Welcome to the first episode of our new podcast, Creators on Air, where we speak with creators and experts within the creator economy about being a creator, managing a business and having a creator-work-life balance.
Gabriel Nussbaum is a TikTok sensation with over 1.2 million followers, which he grew in less than six months. In this episode, we get to hear how Gabriel was able to grow on TikTok, how much he charges for brand deals and how he’s preparing to go full time as a creator. Please enjoy!
Gabriel: I was onto something. And I think those three videos combined took me to like 40, 50,000. And then over the next two, three weeks, creating daily videos went up to a hundred thousand and I was kind of just like, yeah, cool. I'm just gonna run with this whilst it's happening.
Akta: Gabriel Nussbaum is a TikTok sensation with over 1.2 million followers, which he grew in less than six months. Hey everyone. I'm Akta. And in today's episode of Creators on Air, we get to hear how Gabriel was able to grow on TikTok, how much he charges for brand deals and how he's preparing to go full time as a creator.
Gabriel: I had kind of got into YouTube because that was the platform I consumed on. And that was kind of my pet, like kind of passion. And I'd always kind of dreamed of growing a YouTube channel. So I did that for six months, not really knowing what I was doing, kind of just figuring it out as I went along meeting other creators like yourself.
And just also figuring out my niche, figuring out how to edit script, all that fun. And I probably was about after four or five months getting to my feet in terms of figuring out that I was gonna speak more about finance. That was the content that I liked getting better at editing, all that kind of stuff.
And then someone mentioned TikTok to me, and this was in the beginning of around March, 2021. And I knew someone who was on about half a million followers. It was kind of like a family friend. He was 17. He made like videos about Fortnight, completely unrelated to anything I wanted to do, but he still kind of knew that I was doing YouTube, was asking me about YouTube cause he wanted to get into YouTube. So vice versa. I was asking him about TikTok because I was like, that's an interesting, another platform to get into. So I took some tips and tricks from him and I decided to start creating on TikTok.
And I think because my first viral video happened in about two weeks and the numbers continued to stay high from that point onwards, my attention slowly turned to completely focus on TikTok rather than YouTube. Which is a shame cause I do love YouTube and the passion will always be to, to get back onto that platform. But, that along with editing time being cut down from 10 hours to half an hour were kind of two contributing factors to me, just going all in on TikTok.
Akta: Amazing. And you actually grew to, I think, was it over a hundred thousand in less than a month on TikTok?
Gabriel: Yeah. Give, give or take a month, the growth was mental. It just takes one video to kind of. Take you to these really high numbers. So I remember changing my style after two weeks to this, more conversational style that I started to notice doing really well on TikTok. And I thought it would be really suitable for educational videos because you can kind of have a conversation with yourself about topic one evening.
I changed my style to this new conversational style. And the next day at like lunchtime started getting a few vibrations on the phone. I was like, oh, that's cool. I have a thousand views on this video. That's my best video. Like by 10 times at this point. And by the next evening it was on like a hundred thousand views and I was like, gobsmacked.
So I was like, let me try this again, and make another video in this style and see if like I'm a one hit wonder or not. And the next one got like 30,000 views. And then the one after that got like, a million maybe even, views? So I was onto something and I think those three videos combined took me to like 40, 50,000, and then over the next two, three weeks, creating daily videos went up to a hundred thousand and I was kind of just like, yeah, cool. I'm just gonna run with this whilst it's happening.
Akta: That's incredible. Wow. So what do you think contributed most to your growth? Like what advice would you give to someone growing on TikTok?
So at that point it was definitely consistency. I was creating videos, people were kind of starting to follow my page. So as the numbers were growing quickly, they were wanting more content. So I was just making sure that I was consistently putting out content. The second one was I definitely latched onto a style, I was an earlier adopter of this conversational style at a time when it was clearly doing very well. Now it's kind of common practice on TikTok. People know about this. There are so many people that use the same style, but it was at a time where, it just worked really well. And it almost felt like I could say anything in a conversational style and I would get tens of thousands of views because some of the content I look back at, it was like, awful.
