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From Ramen Noodles To Social Media Fame: The Story Of Ivan McCombs And His Rise As RamenKingIvan

Ivan McCombs, known as RamenKingIvan on social media, has made a name for himself by creating unique ramen videos that have captivated audiences. Ivan’s passion for content creation stems from his childhood, where he looked up to popular YouTubers such as Jenna Marbles, Amber Chamberlain, and Mkbhd. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a content creator,” he explains. 

From Ramen Noodles To Social Media Fame: The Story Of Ivan McCombs And His Rise As RamenKingIvan

Despite obtaining a degree in Marketing, Ivan never lost sight of his dream. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that he found his breakthrough. “After creating 10 or 15 accounts that failed, I finally created one that was just me making food, and it just completely exploded,” he recalls. Ivan’s ramen videos, in particular, gained immense popularity due to his unique approach. “I was just taking random ingredients and mixing them together and making it look really appetizing,” says Ivan. 

TikTok played a significant role in Ivan’s success, with his ramen lasagna video going viral overnight. Although Ivan has mixed feelings about the app, he acknowledges that TikTok played a crucial role in his video’s sudden popularity.

Ivan’s content spans various niches, from food to ASMR to pet videos. “I started with food. But I’ve always been a huge believer that you don’t necessarily have to stick to one thing to be successful, because you lock yourself in a box,” Ivan says. He now creates a diverse range of content, ensuring that his followers can find something they enjoy on his platforms. “I just I like creating videos,” he adds.

Building a Strong Community and Authentic Brand Partnerships

Community engagement played a significant role in Ivan’s success. He proudly refers to his followers as “RamFam,” fostering a sense of family and connection. “I’m very proud to say that I call my followers RamFam, because we’re a family,” he says. Ivan believes that the genuine connection he has cultivated with his audience has not only contributed to his success but has also opened doors for brand deals and projects, like the one with Nissin, a ramen company, which reached out to him to promote their pumpkin spice ramen. “Never in a million years where I thought that a ramen brand would want to work with me on a brand deal,” he recalls. This collaboration was a turning point for Ivan, as it gave him the confidence to quit his job and pursue content creation full-time. “I was like, ‘I’m not working anymore’. It was a big risk, but I quit my job after that as I was doing this full-time,” he says.

As his popularity grew, Ivan began to explore ways to monetize his content while staying true to his audience. His main monetization channels are brand deals and earning money from TikTok and YouTube. “Those are the ones that pay the bills quickly,” he says. To balance authenticity with profitability, Ivan is selective about the brand deals he accepts, turning down offers that don’t allow him to be creative in his own way. “If they try to make me do it a certain way and say certain things, I’ll usually turn it down. Because if it’s not true to what my followers are looking for, I’m not going to post it,” he explains. This approach ensures that Ivan maintains the trust and connection he has built with his audience, even as he pursues financial opportunities.

Building on his success, Ivan has expanded his reach beyond social media platforms. He recently launched his own cookbook, “Insanely Good Ramen Meals, the Ramen King Ivan Cookbook.” “It’s so crazy to have a cookbook. I just randomly made up ingredients and recipes and threw them together, and it’s in a cookbook now. Is super exciting,” he says. Ivan is proud of this accomplishment, turning his passion for ramen into a tangible product. However, he admits that promoting the cookbook to his followers was a struggle, “I’ve never asked them for money or to buy anything. So I struggled with that,” he explains. Despite his initial hesitation, Ivan’s followers have been super excited about the cookbook, and he considers it a significant achievement. “It’s a really big accomplishment for me, taking a pack of ramen and turning it into a cookbook. That’s kind of crazy,” he adds.

From Ramen Noodles To Social Media Fame: The Story Of Ivan McCombs And His Rise As RamenKingIvan

Overcoming Burnout and Building a Lasting Brand: Advice for Aspiring Content Creators

Ivan’s journey as a content creator has not been without its challenges, particularly when it comes to avoiding burnout and staying true to oneself. He believes that one of the main challenges content creators face is burnout due to being pigeonholed into a specific niche. “We change over time, we’re human beings. We’re not going to want to do the same thing over and over again forever,” he says. “I got my start in ramen and I get a lot of comments saying ‘I miss the old RamenKing’, but I’ve changed, I’m not that same person anymore.” Ivan emphasizes the importance of creators being brave enough to break out of their established niches and pursue what makes them happy. “If you’re not having fun, what is the purpose of you doing it? There’s really no point in doing it,” he says. For creators facing this challenge, Ivan encourages them to take the leap and pursue their passions. “Just do it bro. I was scared to do it as well”, he says. While creators may lose some followers in the process, Ivan believes that true supporters will stick around. “I have over 14 million followers across my platforms. I rather have just 100 people who actually are there for me to watch my stuff and encourage me and support me over all of that,” he explains.

To overcome the challenges of being pigeonholed and avoid burnout, Ivan suggests that content creators focus on building a brand that goes beyond a single viral moment. “Try to make a brand, I feel like a lot of people just blow up off of one thing, and then they just keep doing that and they never actually take time to use that one moment to build an entire brand,” he says. “My one moment was a ramen lasagna, and I saw that moment and I said, you know what? I can turn this into something else. So I just started building my brand on that.”

Ultimately, Ivan believes that the key to success in the creator economy is staying true to oneself and enjoying the process of creating content. “Just have fun. If you love creating content, you’re going to find your tribe, the people who follow you, who love what you do”, he says. “They will bring in brand deals and stuff like that, because you have this huge community and, brands want that community,” he adds.

From Ramen Noodles To Social Media Fame: The Story Of Ivan McCombs And His Rise As RamenKingIvan

The True Reward: Building Meaningful Connections and Inspiring Others

For Ivan the most rewarding aspect of his journey as a content creator has been the relationships he has built with his followers. “People just see them as numbers, but I actually have a really close relationships with a lot of my followers,” he says. Through regular live streams, Ivan has cultivated a strong connection with his audience, fulfilling his childhood dream of being an inspiration and encouraging others to be themselves.

Ivan takes pride in being a role model for embracing individuality and breaking social norms. “Anything that people do that seems odd and not fitting in with social norms is considered weird. But, I’m over here breaking those barriers,because I just do the most odd thing on camera and people see me being successful doing it,” he explains. This ability to inspire others to embrace their unique qualities has been one of the most rewarding aspect of Ivan’s journey.

In his final comments, Ivan emphasizes once more the importance of having fun while creating content, despite the challenges of being a self-employed content creator. “Making content is really fun, but it is very tiring too. You have to work for yourself as you’re you’re the only one holding yourself accountable. So just don’t forget to have fun, because if you do, then you’re gonna get burnt out super fast and you’re going to hate this job,” he says.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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