Ocean, Ocean Life, Educational


How An Ocean Content Creator Made His Way To The Top By Swimming Through The Waves Of Life

Ocean, Ocean Life, Educational
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May 18, 2022

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

My Name is Jacob Colvin. I was born in Salem, Oregon way back in 1991. I am a full-time content creator, and I am based in Waldport, Oregon. I go by @jake.pnw and I Came up with the Name Jake.PNW because I create ocean content in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

My content is primarily about the ocean and all the amazing creatures that live in and around it. It took me about 3 years to become established as a social media influencer. I work with my friend/Videographer/editor, Alexander Miller. 

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory! 

I began my career as a social media influencer back in 2015. At that time, I was practicing photography as an outlet to cope with depression. I decided to challenge myself and visit a new place every day for 30 days and take pictures while I was out. I stuck to my goal and shared the photos on my Instagram account which quickly grew to over 20,000 followers. After a while, I branched out to video and joined TikTok to have a more visible presence across other social media platforms.

While hiking on the beach, I found a jellyfish and poked it in a video to show the consistency. That video went viral, and I decided to keep doing ocean content. Since then, it has been a roller-coaster of crazy opportunities and events! Along the way I have met many amazing fans, and fellow influencers who inspire me to continue my work as an ocean content creator!

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and what is your advice in getting the creative juices flowing?

Producing new ideas for content is very challenging and it requires me to force my brain to think. Often, I draw blanks on what to make videos about, but I don’t stop thinking. I obsess over thinking of what I am going to film. I run through different ideas and scenarios in my head over and over for hours until a grand idea pops into existence. I then go out and get to filming!


One other technique that I have learned to help me come up with new ideas is to freestyle a story of events, as if I’m telling a story of something that had happened. Then, I will go out and film clips to match my story. Sometimes it is a bit random, but it adds a comedic feel to the videos!

What are the tools and platforms you use to help with your brand?

Once I have put together an idea and have finished filming it, I begin one of my favorite parts of being a content creator - Editing. To me, video editing is just as much fun and going out and filming. It is a challenging process but watching your idea evolve and come to life is really rewarding. I use the Videoleap app to edit on my phone and I use Adobe Premiere Pro when editing on my computer.


After the video project is complete, I upload the videos to all my social channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and soon Snapchat). I do not post on a schedule, but I do strive to post consistently. I use apps like the Calendar app to help me stay organized and complete important tasks. I do not use the calendar app all the time but when I do, I find myself to be less stressed throughout the week. 

What were your fears when you were starting? How did you handle it? 

When first starting out on social media, I did have some fears… While so many people fear what others might think of them, I was only afraid that I would not be able to make social media my full-time career. I was so focused on my own agenda that I did not let haters prevent me from posting my most genuine self for the world to see. I didn’t want to hold back who I really was. Therefore, when you watch my content, you are seeing the real me and that’s how I want to keep it!

Even though I received and still receive tons of negative comments, and yes, they still bother me. I choose to push through the negativity and focus on my goals. That is what I think everyone should do! I also know, from experience, that it is extremely hard to step in front of the camera and talk, but what helped me is something that anyone can do… Practice! You Will get better at being yourself in front of the camera!

How did you build your brand to where it is now? Take us through your process.

I built my brand by trying to be on as many well-known social media platforms as possible. I started out on Instagram back in 2014 by posting Landscape photography and wanted to reach more people. Therefore, I began sharing my work on Facebook, and other photography sharing websites. As time went on, I began seeing more ads for TikTok and I figured I would give video content creation a try.

I downloaded the TikTok App and began sharing completely new types of content. The new content I was posting was completely different from my regular landscape photos. I began sharing funny comedy/parody videos, photography vlogs, and hiking vlogs. Eventually, in 2019, I stumbled upon a jellyfish laying on the beach. Since I had been sharing videos about everything interesting that I was doing, I figured I would share a video of me poking this jellyfish too and that’s what I did. Next thing you know the video went viral and so I decided to make more jellyfish videos. After a short while I started branching out to more types of ocean animals and my following took off! I did all this for free. I didn’t have to buy any fancy equipment; I just used my phone and some free mobile editing software.

Until I reached about 1.5 million followers, I did everything (video and social media wise) myself. I was given some book recommendations by some past business colleagues, and they really helped me a lot. One of the most Helpful books that I read was “Take the Stairs” by Rory Vaden.


The hardest challenges that I faced was going viral on a couple posts and then having a long stretch of not going viral and thinking that it wouldn’t happen again. However, just as soon as I was about to give up altogether, I pushed through and posted another video which then went viral! I vowed to never give up trying even on very long stretches of not going viral, because I knew it was always just a matter of time before my next big break!

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

For anyone who wants to get into content creation, the most important advice I can give you is to be yourself.

