A recent college grad explains why she quit her day job to be a full-time YouTube influencer, and why it 'shouldn't be a shameful thing'


Brooke Miccio

  • YouTube creator Brooke Miccio has an audience of 200,000 subscribers and recently left her day job to pursue an influencer career full time. 
  • Miccio, a University of Georgia grad, told Business Insider that she left her job in sales to focus on her YouTube channel, podcast, and Instagram page. 
  • She said that, at first, people were concerned about her finances, or whether she’d be “wasting” her college degree.
  • But Miccio countered by saying she uses her marketing degree to scale her online brand, and earns enough money through brand sponsorships and ads to support herself. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US kids and teens would rather be a YouTube star than an astronaut, musician, or professional athlete. 

But actually pursuing that desirable career path isn’t easy, or even seen as “normal.”

For Brooke Miccio, a recent University of Georgia grad, leaving the job she accepted in June to pursue an influencer career full time was scary and hard to explain to the people close to her, she told Business Insider. 

“I wanted to try and do what’s normal after college,” she said. “I wanted to be the girl to graduate with a job.”

But technically, Miccio already had one. With 200,000 subscribers on YouTube, a podcast, and a popular Instagram page, the 22-year-old was earning more than her college friends with “normal jobs” in babysitting, bartending, and waitressing, she said.

“I think it was confusing to people in the beginning of college because I had some extra spending money from YouTube,” she said.

Miccio said she felt like she had to have a day job after graduation to feel successful. But having both an 8-to-5 day job, and dedicating time afterward to run an online business, was harder than she expected. Miccio was burnt out she said, and knew she needed a change.  

“If this brings me so much joy, and I feel so much stress from having lack of time to do it, then having a day job doesn’t make sense,” she said, explaining why she ultimately left her job in sales.

From day job to influencer career 

Miccio started her YouTube channel in 2011, posting videos like packing for sleepaway camp, what she got for Christmas, and high-school advice. 

She continued her channel into college, filming videos in her dorm room, and in her senior year, started a podcast, “Gals on the Go,” with fellow University of Georgia student and YouTube creator Danielle Carolan.

Shortly after posting weekly episodes, they signed with the major podcast network “Podcast One.” Miccio records weekly episodes with Carolan, working with Podcast One and a graphic designer on branding and development. 

Read more: Lizzy Capri quit her day job at LinkedIn to become a YouTube creator and amassed 3.9 million subscribers in less than 2 years. She told us how.

They expanded the podcast to a private Facebook Group (11,900 members), a small community of like-minded teens, and she said she spends about an hour every day interacting with the community on Facebook and Instagram. 

When she was still at her day job, Miccio said she would spend an extra 20 hours a week working on her influencer business after work.  

“It’s hours here and there,” she said. “Three hours on a Sunday morning to reply to comments, post a video, post on Instagram. The hours add up, but I absolutely loved it and in my head I don’t even see it as work.” 

But there’s a lot more to an influencer career than what you seen online, she said.

From conception, filming, editing, and promoting, YouTube creators do it all. Before she posts, she’ll think about what the title, the tags, and “metadata,” will be that will ultimately help the video perform well and reach the right audience, she said.  

Since leaving her day job, Miccio has hired two part-time assistants (college students in Boston) to help her take photos and run errands. She’s purchased a coworking space membership, which she said will function as an office and as a place to network. 

Earning money online  

Without giving a specific amount, Miccio said she “earns a comparable amount online” to the day job she had in sales.

When she announced she’d be leaving her day job, she said people were mostly concerned about her finances and how she would continue to support herself. 

But now that Miccio is a full-time influencer, she said she earns her money through brand sponsorships, YouTube AdSense, podcast ads, and merchandise sales. Miccio is managed by Slash MGMT and has a talent manager who assists her with securing brand sponsorships and other business opportunities. 

She received a degree in marketing with a digital emphasis from Georgia and said it isn’t going to waste. She said having a degree in marketing has helped her understand how to better market her content to a specific audience, and scale her brand. 

“This is a career nowadays,” she said. “And it shouldn’t be a shameful thing to be an influencer. It’s an awkward thing to discuss but I think five, 10 years from now we are going to see a lot more people opting for things like this.”

For more on how influencers are profiting from their success online, according to industry professionals and creators, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:

  • A 5-step guide to making the most money possible from YouTube video ads, with advice from top creators: We talked to industry insiders about how a YouTube creator could monetize their channel through ad revenue and the tactics influencers are using.
  • How Instagram influencers land their first brand-sponsorship deals: Influencers and brand execs share their tips for landing that first deal.
  • 4 tips to getting your first 1,000 YouTube subscribers, according to a creator with millions of them: We spoke with entrepreneur Benji Travis on his four tips people could follow to get their first 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.

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