- Cori Bosco, 37, is a former teacher who’s gone viral on TikTok for home remodeling and flipping.
- She downloaded the app to keep up with her daughters but now has 4 million followers.
- While renovating on TikTok, she’s been sponsored by pillow and vacuum brands, among others.
Cori Bosco downloaded TikTok during the first lockdowns in March 2020. Initially, she wanted to watch dancing videos with her daughters, but by May, the algorithm was feeding her home tours.
Bosco thought, “I could do that.” She and her husband had recently bought a fixer-upper just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean in Daytona, Florida — their “dream lot” — and she figured others might want to see the work they’d done.
So she filmed her first TikTok post. In it, Bosco showed off all the things in their home renovation she was proud of — a 14-foot kitchen island, shiplap ceilings, and a new pool with water views — and uploaded it to the account she created: @eastcoastdiy.
The response was quick and glowing.
“The kids were saying, ‘Mom, you have 5,000 views. Mom, oh, my God, 10,000 views.’ And I was like, ‘Why?'” she said. The video ended up racking up 2.2 million views.
Bosco started posting pictures of before-and-after projects in the house, from fixing the dock to building up the seawall. She joined broader TikTok trends, sharing her favorite Amazon finds and tips for fixing up old furniture. Within a year, her account had 1 million followers. (People with 200,000 followers can make a living off TikTok.)
Now, Bosco has quit her $50,000-a-year job as a teacher to be a full-time content creator pulling in as much as $20,000 in a month, though some months vary. Insider verified Bosco’s income range through documents she provided.
Bosco is just one creator in the home-flipping and -remodeling corner of TikTok, where huge audiences tune in to gather do-it-yourself advice and follow renovation projects day after day. For an app that first found traction with teenagers, a homebuying audience has grown rapidly, and the hashtag #homeflip has over 17.2 million views.
House flipping has been long glamorized by cable channels like HGTV, but Bosco’s experience is indicative of two major shifts fueled by the pandemic: people seeking entertainment on social media rather than traditional platforms and people leaving established jobs to focus on more lucrative and personally rewarding side hustles. House flipping in the US is a $350 billion business and expected to grow another $100 billion by 2027, according to Global Market Insights.
A kitchen-remodeling challenge and a full flip of a house in DeBary, Florida, helped Bosco further establish her platform. When Bosco’s husband was activated in the Army Reserve, and she continued with remodeling projects by herself, viewers became even more invested in her story.
“I think it was because I was just a regular mom showing that I can do this,” Bosco said. “And people were just like, ‘Oh, my god. If you can do this, I can do this.'”
Bosco started flipping houses offline
Homes were always a hobby for Bosco. She had picked up a real-estate license when she was in college, sold homes before earning her teaching credentials, and flipped four houses as investment properties with her husband since 2017.
But she had remained focused on a career in education. Her parents were both teachers, and by 2021, she was working at the same school her dad had taught at for nearly two decades.
“I literally was teaching at the school where I went to middle school,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is what I’m going to retire doing.'”
Meanwhile, Bosco began to learn the ins and outs of influencing. Brands reached out and sent her free products, everything from bag sealers to kitchen essentials — and a barrage of vacuums.
“I had a million vacuums at my house,” she said. “I think, at one point, I had five robot vacuums.”
Bosco figured out how to get paid for featuring products
Soon, Bosco learned how to negotiate compensation — not just free products — to feature brands on her feed. For example, an Amazon seller reached out with an offer to promote its pillows. She got $1,000 for filming, editing, and posting one video using the product.
The calculus she was doing around keeping her day job soon changed.
“I got my paycheck from school for working 15 days, … and it was $1,400. And I thought, ‘Wow, I literally can throw a pillow on the bed and make almost $1,000,'” Bosco said.
By November, she had gained 4 million followers, and her posts could bring in real money. She hired a social-media manager who was able to help her score brand deals ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. Managers for influencers typically receive a cut of brand deals. YouTube managers can receive a 10 to 20% cut of earnings.
Bosco had a conversation with her principal before Thanksgiving.
“This is just kind of like a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Bosco said she told the principal. She left teaching to make social media her full-time job.
Bosco has some regrets and tips for others starting out
Pivoting to social media was equally exhilarating and scary for Bosco. For one, she’s had regrets over some moves she made as a newbie influencer. When she flipped a house early last year, she set up a separate account, @eastcoastflip, that quickly attracted 200,000 followers. But some of her audience said it was confusing to follow her on two different accounts.
“People on my main account were so confused because they’re like, ‘Wait, aren’t you, like, the same person?'” Bosco said.
The second account never got the same traction as her main page and devoting time and resources to build engagement on two accounts became draining. She turned over @eastcoastflip to her 14-year-old daughter, who uses it to show off her organizing tips and Amazon finds.
Bosco also said she wished she understood the economics of exposure earlier. She could’ve been making money from her brand partnerships a lot sooner.
“Looking back at it now, I’m like, ‘Wait, I just did all of that free advertising,'” she said. “But you live and you learn. I had no idea I was supposed to be getting paid for that kind of stuff.”
The most exciting part of TikTok for Bosco is the through line she sees with her old career.
“I became a teacher because I wanted to inspire kids,” Bosco said. “And now I’m just inspiring more people on such a huge platform that I never thought was ever possible or I ever dreamed of.”