Be the YOU that you are when nobody else is around.

Everybody is unique. You won’t believe how many people there are in the world who will Love the REAL YOU. I thought maybe there would be a few dozen people who would like the real me, but it turns out there are millions, even tens of millions! It’s the same for you too!


Secondly, do what you love to do. Do it as often as you can, record it, and share it! Most people overthink about what content they should post. Reflect on your life and ask, what am I doing on a regular basis? Is it work, school, gaming, exercising, traveling, eating, sleeping, photography, sports? You are frequently doing something, and I guarantee that if it is interesting to you, that it will be interesting to other people as well. So, record it and share it.


When you start to grow as an influencer, team up with an agency that you can trust. Usually, agencies will reach out to you if you’re trending. Interview a few agencies and read their reviews before signing. My agency has brought me many great opportunities and they help me with all the challenging legal stuff, negotiating and all the stuff you shouldn’t have to worry about yourself as a content creator.


Never let fear stop you from accepting an opportunity. Some big opportunities are scary and will take you out of your comfort zone. These opportunities are more than just brand deals, interviews, meetings, or publicity. They are opportunities for you to grow, learn, and overcome your fears. 

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

I didn’t quit my day job until my job’s income was completely replaced by my social media income, consistently. Once I was consistently bringing in enough money to cover my bills, I took the leap and quit to pursue content creation full time.


Taking that leap is scary but when you believe in your abilities enough, you will know it and your desire to take on full time content creation will overpower your fears of failure. 

Tell us the biggest obstacles you have experienced in your content creation journey. And how did you bounce back?

Some of the obstacles that I faced were failing at so many other things in life that weren’t even content related. I used to be a police officer, real estate agent, and car salesman, but I failed at each of those career paths. It was really discouraging to feel like a failure. I began to believe that I would be a failure at everything. That was until I started creating content. But even as a content creator I fail all the time. The only difference now is that I enjoy content creation so much that I choose not to give up.


That is what life and content creation is about, doing what you love because if you genuinely love it, you will push through and work regardless of if you win or lose.

If a post bombs and doesn’t go viral, I don’t give up. I analyze what I did, and my audience’s response and I readjust and try again. That is how I continue to develop as a creator. 

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

One of my biggest milestones as a content creator is Getting verified. This was more than just a blue check mark. This gave me the validation I needed to let me know that I was finally on the right path in life. It was something I dreamed of since day 1 as a content creator. I’m not saying that everyone needs a checkmark to feel validated, but I did. However, I don’t need it now.

If I were to lose my following or verification badges or YouTube plaques, I know it wouldn’t be the end of the world. What I have learned from gaining these things is that You and I are capable beings. Each of us has what it takes to become successful in life. I was nobody special growing up. My life story isn’t some miracle. My family isn’t wealthy. What happened to me can literally happen to anyone who truly wants it and works towards it.


What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

Every social media platform has different opportunities to help you grow. The best way to discover those opportunities is to use each platform every day. You will stumble upon and learn new ways to use the tools. Also, think outside of the box. Try to use the platform in ways that it wasn’t precisely intended by its developers. For example, when I first started using TikTok, it was mostly dancing, trends, and lip-syncing. Instead of doing what everyone else was doing I was posting educational sea animal videos. This led my channel to stand out a little bit more.


Facebook is a great place to share photos and videos because your posts tend to be shared by tons of people and pages. Another way to get some attention on your posts is to share them into groups that are in your niche. Try to join the group as your “Page” instead of your personal profile too, if you want to grow your page followers.


When I was using Instagram to share my landscape photography, I wanted my photos to stand out. So instead of making my nature photos look as “natural” as possible, like the majority of landscape photographers, I edited them to look dreamy, and movie-like. On Instagram, you can also tag curation channels that share the type of content you are creating. This is a great way to get your work featured and grow from being shared!


Don’t overthink being unique and trying to stand out, this is just where you let the real you shine through in your work/content. 

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

The best advice I can give you for brand deals and sponsorships is to recognize that you and your time are valuable. Like my friend Gary Vaynerchuk Said, “think of a price and double it.” You will be surprised at how much brands are willing to pay. If you honestly believe that you are being paid fairly and the brand you're representing is good quality, then go through with the brand deal.

If you are struggling with price and terms, then work with an agency. If you are already a big content creator I would recommend working with an agency and not trying to do it yourself. Agencies are a blessing regarding alleviating the stresses of negotiating and securing brand deals.

If you’re a smaller creator, then just focus on content. Try to make some viral videos and brand deals will come knocking but usually only if you’re trending so go out there and create the best videos you possibly can!

What is your monthly earning from content creation? 

My monthly earnings from all my social media sources are around $30,000. That is from video monetization and brand deals. I’m working on getting that number doubled by the end of the year! If you’re not growing, you’re dying! lol

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