I used to do a whole bunch of stuff, but I'm like, “Man, you really just got to focus on one thing (and I would say a second thing maybe, but it has to still be related to that one thing).”
When I started doing that, my life got so much easier!
With just over 5000 followers, you wouldn’t expect Sanchez Zehcnas - aka Cheddar Chez - to have worked with many brands....
But he’s been hired by over 700 brands to create UGC content for their ads and socials in just two (2) years!
He’s so successful at brand UGC that he’s now coaching other Creators on how to do it - and he’s sharing some of his tactics here.
Chez’s largest audience is on a platform you may not yet have heard of - Creatorland. It’s been called “LinkedIn for Creators”, and is designed for Creators to connect with brands for partnerships.
(Creatorland is not a sponsor, but their founder, Brian Freeman, introduced me to Chez - thanks Brian!)
It seems to be working - he landed his biggest client on Creatorland:
That one client from Creatorland is dope. He came in with like 40%. I was talking to him for a while and he wanted me to do videos for him, but I figured out he actually needed something that was a little bit more valuable than that. Instead of just paying me to do videos, he pays me now to help him get people to create the videos. I help manage, edit, and deliver.
Chez didn’t manage to pull a “whale” (industry term for a huge client) from Creatorland without putting in the time.
Over the last two years, he’s created UGC content for over 700 brands - again, with fewer than 10,000 followers.
There was one particular third party app called Billo that I got started with…I'm like, “Oh my gosh, people do this? You can get paid to do this?”... They do the marketing to bring people who want my services to me. I just went and applied to whatever brand that I wanted to work for, and then from there, I think the first month I made like $1,200. I was trying to make $500, but I ended up making double that.
Then from there, it was just like 40 videos a month, 50 videos a month, back to back to back to back to back.
If you sign up for Billo, use Chez’s referral code - KK1YS - to get some extra cash on your first video (and to get him paid as well).
Billo was just Chez’s entry point - a place to establish himself as a quality UGC Creator and learn how the UGC business works. Eventually, he discovered the next level.
I came across another platform called Insense, and that platform paid way more than what I was making on Billo.
Here’s how the economics break down:
On Billo, when you get started, you make $25-$40 for a short video, until you become a “Premium Creator”. That increases the price per video by ~2-3x.
If you’re getting, say, $70 per short video and can make 3 a day, your annualized income is over $50k…but that’s a lot of videos (~60 a month) and it’s hard to get that many.
InSense takes per-video revenue to the next level.
$300 for a video, $500 for a video, $800 for a video, where, like, on Billo, you're getting $70 as a Premium Creator. I'm on Insense and I'm like, “Man, this is crazy!”
The other benefit of being a UGC Creator in these marketplaces is that you receive a ton of product that you can keep or resell.
My front door looked like an Amazon warehouse. I had packages at my front door every single day!
Unlike a brand sponsorship for a social page, where success is often determined based on direct sales or content views/engagement, the success of UGC is determined based on the quality of the content (which drives sales and viewership indirectly, through the brand’s social or ad-based distribution).
Practically speaking, that means UGC Creators need to focus on producing high-quality content, rather than high-reach content. The marketplaces’ Creator discovery process reflects this.
You start off with a pitch video: You pitch yourself for 15 seconds, and then you grab a product and pitch it.
So let's say I have this Rick and Morty Pop doll right here. I say, “Hey, if you like Pop dolls, you gotta go check out this Rick and Morty one. If you're a Rick and Morty fan, it's one of my favorite shows…you just go down the list and talk about why it's important to you, then send them the video.
If you get approved, then when brands find you, they'll see that pitch video. If you already have examples of videos that you've done with other brands, they can see those too.
That’s how they're able to determine if they want to work with you or not.
Now that Sanchez has conquered the UGC business, he’s launched a coaching business teaching others how to be successful storytellers.
A lot of people are trying to be on camera - they just have no idea about film or how to bring their own personality and tell their own personal stories.
At first I was actually doing the, “How to be a UGC creator,” thing and I've had little mini successes from that, but in my experience, I found that it goes deeper than that… People want to make money.
[But I realized that that was] a cure to the symptom, not the disease. When I'm teaching people how to imagine and how to get in that certain mindset and be on camera and tell your story, that's a cure to the overall problem, versus “Oh, I just wanna make a little bit of money being on camera and talking about products,” because not everybody wants to do that.
I think everybody can benefit from telling their story and helping the people behind them come up.
Creator Networking - Creatorland
One of the reasons I really wanted to sign up for it was because I know Brian [Creatorland’s founder] wanted to get more brands on the platform. That would give me more access to brands, but it was also going to be really good for me because there's more Creators on there.
If I am connected with more Creators, then if I'm working with brands and brands have an issue and are like, “Oh, well, we don't know how to solve this issue. We don't have anybody to solve this issue,” they’ll ask: Who's the guy that knows all the Creators?
And I can solve problems way more effectively and efficiently if I have access to more Creators. Once I figured that out, I'm like, “Yeah, Creatorland is probably where I need to be.”
UGC Brand Marketplaces - Billo + Insense
There's more platforms than just Billo and Insense, by the way. Those are just the two that I use just because I've had the most success with them.
Website / Hosting - GoHighLevel
Project Management - Whatever the brand uses
Video Production (UGC) - Galaxy S21 phone + Portable light from Amazon + Tripod + Portable Mics + CapCut
Video Production (Personal Content) - HyperX RGB Mic + Lumix GH5S
Payment Processing + Banking - Novo
I signed up for a bank for Creators and self-employed entrepreneurs called Novo Banking. Now I primarily invoice my clients through that and they send the money directly to my bank versus going through Stripe, paying the Stripe fees, and then coming to my account….
There was another bank called Nerve and that was a bank specifically made for Creators. It was creative banking, but that company shut down, which was crazy because I almost lost access to all my money!
Link in Bio - Doesn’t use anymore
I think to be honest, dude, going the brand strategy coaching route, I'm just going to do everything through my DMs. I don't know how effective that is for most people, but that's what my business coach told me to do, so I'm just listening to everything he said.
I write about the Creator Economy on LinkedIn through the lens of my 15 years as a Creator, agent, manager, marketer, producer, and executive at companies like Patreon, Wheelhouse, and WME.
Here are a few highlights from the last few week!
My mission is to enable a million people to find freedom in the Creator Economy.
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