You have to be resourceful – and have a good idea. Both apply to Jakob Welle-Smogeli, a student from the US state of Connecticut. The 21-year-old earned a whopping 135,000 euros last summer selling PowerPoint presentations on the social media platform Tiktok.

As the native Norwegian tells in an interview with “Business Insider”, he was stuck in bed at home after an accident with a broken jaw and had nothing to do. As he scrolled through his Tiktok feed, he noticed that more and more creators were finding success with Microsoft Excel tutorials. “I thought to myself, if you can be so successful with content for boring software programs like Excel and even earn money doing it, then I could try the same thing with visually appealing PowerPoint presentations,” says Welle-Smogeli.

In order to stand out from the crowd of videos, he starts to create visually striking, sometimes crazy Powerpoint presentations. “I started making cool powerpoint presentations in bed and recorded them for Tiktok and Reels,” he says. He posted the first videos in July 2022 under the name “jacobppt” and it was immediately well received. “The third Tiktok I’ve ever posted has 22 million views now,” he says proudly. The success still doesn’t feel real to him.

In just six months, Welle-Smogeli’s following grows to more than 3.8 million subscribers, and after some time he starts selling PowerPoint templates. With success: With his “Jacobppt” brand, the 21-year-old has earned 135,000 euros so far. It was never about the money for him, but only about having fun. He says: “Initially I had no idea that this would develop into a full-fledged business over the course of the next few months.” It wasn’t until a month or two after starting that that he started thinking about how he could turn his hobby into a lucrative business.

He started selling his powerpoint presentations as templates via “Gumroad”. The Norwegian knew the sales platform from Tiktok videos of other creators who, for example, offer merch for sale through them. In order not to neglect his studies, Welle-Smogeli worked on his templates for days, sometimes late into the night, he says. Then the sale could start.

After he sold his first template pack, it all went from strength to strength. “My sister, who is studying economics in Norway, helped me register the Jacobppt brand as a business there in October,” he says. “We froze payments through Gumroad until we properly built our business.” To this day, she controls the finances of “Jacobppt,” he says. In the first month they earned 27,000 euros together. In November, the profit was already 45,000 euros.

Welle-Smogeli describes his breakthrough as a “stroke of luck”. As he explains, the success of his first videos was pure coincidence. “I didn’t do any research before publishing, just randomly created content,” he recalls. Looking back at the videos now, he can say that his first pieces of content were “good shorts” but he didn’t even know they were good.

It was only when he became more familiar with the subject that he began to design his content more consciously and in a way that was more tailored to the target group. He adapted the presentations to his audience and the algorithm, responded to viewer requests and replicated video structures that had previously gone viral – the young entrepreneur’s reach went through the roof.

Today, however, he no longer focuses on numbers: “Now I spend more time thinking about how I can grow the ‘Jacobppt’ brand in a healthy and fun way,” he says. Welle-Smogeli is relaxed about the negative headlines about Tiktok that have been piling up lately. “If Jacobppt came to an end tomorrow – for example if the USA banned Tiktok – that would be a shame, but I would consider it a good run. I see a future in consulting for company presentations,” he says and is convinced: ” There is definitely a market for pitch deck advice.”

The 21-year-old has already received initial requests for advice from various companies. Most hope to improve their pitch decks with his help. After graduating, Welle-Smogeli would first like to get into the venture capital business. “I enjoy building businesses, so I want to pursue that passion in any form,” he says.

The student also has advice for start-ups: “Just get started instead of doing a lot of research. I’m very much for reading, but what really helped me was to concentrate heavily on the output.”

What:”Business Insider”