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How a 19-year-old turned social media success into 7 figures and a ticket to Hollywood

How Jake Paul used a six second format to make seven figures
How Jake Paul used a six second format to make seven figures

Jake Paul's social media bio is deceptively simple: "I have fun, eat food, and Team 10," he writes, in reference to his circle of friends.

The reality is that the 19-year-old social media star is building himself an empire.

And it's not just an empire of views, likes, and shares. It's an empire built with some serious coin.

Paul is pulling in seven figures. That's right: Millions.

Jake Paul
David Livingston | Getty Images

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Paul started making funny videos with his brother at age 10 and never slowed down. He was training to be a Navy Seal before he was sidetracked by fame and stardom, he revealed in an open chat on Product Hunt, the product discovery platform.

Paul's movies, combined with his affable demeanor, made him a hit on Vine, a social media platform known for looping six-second video. He soon amassed more than five million followers.

Paul then extended his social media reach. Thanks to stunts like streaking through Times Square, he has attracted almost five million followers on Facebook, 3.2 million followers on Instagram, and nearly another million followers on Twitter. In total, Paul has almost 15 million followers on social media and his videos have netted 3.5 billion views.

While Paul got his start on Vine, social media swagger translates, he says. And the diversification of his online portfolio helps: When the popularity of one platform dips, another rises in its place.

"Vine was super, super popular a couple years ago. And it's on its dwindling edges, along with Twitter, but they are both still very powerful platforms. And it is just about translating your content onto other platforms," says Paul. "Now Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat are super popular, and so I just create content on those platforms and grow an audience there."

"Social media is kind of the same across the board so you just have to know how to engage your audience and you will be popular on any platform that comes up."

Social media is kind of the same across the board so you just have to know how to engage your audience and you will be popular on any platform.
Jake Paul
social media star

Paul's life could be seen as the millennial, social-media equivalent of the TV show "The Real World." He lives with his squad, which has dubbed itself "Team 10." The friends share a house featuring a basketball hoop in the kitchen and a donut painting hanging in the living room.

And while Paul may be 19, funny, and charming, he's also a savvy businessman. He has learned how to monetize his following. He started out making six figures and he's now pushing seven, he tells CNBC.

"As you get more and more popular and start to build a brand name for yourself in the space, you start working with big Fortune 500 companies, merchandising deals, you can tour. There are lots of ways to monetize. But if you have millions of fans, and you can convert even five percent of them to pay for something of yours, you are in the seven-figure range," says Paul.

Jake Paul as Frankie and DeVore Ledridge as Amelia on the Disney Channel Original 'Bizaardvark'
Eric McCandless | Disney Channel | Getty Images

In addition to making money off of his nearly 15 million social media followers, Paul has said from the get go that he wants to use his social media leverage to break into Hollywood.

And even if the person hosting auditions doesn't happen to follow Paul, the social media maven says that he feels pretty sure that that person's kids would know who he is.

"The numbers would speak for themselves. When they would hear that I had 15 million total followers, that touched them, and they would go home and ask their kids if they knew who I was and a lot of them would say yes. So that was powerful to them even though they didn't know who I was."

Paul's appearance can be goofy but his work ethic is serious. He puts in the time. He has invested in acting and improv classes at The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, and Marjorie Ballentine Studio.

"I had to translate off of the platform and develop the acting skills. It was a good kick-start to my career. And I had to use that to get into these big rooms in Hollywood," says Paul. "Once I was in these rooms I had to show my full potential and the acting skills that I have."

His plans are working. He's landing some legit gigs.

Paul is starring as "Dirk" on Disney Channel's Bizaardvark, he was "Lance" in the YouTube Red Original Movie Dance Camp, and was "Dugan" in Fox Digital's movie Mono.

Not bad for someone who has yet to cross the two decade mark.

The social media star has also brought platform diversification to new extremes: He even put his tale of digital fame down on paper. His book, You Gotta Want It, came out earlier this month.