- “Corporate Natalie” is a tech professional and a TikTok influencer based in California.
- She works her corporate job from 9-to-5 and then her social media side gig at night from 5-to-9.
- Her day job comes first, she said, and a virtual assistant helps with admin work to balance it all.
A year-and-a-half of remote work has inspired a new genre of workplace comedy, and one rising social-media creator has turned it into her brand.
“Corporate Natalie” jokes to her more than 289,000 followers on TikTok and 282,000 followers on Instagram about
fatigue, self-deprecating coworkers, and corporate jargon like “circling back” and “action items” — terms Natalie is very familiar with, as she also works a full-time job in the tech industry.
Last November, a month after she first downloaded TikTok, Natalie (who asked to keep her last name anonymous for privacy reasons) told Insider she stumbled across the TikTok trend of young women doing “A Day in the Life” videos featuring their all-too-picture-perfect routines. She decided to post her own called “A Day in the Life: Work From Home Edition,” complete with her rolling out of bed to hop on a Zoom call and ending the day with a Cup O’ Noodles and binging “Schitt’s Creek.” After the video went viral — it’s currently at 2.1 million views — she decided to keep going, gaining followers along the way, and Corporate Natalie was born.
Today, the 24-year-old often gets recognized by fans in public, whether at a local bar or on the treadmill. “I don’t think I’m famous at all, and it literally shocks me to this day. I probably get recognized like 15 times every weekend, which is insane, and people take photos of me. I always tell them, ‘This is Corporate Natalie in the wild.’ It’s super flattering,” she said.
Here’s a look at how Natalie balances her 9-to-5 with a side hustle as a TikTok influencer.
In lockdown, a passion project is born
Natalie moved home to Northern California after graduating college in 2019, where she started her first post-grad job in consulting and “got to see the realities of corporate life pretty fast and pretty quickly,” she said.
She’d always been interested in comedy, having done improv in both high school and college. Her long-term dream is to be on “Saturday Night Live.”
“If you asked my friends or people close to me, they’d say I’m always the one at the dinner table telling the jokes and the stories,” Natalie said. “I’ve always loved humor.”
In October 2020, she started her current job in tech. This was also around the time she downloaded TikTok.
“All my friends were addicted to TikTok, and I always thought I was above it and I didn’t want to use TikTok every night, but then I downloaded it,” Natalie said. “It was the bleakness of the COVID-19 lockdown and I didn’t have anything else to do. I immediately started creating and became both addicted to the content creation side as well as scrolling the For You page.”
After her “Day in the Life” video took off, she continued using scenarios from her workday that her audience could relate to as sketches for her videos. Videos about the active coworker, working, eating, and sleeping in the same room for the past year, and excuses for having your Zoom camera off have pulled in some of her highest views.
Monetizing corporate humor
By January, she estimated she’d gained around 25,000 followers. That’s when brands started getting in touch. “I had no idea what I was doing. They were coming to my personal email, and nothing was set up in terms of the business side of things,” she said.
She’s grateful for the technical skills her corporate job has provided her in helping navigate contracts, and has yet to take up offers she gets from agents and managers in the creator space who want to represent her.
In the beginning, she said she reached out to some friends in the industry for advice on setting rates. Every time she’s increased her rates, it’s been well received by brands and agencies.
“I think I have an edge in the creator space of understanding the corporate side of things, the sales side, and the negotiation side. I don’t need representation to vouch for me in that regard. I feel confident that I can handle it,” Natalie said.
For tasks like weeding through inquiries and emails, invoicing, and sending post analytics to brands, Natalie hired a part-time virtual assistant.”I don’t think I could do it without her,” Natalie said. “We have a similar vibe and voice and she’s able to speak on my behalf for a lot of things, which is helpful.”
She said she aims to work with brands that align with her corporate persona and just started a long-term partnership with Dell. On custom video platform Cameo, which she said makes up about 5% of her online income, she’ll roast people’s coworkers, do birthday shoutouts, and even announce promotions.
“I will say that this space is incredibly fruitful and I think I’m riding the wave of this niche of being able to represent brands that were initially B2B who now want to target a very specific corporate audience,” Natalie said.
“I see influencers with 5,000 followers who are making tons of money,” she added. “If you build your brand and state your rates, there’s a ton of wiggle room, which is awesome.”
Fitting everything into the day
Natalie’s morning starts with posting whatever video she recorded the night before. Then she’s off to work by 8:30 a.m. until around 4:30 p.m. She might glance at an email from a brand during the workday, but said she doesn’t really dive in until after she clocks out.
“I’m rather intense, and I take my side hustle very seriously because I’m young and I have energy,” Natalie said. “I work my 9-to-5 and then I work my 5-to-9.”
She added she’s always upfront with the brands she works with about her day job and makes it clear from the start that she can’t commit to any mid-day calls. “I need to be engaged and be a true, active member of corporate America to be able to be ‘Corporate Natalie.’ My career is incredibly important to me. If TikTok or Instagram goes away, I’m proud of my career and what I do,” she said.
Once Natalie finishes work, she puts on makeup and starts filming. She posts three to four videos per week, and said one video takes about three minutes to film, 10 minutes to edit, and five minutes to caption and post.
She doesn’t storyboard her ideas and said most of them are ad-hoc, but she’s taken greater care in the filming and editing of her videos as her following has grown. She tries to maintain a balance between organic content and brand deals and hop on TikTok trends when she can, but there’s no perfect formula.
“I truly never know when a video will go viral or not — that’s in the algorithm’s hands,” Natalie said.
Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night with an idea for a TikTok and records a quick voice note to listen to the next day. Most of her content is based on her daily inspiration at work, but she’ll occasionally meet up with other creators who fall into the “corporate humor” world, like Rod in Chicago or Victoria Garrick in LA, to make content together. She said she met Rod for the first time in person in March after connecting on TikTok and becoming fast friends. Garrick, meanwhile, is a close friend from high school.
Corporate Natalie is a bit, but Natalie said she has a lot in common with the character. “I play her, but I’m also very driven by corporate America and making money. I’m not ashamed to say that as a woman,” Natalie said. “I just think it’s really cool to be in this world and be respected as both a comedian and someone who can be a successful manager or person in the corporate world.”
She added that her friends, family, and even coworkers are super proud of her and the brand she’s built. If her performance were to ever slip at work, she’d pull back on social media, she said. She’s also very mindful of maintaining professionalism. “I keep it pretty PG — I wouldn’t want to be swearing, and I’m not trying to cut corners to get a laugh. I think it’s important to maintain my corporate appearance,” Natalie said.
For now, she’s grateful to be working from home, as it gives her the flexibility to seamlessly transition from job to job and give both her undivided attention, but she’s not sure which direction she’ll go if she’s ever back in the office.
“How do I shift in the future when maybe we’re all back in the office? How do I pivot the content? I don’t know. That’s to come,” Natalie said.
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