The hottest new app of 2021 appears to be social networking app Clubhouse which has seen an influx of interest in recent weeks.
It could become a money spinner for amateur social media enthusiasts and entrepreneurs who are good orators and develop a respectable following.
We have spoken to some people who claim to have made thousands of pounds from the app already including Shaa Wasmund MBE, but also outline some of the pitfalls of Clubhouse.
So what is it? Harvey Morton, digital expert and founder of HarveyMorton.Digital explains: ‘It’s an audio-only social networking app where you can join discussions about various topics that are happening at that time, as well as viewing which topics are scheduled for viewing later.’
Clubhouse is currently only available for Apple users but they founders are developing an Android app
It also gives users the opportunity to create their own audio-only clubs and rooms where they can start a conversation about anything.
Morton says: ‘2020 was the year that everyone started a podcast, but if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a podcast guest or host, Clubhouse is like a giant interactive podcast discussion.
‘Rooms that I’ve visited have been based on topics from meditation and self-care to investing.’
The app’s founders, Rohan Seth and Paul Davison, created its parent company Alpha Exploration Co at the beginning of 2020 but have kept themselves out of the press.
The app is only available to Apple users, but the founders have said that they are developing an app for Android in the future.
The app was initially open to an elite few and was frequented by celebrities, influencers and multi-millionaire entrepreneurs.
The app is still invite-only but it has opened up to more users – who in turn can add friends and family with a limited number of invites – as the founders try to expand the platform.
Over the next couple of months, the founders will add certain features that will enable them to monetise the platform.
A couple of forms of monetisation are currently being considered but it will also enable users of the platform to create a side income.
Harvey Morton, digital expert and founder of HarveyMorton.Digital warns Clubhouse users to tread carefully as he has heard of users being scammed out of money.
There are plenty of Dragon’s Den-style rooms on Clubhouse moderated by celebrities, serial entrepreneurs and investors.
These include rooms with names like ‘No BS Business 6-7-8-9 figures Scaling’ and ‘The roundtable – new trends, biz ideas & opportunities’.
The agenda of these rooms vary but generally – just like Dragon’s Den – moderators invite the audience up to pitch their business ideas to the ‘stage’ of influencers and entrepreneurs looking to invest.
The audience is also encouraged to ask for advice on how to expand, market and promote their businesses.
But the downside is that the advice and feedback can be quite brutal. It’s vital to have a thick skin to handle the criticism and to come prepared if you’re going to appeal to any investors.
Also, if you are tempted to invest money in anything or spend in anyway through people you meet on the app, please read our warning at the bottom of the article.
Shaa Wasmund MBE, serial entrepreneur and author of ‘How to fix your Sh*t’ says she’s made over £20,000 on Clubhouse in less than a month by promoting her digital course, which costs £47, through the app.
She advises others thinking of doing the same not to oversell. ‘If you come into the room and there is just direct or even subtle selling, I don’t think it works.
‘My first goal is to provide genuine help for small businesses owners. It’s something I’ve done all my life, which is what I got an MBE for.
‘The second is creating engaged audiences. I want to create rooms that no matter what their background they can raise their hands and ask questions.
‘The monetisation is a by-product – people can see what you intend to do. Would you go back to those rooms that oversell? No – it would be foolish.’
Shaa Wasmund MBE says it’s important not to oversell on Clubhouse as people would be able to see through your intentions
For business owners there are several opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs to create brand partnerships.
There are several networking rooms for entrepreneurs where you can propose this either by ‘putting your hand up’ to get up on stage and stating your proposal or by contacting entrepreneurs that are open to partnerships directly.
If you have established yourself as a credible speaker or expert in your field, you may be sponsored by companies to create or attend a room where you are an expert on the panel.
Clubhouse ‘clubs’ are groups that members can create and join. They can be aligned to interests, such as ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘media’ or ‘sports’.
They’re not too dissimilar to Facebook groups but are, of course, audio-only.
There’s talk that club creators will be able to charge a membership fee in the future. It hasn’t yet been established how much club creators could charge for this, but fees would vary based on the popularity of the club.
Helen Pritchard, entrepreneur and co-creator of breakfast show ‘Breakfast Minus the Bull*hit’ on Clubhouse joined Clubhouse over a month ago.
Within two weeks she’d created a ‘Loose Women type’ breakfast show with co-hosts and entrepreneurs: Julie Creffield and Gemma Went.
She says: ‘Myself, Gemma and Julie have all sold things and made money as a result of Clubhouse. People have clicked through from our Clubhouse profiles and direct messaged us on Instagram – asking for details of our paid-for products and services.
Entrepreneur Helen Pritchard says she’s made money by promoting her Mastermind Programme on Clubhouse
‘In addition to running the breakfast show, I’ve hosted pop-up rooms – talking about LinkedIn – and people have gone on to buy my Mastermind Programme for £1,500 within a couple of days.
‘We leverage Clubhouse by having a very clear call to action in our bio and posting it around our social media channels to get people to come and listen to the show.
‘It’s about being consistent – showing up at the same time every day, as well as each of us having our own rooms on our individual topics of expertise.’
If you’re an expert in your field, you could create a room and charge people a fee for answering their personal or business questions.
