Insta-Famous: 15 People Who Made Millions Off Social Media

Be honest: we all dream of turning social media into a money-maker. The huge amount of bloggers out there just goes to prove that, and it would be a dream to get paid for something that is just so fun to do. We spend hours a day on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, so why shouldn’t we get something for it? The truth is, most of us are posting things that not even our friends care about, so that’s never going to happen.

Although, that might be a bit of a pessimistic way to look at it. After all, it’s been done before. People who got the jump on social media and managed to bag themselves a huge amount of followers have been able to really make a living from it – and not just a regular 9 to 5 kind of wage, either. No, these lucky (and talented) individuals have actually managed to create the kind of crazy money-maker that most of us will only ever be able to dream about. They are making millions – just by posting on social networks every so often.

Want to join their ranks? You’ll need to work hard, have a unique formula, and above all, be totally likeable. You might even need to hire an army of personal assistants just to keep up with your notifications, let alone figuring out how to keep it fresh and stay relevant. Here’s fifteen examples of how to get rich from social media – in a way that lasted.

15 DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled is the unchallenged king of Snapchat, and has been milking it for all that it is worth. Not only has Snapchat itself grown exponentially since he started getting followers, but he himself has been able to launch his whole brand in a new direction. Alright, so he wasn’t exactly poor or unknown before this started, but he has launched a lot of new ventures since becoming the most followed man on the network. His shop full of catchphrase-centric apparel alone is earning millions. This is an interesting case of the network making him rich at the same time as he makes the network rich.

14 Ella Woodward


Her mother is the heiress Camilla Sainsbury, so Ella Woodward probably didn’t need a few extra million. But when she launched her blog, Deliciously Ella, she became a social media star – most notably on Instagram. She had the fastest-selling debut cookbook of all time, shifting more than 300,000 copies, and has just recently launched a second cookbook as well as opening her own deli in London. She also works as a columnist for the Telegraph newspaper, along with still running her incredibly popular blog. She even has her own recipe app. At just 24, she’s dominating the health food market.

13 Jérôme Jarre


This hilarious prankster makes Vines that always do one of three things: make you smile at a cute moment, poke fun at someone without being mean, or send you into stitches with randomness. That’s a formula that has proven to be very successful for someone who was already a rising star in the business world. After expanding into Snapchat, his business model has grown: he can charge $25,000 for a sponsored Vine, and $35,000 for a Snap. He has even appeared on The Ellen Show, after one of his Vines in particular ended up going viral. Check out YouTube for massive compilation videos.

12 Hola Soy German


His real name is Germán Alejandro Garmendia Aranis, so it’s probably a good thing he shortens it to this catchy phrase. If you are from Latin America, you likely already know about this Chilean YouTube star, who dominates the Spanish-language social media. This 25-year-old has over 24 million followers, and according to estimates, makes around $1.2 million a year. He’s the second most subscribed in the world, right behind PewDiePie, and actually hit fame immediately after uploading his first video. That’s a pretty incredible story, and two years on from that first upload he was already hitting the millions of dollars mark.

11 Bethany Mota


Bethany will definitely make older readers feel a little bit sick. She’s 19 years old, but she already has a personal fortune of around $2.5 million! She’s all about fashion, make-up, and hair, which is a lucrative niche. She commands around $40,000 per YouTube video in sponsorship, but has also taken things further. She has her own collections with Aeropostale and has partnered with a few other stores, as well as dabbling in music and appearances on reality TV show Project Runway. Business diversity means she’s probably here to stay for a long time, and she seems smart enough to make it all work.

10 Nash Grier

Nash Grier is 17 years old… and he’s already rich, famous, and going further than most of us will in our lives. A recent move to Beverley Hills indicates what he’s intending to do with his life, and there’s almost no doubt at all that he will succeed. Vine is his base, where he charges $25,000 to $100,000 per video – and his numbers justify it. He has 12 million Vine followers, 4.4 million YouTube subscribers, 4.8 million Twitter followers, and 8 million Instagram fans. He’s a marketer’s dream. With multi-channel success, he has become THE person to follow – his only risk is messing it up with the kind of silliness teenagers get up to, as has befallen a few of his peers.

