Influencer Shares The Struggles Of Being ‘Broke’ Despite Having One Million Followers

Australian influencer Jamie Zhu made half a million dollars in 2020 with his social media job. But he shared that the reality behind that was that he was never always making big bucks despite having a big following.

“I was broke as…” the video cuts off as he speaks of all his struggles during his early days.

The Sydney-based content creator said, “One million followers and broke; it doesn’t always add up. I went to the petrol station after the gym to buy a protein shake, and my card declined.”

 

The influencer was with Rustam Raziev, a fellow Australian famous TikToker and a friend of his. The 30-year-old Melbourne-based friend of his nodded and added that life as a social media star isn’t that glamorous all the time. Raziev, who has seven million TikTok followers, actually still keeps his day job as a consultant for strata management in real estate.

“I wish I could do (social media) full time, but I’m working towards it,” shared Raziev.

Zhu’s fame began on YouTube when his content was noticed in 2014. He kept expanding to different platforms, most noticeably on Facebook in 2016. Despite gaining over 9,000 subscribers, Zhu did not make “a cent” from his channel.

He gained one million followers on Facebook in the first year he joined the platform, but it barely paid off anything. He recalled, “I was completely broke, I was on Centrelink, I was delivering pizzas for a living, and working in childcare.”

“In mid-2017, I took the plunge and decided to quit my two jobs and do social media full time.”

Initially, he only made $200 from two small brand deals, but he persisted, and finally, in 2018, when Facebook allowed ads in videos, he began to see results. By the end of 2020, he had made $500,000 already.

He shared, “Something people have to understand is that it’s not always an upward curve.”

One of his proudest moments was giving his mother a $120,000 renovation for her apartment. He briefly shared that his mom had Crohn’s disease just two years after having him and has since been battling a lifelong side effect.

Even though he made half a million in 2020, he revealed that his income this year had only been half of what it was—being a social media star isn’t always all that glam and successful. Although Zhu has held several meets and greets in Asian countries as his large following comes from there.

He recalled, “On the day of the meet-and-greet, I was super broke. I had to pretend to my friend Charlie Taylor – who doesn’t even know this – that I had lost my bank card so he could lend me some money.”

“Here I was as this guy doing meet and greets, but I had $0 in my bank account.”

“Social media can be so fake; everyone’s trying to hide in their cave pretending they are making millions when they’re not.”

Zhu admitted that he knew he was lucky as he began his social media existence early before it became a thing. He now advises younger generations who really want to make bucks out of it from zero to “do it for the right reasons.” Because simply “to be famous” is “not a good enough reason.”

Fame affected him, and the 28-year-old shared his experience, “There’s this illusion that if you have some sort of following that you have to act this sort of way. When I first started getting recognized, it changed how I saw myself.”

Zhu now focuses on giving a positive message to his followers, acknowledging that some of his “prank” content from his earlier days were “questionable.”

What’s your Reaction?
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0