Updated: Jan 30, 2021
Well, this just got weird.
One minute I’m posting nerdy Halloween pics for my 200-some followers to enjoy, and a couple months later I have over 5,000 followers, and brands are paying me on average $100 for every picture that I take.
If a fortune teller told me I’d become a social media influencer 6 months ago, I would laugh and probably not pay because he or she isn’t a very good fortune teller. Yet here I am, doing the improbable. And loving.
Want to know the weird-ass story about my rise to influencer? Buckle up kiddos because I’m awkward and not a very good storyteller.
I started off harmlessly enough as any mogger does (copyright that ish - mom blogger). I had just posted pictures of my youngest on Instagram - because clearly my kids are the cutest beings in the world - when a boutique contacted me requesting Audrey to model their clothes. I promptly went to their website and was pleasantly surprised that they had super cute clothes I would buy for my girls anyway without incentive. This is it, I thought to myself. Dream realized. I’ll finally become a momager. It totally worked out for Kris Jenner, right?
... Okay, if you don’t know me now you soon will. Clearly that was not actually my dream, but I figured I might as well be paid and get free and/or discounted swag for something I would do anyway (AKA post pics of my adorable kids in nice clothes). So I thought, what the hell. I agreed to the T&C (that’s terms and conditions, babe) and bought a beautiful golden floor length gown -heavily discounted - for my crazy two-year-old. What could possibly go wrong?
(Link to purchase girls' holiday gown shown above, clickey click. ^)
The day after her new clothes arrived, I dressed my little angel in her gown and donned a golden laurel crown on her head and took her little self out into the cold November morning. I took a few pictures - we were maybe out there for five minutes. Audrey (this time and only this time) was amenable and allowed me to direct her poses without any facial protest. I brought little lady back inside, edited my favorite shots, and posted. I was hecking nervous about my first post, afraid some of my old friends from high school would think I joined some crazy pyramid scheme cult who would aggressively try to get back in touch with them to sell products, but I pushed my anxieties aside. I thought, If I don‘t like doing this, I never have to again. Hey guess what, I can even DELETE the post if it makes me feel better!
... But no, instead I leaned in harder and created my daughter’s own Instagram account @littlemissaudreyrae. I had in fact realized that I loved taking pictures that weren’t just candid shots of my sweet children but planned photo shoots using the garment and my angelic girl as inspiration to create an idyllic scene and capture something special. I felt like an artist again. As for the second account I reasoned that, in creating a separate account for Audrey, anyone who did not want to see the content I was creating for these brands did not have to follow my daughter’s account. I wasn’t going to care either way. I found something she and I can do together that made me feel like me again. MOMAGER 1, ANXIETY 0.
That same week, I got a message from another brand wanting to collaborate, and my heart plummeted. They want to collaborate with ME.
This felt like a whole separate [terrifying] level. Putting myself out there to promote brands? Psh but I was so great behind the camera! My husband (bless his heart) does not capture my best angles but is a point-and-click kinda guy. So not only would I look like a psycho cultist trying to pedal her wares onto unsuspecting friends and family, but I would also look like a psycho cultist trying to pedal her wares onto unsuspecting friends and family with rolled-back eyes and five chins. Just what I need - thanks 2020, you shithole of a year!
Needless to say, I left that DM on read for a few days.
A few panic attacks and problem-mitigating brainstorming sessions later, I decided I should be no different than my daughter. If I can put her out there, I should be willing to do so for myself. And again the ace in the hole - I can delete this if I feel too dumb.
I had nothing to lose with this collab. The merch was free. I liked the clothing. I just had to agree to let the brand use my photos for their upcoming promotions. Worst case scenario, I have one more embarrassing moment playing on repeat for a few years of my life. Cool, I can handle that.
The probable issue of looking freaking crazy/terrible in my pictures was still looming. Fortunately I remembered my husband had bought a tripod last year that I could use. My promo clothes weren’t there yet, but why not show off my cute Thanksgiving dress? I knew that I could be experimental and uninhibited if I took pictures of myself, and selfies are a little too unprofesh. I bought a bluetooth clicker for like $7 on Amazon and got to WERK.
I don't know why it's showing 95 likes? But I see 164, so... 💁♀️
I‘ll admit, the pics are pretty cringe but it’s a start.
I posted that bad boy, and the next thing I knew... I had almost 200 likes when I generally was used to getting 20-30.
Since then everything just kinda snowballed (oopsie daisy). One collab led to another, I learned more with every partnership, and most importantly I stuck to my values. My voice stayed the same (even though my picture quality ramped up okkkrrrt). Those fears that prevented me from jumping in never materialized because I was still me.
I‘ll admit, it can be scary. But nothing is uncomfortable about being yourself. I can do that all day, every day.
For those of you starting out, YOU CAN FREAKING DO IT. Here are some basic tips to get you started:
Not all Collabs are Created Equal
Of all the offers I receive, I only pursue maybe 10-20%. Tops. If someone wants YOU to pay to market their products, run. Recruiters will lie to you about how much they will pay you for your work, COVER. YOUR. ASS. You’ll eventually learn the value of your time and creativity and be more discerning as you move along.
Stick with Your Niche
I’m not Meathead McBufferson, so it would make absolutely no sense to promote protein shakes. I mean... What would I even do with the stuff after the photo shoot? If it's not you, let someone else take the opportunity.
If you wouldn’t recommend a product to close friends and family members, DON’T PROMOTE THE FREAKING BRAND. I've had a few missteps along my way, and I would either receive product that I did not consider good quality, or I found myself dealing with the real Slim Shady. Guess what? I don’t promote the brand. I raise a complaint and let them know I would like to discontinue our relationship. I’m telling you, the more authentic you can be, the happier (and I daresay - more successful) you will be.
(If you didn’t read that in your very finest Bridgerton voice, you read it wrong.)
Network with Like Minds
I can’t even emphasize how many amazing people I have met by reaching out (hey, that’s probably you, cutie)! 😘 There are wonderful resources you can use to find others in your niche and even work with others on collaborations.
Only Post Quality Pictures and Videos - But Do It Consistently
Most will recommend you post once a day, but if you don’t feel like you can without reposting cat memes, be realistic with yourself. It’s better to post only 2-3 times a week with quality content than post crap every day.
Mind your Edits
A photo editor is vital to produce high-quality pictures, but there is MOST DEFINITELY such a thing as overdoing it. (Hint: if you look like a cartoon or filter baby, maybe back off.) Edit your pictures in a good editing app (I use Facetune2 and no they’re not paying me to endorse, I’m just super nice. And premium is worth it).
Have an Aesthetically Pleasing Grid
I use the same filters (Ludwig in the house) or none at all. There are apps you can use to preview what your profile will look like after you post something. I use Plann, but I have heard others are good, too. I like Ludwig filter because it adds warmth, but if the edited photo appears warm on its own, I will leave as-is. You have to find out what look you‘re going for and figure out how to get it.
Guys... I am not even exaggerating when I say I have learned SO MUCH about the process and how to be successful. In fact, I am so confident in myself that I even started offering personalized consultation services for newbs wanting to get started. I swear, I can look at your page and tell you what you should do within 30 seconds. If you are interested in chatting with me to come up with a strategy, ask advice, or get answers for your specific questions that haunt you, book an appointment with me now! 👇
cute little heart,
(Clickey click for beautiful jewelry as shown above - PS I have discount codes, so email/DM me. I got you, bruh.)
Have you started your path to content creation? Tell me your experiences, stories, and best advice below!