- Stephanee Beggs, 28, started posting her study sheets on TikTok while attending nursing school.
- The videos exploded, and feedback from her followers encouraged her to start selling her learning materials on Etsy.
- She plans on keeping her job and loves that her influencer work is combined with her job at the hospital.
This essay is based on an interview with Stephanee Beggs, a 28-year-old nurse-turned-influencer while attending nursing school. Insider has confirmed their company’s income through documents. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I graduated from college with a degree in Business Marketing, but it wasn’t until I got my first job as an operations assistant at Warner Brothers Studio that I realized what I wanted to do with my life.
I thought back to when I was younger and how fascinated I was with science and anatomy. I decided to capitalize on that passion and when I was 25, I began an accelerated nursing program, which was essentially three years of nursing school in just one year.
Towards the end of nursing school, the pandemic started and everything shut down. Our courses and clinics went online and it made being a nursing student really difficult because there weren’t as many opportunities for collaboration and hands-on learning, which is critical in the nursing profession.
I was trying to figure out how I would actually be able to study and retain the information on my own, so I started filming these videos teaching myself various nursing topics by talking to the wall. I’m a very visual person, so saying information out loud and playing the videos helped me.
One day I randomly decided to create a TikTok account and post one of the videos I made to help me study. It launched and garnered more than 200,000 views. From there, I just kept posting and went from having hundreds of followers to more than 600,000 on TikTok.
People started writing to me asking if they could buy the study sheets in my videos. I decided to start an Etsy shop thinking maybe I would sell enough to buy lunch every day, but I ended up selling over 64,000 items and nearly $2 million in the last two years made sales.
Most of my listeners work in healthcare
While the majority of my audience are people in nursing school, I also have many Registered Nurses, Nursing Practitioners, and even Physicians and Physician Assistants who watch my videos to keep them up to date with medical information.
Honestly, while people found these videos helpful, it helped me stay focused and learn what I needed to do to pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. Even though I’m a full-time nurse now, I still post content every day and that means I have to keep up with articles and research.
Being an influencer is like having a second full-time job
I work 12 hour shifts at the hospital and when that’s over I go home and work on being an influencer and my business. When I have free time I just work on my social media, be it creating and editing content or replying to comments, DMs and emails.
There are times when it feels overwhelming because I know hundreds of thousands of people are reaching out to me about videos and I want to show up for them. It’s also humbling and exciting to see how many people are attracted to my TikTok videos and learning sheets.
While I see how an influencer would distract from my work as a nurse, the type of content I create is more about knowledge and less about showcasing my private life, so I’m able to strike a balance and to set limits.
My approach to TikTok is organized and strategic
When I first started posting on TikTok, I didn’t have much of a strategy or direction. I just posted the videos I made to help me study. I think that makes me different from other people who are trying to become big influencers who feel like they have to crack a code by posting everything that’s happening in their lives or posting five videos a day.
I didn’t care at all. I think the fact that educational content is extremely useful is what drew so many people to my account. Even now, I like to make sure that every video I post has a useful purpose for my audience.
Now that I’ve made a name for myself, I’m trying to follow more of a schedule. I make sure to post on TikTok and Instagram at least 3 times a week. I never post on Fridays or Saturdays because I’ve found my audience isn’t really on the phone and wants to study on the weekends.
I do everything myself from filming to editing the videos, using apps like Inshot and Canva.
I continue to earn income from my social media and Etsy shop
You can find nursing study sheets anywhere, but I think what made mine take off, apart from being featured on social media, was that they were handwritten, so they had a more personal touch, and they were extremely concise.
I spent hours cutting out the fluff of nursing school to create TikTok videos that conveyed what was on these tutorial sheets in just 60 to 90 seconds. I think people were drawn to this fun and fast way of learning.
As my learning sheets started selling on Etsy, I decided to develop a game plan on how to further monetize my audience. I made more study sheets and sold them in bundles for each type of basic nursing course and published them individually. For example, I sell a pediatrics pack consisting of 50 study sheets that can help you when you are in your pediatrics courses or rotations.
I spent eight months creating a package for each individual core nursing class. I started charging anywhere from $20-$40 for each of these packages, and then sold more comprehensive packages (multiple core classes in one package) at a reduced price.
I intend to work in both professions for a while longer
I built a successful business as an influencer, but now I really enjoy working in both jobs. Also, it works well for me that everything I teach on social media closes in real life in the ER and I can share that with my audience.
If someone wants to become an influencer, the first thing they should know is that it’s not easy. I don’t think people realize how time consuming it is. It’s more than just sitting on the couch and posting videos – it can take me four to five hours to make a video.
Also, stay true to yourself. So many influencers try too hard to be personable or trendy. I’ve found that it’s always better to be yourself.
Even two years later, it’s still overwhelming that my TikTok got blown up like that. It can be so shocking sometimes that so many people want to follow me. But then I take a step back and realize that I put so much work into it and it shouldn’t be that surprising that people admire and like my content. In the end, it makes me feel really good to be able to impact people’s care and health journeys like they have done with me.
Are you a registered nurse or nursing student and have a story about the job? Email Manseen Logan at [email protected].