This 22-Year-Old TikToker Has 5M Followers & Reveals How He Actually Makes Money
"TikTok pays crap."
Content creation often accompanies ambitious entrepreneurial ventures for Gen Z influencers. Florida's Nick Kratka is the poster boy for this brand of success, with five million followers on TikTok and a bunch of side gigs — all at the age of 22.
If some reports are to be believed, though, the Tampa native makes only a few thousand dollars from TikTok sponsorships, but the popular perception is that creators do much better than that, right?
Narcity caught up with the former Boca Raton resident to confirm his real earnings and find out other details about how Gen Z social media celebrities make money. Kratka also told us about why he left Florida for the West Coast, his relationship status and more.
How did you become an influencer?
"I had been in North Carolina for wrestling, and I came home to Florida. A girl told me I looked like a TikTok guy. I thought I could do better at TikTok than he did. I was posting three times a day."
Why did you move to California?
"Before wrestling, I attended Florida Atlantic University for one year. After North Carolina, I went back to FAU to go to college.
It's a weird story. I got jumped. I got beat up really bad. My face was messed up. They got prosecuted.
I didn't feel safe. It might have been PTSD. I moved to L.A. not out of ambition, but out of fear.
Moving to L.A. worked out better than I could have imagined. The people I met — the circles of content creators. I met one person who introduced me to others.
I didn't think I'd get this far. I moved here two years and eight months ago. When I moved, I had 800,000 followers on TikTok; now I have 5.5 million, as well as 600,000 on YouTube, 100,000 on Snapchat and 35,000 on Instagram.
Moving to L.A. was huge for my career. One thing is that everyone you run into talks and thinks about social media. My buddy, Devin Caherly, another influencer, invited me over to his house, and I met Sebastian Paredes, who's very good at making content for anyone.
He's responsible for @LawbyMike being the biggest lawyer on TikTok today. LBM went from zero to 5.5 million followers — and he's now at 6.8 million.
One day Sebastian told me he had a dentist client, Ryan Savage. Every video we posted for a month on my page got 5 to 10 million views. We went from 800,000 to 2 million. He gained a following of 300,000 from our collaboration — zero to 300,000. I wrote scripts for it; I filmed it; I was responsible for the content, everything.
I met Kelly in Colorado, a second dentist, and Corina, a dental hygienist, in Philadelphia. When I started with Kelly, I went from 2 million to 4 million followers. Her account went from zero to 400,000. They asked me to film a month's worth, so I needed 30 shirts!
White-collar professionals, like lawyers and health care professionals, including two dentists and a plastic surgeon, pay me to build them up on social.
For example, the lawyer will collaborate with me on my page. I post on his page as well, with me in the video. It'll blow up the lawyer! See @haminlaw on TikTok."
Are the reports about your net worth accurate?
"I'm not comfortable sharing my net worth. My YouTube channel was evaluated by a startup group of investors for content creators earlier this month at $120,000. I didn't accept because they wanted to give me $12,000 for 10% of my channel for one year."
Is it true that TikTok influencers are making all this money?
"YouTube gives you $7, $8, even $10 per 1,000 views. TikTok pays crap. You can't support yourself on the TikTok Creator Fund, where you get paid for your video views. Other opportunities aren't sustainable.
The only one that's sustainable is TikTok LIVE, from tips. Older women go on LIVE shirtless. For some other people, there's not a sexual aspect. One time I got a $75 tip for three minutes on LIVE.
Brand deals are the way to go. For example, a collaboration went for $15,000 for a TikTok post on my page. I also do marketing for brands. I'm a creative director and a content director. They pay me for content strategy.
Schmooze, the meme dating app, reached out to me to make five videos on my page.
In the summer, brand deals are slower because there are fewer holidays. Even though I was getting high views, business was slow on that end. My business with dentists, doctors and lawyers was doing well, though. Last month, I had 84 million views on YouTube."
What is a typical day like for you?
"I wake up, post Shorts on YouTube, pick up props. I post the same short-form vertical content on the different platforms — they just call it a different thing.
On Instagram, they're Reels; on TikTok, just TikToks. At night, I'm planning and writing. I don't really like partying, but I go to the good events."
Is there anything else we should know about you?
"My birthday is March 8. I'm 5'8". Especially with my moving around a lot, I have been on dating apps, such as Tinder and Hinge. My heritage is Polish, Russian, Italian and Puerto Rican. I don't have a girlfriend at the moment — I'm single as a Pringle!"
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.