I was like, I wasn't sharing anything here. I didn't, like, I didn't get to my point, these videos were far too long, there was no hook, like what was going on when I actually analyzed them. And yet they're still sitting on hundreds of thousands of views. So that was definitely an element of luck and timing to it.
And then I suppose if you're looking to grow at the same time, just do what I did. Look at a style on TikTok of kind of illustrating your point that is clearly doing well. Don't worry about the niche. So like, let's say you wanna be in the educational niche, but you see an entertaining style that's doing really well at the moment or trends or things like that.
Just develop it and make it your own and put your own spin on it, because if it's not, if it's working already on TikTok, don't like change the formula. And that would be my, my tip to get started and you'll evolve into your own style from there, but it's definitely a great, piece of advice to starting out.
Akta: And at what point did you kind of realize that you could use TikTok to kind of monetize your content? Like at what point did that happen? Because a lot of people associate YouTube with earning a living, but I think TikTok is so new still that a lot of people don't realize that you can actually make money from it.
Gabriel: I think I got an email after about a month from a brand, just being like we have your email through your thing. You have like over a hundred thousand followers. We would love to pay you to promote our product and it was like a financial related product. So I was. Oh, my God, someone's gonna give me money to make like a 20 second video about their company.
I think it was like a hundred dollars at the time, which in retrospect, I know undercharged myself massively compared to like what I should have been charging, but it was my first ever email. And I was like, I can't believe I can make money through this. Like, I'm, I'm gonna become a millionaire through TikTok, so naive at the time. But that was, that was my first experience with it. And obviously it evolved through there and I started to increase my rates, until I started to talk to other creators and things like that who were like, you could charge 10 times more than what you're charging.
But yeah, that was my first experience. Obviously also joined like the creator fund, which at the time people were coming up with this kind of like myth that when you joined the creator fund, your views went down because like you started to earn money. So your views went down. I dunno where it came from, it wasn't true because my views went up when I started to join the creative fund. But unfortunately, unlike YouTube, where you probably could get like, quite a good living just from AdSense alone, I think, you get about one pound power, a hundred thousand views roughly.
Akta: Oh my God. That's nothing.
Gabriel: Yeah. Wow. So I, there was some money coming in from there, but it was like, oh, that will cover my parking today.
Akta: So mostly its the creative fund and then brand deals. Is that like the two main ways that you are currently monetized?
Gabriel: Yeah, definitely heavily weighted towards brand deals. Yeah.
Akta: And how often do you do them then?
Gabriel: So it's kind of a mix now because obviously I'm on a much larger scale. So finding kind of brands that are willing to work at that level is a little bit more difficult. I have kind of got a kind of like policy for myself that it's different to YouTube, whereas YouTube you'll make your natural video and you'll just thank the sponsor for sponsoring that video. Whereas on TikTok, you have to make basically an entire dedicated video, just talking about this company, cause it's 20 seconds long. You can't have like a 20 second video with five seconds included about a brand. So I always said to myself, I do like one every 10 videos at a max or something like that.
Like every week or every two weeks, I'd put a brand in, just essentially to allow myself to make good money from the platform, but also to ensure that my platform wasn't saturated, but, I do see the brands that I work with as value add. So I'm not working with brands that aren't useful for kind of the topics and the niches that I'm in.
People just don't like to watch them because they're ads, but ultimately, like it's just another hack or another educational lesson that I'm giving, being like, use this tool because it will help you in life.
Akta: And do you mind sharing, like, kind of the averages or like the highest figures of what you've charged? Like how do you know how much to charge? Like how have you kind of built the confidence to start charging more?
Gabriel: I'm always happy to share. I think everyone like grew up with like a taboo that you can't talk about money. And I definitely have it as well, but I'm trying to get out of it, especially like talking about finance on a content creation platform, you can't then turn around and be like I'm not gonna talk about numbers with you, cause that would be completely contradictory. So at this point, the highest deal I've done was I think, 6,000 pounds for one video. Which was nuts, average around maybe like four to five for a video, but they're not coming in like so often. So I'm kind of doing maybe one, maybe two a month. And I think part of the reason that I've been able to kind of shift and price myself at that point is cause I did sign with an agency. The agent happened to be a friend from school, so I went to the school, he was in my year. But about two or three years ago, he set up an agency and started like building influencers under it.
