It’s official: Social media stardom is a full-blown career that could change your life. Around the globe, digital entrepreneurs are using their smartphones to create content and build a monetizable audience. On the outside looking in, viewers see a bunch of influencers who got lucky. But it’s deeper than that. Content creation is a skill that pays, particularly with sponsorships, advertising revenue and product sales.
In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts, SUCCESS People Editor Tristan Ahumada talks to TikTok star and comedian London Lazerson about how to become a digital entrepreneur. Lazerson has 4.6 million TikTok followers and wants people to know how accessible content creation is.
“When you find your sweet spot, you can make it,” Lazerson says. “It does not matter [what you do]. “You could be reviewing bushes out in people’s gardens, and you become the garden guy. Now, all of a sudden, you’re a millionaire off of social media.”
Is it really that easy? Not quite, but anything’s possible on the internet. Make your dreams a reality with this five-step blueprint to digital entrepreneurship.
1. Find your niche and own it.
Finding your creative calling is step one to becoming a digital entrepreneur. If you can label your talent or expertise, that will help others see the value in your work.
“It wasn’t until TikTok that I really figured out that if you can find your niche, you will grow a following, and you will make money from this,” Lazerson says. “It’s quite literally that simple because you can hammer it over and over.”
It’s OK to have more than one niche, as long as you market yourself under one category. Lazerson is a comedian with three sub niches: Home Alone parodies, funny Tesla videos and random comedy he thinks people will love. Having a few “content buckets” allows you to reach pockets of people across broad categories.
2. Do your research, and then never stop learning.
Want to create popular products and irresistible content? Take a look at what other entrepreneurs are doing within your niche. Head to TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, or even a competitor’s website, and do some deep, hourslong research. Can you capitalize on some of the same content? Could you potentially make better content?
“To me, scrolling on social media is different from the average consumer…. I’m trying to find my next viral idea inside someone else’s video,” Lazerson says.
Digital entrepreneurship is fairly accessible, but it’s not as easy as some people think. Take some pressure off yourself by pulling inspiration from the right sources.
3. When you get stuck, just start creating.
How do seasoned creators post three videos a day? Even as a full-time job, making that much content is a time-consuming process. One video might require a short script, hours of editing, keyword research for tags and titles and possibly a custom thumbnail.
To create faster, allow your mind to break up with the idea of perfectionism. That’s how viral stars become successful after years of hard work. In the beginning, they aren’t afraid to push past that awful feeling of not knowing what to do.
“Just getting into the state of creating is more important than the pre-production of creating,” Lazerson says. “It’s more important than your scripts. It’s more important than even the concept.”
Once you get into the groove of making content, be consistent. It can take years to see real, organic growth.
4. Make a habit of pitching yourself to brands.
As soon as you have a cult following, pitch the companies you love or can see yourself partnering with. Lazerson says he used to direct message 50 brands each week to learn the process of pitching.
“It wasn’t even so I could provide an income for myself because there were other ways to make money at the time,” Lazerson says. “Part of it was, ‘I need to learn what these brands want to hear from me and what they don’t want to hear from me.’”
As you pitch, pay attention to two things:
- Which conversations are fruitful (and which ones aren’t).
- The language you’re using (so you can write better DMs).
5. Ask for help, but only when you need it.
If you do the four things above, you’re bound to become a digital entrepreneur. It may take years, but having thousands of people enjoy your content or buy your products is something you can achieve.
But don’t stop there. Gaining thousands (or millions) of followers raises new questions for your business. Do you need a manager to negotiate brand deals? How about a video editor? Those are smart investments, but make sure you need them before you go all-in.
“You really can crack social media stardom on your own,” Lazerson says. “I know people who have 10 million followers on TikTok, and they’re just now thinking of hiring interns because I put that in their heads…. It really depends on what stage you’re at.”