In a surprising career move, Vivian Tu, a 29-year-old former Wall Street professional, left her high-paying job to become a financial influencer on TikTok. Tu, the founder of the social-media brand "Your Rich BFF," initially ventured into content creation as a way to share financial information with her colleagues at BuzzFeed. However, her journey took an unexpected turn when her first TikTok video, posted on January 1, 2021, went viral, gaining her 100,000 followers in just one week.
Tu's content focused on debunking poor financial advice and offering valuable insights into money matters, according to a report by Business Insider. As her popularity soared, she started monetizing her content through ads on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms. Over time, she transitioned to brand partnerships, earning income through sponsored content, interviews, event appearances, and even a personal-finance book deal with Penguin, set to be published in December.
Despite the success of her content creation, Tu faced the dilemma of leaving her lucrative job at BuzzFeed. In April 2022, she made the bold decision to quit, emphasizing the need to seize the moment and pursue her passion. Before taking the leap, Tu meticulously planned her finances, setting aside $100,000 from her corporate job to sustain her for a year.
The gamble paid off as Tu's brand, Your Rich BFF, continued to thrive. Within three months of leaving her job, the influx of opportunities prompted her to expand her team and sign with talent agency WME. This move allowed her to negotiate higher rates and embark on new projects like the "Networth and Chill" podcast.
Tu's success is attributed to strategic planning, strong branding, and a commitment to treating her audience as friends. Her consistency in delivering daily content also played a crucial role in building a loyal following. Despite the risks associated with leaving a stable corporate job, Tu's story showcases the potential rewards of pursuing one's passion and leveraging the power of social media in the ever-changing landscape of online content creation. Last year, she paid herself a salary of approximately $300,000, while her business generated a total revenue of $3 million, marking a significant leap from her Wall Street days.