Make money online the hard way

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns . On a typical morning, Chrissy Chlapecka leaves ...


This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.

On a typical morning, Chrissy Chlapecka leaves the dog outside, spends an hour professionally doing her makeup and hair, and carefully selecting an outfit. Then Chlapecka, a 21-year-old Chicagoan, starts working as an internet designer.

Chlapecka publishes at least one short video a day on instagram and ICT Tac, where she has a total of 4.5 million followers. Nothing dramatic happens in the videos. But Chlapecka is the one you might imagine if Lady Gaga were your favorite barista delivering tips and zingers. (In fact, Chlapecka was a barista.)

In a few seconds of video recorded at home or in a mall, she seems comfortable. Chlapecka invites viewers — especially queer people and women — to feel good about themselves with an online personality that Chlapecka described as “a kind of encouraging big sister.” (Readers, please note that Chlapecka’s videos are not necessarily family friendly.)

But it’s also work. In addition to daily posts, Chlapecka saves raw cuts of videos to save for days when the creative juices aren’t flowing. In the line at the grocery store, she jots down concept ideas. Chlapecka intervenes on the grounds of promotional videos to incorporate certain products or song clips companies hope to see take off. She also told me about organize a concert in a comedy club and create strategies to build a bigger fanbase on YouTube and sell products to fans.

For many people like Chlapecka, who try to make a living by entertaining or sharing information online, their job is part Hollywood producer, part small business owner, and all hectic.

“Some people really underestimate the work of creators,” Chlapecka told me. “I wish they had a better understanding that this is a real career – and this is a serious career – and a form of entertainment.”

Chlapecka knows that some people think she’s just having fun on the internet. But it takes skill and perseverance to come up with new ideas day in and day out, build relationships with online subscribers, and keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and tastes of internet users.

This week, On Tech has concentrated on the economy of the economy of internet creators. No one is representative of the millions of people trying to make a living from their creations online. But Chlapecka offers insight into what that job looks like and how creators make money. This job may not look like yours or mine, but it can be rewarding and infuriating like most jobs.

Like many online personalities, most of Chlapecka’s income comes from companies that pay to have their products or songs featured in videos. Brands usually come up with an overall concept and let Chlapecka do the rest.

Chlapecka has also earned money through Cameo, a service that allows people to pay for custom videos celebrities and sports stars. She experimented with selling subscriptions to followers on Twitter and the digital creative service Fanhouse. Chlapecka also receives money from TikTok’s fund for videographerswhich she described as “not enough to pay the rent, but it’s nice.”

Chlapecka wouldn’t say how much money she earns. But until about a year ago, she worked at Starbucks and a vintage store and made TikTok videos on the side. Now online work is a full time job.

She said she felt fulfilled by “the power that social media has given me and the fans who love me – and I love them back”. Chlapecka also relishes FaceTime conversations with other online creators who exchange practical advice and sympathy for difficult days. It’s their version of drinks with co-workers to complain about a bad boss.

As many other designers, Chlapecka is harassed and threatened online, she said. Social media stars succeed by creating intimacy with followers, but Chlapecka said hecklers act as if the person they see through a smartphone screen has no feelings.

“The people behind the camera are human beings, and we deserve to have boundaries and respect,” she said.

Chlapecka said she understands how difficult it is to be constantly online burned many people. She hopes the work of creators can be long-lasting, but she also imagines online fandom could open doors for television and music pursuits.

This is the life of creators, a must in the digital economy. They fill the applications that consume our leisure hours. It is a professional aspiration for young people that did not exist a generation ago. It can be all-consuming, invasive and precarious – and also fun.

More from On Tech on the internet creator economy:


Tip of the week

Your smartphone can be permanently connected to you like a digital baby. But your phone number doesn’t have to be, said Brian X. Chenthe consumer technology columnist for The New York Times.

Your phone number is a incredibly sensitive data. This is a unique string of numbers linked to other highly personal information found in public records, including your full name, home address, names of your relatives, and even your criminal record (if you have one). ).

A phone number is also likely to stick with you for many years, because it’s so complicated to get a new one and share it with all your contacts. (I, for one, have had the same cell phone number for over 15 years.)

That’s why anyone can benefit from a burner phone number that you share with people and entities you don’t fully trust. The easiest free option is to sign up for a Google Voice account. There you choose an area code and choose from a list of phone numbers. You can even set it to forward calls and texts to your real phone number.

I’ve recently had a number of situations where a burner phone number has come in handy:

The beauty of a burner is that if someone abuses it, you can get rid of it and create a whole new set of numbers. Who wouldn’t?

  • Rock pioneer versus podcaster: Musician Neil Young has taken to Spotify to choose between hosting his songs or Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host who has been accused of spreading coronavirus and vaccine misinformation. Spotify sided with Roganreports my colleague Ben Sisario.

  • What does this screaming ace look like? The Australian Open is testing audio technology that translates the course of the balls and other tennis action in soundscapes for fans who are blind or have limited vision, explains my colleague Amanda Morris.

  • Say no to Elon Musk: 19-year-old college student Jack Sweeney has programmed software that sifts through complex private jet flight data and tweets details about Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and other personalities. Sweeney said Protocol that Musk offered him $5,000 to stop the tweets from tracking his plane trips, but Sweeney refused.

This dog is very excited meet a new friend. Stick around for when the older dog shares his toy.


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