So he was doing really well. He reached out to me being like, do you wanna partner up, this is a new area for me, but like, it'll be new for you as well. And let's see what we can do. So kind of through his market knowledge and that, I think before I joined the agency, the highest I charged was about 650 pounds for a video.
And he was like, no, we're gonna, we're gonna times that by minimum five, 10 times when we go out to reaching to brands and I was like, there's no way. And then he brought me my first deal and I was like, okay, I'm a believer.
Akta: So do you not think you would've had the confidence to do it on your own to like start negotiating higher?
Gabriel: I probably would have, because as I've come along, I have started to educate myself and I've started to see what other creators have got. But having said that, I don't think I would've reached these numbers. I remember the, there was another creator who was bigger than me, who was telling me that his biggest deal was like 1500 or 3000. And I was telling him like, I'm getting deals that are bigger than that. So I think just through building a network over time with other creators, I start to see what the rates they're able to get and what they've been offered. So that's definitely helped me price myself in the market, but TikTok is such a new platform that there isn't any, set rate let's say.
So I know creators in the us who have maybe, pretty similar followings to me that have charged almost $15,000 for a single video. I know creators in the UK who have charged three to 4,000 pounds and they have maybe 200,000 followers. So that's like five times less than me. So it's all over the place.
It's just about finding the right brand and the right opportunity.
Do you brands mostly reach out to you or does your agency also reach out to quite a lot of brands on your behalf?
So up until working with the agency, it was all brands coming to me. Like there were so many in my inbox, obviously like, 90, 80% were useless and brands that I would never work with.
But they were like, they, they come through so quickly. I dunno how they found me or anything like that. And then one with the agency, I think like part of the reason that I signed was because when I'm at this rate, outreach is a lot more important and having connections and having that, that kind of stuff.
So, I think now it's probably 50, 50 split. Like they do a lot of outreach, but in terms of the actual deals that come from it, I'd say maybe like 50% are done from brands reaching out to me and 50% are done from us reaching out to brands.
Akta: And then how, how do you select your brands? Like what are you looking for when they reach out to you?
Gabriel: To be honest, like the main tick box is just would I use it? Like if it's a service, that I would use, then 100% doesn't mean that I have to then go and use it. Like I'm not so fast. So let's say it's a competitor of a service that I'm currently using. I'm like, yeah, that's, that's fine. Because I use basically the same product, they're just another alternative, kind of method. And if I'm knowledgeable on the subject. So like, for example, like obviously crypto's grown a lot in the finance industry, but I don't happen to have such a strong crypto knowledge. So I've worked with maybe like crypto hosting, like platforms where you can buy to buy it. Cause I know about like investments and things like that, but when they're a bit more specific, I will be like, I'm sorry, I'm not so comfortable working with you because I don't wanna share things with like the people that follow me on a topic that I don't have knowledge on. And then obviously, yeah, coming from that is just relevancy.
If it's not relevant to anything I talk about on TikTok, then there's no need for me to promote it.
Akta: That's true. And so like now you are earning pretty comfortably on TikTok. Are you thinking about going full time as a content creator and leaving your current job?
Gabriel: Yeah, it was always kind of that's kind of always the dream for people that start content creation.
Obviously it starts as a hobby, and it's always a hobby, but you're like, oh, in the future, imagine if I could do this full time. So yeah, I think I'm at the point now where I would be a hundred percent comfortable to, it's just about kind of timing at the moment for me. So I am on a graduate scheme and I always kind of wanted to complete it and I'm getting very close to the end.
So for me, that's also quite an important aspect to ensure that I finish that. But I think. I'm quite fortunate in the fact that I'm already earning essentially an income from TikTok. So it's not so much like a safety decision anymore. It's more just like, is this the like kind of passion and is this what I want to, to pursue?
Whereas I know that a lot of people that go full time and kind of into like, content creation or being an entrepreneur and things like that, do it with the risk that like, we're not making money yet, but I need to go full time to, to kind of ignite this passion. But yeah, I suppose kind of, I created a side hustle that had an income, and it's definitely an income level that I'm more than happy to kind of go full time.
