As a Family Travel Coach & online business owner who’s used to creating content almost daily, when one day a random TikTok video talking about UGC popped up on my feed, I immediately thought hey! Could I possibly do this? Can I start creating content for other brands too? Could I leverage my content creation skills to open up another income source for my online brand? This is my UGC Creator Journey and how I’ve made my first $8k creating content for others.
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Let’s start with the basics…
When we talk about UGC, we can’t forget the most asked question around the topic: What is UGC?
I’m gonna give you the technical answer and then we’ll go a little bit deeper.
UGC is an acronym or abbreviation that stands for User Generated Content. When we talk about a “user”, we’re referring to a person who represents an “ideal audience”, people like me and you.
In that sense, UGC is content produced by real people, who represent real customers, and that is used for marketing purposes by brands.
A UGC Creator is a content creator that partners with brands to produce this type of content, which could be in photo or video format.
Why did I decide to try UGC out?
I guess you can say that what really happened was that UGC found me.
After having returned home from a 10-month trip with our kids, my husband Luisfe and I knew we would settle for a bit. This meant he would go back to a FT job, while I continued building my online biz from home and homeschooling our little ones.
If you’ve been here for a while, you know I’m a Certified Travel Coach and offer Private Coaching Sessions to amazing moms (like you). My online biz knowledge helped me extend my services to online brand coaching and travel business coaching, which I started while we were on the road.
As you may have noticed, my portfolio of services includes mostly 1:1 calls, which I love doing! BUT, our new post-trip routine limited the amount of calls I could take per day (which directly impacted my online income).
So then it happened, (read, the Universe sent me a couple of signals)
The first sign was an email I received from the wooden map brand Enjoy the Wood. They were looking to partner with me, via my @monosviajeros IG account. The offer was that they’d send me one of their gorgeous maps, in exchange of a sponsored reel.
At this point, I had never partnered with a brand before, even though my account was past the 5k follower mark. I thought the opportunity would be exciting and a great chance to get my feet wet into the world of producing content showcasing a gifted product.
Then I got the other sign, which didn’t quite happen on a specific moment. Instead, I rather became aware of something that had been right in front of my eyes thanks to my TikTok account.
I suddenly started noticing all those UGC videos shared by different creators, and basically put 2 + 2 together.
“If I’m doing this with Enjoy the Wood right now –because they’re fans of my work– I wonder if I can replicate it”
So then I moved into the next stage…THE HOW.
How did I get started with UGC?
I’ve broken down the “how to” piece of my UGC creator journey, into the following steps for you: Research, Portfolio & Outreach.
Let’s dive in.
This was one of the most important things I did when starting as a UGC creator. Even though I knew a lot about creating content, let’s be honest, I knew nothing about UGC or working with brands. So I focused on learning as much as I could before doing anything, so I could have more clarity on my next steps.
Hands down, the platform where I found the most valuable information was TikTok. There is a big community of UGC creators sharing not only their best tips, but also their work. This gave me a lot of light on the type of UGC content that was already out there.
During my research I focused on learning what UGC was, the platforms that I should use, and how to put a UGC Portfolio together. I also identified some leading UGC creators who had been at it for a while and dove deep into their content.
Thanks to my research, I found out that every single UGC creator out there had something, very specific, as a tool to help them land clients. Yes queen, a UGC Portfolio. Now, as a content creator I already have a Media Kit, and although you may think that they’re quite similar, each serves a different purpose.
Media Kit: Great for content creators and influencers who want to leverage their platforms + audiences to partner with brands.
UGC Portfolio: Great for content creators who want to showcase their UGC samples, content creation skills, content analytics, etc. The creator’s SM platforms and audience are not as relevant in the UGC space.
When you work as a UGC Creator, you’re mostly creating content for brands to use in their own platforms, as “social proof”. Therefore, the size of your following, although it can help you build authority, it’s not a deciding factor.
With that said, as someone who started from the influencer side, I definitely see the weight of having grown a following and presence online. I believe my experience and authority online helped me elevate my perceived value and move quicker inside the UGC world.
Now into the building piece…“How did I create a UGC Portfolio without any previous UGC experience?”
Simple, I started with what I had:
- Tons of new knowledge thanks to my research.
- A bunch of products I ALREADY OWNED at home.
