Gabrielle Judge quit her job in the tech industry to find better work-life balance and more meaning. What she ultimately found was an audience hungry for her brand of honesty and a lucrative path as a content creator.
According to KNBC Los Angeles, Judge suffered an injury in 2021 that left her with a concussion. After two months of recovering away from her job, Judge realized a large part of her overall unhappiness came down to the work she was doing. “A lot of these ideas that I have today started to surface where it was like, ‘Why do we center our self-esteem and self-worth and all our time around a 9-to-5?’” Judge told KNBC.
The sentiment isn't uncommon, either. More and more people say they feel detached, unengaged, and unhappy at work — a staggering 60 percent according to one poll.
Judge, who has an audience of more than 150,000 followers on TikTok, is an excellent example of how just about anybody can create a successful career as a content creator. But they need to understand where the money comes from (spoiler alert: a lot of places) and the number one thing they need to do in order to go from hobbyist to full-time.
The Anatomy Of A Career In Social Media Content
When we talk about "content creators," we're talking about hundreds of millions of musicians, actors, podcasters, influencers, small businesses, athletes, brands, and more. It's a massive umbrella of "all kinds of kinds," but creators like Judge typically fall somewhere between the influencer and edutainment/personality world.
For these content creators, the anatomy of a successful career usually revolves around the body of content itself, with each "limb" of earning potential still ultimately tying back to the videos these creators post. In other words, it's not about creating social media content in order to get people to the next level of engagement and eventually sell them on a ticket or a product. It's about the content you make and the community you foster because of it.
Though Judge didn't divulge all the specifics of her income, she did say that she makes on average around $20,000 per month from her content. Of that money, roughly $2,000 per month alone comes from her creating user-generated content (UGC) featuring her dog.
For a content creator like Judge, that income likely comes from a host of different sources tied to the platforms. They include things like participating in ad share revenue (a bigger factor on places like YouTube), going live on platform and earning gifts from viewers, creating sponsored posts on your own profile, earning revenue from platform-specific subscriptions, and the aforementioned UGC (when a creator makes a piece of content for a brand or company to post natively, opposed to a brand or company trying to leverage a creator's existing fanbase).
From there, a passionate audience can help any creator monetize dozens of different opportunities. Just look at Gabrielle Judge's own Linktree, which features more than a dozen ways to engage with Judge and potentially help her earn revenue.
The Super Secret Trick To Being A Successful Content Creator
Contrary to what you might think, you don't need an audience of millions on social media to make a good living. If you've built an audience that cares about what you do or think, even ten thousand engaged followers can help you build a solid foundation.
How do you get to the point of people caring about what you do or think? Well, there's a super secret trick to it. Ready? Here it goes.
Just kidding! A lot of people mistake content for entertainment. You don't have to yell at the camera or buy 30 different costumes or harness the energy of the sun in every video if that's not your thing. The real secret isn't a secret at all. At least not when you take a moment to think about why any of us end up following our favorite creators.
Give first. Make content that adds value to somebody's life. This may seem a little esoteric, but don't overthink it. You just need to think about your personal values, and then create content that aligns with them. It can be entertaining, silly, serious, educational, introspective, or all of the above. As long as it aligns with your value systems, like-minded people will align with it as well.
Then, they'll want to support you because you make their life better. Let's look at how Gabrielle Judge does it as an example.
When Your Brand Aligns With Your Values, You Win
Judge uses her platform to talk about her experiences in the tech industry, but that's not her brand, nor is it central to her value system. That's just part of her expertise. Her brand is actually centered around a few concepts or phrases she uses. The first is "antiworkgirlboss." The second is "Lazy Girl Jobs."
Both phrases do an excellent job of capturing her sense of humor and irony while also aligning with a certain mindset. The "Lazy Girl Jobs" mentality is all about helping young people (especially women) focus on creating a better work-life balance. Much of Judge's content focuses on popular phrases and concepts like quiet quitting and deconstructing philosophies around the workplace. She also shares opinions on things like salary negotiations, dealing with co-workers, ways to make your life easier, and just generally value-driven stuff.
That's because she has a goal to help people — particularly women — learn how to detach their sense of self from their job. It's a powerful value and her brand aligns with it perfectly. That's the main reason she's able to have a successful business as a content creator without also reaching millions and millions of people.
So ultimately, what's behind a content creator making six figures a year largely off social media? A value system, a brand that aligns with it, and a give-first mentality. Oh, and a solid Linktree link.