Influencer life is pretty mysterious because Influencers curate their lives on social media. But then everybody does that to an extent, they share only certain narratives – influencers and content creators simply have more eyes on their content. So let me tell you what it’s like by sharing the real pros and cons of the profession.
An awesome and supportive community
Building a community around your brand and topic of choice is so important in this profession! And once you have it, it feels wonderful. You get to talk to so many people, learn from them and go through experiences together.
I’ve made a lot of great friends through my account, some of which I’ve now met in person! It’s great to have this supportive network who you can share your thoughts with.
Working with awesome brands and people
We all have dream brands and as an influencer, you can work with them – so dreams literally can come true! Building relationships with great brands and the incredible people behind them feels very empowering.
For example, last week I got invited to Facebook’s office and got to see all of the awesome projects that they’re working on. This time last year I couldn’t have even imagined that this would happen!
Earning money doing what you love
Another dream come true: being creative and talking about a topic you’re passionate about for a living! If this doesn’t satisfy us millennials searching for fulfilment at work, I don’t know what would.
I enjoy every day of the week now, especially Mondays – because I can plan out my week and dig in! Yes, I’m that crazy.
Free products and event invitations
Yes, people will want to send you their products for free and invite you to places. A very crazy concept that I haven’t gotten used to yet and I don’t think I ever will. I won’t lie though, it does feel very nice!
Once you start thinking of your channels as a business though (and not just as a person who gets things for free because she is posting pictures), it makes sense. After all, you’re providing a service to this brand and putting their product or event in front of people’s eyes.
What a huge benefit! Once you start supporting yourself with multiple streams of income as a creative, you can set your own hours and work from wherever you want to. In fact, if you travel the world while creating content, that might help boost your business further! It can give you a chance to add more colour and dimensions to your content and therefore add more value to your community.
Constantly learning and growing
As a creative in business, you have endless opportunities to grow and develop. There’s literally so much that you can and need learn: from business fundamentals and legal understanding/skills to art, photography, videography, etc. You can launch so many types of projects and therefore diversify your resume, skills and income streams. All of those are very important!
Designing your own life
I never realized how much my blog would bring me. And I’m forever grateful to the 2015 version of me who had an idea to name her blog “Coding Blonde” and was checking GoDaddy in the middle of the night to see if the domain name was taken.
Because of that decision, I’m now able to support myself while living my dream life. I’m designing it as I go, experimenting and taking risks that will open new doors for me. I’m the decision-maker and I know that if I work hard and stay authentic, I’ll continue enjoying my day-to-day while staying challenged. It’s probably the biggest benefit of it all!
You have to constantly be “on”
It’s a sad reality that we have to face: the algorithm punishes you for taking time off. The moment you stop posting for a while and people stop engaging with your content, the algorithm stops showing your new stuff to as many people. It encourages constant interaction, which means that you might find yourself stressing out about posting during the right time on weekends – or having friends and family complain that you’re always on Instagram/[insert any social media platform here]. It’s part of the job and you need to adjust to that reality somehow by drawing boundaries.
Haters and bullying
Once you put things available publicly, you’re exposing yourself to potential risks. Not everyone is going to like you and some people will project their insecurities on you – especially if they have way too much free time on their hands! You need to grow thick skin to be able to handle public attention.
Now, whenever I get a hateful comment, I imagine what kind of a person would take their time to spread hate: are they doing something impactful in this world? Probably not. Are they ambitious? Do they want to grow and become a better version of themselves every day? Judging on how they spend their time, definitely not! Why would you be consuming content that you dislike and then leave horrible comments on it? It’s definitely not coming from a productive person whose feedback I’d value, so it’s not worth my time or consideration.
When I get actually constructive feedback, that’s a different story and I listen out for that!
Loss of privacy
The extent of this depends on how you run your account and there are some best practices to protect your safety (check out this post I’ve written for the Department of Homeland Security). But let’s assume you follow those to minimize potential risks and you don’t have any stalkers:
- Depending on how popular your account it, you can still be recognized in public by strangers! Surprisingly, I’ve had that happen to me a few times and it made me pretty self-conscious of what I was doing at the time. I like to stay authentic on my social media, but sometimes I can have a bad day or feel antisocial (I’m an introvert, so the second part happens regularly). I don’t want people to think that this is my personality though, so I’d rather avoid people during those times!
- You are sharing things on social media and people will ask you personal questions. You can definitely control the narrative and decide for yourself what parts of your life you share, but it can be difficult to create those boundaries. For example, I tell people that I have a boyfriend, but I don’t share much about him (I would share more, but he doesn’t want me to). So that’s an easy boundary to create! However, with other aspects of your life it might be harder and in this era of over-sharing people might almost expect to know everything about you.
Getting undervalued and overwhelmed
Influencer industry is a strange place: creatives are still trying to figure out how to navigate this business landscape, while brands don’t really want them to. They like getting free promotion and will often assume that they’re doing you a favour by sending you a free product. Sometimes their tone can feel a little condescending, so it’s important to set boundaries yet again. And sometimes urgent requests can come in, where the brand or the agency don’t treat you very nicely.
In high seasons (for example right before Black Friday when everyone needs a post on the same week) I get overwhelmed and it’s exhausting having to prove my worth. But hey, grow some thick skin and create canned responses that you can then customize – that’s the best way to distance yourself from this emotionally.
Nobody really understands what influencers do – especially family and friends. They see you live this weird lifestyle and most of them won’t take it too seriously or think of it as a long-term job. “So what do you do?” becomes your most dreaded question because where do you even begin to explain what you do? You do so many things!!
I struggled with this myself for a while and I’ve found a way to deal with it. I hope I’ll soon be able to help you with it as well!
Have you experienced any of the above? There are obviously more pros than cons to this job and I’m going to help you mitigate the cons. So make sure to subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated on my tips and be the first to know when I come out with some programs to help you.