Most Singaporeans know the name Steven Lim.
He has become a household name for his debut with Singapore Idol in 2004, where he did a striptease for Ricky Martins She Bangs.
It became an online sensation overnight and today has its own YouTube channel that has “over 11 million views”.
The 44-year-old started out as a "street eyebrow stylist" and pulled his customers' eyebrows onto the street. He was then notorious for approaching passers-by on the streets of Orchard Road to cast them as models for his modeling agency.
More recently, in 2017, Steven made headlines for competing against bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian in an unfortunate Muay Thai match, resulting in his death.
Unimpressed, Steven went on to his next project: running fitness classes.
His latest company? Post paid birthday calls to his Instagram account for $ 100 per pop.
Steven Lim is paid to wish you a happy birthday
Since April of this year, Steven Lim has been offering paid shout-out videos for his birthday on his Instagram account. It also seems to be his main offering right now, as much of his website is dedicated to the service.
After carefully reviewing each of his birthday videos, he seems to stick to a certain format when filming.
First of all, he begins with a very enthusiastic reproduction of the traditional birthday song, peppered with various animal noises.
He also reads a message from the sender of the birthday call – with so much force that it becomes a little difficult to understand his words.
A very enthusiastic reproduction of the birthday song / Image Credit: Steven Lim via Instagram
After the news, the scene cuts to Steven, who is in another part of his room, where he sings and dances wildly. There are even flashlights and paper plane edits that fly across the screen.
Steven Lim breaks into a song and dances / Photo credit: Steven Lim via Instagram
According to Steven, he offers his tenants a “timeless” and “unforgettable” experience.
How much does he earn?
A quick look at his Instagram page shows that Steven released his first birthday dedication on April 16.
To date, he has at least 380 of these videos on his Instagram account. It doesn't take a math genius to calculate that he has earned at least S $ 38,000 since April.
According to Steven, however, he has "over 400 … employees" so far.
|month||Posted Videos (+/- 2)||Merits|
|April (from 16th)||20||S $ 2,000|
|Can||93||S $ 9,300|
|June||207||S $ 20,700|
|July (until 21st)||63||S $ 6,300|
|total||S $ 38,300|
A breakdown of Steven Lim's earnings / credits: Vulcan Post
His best performing month was June when he released 207 videos – that means he made a whopping $ 20,700 in one month.
What do people think about it?
Testimonials from customers / Photo credit: Steven Lim
Although birthday videos are his specialty, he also has some videos for the wedding day and recruiting in the mix.
His customers are between 16 and 40 years old. According to his Facebook page, he even has customers from Hong Kong.
"The general motivation to hire him was that it would be fun and entertaining for everyone, including those who paid," said Bryan Lim. The 24-year-old's group of friends had hired Steven to be one of their friends Give birthday call.
Other customers also agreed with his views. Monica Siu, 28, had seen one of Steven's birthday videos in a friend's Instagram story and found it "funny", which led her to hire him for a friend's birthday.
Bryan also mentioned that the birthday call could "offer his friend an unforgettable experience without the hassle of actually buying a suitable gift."
It seems like it is most likely that people will learn about this stay when they come across Steven's birthday calls on Instagram.
When asked about whether to hire him for a birthday call, 19-year-old Joey Tan joked that she wasn't like "everyone does it".
Although Steven may have lost a potential customer, her response speaks volumes about how widespread his service has become.
Nor can it be denied that he has managed to monetize his popularity (or notoriety) – and perhaps even given someone considerable joy on his birthday.
Selected image source: Steven Lim