TikTok Creator Complains That He ‘Only’ Made $4000 For A 1-Minute Video That Took An Hour To Make

Are these creators out of touch or truly undercompensated?

TikTok creator recording himself in his living room. Andrew Shevchuk, Max Rahubovskiy / CanvaPro

“There’s not as much money in social media as there was,” TikTok creator Hayden Yezak said in a recent podcast episode. “My video that had 14 million views only paid me $4,000.” 

Needless to say, the backlash against Yezak and his girlfriend, Mads Lewis, for his “tone deaf” and “out of touch” statement was swift. 

Yezak complained that he ‘only’ made $4000 on a TikTok he spent an hour making. 

“We are a little low on money now that we’ve bought our house. We have to be smart with our money now; it’s not just ‘I’m an influencer and can buy whatever I want! Look at me! Look at me!” Yezak’s girlfriend, Mads Lewis added, another creator who gained popularity in 2021. “Now I know the value of a dollar.”  




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Lewis and Yezak, who have had their fair share of popularity on social media over the past couple of years, shared that social media wages aren’t nearly as secure as they were. However, it’s clear that this couple and their online viewers have very different ideas about what “secure” means.


Immediately defensive, anticipating the comments they inevitably got, Lewis tried to suggest that $4,000 wasn’t “that much” despite their ability to make it in just one hour from the safety and comfort of their home.

Critics couldn't help but call the TikTok couple ‘out of touch’ for complaining about earning over 190 times the average hourly wage. 

“This is a common topic amongst everyone about influencers,” a critic of the couple shared. “There are people working 9 to 5s, slaving their lives away for big corporations that couldn’t care less about them. Even if you only got paid $4000 …you still have the opportunity to create a brand for yourself and turn that money into something bigger.” 

The freedom, flexibility, and compensation set many influencers apart from the typical worker. They can stay home if needed, take time away from work, and have the opportunity to make more money through various avenues. They have autonomy — they choose what they do when they do it, and how often they work. 



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Of course, many commenters pointed out that Yezak was simply explaining the declining value of viewers on content — something that’s not as profitable as it might’ve been two years ago. However, critics still found his comments tone-deaf. “Making ‘only’ $4000 is out of touch in itself … [they] were also talking about having to budget when they bought their house. The way they said it was surprising … like they had to budget at all.” 

The average hourly wage is around $21 — a figure that hardly supports one independent and single person in many cities across the country. Not only do many people have to give up freedom and flexibility in their personal lives to work, but it would take them months to make the $4,000 this man made in one hour. 



Nobody lives a perfect life. Of course, content creators and influencers deal with their own struggles and job-related stress, but to assume that their struggles are the same as those of the average middle-class American worker is not only ignorant but incredibly harmful. 


The debate over compensation for influencers has sparked controversy, especially in comparison to the financial struggles of many Americans. 

Despite only 12% of full-time creators and influencers making more than $50,000, they get a bad rap on social media — especially when the most popular ones try to defend their work ethic, compensation, and lifestyle. 

While many don’t have the job stability and stable incomes that the top 10% of influencers rely on, they still face controversy for having all the “best” parts of employment that many people only dream of – flexibility, fame, and freedom. 

At the end of the day, financial discussions will never be easy. While educating people on their ignorance is important, influencers deserve the same respect that others get, especially if they’re self-aware in talking about their privileges. 


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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.