How I Make a Living with an Instagram Famous Cat

Be creative in life, you can create a job for yourself even if it doesn’t exist.

Five years ago I had a wild idea to make my munchkin cat Albert famous and turn it into a full-time career. Today, albertbabycat has amassed over 550,000 Instagram followers, been featured on BuzzFeed, and done ad campaigns for companies like Google, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and 20th Century FOX, Walgreens, TD Ameritrade, etc. This is the story of how it came to be.

instagram.com/albertbabycat

Despite the snickers and disbelief of friends and family when I announced my new venture, I forged ahead. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up, living my days making money by spending time with my cat. Every crazy cat mom’s dream.

Besides, there were news articles out there that said Grumpy Cat was worth $100 million. The calculator on my laptop showed me that if I can make even 1% of that, it would net me $1 million.

I submitted him for casting calls on different networks for cats or pets and Animal Planet put him on TV on two of their shows:

My Cat From Hell w/ Jackson Galaxy — The show covered Albert’s bad habit of licking and spun it into being singlehandedly the reason for destroying my badminton training for the Olympics and my already toxic relationship with my older Indian boyfriend at the time. Reality television at its finest!

America’s Next Cat Star — An American Idol style competition show for cats. He got runner-up, losing to an all white cat named Brimley that looked like an old man smiling whenever its eyes were closed.

I thought that would be Albert’s big break into Hollywood after those two television shows and that he would get cast into blockbuster films with Daniel Craig and Brad Pitt. But unfortunately none of the acting agencies would pick him up.

I focused on growing his Instagram account instead since his film career was non-existent. Using my sales and marketing background from when I used to own an outdoor advertising company, I quickly learned how to create content that people would enjoy to grow his following.

Pet Influencer

Albert then became a “pet influencer.” I had to really think outside of the box to get brand deals for Albert because there were only a few pet food/product companies and most of them had small budgets.

I reached out to countless companies for collaborations and got a lot of rejections and laughs because at that time influencers didn’t really exist yet, let alone a cat influencer.

But I persisted and as Instagram grew so did the influencer trend and companies began to see the value of our brand. We got less “Are you out of your mind??” responses and more offers. Albert started landing campaigns for bigger and bigger companies like Google, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and 20th Century FOX. He promoted all sorts of things; movies, soda, yogurt, music turntables, handbags, luxury hotels, vacuum cleaners. You name it, Albert has most likely done an ad for it. Depending on the brand’s budget and deliverables, I make anywhere between $1,800 to $7,000 per campaign.

As a side hustle we do affiliate links like this one for $55 of 🏠 Airbnb credit towards your first trip. I usually plug the affiliate link in the caption when I can’t think of anything clever to write when making a post.

🚗 Turo is a new one we are doing. We rented a Tesla on there, it was pretty awesome. It’s like the Airbnb of car rentals.

Deadpool Movie: https://www.instagram.com/p/BBsX71ZMcxG/
Coca- Cola: https://www.instagram.com/p/_dDx3wMc_P/
Shoes — https://www.instagram.com/p/BOGMU87hIo_/

My husband and I were ecstatic when our honeymoon to New York City was sponsored by a boutique travel agency who wanted to promote pet-friendly luxury hotels. Our wedding rings were also sponsored by an Austrian jewelry company.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BL392Srh9dH/

Albert started to get listless and bored so we got him a new brother. His name is Goyanggy and they are getting along splendidly.

Nowadays the influencer market is getting more saturated and has become a lot harder to compete but we are hanging in there!

So what is the takeaway here?

Be creative in life, you can create a job for yourself even if it doesn’t exist.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +411,714 people.

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