It's just timing.
Akta: So how do you know when you're ready to go full time? Like, was it purely just kinda like. The money side of things, like how do you, how do you know, other than I know you wanna finish your grad scheme, but like, did you wait until you were earning consistently to be like, okay, now's the time to start thinking about this?
Gabriel: I think it was even earlier than that, because I kind of reached a point where I was looking at potential. So I was like, if I can earn, let's say even like three times less than my full-time job, for example, and this is part-time. Surely, if I go full time, there's a bit more potential to kind of, to a higher point.
But it's probably a bit difficult for me to answer that, cause I'm in a kind of a very like luxurious position where I don't have to answer that. Like I've got the income now and I know that there's that income, it's not stable, which is always why you hum and haw about it because like there's not always that repeated revenue, and you do rely on like brands reaching out and things like that. But for me, I've been just very lucky that like, I know that the revenue's there, it's just when I want to do it.
Akta: Yeah. And how would you start preparing yourself, like mentally to move away from your full-time job to being a full-time creator?
Gabriel: So my dad told me that I had to write business plan to convince him that I could go full-time as a content creator. I told him that, like, what business plan do you need? Cause I've currently got a business and it's working like, why do I not need to plan it? So that was, that was his thing.
He's like, you can't quit your nine to five. But I think for me, it's gonna be about getting like the right structures and strategies in place. So, there's other avenues that I wanna pursue, obviously TikTok is doing very well and I want to be probably more consistent and have a routine about how I structure script and posts and things like that.
But I said at beginning, like YouTubes, the pet passion, like that's, that's kind of where I wanna grow on. So it will be about getting structures in place and, planning the content I wanna create on there, also started a newsletter. So I wanna make sure that that's all in place and there's a hundred, one other avenues that I could kind of think about and grow at this point.
But I think that those three and focusing on content for the short term is probably the best way to go about it so that I don't distract myself. And that I make sure that those three things are having enough attention and actually gonna be doing well. So in an ideal world, I'll have all three of those kind of, content platforms going at a consistent rate prior to leaving my job, because that's the ideal world.
I know that obviously I have the time constraints now, so it's very difficult, but if I could already be producing all of that, then going full time is easy. Cause I'm like, I'm already doing it now. I just have to do it, more professionally. So, so that's kind of one point, but then I don't know, I've never worked full time, so it's gonna be weird trying to figure out what do I do with my days.
Like, I wanna structure at nine to five and I kind of know in a way that I'm gonna probably work even harder when I'm working for myself compared to when I was like working for a company. So I suppose it's just getting the routines in place and understanding what I would actually do with my time, which is something that I haven't thought about too much just yet.
Akta: And how forward do you look ahead? So like, obviously if you're working for yourself and, you know, the money's a bit inconsistent with TikTok, how do you kind of plan for that? Like how far ahead are you working and like mentally thinking about these brand deals?
Gabriel: Yeah. So the goal with brand deals is always to try and lock in a brand deal for several months in advance.
So there is one company that we've now, or I've now worked with for like seven, eight months consistently one post a month. And like they're now also locked in for like an additional three and like, it could carry on. So. That is kind of the goal with my agent. He's like, we want to get you like one or two of those companies that we lock in and that's like your salary, let's say, because they're locked in on contracts.
And then anything else that you do is like your bonus. So we have one already locked in, and then in terms of like looking forward, I know that the opportunity's always there and I suppose there's always kind of a leap of faith. But having kind of the chance to work with an agent who I kind of also have.
Like a personal connection with we are constantly talking and trying to like, speak about what going full time will actually look like, from a security point of view and from a money point of view, because it is important. I don't just wanna kind of jump off and then have nothing to, to fall back on.
So we do, we do talk about that and kind of the brands we wanna work with and other avenues that we could pursue, but I don't think there's any kind of tie span on it. It's just the longer that we can lock in a brand, the better.
Akta: And I'm interested. Like how does that work then? So do you work with the brand one off and then you negotiate it to be recurring or, do they approach you with that? How did that happen?
