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New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Josh Richards

Building & Monetizing a Mass Social Media Audience

What's the secret to achieving a huge social media following?

So you’ve finally made that TikTok account…

What next?

How do you gain a massive amount of followers? How do you create content that people will love? How do you make an impact on a platform that is oversaturated?

It may seem impossible. You want to put yourself out there and show your originality, but you don’t know how to build your audience. You have great content to share, but with the flood of content that’s already on TikTok, how can your message possibly stand out and make a difference?

It can seem overwhelming. And honestly, this goes for every social media platform — not just TikTok. Whether you’re a business owner, artist, or influencer, you may want to get your message out there but don’t know how to make it stand out above all the noise out there.

How do you gain more followers?

How do you create shareable content?

How do you make an impact?

These are questions we’ve all thought about, and today, I have the perfect guest to answer them.

Josh Richards has 24.3 million followers on TikTok — you read that right — 24.3 million. If anyone knows how to build a massive social media following, it’s him. I’m honored to have him on the show!

In this episode, Josh and I talked about how he became one of the top social media influencers today. He also shared tips on building a mass audience and what it takes when you decide to go all-in on your dreams. We also talked about how Josh can manage his multiple engagements and overcome insecurities. 

Josh shared a lot of valuable insights about brand success that I’m so excited to share with you. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Who Is Josh Richards? 

Josh Richards is a Canadian internet personality and entrepreneur. He has a massive following on several social media platforms. He serves as Chief Strategy Officer of Triller. You can share music videos, challenges, and songs with the community on this unique social media platform!

On TikTok, Josh Richards has a whopping 24.3 million followers — and this number is growing steadily. He has also launched a new podcast — BFFs with fellow TikToker Dave Portnoy. They discuss everything from dominating TikTok to running a social media empire to everything in between. Josh’s TikTok posts often include dancing, lip-syncing, and video skits. He has even acted in films including Brother’s Keeper and Summertime Dropouts.

Josh is only 19 years old — yet, he’s running his own business and has a massive following on social media — tremendous accomplishments at his age! According to Forbes, Josh earned $1.5 million in 2019 from his numerous sponsorship deals, making him the fifth highest-earning TikTok personality ever! If you haven’t checked out his TikTok account, you definitely should after listening to this episode!

It was great to have Josh on The School of Greatness learn about building a massive social media empire, running multiple businesses, and managing insecurities at the same time — Josh is truly a testament to the fact that if you have the right mindset, you can accomplish anything.

So if you’re one of those looking to follow your dream of becoming a social media millionaire, let’s get started!

How to Be a Top Social Media Influencer

While everyone might wonder how it looks from the top as an influencer and millionaire, most of us don’t know about the sacrifices needed to get there. Josh knew how it felt to give up the things you love to pursue a new dream at a young age. 

“I had always been very competitive and athletic. I love breaking records. When I was in middle school, I would make sure I could beat every single record. That’s how my mindset is like — try to be or be the best. … I was also very much engaged in lacrosse and hockey. But I had to give those all up because of social media.” – Josh Richards

So what exactly made Josh give up his love for sports and chose social media? Even if you’re not a 16-year-old teenager, you would likely understand his answer.

“It was summer, and all I was doing was lacrosse. Whenever I go home, I would do streams from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM. At that time, I was doing 400$ a night. … Then, during a sleepover with my friends, I went live for 30 minutes, and I got donated two thousand dollars! It was just mind-blowing. … So it started from there — I started giving up on sports and focused on social media instead.” – Josh Richards

Josh makes it sound easy, right? However, he shared that there are characteristics that every aspiring social media artist should have —hard work and dedication. These two qualities have been instrumental in Josh’s journey to fame.

“What many people think is I got to where I am in a snap of a finger. But what many don’t know is I [had] to work hard to where I am right now. I spent two to three years building my presence in Musically. Then a year on another platform. Then there’s Tiktok. It was in 2019 that I made it big on the internet” – Josh Richards

I think that every one of us can relate to the experience of Josh. How many of us got inspired to give up something we love because we found success and acknowledgment in something else? The thing, though, is, it could be easy to start a dream when everything is fine, but it won’t always be like that. There’ll always be hard times. There’ll always be those moments that our effort isn’t leading us to where we want to be. But just like what Josh showed us, perseverance eventually pays well.

These realities are what most of us usually overlook in success. We think that success is something that can be achieved immediately. We forget that there’s no shortcut for success. It isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes months, years, and, in most cases, decades to be excellent in the things we do. There are even cases that you can be really good at something, but people just don’t buy it! 

The fact is, every one of us is wired for success and greatness. However, it is only those who are eager and committed to doing it who succeed. 

“Doing crazy things to maintain your views in not a good way to go.” @JoshRichards  

Going All in for Your Dream and Building Your Audience

I believe that aside from hard work and commitment, following one’s dream also needs extraordinary courage. Aside from the sacrifices that one has to make, there’s always the threat that someone might take advantage of your talent. Josh shared how this happened to him.

“It was summer 2019 when I and a few other influencers were invited to go on a tour. It was a simple meet and greet where we would sign in posters and encourage our followers to buy our merch. We had to sell tickets for the tour and even go out for date nights which cost 100 dollars per girl. Despite making a lot of money, the tour organizer only paid each one of us 750$. This was when social media was still shady and social media artists were still unprotected.” – Josh Richards

If you think that experience would have discouraged Josh from his goal of becoming one of the biggest influencers in social media history, you’re wrong. In fact, he turned around his experience and transformed it as an inspiration to build TalentX with Michael Gruen. This has been Josh’s way to give back to the social media community by protecting content creators.

