Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
Like many of our other Creators on the Rise featurees, Abby Berner didn’t set out to build an audience on social media.
Instead, she set out to get those gains.
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Berner has always been a doer of many things. In high school, she did four years of varsity bowling, and was so accomplished at it that colleges offered her bowling scholarships (yes, that’s a thing, and yes, Berner laughs about how no one believes there are scholarships for bowling). At the same time, she was into powerlifting, and was so accomplished at that that she actually transferred schools to be able to start an official powerlifting team.
It was powerlifting that led her into yet another pursuit: YouTube.
@abbyberner I LOVE THIS❤️ this makes me happy!! #jeep #jeeplife #smile #jeepgirl #duckduckjeep ♬ original sound – Abby Berner
“I wanted to do YouTube for so many years,” she says. “Ever since I was little, I feel like I’ve almost manifested that that’s what I wanted to do when I got older, because I was always making videos on other platforms. I started posting on YouTube and I would do vlogs of me at powerlifting meets in school, sports events, and stuff like that.”
While the main focus of her content was powerlifting, Berner expanded to post videos of her hobbies, like collecting sneakers and ducking fellow Jeep owners. She also expanded beyond YouTube to TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. TikTok became her most viral platform (she gained 100,000 followers “overnight” after her sneaker collection and workout videos caught on) and now it’s where she’s got the biggest audience: 7 million followers.
Not that her other followings are anything to sneeze at. She has 2 million on Instagram, 540,000 on Snapchat, just over 200,000 on YouTube, and 55,000 on Twitch.
These days, content is her full-time job, and perhaps unsurprisingly, she’s still doing many things. On top of making content across all her platforms, she started her own cheeky Jeep-ducking brand called You Ducker, created an official Abby Berner trading card with Leaf Trading Cards, and is currently building a subscription-based fitness app for her community.
Check out our chat with her below.
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This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: Hi! I know you recently signed with The Network Effect. When did that happen?
Abby Berner: I actually signed with them I think three months ago, so pretty recent.
Tubefilter: How have things been going since then?
Abby Berner: Things have been going very good. I love working with them. I’ve been consistent in all my Snapchats, YouTube, for sure.
Tubefilter: Let’s back up real quick. For people who are reading this and don’t know who you are, give me a little bit of background about you, where you’re from, and what you got up to pre-social media.
Abby Berner: I was born and raised in Kansas City. I still live here. Before social media, I transferred schools in my senior year of high school to a new school. That’s actually when I started my social media. Before that, I just did all sports. I am super into fitness, working out, powerlifting, stuff like that. Then my senior year, that is when I started my social media account.
Tubefilter: Which platform did you start on first?
Abby Berner: My senior year–I wanted to do YouTube for so many years. Ever since I was little, I feel like I’ve almost manifested that that’s what I wanted to do when I got older, because I was always making videos on other platforms. I started posting on YouTube and I would do vlogs of me at powerlifting meets in school, sports events, and stuff like that.
Then that was when COVID hit, and so that’s when TikTok started popping off and I wanted to try it out just for fun. I didn’t see it as a career that I would end up doing. I just did it for fun. Then I was also posting on Instagram as well, all of my workouts and just my weighlifting journey, but I didn’t realize that it would blow up and that everyone would start seeing my journey. I just basically did it for myself and just to see my progress from the fitness side. Then COVID hit, so I did TikTok and I had a video take off. I had posted 20 TikToks previously and I had one video pop off and I gained 100,000 followers overnight.
Tubefilter: Oh, whoa.
Abby Berner: Yes, it was very fast.
Tubefilter: What video was that?
Abby Berner: I actually am very into sneakers. I have a pretty big sneaker collection and over 400 pairs. That and the fitness videos combined both took off together. Then it just grew from there.
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Tubefilter: Gotcha. Did you go straight from high school into this full-time?
Abby Berner: Yes. So I had scholarship offers–I did bowling in high school as well. I feel like everyone’s always like, “Just bowling?” [laughs] But I actually went to state for bowling and I was varsity all four years. I did get scholarship offers for bowling as well as powerlifting. The reason I transferred schools, actually, was in the first place because I was the only person that was doing powerlifting at the school that I was at, and so I transferred schools to start the powerlifting team at my high school my senior year. That played a huge part and I was able to start that powerlifting group and it was just very exciting.
So I got scholarship offers and this happened right before. I had 100,000 followers and I had a week to decide if I was going to college or not.
Tubefilter: No pressure.
Abby Berner: I was journaling all of this, crying, not sure if this is what I wanted to do and if I wanted to take that risk, an I did. I took the risk. I didn’t go to college, I went straight for social media and I just continued to grow on every platform. I did start on TikTok, and that’s where I blew up the fastest, but I continue to put myself out there on every platform and just build my audience and build my community.
