Toronto TikToker Bridgette Vong has made a name for herself online by being vulnerable about everything from her personal life and relationships to her finances — and recently she opened up to Narcity about how much money she actually makes on social media.
With over 90,000 followers on TikTok, the 25-year-old has developed quite the internet following. She has over five million combined likes on her TikTok videos and, while the number of views on each clip can vary, it's not uncommon to see figures ranging from several hundred thousand to over 1 million.
But Vong's social media presence is certainly not her only job or her only source of income, in fact, it's one of four jobs she's currently taking on.
"My background is in marketing, I've been in marketing for three to four years now," Vong told Narcity. She explained that in her current full-time job, she works as a Partnerships Manager at a marketing agency. Her other two forms of work are freelance.
"Coming from both the creator and the brand perspective, I think anyone can do it," she said when asked about what it takes to start making money from TikTok.
"I'm not your typical all-American girl and I think you just have to be authentic and be different," Vong continued. "I think I see a lot of content that's the same and it's very copycat, and I think people love authenticity and vulnerability and you just have to be willing to put yourself out there in a way that doesn't feel generic or oversaturated."
Vong admits things really got started for her on TikTok when a video of her breakup with her boyfriend went viral. It has since received over 14 million views.
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"Before posting that I was at 200 followers and then when I posted it, I gained about 25,000 followers, which was a crazy shock," Vong said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I now have this platform that I've been catapulted onto and I need to do something with that.'"
Since then, Vong's vulnerability about her financial struggles when living in Toronto seems to have resonated the most with people online.
From sharing ways she's saving to afford Toronto rent, to more recently opening up about having $15,000 in credit card debt and how she's working hard to pay it off, her platform is growing and you can see from the videos' comments how others closely relate to her situation.
Even simple videos of how much she spends in one weekend are getting thousands of views.
"I, for the life of me, could not understand why," Vong confessed. "But all of my friends were like, 'people are nosy! They love to know what others are spending in Toronto, what you're doing on the weekends and how much it costs."
"Building that community of people just willingly opening sharing their stories was unexpected and super cool," she added.
While some of her social media fame did come overnight from a single video, much of the rest of Vong's content platform has been built over time.
"I wasn't able to just build clout or hype off of a breakup," Vong continued. "I built a platform of an additional 60,000 people by myself. It had nothing to do with a boy or a breakup or exploiting anyone. It was just me being myself and sharing things I've learned about living in the city or working multiple jobs or getting out of debt or living alone."
She added, "And that is something I'm super proud of!"
How much money do TikTokers actually make?
While Vong's story is just one example of how much money TikTokers can earn in Canada, it can also give you a peek behind the curtain of what content creators can make in general, especially if they have a significant following.
To some, Vong's 90,000 followers may not seem like enough to make a lot of money but, as she shared, what she's able to make is not to be laughed at.
"In the past six months, I've made as much as my corporate job pays me annually," she revealed, admitting that's not something she would have ever thought was possible when she first started making videos on social media a little over a year ago.
Back then, she says things were much different.
"I was making smaller deals, like $100 [or] $200," she said. "I'd be so grateful for a $500 deal. But now, deals generally don't start at any less than $5,000, which is insane because that's like a full month paycheque out of my corporate job."
Vong also said that, in addition to her full-time corporate job, her TikTok content, and her two freelance jobs in social media marketing, she has managed to attain a salary of over $100,000 per year.
She previously told Narcity that she believes it's almost impossible to afford the cost of living in Canada these days, particularly for those living in major cities like Toronto. She noted that for people to afford figures like $2,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, there's almost no choice but to work multiple jobs.
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"You cant have one job. One job in Toronto is a joke," she said. "There's no way anyone making under $80,000 could survive in Toronto."
She admits to typically working 12-hour days, six days a week. Now, as she works to pay off her credit card debt, she says she is only spending only the cash she has on hand for food or entertainment in any given week.
"There are multiple ways in the city to have fun other than going out for drinks or going out for dinner," she said. "We have a huge food scene and there's a lot of emphasis on spending money, but there are lots of ways you can enjoy the city without spending money."
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.