boys’s golf staff.
“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 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 have been at first skeptical of their son’s social media ambitions. 
“They have been very skeptical, simply type of like, ‘How does this work? How are you earning money?’ The older technology did not develop up round social media and other people turning it into advertising 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 obtained me an iPhone after which I can flip it into this enormous, profitable enterprise.” 
However now, they’re on board and totally supportive, Winkler stated. His mother even has her own TikTok account
At the moment, Winkler is engaged on a video sequence the place he travels across the nation and tries every state’s most iconic meals. He began in Wisconsin with a number of cheese and has made it to 16 different states to this point, 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 in the future personal a restaurant, create his personal meals line or actually have a TV present, he stated. 
“With the best work ethic and with simply consistently having the ability to innovate and create new forms 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 fully modified my life in like the easiest way attainable  as a result of I really like doing it.”
Discover Tommy Winker on TikTok and Instagram at @tommywinkler and on YouTube at Tommy Winkler.
Should you’re an aspiring content material creator and also you wish to learn to make YouTube video thumbnails, appeal to sponsorships or acquire extra followers, then Muaaz Shakeel is your man. 
Shakeel, 24, makes movies about know-how, gaming and social media. His movies intention 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 stated. 
“Whereas I used to be in highschool, I used to be type of similar to, throwing stuff on the wall and hoping it could stick,” he stated. “I used to be actually simply throwing up content material, hoping somebody would watch it. But it surely simply did not work out, so I ended up quitting for some time. I did not totally 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 about 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 stated, and taught himself the whole lot he wanted to learn about being a YouTuber. 
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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 couple of tutorials and people obtained 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’ house in Madison, his neatly made mattress a frequent backdrop to a lot of his movies. His channel homepage is stuffed with eye-catching video thumbnails with colourful backgrounds, daring fonts, intriguing titles and expressive images 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 web gaming group —  with 10,000 members. He additionally 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 changing into a extra common aim for younger individuals immediately. His greatest recommendation for aspiring creators is to be in line with importing and ensuring their video is partaking from starting to finish. 
“Again when (my mates and I) have been children, at any time when 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 stated. “However now I am fairly certain that a number of children 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 number of these children look to this point. So I am certain that over the following few years, much more individuals are gonna need to develop into creators and make that their aim.” 
Shakeel graduated from UW-Madison in 2019 with a level in info methods 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 wish 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 wish to hold 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 girls really feel much less alone by overtly 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 girls. 
Kiefer first obtained 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 girls 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 info 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 Purpose. She and her sister additionally began Expecting and Empowered, a exercise program for pregnant and postpartum girls. 
Her content material creation ventures are actually her full-time job. She left nursing on the finish of 2019, she stated. 
Via her social media, Kiefer has shared her experiences and ideas on being a working mother, marriage, parenting, being pregnant and entrepreneurship. Her Instagram account often 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 top-of-the-line issues I’ve ever achieved 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 girl simply wants to listen to that.’ It is essential to me to ensure that different individuals are feeling supported and never alone like that.”
Along with sharing her personal views, Kiefer additionally likes to carry specialists, like therapists and authors, into her content material to assist her followers study and develop. 
She hopes her content material exhibits girls that they’ll have a number of passions and do not need to hold themselves in only one field. 
“It is simply unimaginable to attach with girls from throughout,” Kiefer stated. “I am going to put up one thing and I simply cannot imagine how nicely it’s going to resonate and somebody will say, ‘I simply I wanted that immediately.’ At the moment, individuals actually can have a deep connection on Instagram, particularly with these mothers which might be possibly breastfeeding in the course of the evening or no matter it’s, they are going via a season the place they’re type of in isolation, as all of us have been when the pandemic began. The connection is actually wonderful. And that is my favourite half nonetheless immediately. “
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 firstly of 2020.  
Becker, 43, began posting movies about backpacking, climbing and tenting in 2018 after he turned to YouTube for recommendation about how not to 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 individuals on the market who have 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 really 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 finally I used to be like, ‘It is a factor. I feel I may 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 concerning the outside. He posts evaluations of tenting gear, ideas and recommendation for fellow hikers and takes his followers alongside on his backpacking adventures all around the nation. 
He works with outside manufacturers that ship him free gear to evaluate 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 house in Kenosha — the place he lives along with his spouse and children — 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 strive it.”
He and his spouse made the choice that YouTube can be Becker’s full-time profession after they realized he was capable of make a gradual revenue and his earnings have been projected to develop. 
Becker, now 43, by no means got down to be an internet content material creator. However for individuals who do, Becker needs them to know that it is not as straightforward as it could seem on-line.
“I feel individuals are tremendous discouraged after they make 15 movies, and so they look again and no one watched any of them after which they provide up,” he stated. “The truth is that it could be your one centesimal video that you have made that individuals begin watching you. It is a number 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 certain.”
For Becker, one of the best factor about being a full-time content material creator is that the pliability 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 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. Comply with her on Twitter @brophy_natalie

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