Aside from this, Josh also gave his advice on what a person can do to have a following or audience of their own.

“Before hitting it big, I remember how I used to have live streams in the evening. I would come up with different games to build an engaged audience. I would memorize people’s names and try to build a personal connection with them.” – Josh Richards

I believe that this is true, too. As human beings, we have an innate need to feel that we belong,  that we’re connected. That’s true in whatever form, whether physically or digitally.

For those who explore niches and are afraid that having a niche is a hindrance to getting a mass following, Josh explained that there’s actually something good that comes from having your unique platform and audience.

“When you have a niche audience, there’s indeed a possibility that you won’t get to have 20 million followers. But that can be a strategic move to monetize your brand because even if you only have 250,000 followers, if all of them love your niche, then you can definitely win brand deals. And brand deals are huge!” – Josh Richards

But aside from creating connections and having a niche, Josh believes that there’s another thing that could make building a successful brand possible:

“I’ve been on the social media platform for a while. I’ve seen many people blowing up right now, and suddenly, it seems like everybody has forgotten about them. … So, building your brand and audience is a long process. I feel like you have to work on it, and for this to happen, you need a natural passion for what you’re doing. Your goal can’t just be like, ‘I want to make money,’ or ‘I want to be famous.’ You need a little bit more on that “ – Josh Richards

And I agree with Josh 100%. I think that it would be fun seeing people just obsess over the process of creating something. Who knows? One day, it might finally start to work, and you’ll be able to monetize it in a big way. Being passionate and loving the process are sure-fire ways to help you build the brand you’ve always wanted!

Why Your Choice Matters in Brand Success

One of the main things that concern me and many others, is the mental health side of social media. I see many young creators who are gaining many audiences; then their numbers drop at some point. They start to think that their follower count isn’t growing as fast as they want it to be, and they give up. Josh shared what he thinks about this.

“I think that the thing that happens to creators is when they start to see a dip in their followers, they get terrified. That’s normal. Unfortunately, some start to either try to do things that are crazy; they end up in trouble because they’re just trying to get views. Meanwhile, others just give up. Both aren’t the right way to go” – Josh Richards

This is what Josh wants every aspiring influencer to know:

“Though your likes went down, your followers aren’t blocking you, right? Therefore, you can always choose to push through it. Look at those big names in social media, like Logan Paul and Jake Paul. There’s a reason they’re still big names in social media. It’s because they just never gave up. … They reinvented themselves, or they’re always finding new ways to stay in the press. You see, you can maintain relevancy as long as you just don’t get scared. When you see a drop, you can’t get afraid of it.” – Josh Richards

Reinventing is accepting and committing to change in your way of thinking, living, associating with others, doing business, and so on. In business, you can call it innovation. You must continuously be finding ways to improve because the world around you is constantly changing. If you don’t remain current, we all know what would happen. You risk falling behind your competitors and missing out on opportunities.

Lastly, with all that success, the money, the opportunities, and fame, Josh gave his personal advice to keep one’s wellness a priority and not allow social media to consume you.

“Keep your circle small. Choose an inner circle that you like, where you can be friends with everyone, and they can inspire you to be your most creative self.” – Josh Richards

Josh emphasized during our conversation the importance of making the right choices. If you want to achieve brand success, you need to make the right choices, whether in reinventing your products, images, services or choosing the peoples you wish yourself to get acquainted with. Ultimately, it’s your decision that determines your brand’s journey!

Why You Should Listen to This Josh Richards Podcast Episode Right Now…

Elbert Hubbard said, “The greatest mistake you could make in life is to be continually fearing  you will make one.” Michelle Obama said, “The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.” 

Whatever your definition of success may be in life or business, achieving it won’t always be easy. But just like how Josh put it, as long as you have the passion for what you’re doing and you’re choosing to put all the efforts and never give up, reaching success is possible. 

Before I end, here’s Josh’s definition of greatness:

“For me, greatness is when someone is putting in 110%.” – Josh Richards

In sports, you know that you’ve achieved greatness if you know you’ve left everything out on that field. It’s when you know you’re going to struggle in the game but deciding to do it anyway. In life, this applies, too. It’s when you’re feeling scared or tired, but you still choose to do something in the best way you can.

This was an incredible interview — I was genuinely inspired by this conversation with Josh. I’m even amazed at what he can create as a 19-year-old and excited about where he’s going in the future!

If you enjoyed this interview, please share this episode over on your Instagram stories. Don’t forget to tag Josh, @joshrichards, and me, @lewishowes, with your key takeaways. Also, please subscribe to The School of Greatness over on Apple Podcasts — leave us a rating and review to spread the message to even more people like you! You can also show some love for  Josh by following him on Tiktok. He’s also on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

If you want to create a successful social media brand and build your own empire,  make sure to listen to this full episode with Josh Richards!

To Greatness,

Lewis Howes - Signature

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What is it like to have money now, after growing up without much wealth?
  • When did you learn more about investing money instead of spending money?
  • Is there a part of your life where you lack confidence?
  • What is your biggest fear right now?
  • Do you think anyone can build a huge audience?
  • What advice would you give to your fans that are younger that have a lot of insecurities?
  • How are you personally managing your mental health when the social media world can fluctuate so much?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How to build a massive audience on social media.
  • How to know it’s time to go all in on your dream.
  • How Josh is able to manage his content creation and multiple businesses at the same time.
  • How to overcome insecurities and put yourself out there.
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Josh Richards

Transcript of this Episode

Music Credits:

Music Credit:

Kaibu by Killercats

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