- Some of my Monos Viajeros content (videos/photos that showed my skills)
Thanks to the UGC info I had picked up from TikTok, I found that some great platforms to join as a starting UGC Creator were JoinBrands, Trend and Billo. In order to complete my profile in some of these, I needed to submit sample photos and videos. That’s when I took a couple of products I already owned, like my travel yoga mat, a couple of beauty products, and some of my kid’s books and toys, and got to work.
Once I had all of these videos approved, yep! you guessed it…I used them in my portfolio.
Now remember that Enjoy the Wood gifted partnership? Well, aside from creating the Reel we agreed on, I also created 3 extra videos with the wall-size map they sent me, exclusively for my portfolio 😉
At the beginning, my portfolio only had about 6 sample videos and about a dozen photos, but as partnerships started coming in, I updated it and made it what it is today. You’ll find my current UGC Portfolio right here.
Now that my portfolio was ready, I felt comfortable enough to get out there and start applying to some UGC gigs.
I focused on the “lower hanging fruits first”, which at the time were definitely the platforms I previously mentioned. I started applying to all the gigs that felt like a good match, even if the pay was low. My goal here was to get over the uncomfortable “starting stage” and get some real client experience as soon as possible.
Until it happened!
My first UGC Deal
Although I’d love to share that my first deal in my UGC creator journey paid me banks, it was really a $15 photo deal ($12 really if you remove the platform fee) 😆 But as I said, this part was less about the money and more about gaining confidence and experience.
After that first deal, I got two other $15 gigs and then I got one for $120 which made me go wild!
Look at me, the family travel creator getting some UGC deals whoop whoop!! haha
In total, I had five paid deals during my first month as a UGC Creator, and made $203.
Biggest learnings from that first month
Here are some of the things I learned after my first 30 days as an official UGC Creator:
- The more visible I am, and the more channels I open for deals to enter my world, the higher the chances I’ll have to get consistent work. So I opened a UGC Twitter account and a UGC TikTok account.
- When starting out, building rapport is very important, even if it means taking more gifted opportunities. In my second month, I joined Social Cat and took 3 gifted collaborations in total. I also closed that month at $730 which included my highest-paid deal so far, a $400 partnership.
- I can really do this! It’ll take consistency, stretching my comfort zone, and steady learning but I absolutely can do this!
- There are higher paying UGC jobs out there…how can I get closer to them??
Scaling as a UGC Creator
During the following months I focused a lot on two things: Increasing the quantity of my UGC deals, and increasing the amount paid per UGC client. I also did something very important, and scary (at least the first couple of times haha)
I started pitching directly to brands.
In order to know which brands to pitch to, I became very clear on my niche and THE TYPE of brands that I would love working with. That also meant getting very clear on the type of brands and niches that I did not want to work with.
As a travel creator, travel was a big focus during brand search, but this exercise helped me look outside the box too. I found that I also enjoyed creating content around motherhood, spirituality, wellness and lifestyle. So I based my brand research around these specific niches.
In the last 7 months, I have pitched to over 100 brands to date, and although not all of them have resulted in successful partnerships, I have started amazing relationships and done exciting work with pretty incredible brands like Happy Box, Tripped Travel Gear, Jurassic Quest and The Exploratorium. (work samples linked 😉
How I’ve made $8k as a UGC Creator
To wrap up my UGC creator journey –so far! I’d love to share x specific things I did, that help me make my first $8k in UGC earnings.
If you did the math, you know that during my first 2 months I made $933 total. This means that from my third month on, I’ve consistently made 4 figures every month.
These are some of the things I did that helped me make it happen:
- I increased my rates. When I first started I was charging $150 per video. That rate is currently at $250.
- I became more selective with the work I accepted. Saying no to low-paying jobs became easier because now I knew that there were brands & UGC agencies paying higher creator rates. I chose to have fewer deals that paid more, protect my energy, and have more time availability.
- I over-delivered with every client I had. This helped me up-sell offers to some clients, land repeat clients, and build connections with key contacts inside agencies.
- I started pitching from a higher energetic frequency. Now that I had the experience, the testimonials, AND proof of the value of my work, pitching with confidence and authority became much easier.
My next steps
As I’m entering Month 8 of my UGC creator journey, one of my main goals, as you could expect 😊, is to keep increasing my monthly UGC income through monthly retainers and bigger deals.
As a multi-passionate entrepreneur and online business owner, having multiple streams of income has been a big focus of mine. And right now, I’m very grateful that UGC has been a key piece in the puzzle.
Interested in diving deeper into the online business world –with a spice of family travel??
Ready to take massive action, and get 1:1 help with your online brand?
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