I’m always an open book about my journey over the last 4 (almost 5) years of being a social media influencer and blogger. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been really rewarding. Since starting this business, I have doubled my income every year. Over the years, I’ve realized how rare it is to do this. Here, I’ll share a few things I believe have really contributed to this success.

The first thing I’ll say is many people believe more followers equals more income. That isn’t always true. Yes…you do need a respectably sized influence to charge brands more for your work. At the same time, many other factors contribute to the pricing here.

For example, I know someone with 70K followers and makes $300K a year, while another person with 400K followers and makes 150K. The difference is business savvy and truly understanding how to market yourself. As an influencer, it’s important to recognize your value and create good content.

I have a little under 200K followers on Instagram, and have been able to double my salary each year. A little back story..it took me about 6 months to make a part time salary, a year to make an average full-time salary, and 2 years to make six-figures. Here are a few things that contributed to that.

Investing in my Business

I invested in a better camera, phone, lighting, and a photographer for bigger brand campaigns. I was willing to pay out to “up my game.” However, I didn’t pay out a dime until I was consistently making money. I could have sat on that income, but I decided to pay it toward helping me be more successful.

I also invested my time. I invested time connecting with other influencers, learning how to take better photos, understanding what brands wanted for content, and better understanding my audience. These were all investments outside of the basics of the job function. However, I was willing to put in both time and money, offering brands higher quality. This is what I wanted to charge more for, and ensure there was value for the brand.

Changed my Rates

My rates didn’t change from my following increasing alone. I began to charge for my value, my time, and the planning involved in each contract, etc. Many brands include exclusivity, ownership rights, and many other factors in contracts. Here they are really benefiting from my content without paying the marketing dollars they would typically pay. Initially, I only charged to put a post up and do some stories on my channel without understanding all the fine lines in the contract.

Many influencers don’t realize how much money the brand is saving. Brands are not hiring actors, setting up a set for photo shoots, using their camera equipment, paying traveling costs or any other items so paying influencers a few thousand dollars to create some content is still a steal for them. The arrangement really needs to be mutually beneficial.

Also, influencers often undervalue what they bring to the table by focusing only on their likes, comments, or link clicks. I realized brands were using our family photos for their own marketing ads as a way to bring more sales to them. It didn’t just stop with posting to my channel…this was also included in the increase of my rate. The content I provide despite how it performs on social media should be well compensated.

Hired Help

It was very difficult for me to make the jump a few years ago and hire an assistant and not keep every dollar for myself. In spite of paying out really good full-time salaries, making this move directly correlated with my income significantly increasing.

I realized I wasn’t able to take the steps towards growing, learning, and expanding the business; when I was bogged down daily with the same tedious tasks to remain afloat. So…I hired help and had someone take over negotiations, email exchange, analytics, finances, invoices, and so much more. I was able to focus on creating content and less on the entire business side of this job.

After 2 years, I signed on with a coveted marketing agency that brought me additional job opportunities, and managed them similar to the way my assistants were doing. This also contributed to an overall income increase. At this point, I am able to work less and make more. That is the key. To get there, it takes time, hard work, and taking some risks.

I hope this post is helpful and I’ve encouraged you, regardless of your field. Value yourself, value your hard work, and value your time!

For more articles on blogging, check out: 5 Tips for making a full-time income blogging

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