Gabriel: So often if we outreach to a brand and they're like, oh, we've actually never done anything on TikTok, but we'd be interested. They normally come back being like, we'd like to do like a test video. Let's see how we like actually do. So that's normally a one off. When brands come to you, there's more of a chance to be like, we actually only offer like package deals.
So you can post, here and we'll give you like this amount of right. So you can use it for three months and you can do this and do that. So that's definitely a new angle that we're taking, on top of learning about content creation, I'm also learning about the brand side of things and speaking to a lot of people in that industry as well.
And I think there's one creator called Erika Kullberg, she's like massive on TikTok. She grew, like six or 7 million followers from zero in a month. And that was like November last year. So this was like recent and she also owns an agency. And then she gave this whole talk about how she prices and like does her pricing strategy.
And essentially she will never just offer if a brand comes to her, there's never a deal for a one off video. Like she doesn't do that. She goes, here are my three packages. You can have small, medium or large and then you can work from there. so it's a little bit easier when they come to you with that, and that's definitely the plan. Alternatively reaching out, they'll be a little bit more cautious and probably wanna go with a one off.
Akta: Yeah, that sounds incredible. I'm on the wrong platform. I think I need to move on to TikTok.
Gabriel: I'm coming back to YouTube, so it's all good. We can swap.
Akta: Are you hoping to bring people from TikTok over or like, is it gonna be quite organic, do you think?
Gabriel: I don't know is the answer. TikTok is a great platform for growing followers, but unfortunately. The way that the platform's set up is that those followers aren't like as loyal as for example, a subscriber, on YouTube, they always say like 1000 followers on TikTok is equivalent to like 10,000 subscribers.
No, alternatively way. 10,000 on TikTok is like 1000 on YouTube. Because, the way that the algorithm is set up is that regardless of how many followers you have, your video has to be a good video for it to just go out to a large number of people. So I've had a video in the past two weeks that despite having won over 1 million followers has 8,000 views on it.
I've got another video or like on average, they kind of hit a hundred, 200,000 eyes. So like you can see TikTok is very much like content first platform. They couldn't care less who you are or what size you are. Obviously it helps to an extent cause that video would've had like five views on it if I didn't have any followers, but it had 8,000, which is still a lot.
And I have to kind of pinch myself and remember to say those points. But the idea to actually move followers from TikTok to YouTube is quite difficult. Obviously you can do things like being like at the end of every video being like, where can you find out more details? Well, head over to my YouTube channel or things like that, which I'll definitely do.
But YouTube is probably more likely gonna be like a start from scratch with like a minor advantage of having to be able to pull over like a hundred, 200, 300 followers.
Akta: That's still pretty good though.
Gabriel: Yeah, exactly. I'm not complaining .
Akta: And so you obviously really value like transparency within the creator community. Cause that's why you're having a lot of conversations. That's why you're so honest about how much you're earning. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to go full time with being a creator?
Gabriel: I would say, I suppose, like assess your- it's all personal situations. I suppose everyone has like their own security in life and will have different positions of whether they can or can't go full time.
If you are, a lot of young people have these passions. So for them there's no like, worry about going full time cause they're in school anyway, or they're in university. And for me that's like the best time. If you wanna be a content creator, don't wait till you're an adult and you have like bills to play and rent to pay, and you need a job because then obviously becoming like an entrepreneur is much more of a risk unless you have that income. So at a younger age, I would say, don't wait, just get on with it. Start being consistent and stop caring about what everyone else says. Because like, they'll start, like, everyone will comment for your, like first, like 10 videos. Like my friends still make fun of me, my close group of friends,
Yeah, like they take the Mick a little bit, but like, I don't care because like, I know that, I'm at a certain point. Like at the end of all of my videos, I say, a line, like, where did you learn this?
Gabriel: And I'm like, oh, because I follow Gabriel Nussbaum on TikTok. And that line has been repeated to my face by every single one of them.
Akta: Oh my gosh.
Gabriel: Oh, where did you learn that? Like, whenever I say something educational to them, they're like, oh, where did you learn that?
Akta: I'm gonna start saying that to you.
