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I made nearly $2 million in 2 years selling my nursing-school study notes on Etsy and TikTok — here’s how

Stephanee BeggsStephanee Beggs started her TikTok account in 2020, and it now has 600,000 followers.

Courtesy of Stephanee Beggs

  • Stephanee Beggs, 28, started posting her study sheets on TikTok while in nursing school.
  • The videos blew up and follower feedback encouraged her to sell her study materials on Etsy.
  • She plans to keep her day job and loves that her influencer work ties back to her hospital job.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Stephanee Beggs, a 28-year-old nurse who became an influencer while attending nursing school. Insider has verified her business’ income with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I graduated college with a degree in business marketing, but it was only after my first job working as an operations assistant at Warner Brothers Studio that I realized what I wanted to do with my life.

I thought back to when I was younger and how I was fascinated by science and anatomy. I decided to tap into that passion and when I was 25, I started an accelerated nursing program, which was essentially three years of nursing school packed into just one year. 

Toward the end of nursing school the pandemic began and everything shut down. Our classes and clinical went online, and it made being a nursing student really tough because there wasn’t as much collaboration and hands-on learning opportunities, which is crucial in the nursing profession. 

I was trying to figure out how I’d actually be able to study by myself and retain the information, so I started filming these videos where I’d teach myself different nursing topics by talking to the wall. I’m a very visual person, so saying information out loud and playing the videos back helped me retain information. 

Stephanee BeggsBeggs sells study sheets for healthcare workers in school.

Courtesy of Stephanee Beggs

One day, I randomly decided to create a TikTok account and post one of the videos I made to help me study. It took off and amassed more than 200,000 views. I just kept posting from there and went from hundreds of followers to more than 600,000 on TikTok. 

People started messaging me asking if they could buy the study sheets in my videos. I decided to create an Etsy shop and figured I’d maybe sell enough to be able to buy lunch every day, but I ended up selling more than 64,000 items in the past two years, making close to $2 million in revenue. 

Most of my audience works in the healthcare field

While a majority of my audience are people in nursing school, I also have a lot of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and even physicians and physician assistants who watch my videos so they can stay up to date on medical information. 

In all honesty, while people found these videos helpful, making them helped me stay focused and learn what I needed so I could pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. Even though I’m a full-time nurse now, I’m still posting content every single day, and that means I have to stay on top of articles and research.

Being an influencer is like having a second full-time job

I work 12-hour shifts at the hospital and when that’s over, I go home and work on being an influencer and my business. When I have days off, all I do is work on my social media, whether it’s creating and editing content or answering comments, DMs, and emails.

Stephanee BeggsBeggs loves her day job as a hospital nurse.

Courtesy of Stephanee Beggs

There are times when it can feel overwhelming because I know that hundreds of thousands of people are turning to me for videos and I want to show up for them. It’s also humbling and exciting seeing how many people have gravitated toward my TikTok videos and study sheets.

While I can see how being an influencer would be distracting from my job as a nurse, the type of content I create is more about knowledge and less about showcasing my personal life, so I’m able to create a balance and set boundaries.

My approach to TikTok is organized and strategic 

When I first started posting on TikTok, I didn’t have much of a strategy or direction. I just posted the videos I made to help me study. I think that’s what set me apart from other people trying to become big influencers who think they have to crack some code by posting everything happening in their life or posting five videos a day.

I didn’t care about that at all. I think making educational content extremely useful is what attracted so many people to my account. Even now, I like to make sure every video I post has a beneficial purpose to my audience. 

Now that I’ve made a name for myself, I do try to follow more of a schedule. I make sure to post at least three times a week on TikTok and Instagram. I don’t ever post on Fridays or Saturdays because I’ve found my audience isn’t really on their phone and looking to study on the weekends.

I do everything myself, from filming to editing the videos, and use apps like Inshot and Canva.

I continue to earn income from my social media and Etsy store

You can find nursing study sheets everywhere, but I think what made mine take off, aside from showing them on social media, was that they were handwritten, so it had a more personal touch, and they were extremely concise. 

Stacks of boxesBeggs sells her study bundles for $20 to $40 a pop.

Courtesy of Stephanee Beggs

I spent hours cutting out the fluff of nursing school to create TikTok videos that taught what was on those study sheets in just 60 to 90 seconds. I think people gravitated toward that fun and fast style of learning.

Once my study sheets started selling on Etsy, I decided to come up with a game plan of how to continue to monetize my audience. I created more study sheets and sold them in bundles for each type of nursing core class and released them one by one. For example, I sell a pediatric bundle, which consists of 50 study sheets that can help you if you’re in your pediatric classes or rotations. 

I spent eight months making a bundle for every single core nursing class. I started charging anywhere from $2o to $40 for each of those bundles and then sold more comprehensive bundles (multiple core classes in one bundle) for a discounted price. 

I plan to continue to work both jobs for a while

I created a successful business as an influencer, but as of now, I genuinely like working both jobs. Plus, it works well for me that everything I teach on social media comes full circle in real life in the emergency room and I’m able to share that with my audience. 

If anyone wants to become an influencer, first know that it’s not easy. I don’t think people realize how much of a time commitment it is. It’s more than just sitting on the couch and posting videos — it can take me anywhere from four to five hours to make one video. 

Also, stay true to yourself. So many influencers are trying too hard to be likable or trendy. I’ve noticed it’s always more relatable to be yourself.

Even two years later, it’s still mind blowing that my TikTok blew up as much as it did. It can feel so shocking at times that so many people want to follow me. But then I take a step back and realize that I’ve put in so much work and that it shouldn’t be so surprising that people admire and like my content. In the end, it makes me feel really good that I’m able to have an impact on people’s nursing and healthcare journeys, just like they’ve had on mine. 

Read the original article on Business Insider