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I wish somebody told me these things before I pursued becoming an Influencer, or even before becoming one.
But now that I’ve learned the hard way, I’ll pass this on to all of you so you can see more success, grow quicker and most importantly, save your sanity.
I Wish Someone Told Me 10,000 Doesn’t Change Anything
I feel like we all have this weird expectation that when you hit 10,000 followers, things will change.
Almost as if 10,000 makes being an Influencer “official” and you can finally start getting brand deals and making money.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
There’s nothing wrong with making 10,000 followers a goal. But don’t let that goal stop you from doing everything else you want to do.
At the beginning stages of my journey to becoming an Influencer, my priority was hitting 10,000 followers on Instagram. I didn’t think about anything else.
When I eventually hit 10,000 I was so excited because I expected the brand deals to come in.
Guess what. They never did.
Brands didn’t start emailing or DMing me and I didn’t make more money. Nothing changed other than my number of followers.
Instead, Set Goals That Help You Grow
Want to know what did change my business? Focusing on things other than follower count.
If you want to focus on getting paid brand collaborations, you don’t need to wait to hit a certain metric. Start pursuing that now.
If you want to sell digital products or sell an online course, don’t wait to hit 10,000 followers. Start doing that now!
What it comes down to is setting goals for your business that you have control over. You don’t have control over how many people follow you or when they follow you.
But you can set goals that help you grow.
A controllable goal to set is how often to post. Maybe you want to post more often to help you grow, so you set the goal to post every day, Monday through Friday.
Set a goal to launch your online course or digital products by a specific date. That’s a goal that you have control over.
Focus on those trackable and controllable goals in replacement of follower count. 10,000 followers will just be a milestone you hit on your way to achieving your main goals.
I Wish I Created an Email List
If you’re an aspiring Influencer and you’ve opted out of creating an email list because your focus is just Instagram, this is for you.
Don’t know what an email list is? I can explain.
An email list is a list of email contacts that you own. The best example of this is when you go to a website and there’s a section or popup that says, “Sign up for my newsletter!”
If someone signs up, you get their email. These are people who have raised their hands and said, “Sign me up! I wanna hear from you, I’m your biggest fan!” (aka warm leads.)
That’s a big deal!
These people want to hear from you. They’re your community. If you have something to sell, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Now, if you’re saying that your goal is to grow on YouTube or Instagram and not to start an email list, let’s pause for a second.
The Impact of Creating an Email List
When I used to do one-on-one coaching, after teaching my students on creating their own branding, I’d teach them to start an email list. Yes, that’s step 2 to becoming an Influencer.
Before they post a picture or create a content calendar, we would go straight to email lists.
This is what I did when I started working with Bri. There was understandable pushback at first since her goal was to grow her Instagram, not grow an email list. You know what I said?
Just trust me.
And she did. So, we started by creating a free gift for her followers. Being in the fitness industry, she created a Macro Cheat Sheet on Canva and anyone who signed up for her email list for got it for free.
It was quick and easy. Took less than 24 hours.
Then we finally went to content creation and her Instagram started blowing up. She grew to over 40k followers in 6 months. And without even trying, she gained over 2,000 people on her email list.
When she eventually started coaching, she emailed those 2,000 people and immediately sold out!
She would’ve had to put in so much more work to get people to sign up for coaching had she not been prepared.
She was in the same boat as me where she didn’t see the benefit of an email list when starting out. And that’s the thing. You don’t need to see the value in an email list right now.
Just trust me. Create a freebie and grow the list.
If you need help I have a free downloadable on how to grow an email list. It goes over how to start, grow and serve your email list. This is something I wish I had before becoming an Influencer.
I Wish I Knew the Pressure of Expectations
There’s this inherent mindset of hustling in Influencers and this pressure to always post and be “on”.
Unfortunately, that pressure never goes away.
We think when we hit a certain amount of followers or subscribers, we’re free! And that’s just not the case.
In my experience, once I hit a certain metric, like 10,000 followers, it wasn’t enough. I had to then shoot for 20,000, then 50,000 and so on. You’re so constantly on a grind, you constantly feel the pressure to post and come up with new ideas.
The pressure never goes away unless you’re intentionally growing yourself and working on yourself every day.
You need to set boundaries and release that pressure from yourself.
What I like to tell myself is that I need to give myself grace. If I forget to post on a certain day, I don’t freak out. I give myself grace and post the next day.
I also ask myself, “Will this be a big deal one year from now?”
If not, I try to roll it off my shoulders.
And in all honesty, this is something I’m still working on. I don’t have all the answers on how to get over this.
All I know is I wish I knew about the pressure earlier on. That way, I could have established habits of giving myself more grace and peace throughout my journey. And I’d have an easier time separating my identity from my business.
But once I have all the answers to this, I’ll be sure to tell you all first thing!
