Entrepreneur: Maria Melchor

Biz: FirstGenLiving

Tilt: Money management for first-generation Americans and young people

Scene: Website, newsletter (2K), Instagram (187K), TikTok (37.7K), LinkedIn

Snack Bites: 

  • Maria wanted to learn about money management for her own life. She turned that education into a side hustle to boost her income.
  • The expert creator’s first revenue stream was one-on-one coaching. Now, she earns most of FirstGenLiving revenue (about $75K to $85K this year) from speaking engagements and brand partnerships.
  • Next up for Maria is an online course – a revenue stream that doesn’t require a recurring time commitment from her and lets her reach more people.

Why We Stan: Maria’s content tilt is different enough to make her stand out from other financial education creators. She also realized coaching alone wasn’t enough to sustain a full-time business and continues to expand her revenue streams.

The Story of Maria Melchor

Maria Melchor turned what she learned to manage her own money into a full-time content business to help many.

“I founded FirstGenLiving, LLC, to help first-generation professionals achieve generational wealth and career flexibility,” she writes in her LinkedIn profile. “We teach first-generation professionals how to design values-based financial lives.”

Her work has garnered national attention from media, including CNBC, Money Magazine, Univision, Real Simple Magazine, and more.

@MariaMelchor_s #ContentTilt? Teaching first-generation US immigrants to design values-based financial lives. #Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

As she tells CNBC, “I really like seeing people go from feeling very confused and scared about their money to feeling very much like they are in control and taking ownership,” she says. “That’s been super rewarding.”

Starting as a side hustle

FirstGenLiving debuted in 2020 as a community for first-generation immigrants and young people seeking healthy financial lives. Maria turned into an expert creator by pulling from her own experience and her work to understand how to live the financial life she wanted.

She moved from Mexico at the age of 9 with her parents, who didn’t earn much money. So when Maria went to Yale (accepting a financial aid package that covered tuition, room, and board), she found a world different than her immigrant community.

In the CNBC interview, Maria explains she earned $46K her first year after graduation – an amount that felt overwhelming because she had money left over after paying rent and groceries. She took on a new education challenge – learning how to manage her money. A favorite resource, she says, is Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance for People in Their 20s and 30s  by Beth Kobliner.

After getting that education, Maria worked diligently to grow her audience on social media.

In an interview with Morning Brew, Maria says once she reached 1K followers, she started an email list and offered one-on-one coaching at $100 per session. She made about $800 from that new service.

But at that point, it was just a side hustle to boost her income. It wasn’t until Maria left her first job and took some time to explore her options before becoming a full-time content entrepreneur in 2022.

She expanded her coaching services and financial education content, growing her audience and revenue streams. She says Morning Brew speaking engagements and brand partnerships now bring in most of her FirstGenLiving income, totaling about $75K to $80K a year.

Branded partnerships bring in $75K to $80K a year for #FirstGenLiving creator @MariaMelchor_s via @MorningBrew. #Stan Click To Tweet

What’s next? Maria says she’s working on an online course that will allow her to reach more people without spending more time.

Helpful Resources from The Tilt:

How To Start Consulting and Coaching in Your Content Business

Crack the Social Media Code of Business and Monetization

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About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.