It’s official, I’m a full-time influencer! I’ve dreamed about one day being able to say those words, but never knew if it would actually happen- and I definitely didn’t expect it to happen anytime in the near future..but here we are! I’m finally living my dream as a creative, an entrepreneur, and my own boss! If you’re here, I’m assuming you want to know how I did it. I’m going to share how I started monetizing my business and what steps I took to set myself up for success.
However, I do want to start with a small disclaimer. Everyone’s situation is different. Some bloggers go full-time as micro-influencers, some go full time when they have 100k+ followers, and some always keep it as a side hustle. Everyone’s journey is different because everyone is going to have different income needs, goals, etc. It’s best to not compare yourself to someone else’s journey since you don’t have all the details. The reason I wanted to share MY journey is because I simply didn’t believe it was going to be possible for me to go full-time unless I had a huge following. I want to reassure you that it is possible, and share how I personally go there.
So let’s get to the tea…
Last August, like so many people I unfortunately lost my job when the company I was working for went under due to the economic changes that Covid brought on. I had been working as a social media manager who also headed up influencer partnerships and was running my blog on the side for about 3 years. I always knew that my longterm goal was to take my blog on full-time. I didn’t plan to do this anytime in the near future, BUT since my situation had just changed I decided to give my dream a go! I wanted to see if I could do it, how much money I could make, and most importantly if I actually liked doing it full-time!
Here’s how I set myself up for success..
- Learning to Pitch & Negotiate
The first thing I needed to focus on was proving that I could make an income. I had been making a small side income, but needed to bring in more if I wanted to support myself. The best way for me to do this was to get in front of more brands, because waiting for them to hopefully discover me just didn’t give me enough control over my business. To do this, I knew I needed to learn how to pitch, sell my skills, and negotiate like a pro. I decided to invest in Julie Solomon’s Pitch It Perfect Course. The course gives you everything from brand contacts, to email templates, to what you should be charging, to turning gifted offers to paid ones and more! While it was a financial investment, I attribute SO much of my success to the course. With what I learned through the course, I made back all the money I invested within my first month of pitching! Learn more about the Pitch It Perfect course HERE.
As a best practice, I now pitch to 10-20+ brands a week and it’s paid off! I’ve landed partnerships with several brands simply by reaching out, using my new pitching skills, and getting on their radar!
- Brand Platforms
Another way that I book brand partnerships is by using brand platforms to apply for campaigns. My favorites include #Paid, Aspire IQ, Activate, Mavrck, Obviously, and Social Fabric. Through a combination of pitching and applying for campaigns I’ve been able to bring home 4 figures a month as an influencer!
- Getting Clear On Rates
Since influencing is such a new industry, things are constantly changing. I made sure to do a lot of market research on what other influencers with my following and experience were charging ,and I actually ended up increasing my rates, and for the most part it’s been received by brands! Knowing how much I should really be charging helped me set goals for monthly income and number of brand partnerships.
- Charging For More Than Posts
Realizing that I could charge for more than an Instagram post helped me with additional income. Brands will (and should) pay for content usage rights, whitelisting, additional images, exclusivity, and more. Charging for and offering these additional services really helped me expand my business.
- Focusing On Long-Term Partnerships
Another way I’ve been able to keep a steady income stream is by re-booking the same brands as clients. Focusing on building relationships and working with a brand several times a year not only helps with having a consistent paycheck, but is also received by my following. The more you work with a brand, the more brand loyalty you help build! If a campaign does well, I increase my following, there’s a seasonal change, or the brand launches a new product; I’ll always reach out and re-pitch. In my experience, it’s of course much easier to re-book a brand partnership than to cold-pitch and book a brand new one. Plus, I believe in quality over quantity. I’d always rather focus on a handful of brands that I love then promoting a brand once and never partnering with them again. It feels more authentic to everyone.
- Diversifying Platforms
I had always focused primarily on Instagram, but knew that I needed to start diversifying my content across different platforms. I had two reasons for this approach. 1) It’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket. If anything were to happen to Instagram.. there goes my business. 2) I wanted to have more to offer brands. That’s why I launched a blog website, focused more on LikeToKnowIT, joined Tik Tok, got on Pinterest, and started using You Tube shorts. This is a front I’m still working on, but I’ve already started to notice growth and interest coming from these platforms. I even just booked my first paid Tik Tok partnership even though I only have 400 followers on that platform.
- Content Over Everything
While I spend a lot of time pitching brands and engaging with my audience I always believe the bulk of my time is best spent creating. Afterall, that’s the reason I started my blog and most importantly, the reason people follow me. I always want to make sure I’m using my account to provide value. Spending the bulk of my time on content and content strategy will always be my priority.
That’s a wrap! By focusing on the above, I’ve been able to take my side-hustle to full-time and I couldn’t be more excited and optimistic about the future! I know I was only able to touch on each section a little bit, so please reach out if you have questions- or let me know if you want a more in depth blog post about any of the above topics. If you’re focused on growing your following and want more tips, you can head to THIS post.