How we took our user-generated-content marketing agency from a side hustle to a business that regularly books 5 figures in monthly revenue

  • Lauren Mabra and Lauren Ferry, both 25, are the cofounders of a social marketing agency.
  • The business makes user-generated-content-style videos and books five figures in monthly revenue.

Unlike many of their Gen Z peers, Lauren Mabra and Lauren Ferry weren’t interested in becoming influencers.

Mabra and Ferry, who are both 25, were brainstorming how they could use their skills in social-media marketing and film to build a business without being the face of a personal brand. The two friends discovered user-generated content, or UGC, a marketing tactic where brands hire unaffiliated creators to film and produce social-media content.

Mabra said the business specializes in UGC-style videos that feel organic but are still created for marketing purposes.

What started as a freelance side hustle in November 2021 to help other businesses grow is now a startup called Lauren Labeled. The two have hired more than 40 creators to make content and regularly book five figures in monthly revenue, documents viewed by Insider show.

In an interview with Insider, they shared their advice for earning money through user-generated content and described how they scaled their agency. The following has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Pick the right cofounder

Ferry: Before Lauren and I became business partners, we spent months talking about our entrepreneurial goals, our mindsets toward work, and the creative lives we wanted to lead. There was such alignment in our friendship to the point where I felt like we could be business partners.

Mabra: As someone who had a couple of years of entrepreneurship under my belt, I knew how important it was to find a cofounder who you work well with. We both are willing to make short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards, and other potential cofounders should ensure their values align in a similar way.

Lauren and I were close enough friends to spend this much time together building a business but not too close to where it would be like doing business with a family member, where emotions could get involved.

Find your ideal customer

Mabra: We started by offering one-off video projects for product-based brands. But before we even created a website, we were regularly getting orders. When we officially launched the site, we were drowning in work.

We’ve since switched to working with retainer, or long-term, clients only. Now we average seven retainer clients at a time and create around 120 deliverables each month.

The No. 1 reason we switched our package type is because retainer deals work better for our ideal clients. When you’re selling one-off projects, clients tend to be startups, solopreneurs, or companies that don’t have a large budget. But that put us at a disadvantage because we’d only have one shot to get it right, and with social videos it doesn’t work that way.

Ferry: Our diverse team of creators has also helped us retain those long-term clients. With UGC, the person on the screen makes a huge difference in the efficacy of the ad. So if one ad is not performing well, we can switch up the creator to connect with a different age or demographic of potential customers.

That ability to switch it up from one month to another gives us more opportunity to test and succeed in the intended goals — like views or actions — and retain clients.

Hire the right people, and set your processes early

Mabra: When we realized brands were in desperate need of this service, the business quickly became something bigger than us. In order to grow, we looked at our work as a business, not just content creation.

We started asking ourselves questions like how would a business market itself? How would a business set its social profiles? And how should we be approaching outreach to show others our value?

The first step to running it as a business was expanding our team. We hired video editors, a scriptwriter, and more than 40 creators to be in the videos.

We also hired an automation specialist to build our workflow system. The workflow platform allows everyone who works with us to see where we’re at with each project.

Ferry: It’s so much work, being a founder and content creator. From defining the editing style to getting things delivered on time, it takes a lot of mental brainpower. So regardless of if you’re working on a single project or five clients at an agency, you have to have your processes down.

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