The Clubhouse app doesn’t yet have the ability to send and receive payments, but some moderators have accepted payments via the Cash App.
There are a plethora of experts on the Clubhouse app including small business owners, multimillionaire CEOs, tech giants and celebrities that you could approach through the rooms they created.
Many list their other social media accounts – typically Twitter and Instagram. Some even invite users to connect with them, send them direct messages (DMs) for tips and advice or possible job opportunities.
Stephanie Cronin, founder of Summers Photography says that two weeks after she joined she’s been asked to collaborate on a paid for membership for women in business, run photography courses for craft groups looking to develop their product photography and received enquiries about personal brand photo shoots.
Stephanie Cronin, founder of Summers Photography says she was able to secure business within two weeks of joining Clubhouse
She says: ‘I’ve been offered podcast guest interview slots which will help grow my audience and therefore my client base.
‘My strategy is to use the platform to create rooms on business photography, to feed to my newsletter list and offer my courses, support and shoots.
‘It is all so new, but I think it has super potential as the listeners are invested with their time and will want to make worthwhile connections and do business with the person behind the website through authentic conversations.’
Being invited on the ‘stage’ is possible for anyone. Morton explains: ‘You can come and go from chat rooms as you like, and some discussions get quite heated so it’s certainly not for everyone.
‘The chat rooms are like Zoom but without any video. If you want to share your input, you must be a panellist or raise your hand and join the stage of speakers.’
If you have enough followers or influence you may be invited to a club or room as a panellist and get paid for speaking.
This feature is not yet available, but the creators are considering giving moderators the ability to charge people for attending the room.
How much someone could charge in terms of an entrance fee is not yet clear, but this would depend on the popularity of the moderators and the topic.
If you’re an entrepreneur with a product or service, you could talk about it and the value it offers in the rooms and clubs that you join on Clubhouse.
But be careful not to make it all about you or to make the discussion constantly about your sell because you don’t have a captive audience.
Helen Pritchard warns: ‘I’m seeing in a lot of rooms where people think it’s a free for all to promote themselves.
‘What I love about Clubhouse is the “leave quietly” button. It’s a great tool that allows you to leave discreetly if you don’t like what you’re hearing.’
Tipping may be possible through the Clubhouse app soon. But tips won’t be guaranteed – it would all depend on the value you gave during your talk.
But it could be an invaluable money earner. Thea Paraskevaides, creative director and co-founder of Beaumont Music: ‘I’ve been at the regular “Founder’s Townhall” meetings on Sundays and the idea of subscriptions to clubs and tipping was mentioned.
‘I love this because the experts I bring in for my talks can be tipped, which makes the whole thing sustainable.’
Thea Paraskevaides has been on Clubhouse since December and has started a community of classical musicians.
She says: ‘I’m a business owner but have lots of connections within the industry and as such have been doing bi-weekly talks on various topics.
‘The wonderful thing about it is I get to intro myself at the beginning of each session and describe what my company is. I have identifiable sales from individuals that have come into my rooms – which is great.
Thea Paraskevaides, creative director and co-founder of Beaumont Music, says she’s made sales from individuals that have entered her ‘rooms’
Writing clubhouse bios that can help members to promote their products or services and help to ramp up their following is another potential earner for those qualified in copywriting.
According to some reports, the founders are keen on introducing a grant program to support emerging creators on the app.
It’s not the first time that a social media networking site has ring-fenced funds to help start-ups.
Last year, for instance, TikTok launched a $200million (£145million) Creator Fund. It’s important to verify how such funds work and what criteria the platform is looking for.
In a blog posted in October last year, TikTok said: ‘Creators receive funds based on a variety of factors from their videos, and creators will know that performance on TikTok is dynamic – it changes naturally – so your funds will ebb and flow in the same way.’
Like all social media sites and the internet in general, Clubhouse will not be immune to trolls and scammers who attempt to swindle people out of their hard-earned savings.
Morton says: ‘I’ve seen reports on Twitter of shady business professionals using the platform to flog their e-books and courses, and there are a few reports of users being scammed out of money.
‘I would advise that users are vigilant and if they do want to conduct a transaction with someone they meet on Clubhouse, do your research and use a platform like PayPal to pay where you are protected.’
We have attempted to contact the founders of Clubhouse for comment.
In the beginning the Clubhouse app drew in A-listers such as Ashton Kutcher, Jared Leto and rapper Ja Rule to name but a few. But such appearances appear to have waned according to some early adopters.
Tim Hague, founder of online learning platform Tiger and Tim, who was an early adopter of Clubhouse says: ‘The celebrities were nowhere to be seen when I was using it and I was using before the majority were invited in the last four to six weeks.’
But Hague believes that the hype created by the founders was enough to draw in the crowds and the attention they needed. ‘The fear of missing out marketing strategy by Clubhouse was very smart.
‘Name me a human on the planet who doesn’t like something that feels special because it’s not easy to obtain.’
Morton adds: ‘We can expect to see features like using the app to create your own discussion clubs and conferences, and even potentially selling your own expert opinion to form part of public discussions.
‘If you’ve not downloaded Clubhouse yet, it’s certainly worth exploring, and a great way to learn new things.’
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