Gabriel: Literally, so yeah. My advice at a young age is that. And I suppose if you're older and you are working and you're looking to pursue content creation full time. I suppose we, we were kind of given this luxury of like a lot of companies allow you to work from home, and things like that during the pandemic, plus your evening.
So if you wanna do this full time, you- my advice is do it as like a side hustle first and, prove to yourself that this is something that you can be passionate about and grow it off the side of your desk. Like when you have a lunch break, spend an hour on it. If you have a couple of evenings a week put hours into it, cause then you're proving to yourself that this is actually something that you want to do and stick at it for a long time.
It's not necessarily about how much revenue you're bringing in after a year or two years. It's about proving to yourself that like, you're passionate about to commit a lot of time to it because ultimately content creation is a time consuming hobby. And if it does start to grow revenue even better, there's your indication that maybe, yeah, this is something that you could potentially go full time into.
So, that is always my advice, kind of regarding side of desk. And I think like we both have the same mindset that we probably got from the, the great Ali Abdaal, which was, which was about, you can't go into content creation thinking like I'm doing this to make millions like, that can't be your goal because, or you need this many followers or you need this many subscribers.
Cause you'll always be disappointed. Even if you hit those numbers, your goal's just gonna shift to double it and then you're gonna be disappointed when you don't hit double it. So, get your systems in place and enjoy the content creation journey, enjoy the content you're making and just do it as a hobby and for fun, as well as obviously taking it seriously enough to be putting it out consistently. And everything else will take care of itself. Hopefully if you put in enough time,
Akta: I love that. I think that's so important, especially because even when you do hit those numbers. So for example, you've hit over a million on TikTok, but like you said, you still sometimes get videos that have 8,000 views. And I feel like if you don't have that mentality where you have that joy and passion for it, those lower views will still hit you, whether you've got a massive following or not. Right. Like I'm sure that still can bring you down.
Gabriel: Yeah. I suppose people, like, you'll have an ego complex. You'll be like, oh, I'm at this follower base.
Now I need to hit these numbers. And it's all about numbers, numbers, numbers, and brand deals, brand deals, brand deals. But ultimately I'm still making content cause I enjoy it. And like I'm even at the point now where I thought to myself, I, I started to, create less TikToks. And I was thinking to myself, why is that happening?
Oh, and then I kind of evaluated. I was like, I'm not really enjoying the style that I'm creating anymore. What can I do about that? Change the style, obviously, and find a new style that, that I enjoy. So that's always, my mindset is, is kind of finding the processes and the different things that I can do to keep enjoying creating the content.
And obviously, like, I'd be lying if I say I didn't look at the numbers. Everyone looks at the numbers, especially when you get the opportunity, to like, grow. I remember, I think when you had your channel shared by like Matt D'Avella on his newsletter, like it, I dunno maybe just say it if you didn't, but were you not like looking at your subscriber count?
Akta: Oh, my god. Every, yeah, I was refreshing every minute. Not even joking. It was just addictive.
Gabriel: Yeah. Getting the dopamine boost and like all those endorphines.
Gabriel: It's a lie, it's a lie to say that you're not gonna look at it after I post every single video, like throughout the next hour, I am keeping an eye on it to be like, what's it doing? But if it doesn't do well, I'm not gonna say to myself: alright, that's it let's pack my bags and I'm not gonna create videos tomorrow. I was like, cool lessons learned. I did this in this video. It clearly didn't hit. Right. Let's do it better in the next one. and that's the kind of, thought process I think you need to have if you're a content creator.
Akta: Amazing. Thank you so much. This has been such a great chat and I feel like it's definitely gonna be really inspiring for people who are trying to go full-time and good luck with your move to going full time, eventually when you do.
Akta: Do it soon, do it soon. I'm excited to see where your content's gonna go
Gabriel: Will do, thanks for having me.
Akta: This conversation with Gabriel really opened my eyes to the earning potential of TikTok, but also the power of having a strategy for both content and earnings. You can find Gabriel on TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter, where he talks about all things finances. Thanks for listening to our conversation. And if you are a creator, check us out at @getpassionfroot on Twitter. Stay passionate, and we'll see you in the next one.