Tubefilter: How has monetization worked for you? I know you do some long-form on YouTube, but you do a lot of short-form too. In terms of monetization, are you leaning on brand deals?
Abby Berner: Mainly brand deals is what my main source is right now. Definitely. I am on YouTube and Snapchat. Instagram was paying for a while but they’re not anymore, and TikTok as well. Then I also do stream on Twitch. I stream five to six days a week on Twitch. That’s also another source of income as well.
Tubefilter: So you’re not busy at all.
Abby Berner: Not at all. [laughs]
Tubefilter: What does your weekly schedule look like in terms of producing content across all these various platforms?
Abby Berner: My goal is just to help make anyone smile in any way that I can and just spread happiness and confidence and just help people with that. I feel like Twitch is definitely a good platform to build a family community because I’m able to talk to them one-on-one. Throughout the day, it’s five to six days a week, I stream from 9:30 in the morning to about 12. Then that does depend on if I get a switch schedule or whatnot. Then in between that, I just film different content and YouTube videos and all of that.
Tubefilter: Very hectic.
Abby Berner: Definitely, but very fun.
Tubefilter: That’s always good. Is burnout something you ever worry about?
Abby Berner: Honestly, if there’s a day that I don’t want to film, I’ll sit there for an hour or two and I’m like, “Man, I really don’t want to do anything.” Then in my brain, I just think how many other people I could be helping make their day better. I feel like it’s a way for me to be able to maybe help them with confidence to get in the gym or just making anyone smile in any way that I can. That’s what motivates me. I call them my family. My family is what motivates me.
@abbyberner I CANT BELIEVE THIS😱❤️ thank you all for the love & support!! @leaftradingcards LINK IN BIO!!!!!!! #leaftradingcards #cards #blessed ♬ original sound – Chips
Tubefilter: What draws you to powerlifting so much?
Abby Berner: The community in powerlifting, it’s not a competition between you and other people, it’s literally a competition between you and yourself. What you can lift? You are obviously competing up against other people as well, but I feel like it’s just very motivating for yourself and just to see the strength that your body actually has. It’s definitely a cool community, because you’ll have at any powerlifting meet, everyone’s just yelling at you and hyping you up to lift and it’s very cool.
Tubefilter: What are your overall goals in the next year or so? Where do you see yourself?
Abby Berner: I see myself definitely still doing social media for sure. I am actually working on a fitness app right now. I am certified in personal training as well. I did end up getting that, not through college. I did that through an online course. I feel like I see myself more helping with the fitness side more, but also because I do just post a variety of content, it’s more of lifestyle and fitness. It’s just everything that I enjoy too. I feel like I will start leaning more towards fitness a little bit.
Tubefilter: That’s interesting. I think you’re the first person I’ve spoken to who’s actively building an app for their community. What’s that process been like for you?
Abby Berner: It’s definitely very time-consuming. I’m having to film all of the workouts. Thankfully my mom is very involved in my social media. She helps with filming a lot for me and photos and stuff if I need that. Definitely very time-consuming and a lot of work for sure.
Tubefilter: Are you working with anyone to build it?
Abby Berner: Yes. I’m working with a company and they’re helping me basically set it up. But I have to do the content.
Tubefilter: That’s cool! What’s the app going to be like? Is it a subscription? Are you doing any livestreamed stuff?
Abby Berner: It’ll be a monthly subscription and they’ll be able to put their weight in, put their height, and put their goals. It’ll almost be like a coaching as well. It’ll be more one-on-one building, there’ll be also nutrition plans and stuff like that as well, and specific workouts to meet their goals.
Tubefilter: That’s definitely an interesting way to reach people. I feel like the default tends to be starting a Patreon or something similar. Which is great! But this is even further.
Abby Berner: I have thought about Patreon. I currently do have a fitness app, but it’s not my own, it’s actually with the company and I just post workouts on there. But I want to do my own.
@abbyberner Hows the new setup lookin😍👀🤭 @Paradox Customs #pc #gaming #gamergirl #gamergirl #gameroom ♬ This Is a Work of Art (Sketchy) – Dubskie
Tubefilter: Understandably. Are there any other projects that you’re working on? Not that you’re not doing enough.
Abby Berner: Yes, actually. I have a Jeep, so I have it wrapped in blue camo. I have my own merch and stuff like that. It’s a Jeep thing, but you hand out ducks to any other Jeep. I did a series on TikTok about it. I actually ended up starting my own little duck company, so I actually sell rubber ducks as well.
Tubefilter: Wow, you are all over the place. In a good way!
Abby Berner: Honestly, I love being able to hand out the ducks because everyone smiles when they get one. It’s so exciting. There’s just a lot of things going on.
Tubefilter: Clearly. It all seems really cohesive, though.
Abby Berner: It all leads back to how I just love everything that I’m doing.