This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Emma Larocque about working as a social-media manager. Business Insider has verified revenue and profit with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I started an Etsy store in 2020 while studying business in college. But I also work in social media.
I started a lifestyle blog the same year and, after doing some research, found Pinterest was the biggest way to drive website traffic organically. I started a Pinterest account to promote my blog.
I posted about 30 times a day, linking to my blog.
Pinterest is unique: It’s more of a visual search engine than a social-media platform, where you can search for images about specific topics and include a link on each post. A pin has a graphic — a photo or a video — with a 100-character title and roughly 500-word description, which are important for SEO.
It was a great way to drive people to a website or landing page.
In 2021, I started an Upwork account offering this service to clients. I used my blog and Pinterest account as a case study for potential new clients.
I needed to complete several internships to graduate from college, so I started offering to manage clients’ Pinterest accounts for free because it would help me gain credit toward my degree.
But after the first two clients, I started charging $500 for one month’s work, which included posting three pins per day and giving them a monthly analytics report.
On Upwork, you must send clients a proposal when applying for jobs. I’ve always approached proposals similarly to a cover letter for a job application. I’d write about why the role interested me and why I think I’d be good at it.
I’d thoroughly research the client and add a personal touch about them at the end.
I would also include a portfolio and case study of how I’d grown my Pinterest account and add it as an attachment.
I started contacting clients on Upwork for work managing Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Over a year, I landed 10 clients for Pinterest and Instagram jobs.
Last year, two agencies contracted me as a freelancer and fed me their clients. I get most of my social-media clients through agencies.
My recent clients have been a phone-case brand, a hair-care brand, and a pretty big makeup brand. I made $29,500 working five hours a week between January and the start of December last year.
I work less on my social-media career so I can keep up other entrepreneurial projects, such as my Etsy store.
My Etsy store is my biggest source of income, but I like to keep up my social-media work because I’m more comfortable having multiple income streams.
I’ve never been faced with losing one of them, but you never know what can happen.