I Wish Stan Store Existed
Yes, I know. This isn’t something I wish I knew. I just wish Stan Store existed when I started my Influencer journey.
And no, this post isn’t sponsored by Stan Store. I just love them.
When I started my online business, I needed a website, a domain, a Shopify, an email list host, and so many more tools. There wasn’t an all-in-one tool, platform or business out there to help me generate money.
The tools that existed required multiple payments to qualify to get money and it was just too confusing and too much work.
But now we’re here and Stan Store exists. It’s the best all-in-one tool to help Influencers and Creators make an income.
It’s also a Link in Bio platform so you don’t need a website, a domain, Shopify, or an email list host. It’s all there. You’re just paying for one tool that does everything for you.
For only $29/month, you build out your Link in Bio and can start sending Freebies and selling digital products, memberships and coaching.
Yes, there are free Link in Bio alternatives like Direct.me, but if your goal is to make money and sell products, I recommend investing in Stan Store.
Because regardless of how many orders are made on Stan Store, it’s just $29/month. On Direct.me, they take a percentage off every order someone makes. If you’re selling a lot, that could easily surpass $29 per month.
Stan Store is a worthy investment.
I Wish I Knew About Hackers and Piracy
The more you grow, the more people will attempt to hack your accounts.
I have to update the password to my Instagram about once a month because I’ll get a notification saying someone is trying to log in to my account… and it sure ain’t me!
Hackers are a big deal. Especially if you’re making money from your account.
It’s more likely for small businesses, entrepreneurs and content creators to receive hack attempts because you’re making an income. That makes your platform more valuable to hackers.
If successful at hacking, they can try to scam people through your account or they can hold your account hostage and request a fee to get it back.
Yea, it’s a real thing and a real big deal.
Protect yourself and protect your accounts from hackers.
Dealing With People Stealing Your Content
There are always people trying to steal content from my course, The Modern Influencer. Like, seriously?
Unfortunately, that will never stop.
It doesn’t just have to be a course or digital product either. People will attempt to steal content from your social media.
My advice is to know your legal rights as an Influencer and get a lawyer, especially if you have high-value products.
I Wish I Learned to Say “No” More Often
I still need to work on this. I say “yes” to too many things because I feel like I owe it to other people.
When a brand reaches out to me and I like the brand even a little bit, I say yes to make them happy.
I need to stop being a people pleaser because I want them to be happy regardless of if it’s best for me or not.
I need to step into my CEO pants and ask myself, “Does this actually benefit me? Does this benefit my business? No? Okay, then no!”
Listen to Your Gut
For me, the biggest thing I need to gut-check is brand collaborations. If it’s not an immediate, “Yes, I wanna partner with you!” then don’t do it.
I’ve had to turn down thousands of dollars in collaborations because my gut said no. Sometimes, I’ve said yes to those I had a bad gut feeling about and those ended up being the worse collaborations I’ve ever done.
So, listen to your gut. Get comfortable with saying, “No.” Set your boundaries and don’t waiver.
I’ve gotten better at saying no to people requesting free audits, one-on-one coachings, podcast interviews, and more. And that’s because I learned the hard way.
I’ve hit burnout before so I know when it’s approaching and when I need to slow my roll. Most people get burnt out because they say yes to too many things.
Your time is valuable. Heck, your mind, sanity, peace, body, and everything else are incredibly valuable. So, value it!
I Wish I Invested in My Business Sooner
For the first two to three years of being an Influencer, I was doing everything on my own for free.
And don’t get me wrong. If you absolutely cannot afford any cent to be spent on courses, tools or products, that’s okay!
For me, I could have afforded certain tools. I could’ve paid for specific courses. But I chose not to.
I thought I could do it all without spending a penny. And that’s what I did for two to three years.
But I didn’t see significant growth until I paid for and implemented teachings from courses. From there, everything fell into place.
Of course, you need to be smart and strategic about courses to take and products to use. What I noticed is that when your growth starts to plateau and you haven’t seen progress for a while, that’s a sign to make a change and investment.
Most likely, you need to hire someone to take on tasks to free up your time so you can focus on money-making tasks.
Investing in my business has been the best thing for me. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if I continued taking free trainings and using free tools.
So, invest in what will make you money back. Whether it’s a $5 Instagram photo preset, a Stan Store subscription, a YouTube or Instagram course, anything. And if you need ideas, check out my store full of digital products to help you grow your Influencer business!
Even outside of my own products and courses, there are plenty of opportunities for you to learn, grow, and succeed. Find your favorite Creators, see what they sell, and support them!
And most importantly, follow your joy!
A lot of great points that I wasn’t thinking about. I’ve had my brand for about 2 years, and been active on social media for about 10 months. I hope that with some of these tools, and investing in myself, I’ll be able to grow my platform quicker thanks to your guidance.
Sean (Magic Kingdad)
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