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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MNSU chapter.

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of TikToks about people regretting that they didn’t start their social media platforms sooner and how they are going to grow their accounts now. These videos have encouraged me to AT LEAST do some research and see how I could be creating a side hustle that would generate additional income for myself. And as I do some light research I am going to share with you what I find covering the main platforms; YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

First of all, I want to say that this research is for someone who just wants to have a paying hobby basically. If you were interested in making one of these, or all, of these platforms pay your bills entirely then I think you are going to need to take a more aggressive approach and do research that focuses on creating content that is more likely to go viral or retain an audience. 

Okay, so let’s start with YouTube AKA the OG of content platforms. YouTube has made some changes to its AdSense rules and who can earn an income off their videos. Well, the most important thing to know is that your content MUST be original and free of any copyrighted material;  yes that does include music even if it is in the background. Second, in order to begin earning income based on ad revenue, you must have 1,000 subscribers, have more than 4,000 public watch hours within the last 12 months, and some small things. Some of those small things mainly cover just being in good standing with YouTube. Be careful to not confuse watch hours with the number of views, as it refers to how much of your content did people view rather than how many people clicked on your video. 

So what does this mean in terms of earning income as a side job? Basically, if you post content and meet these requirements then you have the opportunity to earn an income that will be based on your content’s level of success on the platform. Simple and easy videos that could create good content are ones that let people into your daily life. Some of the most popular videos are about room tours, everyday routines, and simple things that are filmed within the comfort of people’s homes. However, there are some “odd” niches that do really well too, like videos that break down math problems or rain sounds for sleeping. 

Alright, next let’s look at TikToc and how to earn income off that platform. For starters, the way you can earn income off TikToc is different from YouTube’s ad revenue. The creator fund is how you can earn money off the app and it starts with the following requirements: have 10,000 followers, have at least 100,00 video views in the last 30 days, be 18 years old, and be within certain countries and follow guidelines. This is a little bit harder to meet requirements for, however, TikToks can be done very quickly depending on the type of video. 

I have been seeing a trend of what is being referred to as micro-influencers. These are people who have fewer followers than the average influencer but are still able to earn income off social media. Unless these micro-influencers have 10,000 followers then it is likely that their income comes from brand endorsements and not the creator fund. 

Lastly, Instagram does have opportunities for income-based posts and reels. However, the way most people earn money off Instagram is by brand endorsements and paid posts. Another way that Instagram can help generate income is by acting as a sign to other platforms like having your YouTube link in your bio, maybe an Etsy or Amazon Affiliate link posted, or simply advertising your content. I have seen some people use the platform as a way to engage with short reels or story posts. And Instagram is a good way to give people a visual understanding of what your branding is and if they possibly would like the content that you create. 

If I were to choose a platform to focus on it would likely be TikToc as it may be harder to get the creator fund as you need more followers, but a 15-second video of something I find fun should be easier and less time consuming than the average 10 minute YouTube video. And the whole point of a side hustle is something that doesn’t take away from your main priorities, is enjoyable, and just helps bring in some income. And if you’re not focusing your content on a certain hobby, like birdhouse making, then I would suggest focusing on things that don’t cost you any money to do and are something that you already plan to do. For instance, I don’t bake or cook special meals that often so I have no reason to make an account – that I plan on earning income from- that is based on cooking special meals. Personally, I think the easiest niche that I should focus on would be shopping and browsing in stores, along with mini hauls, and routine videos. As none of these things are too out of the way and take up any real valuable time. 

If you want to start today I think you should ask yourself; what are some things that I do on a regular basis that could be made into a 15-60 second video? One of my key suggestions is to keep it simple and not overthink it. Good Luck.

Hello, I am a Mass Media and Communication Studies major at MNSU. While I enjoy writing and being a part of organizations that keep me connected.