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How to Get Rich Quick? The UGC Sidehustle

In this economy, making a quick buck on the side can be appealing, but here’s what the influencers don’t tell you.

ugc sidehustle, UGC, social media, online sidehustle
From left to right, Credit: TikTok/ @marilyn.studios, Credit: TikTok/ @hannah.ugc.creator, Credit: TikTok/ @eileenxyang

It’s officially spring, and that means it’s time for cleaning up the house, getting rid of unused items, and your procrastinated quarterly audit of finances. Unfortunately, with the price of, well, literally everything being on the rise, this last task can be a bit of shock. But never fear! Instagram and TikTok are flooded with influencers taking you through the steps of how to get rich quick with the newest sidehustle. We’ve had dropshipping, influencing, NFTs: and now there’s a new one, UGC, or User-Generated Content.

Defined by Forbes as “original content related to a product or service that is created by individuals and not by the brand itself”, UGC comes under many different guises. Chances are, you’ve unwittingly participated in it before. If you’ve left a review on a product, or snapped a photo for your Insta story of your favourite skincare item, you’ve made UGC.

@alicia_ugc

Becoming a UGC creator literally changed my life and it can change yours too✨ UGC stands for user generated content and it means that you create content for brands so that they can post it on their social media platforms. How to start UGC? Before reaching out to brands, it’s super important to have a UGC portfolio so that brands can see what you can do for them! You can create it in Canva and include videos and photos in ugc style with products you already have at home. Then you can find the brands you want to work with and dm/email them to see if they are interested in a collaboration. Don’t get discouraged if the first brand isn’t interested or doesn’t answer you, there are so many brands you can reach out to, so keep going and keep in mind that everything is hard before it’s easy! 🫶🏼 I share tips and tricks that can help you in your content creator journey so don’t hesitate to follow and ask me any questions you may have. If you want to start faster making money online with UGC and become a content creator, you can also check out my UGC creator course in my Stan Store that teaches you everything step-by-step from A-Z. #ugc #ugccreator #contentcreator #makemoneyontiktok #makemoneyonline #sidehustleideas #incomestreams #ugcwork #ugccontent #ugccollab #howtobecomeacontentcreator #howtostartugc #contentcreatortips #ugctips

♬ People (Sped Up) – Libianca & sped up + slowed

“But I wasn’t paid for any of that!” I hear you cry. “How can it be a sidehustle if I do it for free all the time?”

Well, that’s because to get paid for it, you have to do a specific type of UGC. You make a social media video on a specific product, like an influencer. But then instead of posting it to your own social media, the product’s brand will post it on there’s. This gives their marketing an authentic feel, and allows you to remain anonymous.

And if you believe what you see online, it’s hugely profitable. Successful UGC creators can make thousands a month, charging hundreds per video. But as with every internet sidehustle, it’s not as easy as it seems.

How to Get Started

Some influencers online seem to suggest that it’s as easy as making a couple of portfolio videos with products at home and then emailing brands. However, this is not the case for the majority of people.

To make brands serious about paying you big bucks, you need a website. You need a link to a portfolio, and an impressive list of brands to work with. You also need a niche explaining how you differ from other creators in an increasingly oversaturated market.

Then, you need to brush up on your writing and research skills. Gather a list of brands who work with UGC creators, or who you think work with the type of content you make. Send out emails to as many brands as possible, outlining your rates and again, what makes you special to work with. Check out some tips and tricks for this here.

And when at last you secure that deal, you need to get great at filming and editing social media videos. This part will be easy if you come from an influencer, marketing or social media manager background. But, for the majority of people, creating captivating content is a steep learning curve. Also, brands are far less likely to work with you if you have a bad portfolio or no background in this area.

You’ll need a new(ish) iPhone, or a good video camera, and probably an external video editing software. You might even need a ring light and phone tripod.

Plus not everyone has well-lit beautifully aesthetic spaces in their home. I for one don’t think brands would be impressed by a student house living room, with a drying rack covered in clothes in the corner.

Contracts and Some Red Flags

Even if you have all these things to hand, and have secured your first deal, there’s still one vital step to go. Make sure that you have a solid contract with the brand, so that both parties understand the terms of the partnership. What you’ll supply (i.e. how many videos) and at what cost form the core of your contract.

But one thing big thing to look out for is the product itself. Are they sending it to you for free, or do they expect you to pay? Or, like the creator down below, do they give it to you for “free” but expect you to spend an extortionate amount for shipping?

In general, if they want you to work for free or pay you far less than your fixed prices, they are not a good option. Also, if they expect you to pay for the product, or for “shipping”, they’re likely an MLM (multi-level marketing scheme) in disguise.

Other things to look out for include the rights to you video (i.e. how long they can use it for) and whether the deal seems too good to be true.

Pros to UGC

If you’re a student, new mother, or unemployed or just have extra time on your hands, UGC can be a good sidehustle. If you have the time to reach out to brands, get good at video editing and filming, and have an aesthetically pleasing space, you can make a lot.

You can also make money without using your own name, which some prefer given the long lasting nature of the internet. You can even do faceless content, although you must make sure to disclose this to the brand first.

Being able to do this as a side hustle also looks great on your CV. It shows that you can negotiate contracts, make creative content, and manage your time effectively.

Cons to UGC

Of course, as with any sidehustle creators promote online, it’s not as easy as it seems. It’s easy to lie about figures made per month on social media. You also have to ask the question: why are there so many content creators talking about it? If it was that lucrative, they wouldn’t need to run a separate influencer account for themselves.

The same goes for people selling online courses or guides on how to succeed at UGC. If they can make so much money from it, why would they spent the time curating their advice to sell to you? Surely it would be more productive to use that time carry on with their UGC projects!

I don’t doubt that you can make some money off of it. But perhaps don’t quit your 9-5 just yet.

As I’ve already briefly mention with regards to contracts, there are some people online trying to exploit UGC creators. Alongside those in the video mentioned below, watch out for companies asking for raw, unedited footage. They can make far more videos with all the footage shot rather than the edited final product, making it infinitely more valuable. They will likely not pay you the same rate you charge for videos for the amount that they make with the raw footage.

Also make sure to look out for individuals purporting to be UGC agencies. Just like being an influencer, having an agent is a good way to have a second set of eyes checking contracts and to get clients. But some agencies will take more than the market rate, or try to persuade you to drop your prices.

Concluding Thoughts on UGC as a Social Media Sidehustle

UGC can be a great opportunity to make some extra cash, especially if you are experienced in social media (or are willing to take the time to watch YouTube videos online to learn). But ultimately, it’s not a get-rich quick scheme or a passive income generator. You need to take the time to reach out to people, negotiate contracts, and make the actual videos themselves, which takes longer than you think.

But ultimately, unlike dropshipping or an overpriced online course, this sidehustle isn’t scamming consumers. And if you’re careful, it’s unlikely you’ll get scammed either.

There’s only one question left to ask: would you try UGC?

Written By

Hi, I'm Georgie and I'm currently studying at St Andrews University, Scotland. I love writing about social media trends and unpicking the ways which platforms like Instagram and TikTok give rise to certain cultural phenomena. I'm writing for the Life section of Trill at the moment, so look out for my articles!

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