Most Singaporeans would be familiar with the name Steven Lim.
He has become a household name for his debut on Singapore Idol in 2004, where he performed a striptease to Ricky Martin’s She Bangs.
He became an online sensation overnight, and has his own YouTube channel today which has “over 11 million views.”
The 44-year-old first started out as a “street eyebrow stylist“, threading customers’ eyebrows in the streets. He then became notorious for approaching passersby on the streets of Orchard Road to cast them as models for his modelling agency.
More recently in 2017, Steven made headlines for taking on bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian in an ill-fated Muay Thai match, which resulted in the latter’s death.
Undeterred, Steven moved on to his next project: conducting fitness classes.
His latest venture? Posting paid birthday shout-outs on his Instagram account for S$100 a pop.
Steven Lim Gets Paid To Wish You A Happy Birthday
Since April this year, Steven Lim has begun offering paid birthday shout-out videos on his Instagram account. It also seems to be his primary offering at the moment, with much of his website being dedicated to the service.
After browsing each one of his birthday videos closely, it seems that he sticks to a certain format when filming them.
First, he starts off with a very enthusiastic rendition of the traditional birthday song, peppered with various animal noises.
He also reads a message from the sender of the birthday shout-out — with so much vigour that it gets slightly hard to make out his words.
After the message, the scene then cuts to Steven standing in another part of his room, where he descends into unrestrained singing and dancing. There are even strobe lights, and edits of paper planes flying across the screen.
According to Steven, he provides his hirers with a “timeless” and “memorable” experience.
How Much Does He Earn From This?
A quick look on his Instagram page reveals that Steven posted his first birthday dedication on April 10.
To date, he has at least 380 of these videos on his Instagram account. It doesn’t take a maths genius to calculate that he has earned at least S$38,000 since April.
According to Steven however, he has “over 400 … hires” so far.
|Month||Videos Posted (+/- 2)||Earnings|
|April (from 16th)||22||S$2,200|
|July (until 21st)||63||S$6,300|
His best performing month was in June, where he posted 207 videos — this means that he earned a whopping S$20,700 in a single month.
Even if you exclude the outliers (the lowest and highest earnings), it’s safe to assume that Steven earns an average of S$7,800 per month.
What Do People Think About This?
Though birthday videos are his speciality, he also has some wedding anniversary and enlistment videos in the mix.
His customers range between 16 and 40 years old. According to his Facebook page, he even has customers hailing from Hong Kong.
“The general motivation behind hiring him was because it would be funny and entertaining for everyone, even those who paid,” said Bryan Lim. The 24-year-old’s group of friends had hired Steven to give a birthday shoutout to one of their friends.
Other customers also echoed his sentiments. Monica Siu, 28, had seen one of Steven’s birthday videos on an acquaintance’s Instagram Story and found it “hilarious”, which prompted her to hire him for a friend’s birthday.
Bryan also mentioned that the birthday shout-out was able to provide his friend with a “memorable experience without the hassle of actually buying an appropriate gift.”
It seems like chancing upon Steven’s birthday shout-outs on Instagram is the highest likelihood for people to find out about this stint.
When 19-year-old Joey Tan was asked if she would consider hiring him for a birthday shout-out, she quipped that she wouldn’t as “everyone is doing it.”
Although Steven might have lost a potential customer, her response speaks volumes of how widespread his service has become.
It is also undeniable that he has managed to monetise his popularity (or notoriety) — and might have even brought considerable joy to someone on their birthday.
Featured Image Credit: Steven Lim
This article has been edited to reflect the correct figures.