I always joke with my friends that I’m putting my bachelor’s degree to good use. While they are studying at some of the most prestigious medical schools in the country, interning at the U.N in Europe (FOR REAL) or climbing up the corporate ladder at firms that make Suits look like a Saturday Night Live skit – I’m sitting in my bedroom figuring out which affordable bikinis to post in my latest video on my YouTube channel.
WHAT HAVE I DONE?! I used to ask myself. Don’t get me wrong – I love watching a good bikini haul myself, but I never really expected it to be a part of my daily job description. Hearing my friends talk about MCAT scores, unsatisfied bosses and grad school – it was hard for me to find common ground. I don’t have a boss (which I must admit, I do love), am not in school and don’t have to go to an office every day. Sounds really cool right? Well to be honest – it really is. But it’s hard work too. This may sound like a cliche influencer thing to say – but I never expected YouTube to be my full-time gig. What started out as a fun hobby now pays my bills and feeds my macaroni and cheese addiction. Score! Last year opened a ton of doors for me, but with those also came a lot of lessons.
Before I get into it, may I just say how much I love my job?! I’m so grateful that I can do this every day. And I have all of you to thank for that, it’s something that I never forget. So without further ado, let’s just get right into it:
1. Accept that not everyone will “get it” or think you’re making the right choice
I had a really hard time with this one. With social media being so fast-paced, it’s hard for everyone to keep up. There will be family members and friends with good intentions that may sometimes say the wrong thing. “So what are you going to do after this internet thing?” or “but you have think about your future!” are ones that are common. A lot of people mean well, but won’t really understand it until you reach their definition of success.
2. Not everyone is in it for the same reasons (and that’s okay)
If you’ve been keeping up with me, you may know that YouTube and blogging started out as a high school hobby. I didn’t start because I thought I was going to make a lot of money doing it, or become well known in the fashion industry. But that was … 7 years ago. Even though I feel like I sort of fell into this whole social media world, I’ve met lots of bloggers who began their profiles, channels and blogs as businesses. Maybe I’m naive, but it really shocked me! I always thought everyone had similar back stories to myself. But there isn’t one right way to do things, and I have a lot of respect for the men and women who are hustling to build their presence online. There’s a lot to learn from everyone. It’s been a super fun year meeting so many creative people with entrepreneurial spirits! Don’t be afraid to DM an instagrammer you love and ask them out to coffee, or comment on a YouTuber’s channel and ask them technical Q’s. It’s tricky business, this social media thing – and most people are willing to share a bit of the wisdom they learned along the way.
May I add though – if you think YouTube, Instagram or blogging is some sort of “get rich quick” scheme – you’re dead wrong. Some people go viral – but that’s one in the millions. If you are in this for quick cash, free swag and attention – trust me, you’re not going to like it very much. It’s hard work and a lot goes on behind the scenes. It’s a ton of rejection, back-and-forth, risk taking and patience. Blog or make videos because you love it – it’s the only way to be fulfilled in this profession. I would honestly be doing this even if my income from it was zero, because I love it that much – I feel so lucky every day that I can make an honest living out of it.
3. You have to be comfortable with saying “no” … a lot
Once you’ve gained a bit of momentum, it’s normal to start seeing a few emails offering paid opportunities. It’s cool, it gives you confidence, and a part of you will definitely feel like you want to say YES! #AD #SPONS #IMADEIT ! But hey! Let’s put it on pause for a second. It’s really easy to get caught up and feel like you want to commit to ever brand partnership – however, not every deal may make sense for you. I remember once a menswear company wanted me to share my top ten picks from their site for spring – it was not the right fit for my blog, style, or mainly female audience. Don’t get me wrong – it’s very cool when brands begin to notice you, but remember to keep your social media presence authentic to you and your lifestyle. Brands won’t take it personally, and remember to keep it professional.
4. You don’t always have to “ignore the haters”- but you’ve got to move on.
I’ve gotten my fair share of trolls online, and major confession: it definitely used to get to me. It’s hard for it not to. During this past year, I’ve realized even though I may feel hurt at the moment, I have to move on and not dwell. It’s okay that it can sting a bit, but it will get better. Focus on you, your growing career and the great people in your life. Which leads me to my next point…
5. Surround yourself with motivated, positive people.
Your vibe attracts your tribe. I’ve met and reconnected with so many people this year that are doing incredible things and figuring it all out themselves, and I appreciate them greatly. No B.S here though – no matter what career path you fall into – there will be some shitty people. Try to steer clear of those that drain you and spend your time with people that want to grow with you. I have a great group of supportive friends, both on and off social media. It’s crazy how much of a difference your inner circle can make.
6. Sometimes things fall through
Instagram really makes it look like everyone is perfect, and never seen a day of their rejection in their life. But that is simply not true. I’m so grateful for all the incredible opportunities that I’ve gotten along the way, but not all of them come into fruition. You can never take it personally. Sometimes you’re just not the right fit.
7. Always be authentic and true to yourself.
I simply cannot stress this enough! It’s so important to create content you are passionate about. It may be awkward at first, but really try to let your personality shine through. It’s okay if things aren’t perfect. The question I have gotten the most: How do you know your video will do well? My answer: I don’t! I try my best to make videos I would want to watch, and know that my subscribers want to see too. You don’t have to be anybody but you. Cheesy – but soo valuable.
8. Just because some other blogger is spending money doing it, doesn’t mean you have to.
Designer purses, fancy trips, beautiful brunches – it’s all fun and definitely something to indulge in now and then – but as a blogger, it’s easy to fall into a financial trap. I’ve heard the advice so many times that as a content creator, these fancy things or experiences can be seen as purely business investments – which in my opinion, isn’t very practical if you can’t afford it. Try not to feel the pressure, and create content within your means. Spend on experiences or things because you want them – not in an attempt to get views or likes. More money spent does not always equal better content.
9. Done is better than perfect.
ENOUGH SAID!!! I always find myself criticizing my videos or photos before I can even publish them. Remember that getting things done is ALWAYS better than trying to achieve perfection. It’s so important both professionally and personally.
10. Know your worth.
Remember you have purpose and that it’s not about how many people may read, watch or follow you. Self-worth always comes from within.
And there you have it! These are definitely lessons that I still have to remind myself of every day. So many people ask me what it’s like being an influencer – and I really wanted to give you guys an honest depiction. It’s an incredible career that I am so happy doing – but with all passions – it’s something I think about all the time. Remember you can achieve anything you set your mind to – and nothing comes easy! But hard work always pays off – guaranteed.