‘I made $1.2m last year’: We spoke to the people making bank on TikTok
‘Creators my size make $10,000 per video’
If you were waiting for a sign to stop worrying about what people think of you and start up a TikTok account, this may just be it – people are making literal thousands of pounds every month from TikTok, and not in all of the obvious ways you’d expect. You’ve probably heard about the creator fund by now, which pays creators for their videos dependant on how well engaged they are, but there are a load of other ways you can make a viable living through the app, and creators are reaping the rewards.
Wondering where to start? We spoke to the people making significant amounts of money through TikTok about how they did it, and what advice they’d have for young people looking to make serious cash.
Mark Tilbury – 6m+ followers
Mark Tilbury is a businessman and content creator who makes videos advising young people on how to get the most out of their money, and they’ve proven a massive hit amongst Gen Z audiences – to date he has received nearly 50 million likes on his TikTok account alone. So, what is the secret to making money on TikTok as a student?
“The first thing to do is to understand the platform before jumping into creating videos,” Mark told The Tab. “Analyse what goes viral, pick a niche and the core values you stand for and stick to them. Too many people post random videos without any direction, they may go viral but no one will ever follow or remember them. I try to add value and teach something each of my videos.”
@marktilburyDo THIS As Soon As You Turn 18! 🤯 @tiktok_uk ##learnontiktok ##money ##finance ##education ##turning18♬ original sound – Mark Tilbury – YouTuber & CEO
It’s pretty well known that TikTok won’t pay its creators huge amounts through the creator fund unless they have millions of followers, and Mark (who earns £1000 a month from the fund) suggests that there are other ways to make money more quickly. “I would only recommend TikTok to students that enjoy the app and have a passion for it or have an existing business they want to boost,” he told us. “There are much more time-efficient ways to make money such as tutoring, freelancing & dropshipping. However, if you put in the work and enjoy it then you can make it profitable.
“I personally don’t like accepting lots of brand deals as I already have 2 profitable businesses and I am less concerned about making money from TikTok, however, I have heard of some creators of my size making over £10,000 per 30 second TikTok.”
@marktilburyHow To Beat Evil Credit Cards! 😈 ##learnontiktok ##personalfinance ##credit ##selfimprovement ##creditcard♬ original sound – Mark Tilbury – YouTuber & CEO
Mark’s advice for students attempting to make huge amount of money quickly online? Don’t: “You will give up if you don’t see any results after the first month. The best profits always come from playing the long game. If I was a student today then I would be building a brand or product around a clear need in the marketplace,” he told The Tab.
“With social media today, there has NEVER been a better time to become a millionaire. Build a long term brand with a clear mission and multiple income streams, then invest long term, and you will never have to worry about money ever again. At least that’s what I did, and I am very happy!”
Liv/DBL Jewelry – 1.5m+ followers
Liv is the founder of DBL Jewelry, a shop that she promotes using TikTok. Although she hasn’t earnt a single cent from TikTok directly through its creator fund, she has made a substantial sum by marketing through the app. “From marketing organically on my own,” Liv told The Tab, “DBL has made 1.2 million dollars in sales in 2020 and is projected to make five million by the end of 2021.”
As if this wasn’t mind-boggling enough, she only started using TikTok in the last couple of years: “In 2019, I had only made $30,000 in sales for DBL using Instagram marketing and we only had 60,000 store visitors on DBL. In 2020 we had three million.”
@ceo.livi have a biz class now! ##business ##smallbusiness ##entrepreneur ##goal ##story ##dayinthelife ##success ##inspire ##inspired ##manifest ##youngentrepreneur♬ SIMP SCREAM – ..wheat..
Liv believes that TikTok is a great way for students to make money as it’s a platform where anyone can create content and promote their businesses. “At the moment, the platform is very volatile, and anyone can go viral and make themselves known if they truly tried,” she said.
TikTok’s creator fund is not something that Liv is interested in, and she actually knows people who have become less favoured by the algorithm because of it. “Influencers have told me that the creator fund has evidently dropped their views and made it harder for them to gain an audience on TikTok. I have not tried the creator fund yet and I do not wish to participate in it anytime soon as my organic way of marketing has been working for me for over a year now.
“I am currently still a student in college, and I am able to pay my entire tuition solely based off of marketing my business on TikTok. It has enabled more than 800,000 visitors a month to visit my store and $100k a month in sales.”
If consistently making content isn’t your kind of thing but you know how to build a social media account quickly, a particularly lucrative grey area for making money is to sell TikTok accounts with lots of followers. Fameswap is a site that acts as an online marketplace for Facebook, YouTube and TikTok accounts – and they can sell for astronomical amounts.
“On average, a TikTok account with one million followers sells between $15k and $30k,” a representative for Fameswap told The Tab. “The price depends on the niche and earnings that the account can generate. We had one seller with a 3m follower account who was asking $300k for their account, primarily because their earnings were in the $15k per month range from that single account.”
You’re likely curious to know what price they’d put on Charli D’Amelio’s 100m+ follower account. “In the case of semi-celebrities like Charli and her sister, valuations largely depend on their personal brand value and other channels,” they told us. “Charli’s brand is probably worth about $15m to $25m right now, and her TikTok account is a majority of that valuation I would say.”
Fameswap claims that the majority of their clients are businesses that purchase accounts to jumpstart their brand or launch new products, and all in all it seems like a pretty quick and easy way of doing so.