9 PewDiePie


This Swedish gaming superstar is really called Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, but you know him as the king of YouTube. He started out making videos of his video game experiences in 2010, and hit 1 million followers by 2012. With more than 39 million subscribers today, he is the most subscribed channel on the entire site. His personal fortune is estimated to be around $12 million. Not bad for staying at home and playing video games all day! His story shows how domination of a single particular platform can seriously make your star rise – especially when you are funnier, more likeable, and more entertaining than your competition.

8 Chiara Ferragni

This Italian fashion blogger is one of the select few who make the fashion blogosphere go round. While there are many hopefuls in this niche, only a small number can be considered to have really “made it” – and Chiara is one of them. Diversifying is her key strength, and her blog The Blonde Salad now only accounts for 30% of her revenue. She is thought to earn upwards of $8 million a year. That’s the kind of salary she wouldn’t even expect with her law degree! With 110,000 hits to her site daily, she’s certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future.

7 Yuya


Yuya, aka Mariand Castrejón, is a Mexican YouTube star who rose to fame mostly because of her voice. High-pitched and squeaky, it lends a certain charm and enthusiasm to her beauty and fashion videos, and at just 21 years old it is now estimated that she earns around $41,000 a month. She has 14 million subscribers, rivalling PewDiePie in Spanish-language countries, and over 1 billion combined views on her videos. She’s living the dream in a way that a lot of 21-year-olds couldn’t even begin to imagine – all of this money just for making a few videos on her favourite topics every month!

6 Jessica Vasquez


Known as Jessi Smiles on Vine, this quirky star has risen to a level of fame on the social network that is almost ridiculous. She has 3.5 million followers, putting her in the top 30 Vine personalities, and is also very popular on other social media sites too. It’s not clear exactly how much she earns from her Vines, but we can create a ballpark figure. Research suggests that Viners can charge around $1000 per 100,000 followers, so taking that formula, she could get away with charging $35,000 to advertise a brand in one of her Vines. That’s not bad for six seconds.

5 Roman Atwood


Roman is another YouTuber who harnesses the power of comedy for success. He actually started producing and filming back when he was in high school, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the now-32-year-old decided to give YouTube a try. It was a decision that paid off – in spades. He now has more than 7 million subscribers, which gives him a lot of earning power for sponsored videos. With over 1.1 billion combined views, his clips are very popular. He is thought to have amassed a fortune of more than $4 million over the last six years.

4 Brittany Furlan

Brittany did try getting famous before social media, attempting to break it as a television actress. That didn’t work, so she became the most followed person on Vine instead. She has over 9.7 million followers there, and it looks like she has been attracting the right kind of attention. Seth Green decided he liked what he saw and is producing her up and coming sketch show. With a current net worth of $2 million, this can only push her further up the ladder. If her TV effort fails, she can make Vines for a living for a long time to come.

3 KingBach


His real name is Andrew Bachelor, and KingBach was a Business Management graduate when he decided to start putting up a few Vines. He has a great sense of humour and also of creativity, and like many of the stars on our list, those were the key ingredients to his success. He now has 13.8 million followers on the platform. He commands anywhere between $30,000 to $80,000 for the videos he posts, which has allowed him to accumulate around $2.5 million in earnings. That’s not at all bad going for a 27-year-old. With his business acumen, he should be able to find a lasting way to make it stick.

2 Jenna Marbles

Jenna Mourey is better known as Jenna Marbles, a YouTube sensation. She studied and received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology, but all of that went to waste when she found herself working as a waitress. That was back in 2010, when she started making videos. Now? She has over 15 million followers, has her own line of dog toys and a few other businesses, hosts a weekly slot on SiriusXM Hit, and is worth about $2.5 million. Which just goes to show that sometimes, things don’t seem like they’re working out for you – but only so that you can see your way to the right path.

1 Justin Bieber

This young man is definitely the highest earner on our list, and you might have heard of him once or twice. With a fortune of $200 million, you might think it’s unfair to include a hugely successful pop singer as someone who made money from social media. But the truth is, that’s where it all began. His mother started uploading videos of young Justin singing to YouTube. They were then seen by none other than Usher, who decided that the kid had talent. The rest is musical history. It just goes to show that you never know when the right person will see your talent – but they can only see it if you put yourself out there.



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Insta-Famous: 15 People Who Made Millions Off Social Media