I earned £90,000 a year as an influencer but I hated being fake every day

A man raked in $120,000 (£98,300) a year as an influencer, but he packed it all in because he hated being "fake" every day.

Aleksandr Suchkov’s YouTube channel AlexHouse reached 300,000 subscribers, with lots of his videos attracting more than 2million views at its peak in 2015.

Even though it led him to earning thousands a month – which was a huge sum for the then-15-year-old – Aleksandr decided it "really wasn’t for him."

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Each time he shut the camera he said he would feel "very low and depressed", and wondered if it was what he really wanted to do with his life.

He said: "All the emotions in my videos were fake, and I was finding it soul-destroying despite my channel growing from month to month.

"One day, I just couldn’t make it anymore – I saved all the videos to have a chance to look at them in the future and deleted the channel."

Aleksandr, who grew up in Siberia in Russia, now jet-sets around the world living between Dubai and Europe, but he loved playing video games and used to blog about it on his channel from the age of 12.

His "funny let’s play" videos, where he would test out new games with other bloggers and record their reactions, proved a massive hit with viewers.

But after a year of producing similar videos, he grew tired of doing the same thing for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

"I tried different video formats, but my audience didn’t like it," he said.

"They wanted only to watch me playing different video games and expressing all kinds of emotions.

"Whenever I did non-gaming content, my audience disliked my videos and were asking for me to play hundreds of different games in the comments.

"That is why for the last two years, I kept doing ‘funny let’s play’ content and putting a fake smile on, but behind it, I was not enjoying it at all.

"During every recording, I had to express emotions that I didn’t really feel.

"I felt like a clown in a circus by the end of it.

"I had to laugh hysterically at jokes, which I didn’t find funny, and had to play games that were interesting for my audience but not for me.

"It steadily took its toll on my mental health until I couldn’t keep going with all this fakeness."

Since deleting the channel, the 25-year-old created marketing agencies Stergo Media and Fortuna Media, which earns him enough to work when and where he wants.

He says his current life is not "even comparable to what it felt like earning money as an influencer".

But, back then, he felt "trapped" in one scenario which he had to follow.

If he stopped he said everything he worked hard to achieve would simply vanish.

He also said other would-be YouTubers should be careful what they wish for.

Aleksandr added: "A lot of people thought I was completely crazy and couldn’t understand why I would throw away all that hard work.

"I spent three years of my teenage life when I could have been going out and having fun, grinding away late into the night with no guarantee of a return on my channel.

"And when it did start to pay off, I thought I would be on top of the world.

"That wasn’t to be the case, and it made me realise how vacuous and fake so much of social media and influencers are.

"There is this constant pressure to look incredible, and be doing fun and adventurous things.

"That doesn’t leave you with much, if any, downtime, which we all need."

Aleksandr also felt like he was spinning a false narrative all the time which was "destroying" his life.

He admitted: “I could have carried on making a load of money, but it wasn’t making me happy, and for me that's more important than being rich.

"It also left me with no time to enjoy my hard-earned cash, which made the whole thing a bit pointless."


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