TikTok star Josh Richards on how he got 20 million followers & why he’s leaving the app

TikTok has been one heck of an addictive app of late across the world. It has been learnt that out of half a billion users, at least 119 million are known to be Indian and those are all kids and teenagers (majority wise).

TikTok is an app that allows you to share short clips and the idea is to use dance or lip sync to ‘background music or movie dialogues’ to create the most viral clip.

TikTok star Josh Richards has earned a lot of fame at an early age. He has left many TikTok stars behind by dint of his talent.

Josh Richards became a ‘sensation’ on social media video app TikTok. He’s got 20 million followers on the platform and millions more across the Internet. He has garnered over 1 billion likes on his posts so far. Josh is an actor who’s been in films like Brother’s Keeper and Summertime Dropouts. Richards first started dabbling in social media when he was 13.

“I had like an Instagram where I would post, with 70 followers on it. It was just my friends. It was a private account,” Richards tells CNBC Make It.

Richards started posting videos of himself dancing to rap music on on the video-sharing app when he was in high school. He then made a promise to himself that if he could get 10,000 followers by the end of the summer, he would keep doing posting; if not, he would quit.

“I’m a very competitive guy,” Richards says. He was completed devoted to his work and would work around five hours daily to create Musical.ly videos, Richards says he had got about 26,000 followers by his deadline.

Then he continued his journey and kept posting videos. When ByteDance purchased Musical.ly, Richards says his followers automatically transferred over to TikTok. And by that time, Richards was already making money.

At 15, a year after starting on Musical.ly, he started making money through song promos, where he would promote music in his posts. Eventually, those deals evolved into working with brands such as Reebok, Cash App and Crocs, he says. Then when he turned 17, he made social media his full-time focus while still attending high school.

Richards has received 20.1 million followers on TikTok, 6.8 million on Instagram, 2.1 million subscribers on YouTube. He had won millions of hearts on TikTok and his fans would always wait for her dance videos.

It was hard work, grit and determination to touch the pinnacle of success. He says he has reached a place where he only spends 30 minutes a day a shooting content with the help of his management team.

“It’s calculated based on engagement, creative, timeline, exclusivity and other material points as well as marketplace data we have/get,” Michael Senzer, head of business development at Talentxent says.

But Richards warns that wannabe social media influencers shouldn’t focus on the money.

“It can’t be just a money grab,” he says. “When I first did social media it wasn’t because you know I looked at it and was like, ‘I’m going to try to see how much money I can make.’” 

“You have to have heart. You have to have a business mindset and a love and passion for this,” Richards says.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.