Making Money Making Memes
The underground meme economy
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I made $800 this week making Merge memes.
How do I explain this one to my accountant?
— Jason Levin (@iamjasonlevin)
Sep 15, 2022
I never thought I'd make money making memes, but here I am.
Companies hire me to write content for their blogs and social media accounts. When I tell them I can make memes, they get very excited and ask me to make them memes.
If you take a look at Launch House's 3x/week newsletter Homescreen, all memes are made by yours truly. Now, I run their Twitter too and am bringing my meme magic there.
I'm a freelance meme creator for a few other startups as well. It turns out that if you have the right clients, meme-making can be a pretty profitable field.
So how did I start making money making memes?
A little help from my frenz
I've been fascinated by the meme economy for almost a year now.
It all started with my podcast episode with Liam Killingstad. He explained how he got a job at a sports media company by posting memes on Twitter and then getting a DM from the CEO. He replied to the CEO with memes and still got hired.
I was like damn, good memes can get you a job. Wtf?
Then I brought Jack Raines on my podcast. Jack told me that he was making thousands every month writing for popular fintech meme brand called Litquidity. That blew my mind. How did a meme account on Twitter have the money to pay writers that much?
I knew Litquidity was big but I didn't realize they had that kinda budget.
Finally, I met Charlie Light, the creator of the satirical John W. Rich account with 190,000+ followers. He was making 6 figures ghostwriting tweets for meme brands. He even paid me to write tweets and make memes for some accounts.
That was my first $1 making money making memes. Now I'm at the point where I offer my meme services to nearly all my writing clients. Many are very happy to take me up on it.
All of these experience taught me that memes aren't jokes.
Great memes are easy to understand, but hard to make.
Making memes about a subject like startups and venture capital isn't something any random meme page on Instagram can do. It's something that requires specific knowledge about the industry plus the sense of humor required to make funny memes.
Same goes with healthcare memes or pop culture memes.
Memes require specific knowledge that can only be gained from spending time in the industry. But once you have that knowledge, it should be easy to make dank memes, right? No, that's what I assumed before I ever made a meme.
While it doesn't require 10 hours in Photoshop, meme-making does require you spending time figuring out the right meme template and a creative eye. Then it requires tweaking and making multiple copies. It's like design plus comedy. Let's call it comedic design.
Plus a lot of the time, you need to make memes ASAP based on whatever is happening in the news. I'm particularly proud of this one following the increase in app store regulations:
How to make money making memes
Memes are permissionless.
Go make memes about your favorite industry. Make the memes so dank that it attracts attention. Drop replies under famous people's accounts. Get attention for your work.
Take your meme-making seriously.
Of course, in the beginning, it'll feel like you're just fooling around on the internet - pushing out your memes to no one or just your friends.
That's what it was like when Charlie started the John W. Rich account. Suddenly he had 50,000 followers and was getting requests from brands to work with him. He had an "Oh shit, this is real" kinda moment. The same thing happened for BoredElonMusk. Suddenly he had 1 million followers and realized he had an empire on his hands.
You can 1 of 2 routes with meme-making.
- Run your own meme account and then sell ads, products, etc.
- Make memes for brands' accounts and get paid
If you want to go the 1st route, I recommend building your personal Twitter first and then retweeting your meme account's posts. To build your Twitter profile, choose a niche, provide funny memes, and connect with people in your niche. Do that everyday for 1 year.
For the 2nd one, build a permissionless portfolio. I can tell you one thing. Meme brands don't hire based on resumes. They hire based on portfolios. Build a meme portfolio ready to be shared with a potential client. Then slide in the DMs. Offer to make memes. Start small, invest in long-term relationships, and soon you'll be getting paid well.
Like anything else on the internet, it'll take a lot of failures and rejections. Keep on pushing. Meme-making is an art. Don't undervalue yourself.
If you take your meme-making seriously, it can seriously change your life (and wallet).
Ok, so I alluded to a big announcement and I'm not gonna let you down.
I've been planning this for a while and I'm excited to finally tell people.
I'm writing a book called Memes Make Millions. It's a mix of funny essays, how-tos, interviews, and obviously memes. Expect to laugh your ass off.
I'll be publishing excerpts here for premium subs. That's right, you'll get a first look at all the essays, interviews, and dank memes.
Then in May 2023, I'll self-publish Memes Make Millions.
Because I can't wait to show you, here's a quick excerpt. It's a fictional convo about the current thing between Jerry Seinfeld and the ever-crazy George Costanza.