- Some young online creators, like college vloggers, TikTok stars, and Instagram influencers, are earning more than their parents and friends.
- The influencer-focused wealth-management company, Semaphore, helps creators like these sustain and grow their revenue.
- Semaphore CEO Michael Bienstock told Business Insider that he's noticed some teen and college-aged influencers feel isolated when they begin earning more than anyone they know.
- For more about Semaphore, check out the full interview with Bienstock on Business Insider Prime.
For a rising teen influencer, it can be an emotional shock when they start making more money than their parents — or anyone else they know, for that matter.
When a YouTube star or other influencer begins to gain traction, they'll often start building their empire by rolling out merchandise and branded products, as well as profiting off sponsored posts on Instagram, and earning revenue from Google AdSense on YouTube.
All these sources of revenue add up. Some younger creators, like college vloggers on YouTube and viral TikTok stars, are earning more than their family and friends.
18-year-old YouTube star Emma Chamberlain, who has 8 million subscribers, didn't grow up with money.
"There were times when we couldn't even go to the movies, when I was a kid, because there wasn't enough money," Chamberlain told Forbes. "And my dad is an artist, and he got sick for a little bit and couldn't paint, so there was hard times for our family."
Now Chamberlain lives alone in a two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles.
"I've always been the one who struggled financially, so now it's so cool that I can make my own money and do whatever I want with it," she said.
But it can also be isolating for some creators, according to Michael Bienstock, who runs the influencer-focused wealth-management firm, Semaphore. Bienstock helps creators — including 7-year-old Ryan of Ryan ToysReview and his parents, who make an estimated $22 million a year— manage their finances and further expand their companies. Semaphore starts working with influencers once they are earning around $8,000 to $10,000 a month, Bienstock said.
"A lot of them confide in us that it puts them in a tricky situation," Bienstock said, referring to some of his teen and college-aged clients and their sudden growth in income. "Very quickly, they end up in situations where they make double or triple what their friends from college make. They find it gets a little bit uncomfortable for them to even talk about the business with their friends, because nobody could really even understand."
It's common for a young influencer to feel isolated from others in their life because they suddenly have more money, Bienstock said. This isolation can also make it difficult for them to manage their finances because there are very few people to turn to with shared experiences, he said.
"If they had some normal job, they'd talk with family or friends about it," he said. "Because of the speed at which the revenue moves, they feel very uncomfortable. It tends to even isolate people more, which is probably something no one really even thinks about much."