Welcome back to In Fashion We Trust! Or, if you are new here as a first time reader… welcome! It’s been quite a while since I have been able to get my thoughts and inspiration written down and formulated into words to share, but finally after seven months of not blogging, I am back and ready to talk. There’s some brutal truths about this industry that most aspiring bloggers and influencers don’t realize.
The truth is: it’s hard to stay consistent in the industry that is so competitive and so full of rejection. Staying consistent is necessary eight out of seven days a week. And the even bigger truth is that if you don’t hold yourself accountable all eight of those days, you’re going to blame the competition and the rejection for why your blog is slacking. Trust me, it’s easy to blame it on them. It’s so easy to say your blog isn’t growing because of a million different reasons, but ultimately you are in control of all of that. Over the past seven months, when I have not been consistently uploading videos to my YouTube channel or posting weekly blogs, my engagement (likes/comments/story views on Instagram) have started to slow down. More often than not, I take my frustration out on Instagram’s new algorithm. And it’s true, it does fucking suck. It’s totally made it harder for everyone to get on the timeline, but slacking off with inconsistent content won’t help you get there. It’s the people who are active everywhere on social media and posting multiple times daily that are getting the high engagements. Which leads me back to saying: ultimately, Im the reason why I have been hurting my own engagement, my own stats and my own brand.
The truth is: if you do let these excuses consume your mindset, then you are exactly right… you will never make it as a blogger. This industry is extremely oversaturated; everyone is becoming an influencer in some way or another. A lot of the big time bloggers with millions of followers tend to say, “That’s not true! Anybody can do this!” The reality of it is that, technically, yes- anybody can do this. But we’re not talking technically here. This industry is not cut out for just “anybody.” You have to remember, as a blogger, you are your own PR person, your own manager, your own assistant, your own photographer (sounds impossible but trust me, it’s true), your own stylist, your own creative director, your own writer and editor, and everything else in between. So technically, they’re not lying. But realistically, only a certain type of person is cut out for it.
I think all of these factors need to be made clear up before you go ahead and dive into something you potentially can’t handle, or aren’t willing to put that work into. This is a full time job of countless different roles, so prepare to wear a bunch of different hats. It also takes a lot of patience and a lot of hard work or little to no reward for a very long time. I started influencing on social media in 2015 with zero followers and invested every single dollar I made into getting a whole new wardrobe to promote brands so I could tag them and start getting recognized. Unfortunately brands don’t care about the people who are providing mediocre content with a very low following. I had very few resources being away at college, knowing and understanding that my content pretty much sucked and that the only way to grow a following would be by providing much better content and getting reposted. But I was determined…
By 2017, when I had grown to only 1,000 followers, getting under 100 like per photo, in two years I realized that everything that I was doing was going toward… nothing. I needed to rebrand, so I stopped using that Instagram account (@infashionwetrustt – I kept it active for the memories! haha), and wiped my own personal Instagram (that already had 2,000 followers and got triple the likes) clean of all of the random bar photos with my friends, started a website and started all over again with higher quality photos. That was two years of investing lots of time and money, putting in endless work and being determined to find a way to succeed and make it in this industry. I did not make a single dollar. I was gifted a few times, or borrowed clothes from the showroom I worked at on a slow day. Which is why I say it takes a certain type of person to survive- would you start all over again after two years of working for free? If you said yes, then get to it!
You have to be willing to take some losses and invest with no return guaranteed, and may see no profit for you for quite some time. Very few brands are willing to pay you unless you have over 100k followers… some don’t even have the budget for you until you are at least at half a million. (And do not even get me started on the brands that have so-called “ambassador programs” where they offer you a percentage off their clothes. That’s a whole other rant I’ll start another day). Anyway, halfway through 2018, I started slacking and was putting all of my eggs in one basket, because my Instagram had grown so rapidly during the year. I neglected this website and my YouTube channel because I was finally making money on Instagram posts. I thought, “well, this is the money maker right now, so I’m going to focus on this.” Re-read that sentence and let’s emphasize the keywords: right now. RIGHT. NOW. If you are not consistently active everywhere, in every possible way, that “right now” money that you are making will come and go like every anything else in life. There’s no guarantee that it will ever stay especially with all the new ways that Instagram has been changing its algorithm. Instagram is progressively making it harder and harder and harder for people to grow and to use their platform as a means of making an income. I was getting brand deals left and right, making a sustainable income from sponsored posts, but when my engagement started slacking, the brand deals started minimizing.
The truth is: the influencer industry is a billion dollar industry. There are over 800 million users on Instagram; 500 million who are active every single day. Do you realize how many of those people are considered influencers? Ask yourself what your niche is. Do you really think brands are going to be handing out their wallets to people with mediocre content poor engagement and no specific niche? NOPE! If you are not standing out among the amongst the crowd, then you were simply blending in… and in an oversaturated market, there is no room to be blending in. Look at your content… and I mean really look at it. Do you feel like your page is standing out, or any different from everybody else who is doing the same thing as you? Are you a fitness blogger, fashion blogger, health and wellness blogger, or maybe even travel blogger? Does it show? It is clear what you represent? And are you inspired by others or are you simply copying them? Think about this: would people be willing to follow you if you were the knock off version of a bigger, more popular blogger they are already following? Probably not. Influencers who have already made a name for themselves did so by standing out and being their real, authentic, genuine self, and provided something that other people were not. That is how you will grow.
The truth is: you have to stop worrying about what other people are going to think about you if this is genuinely something that you want to be a part of. When you begin, chances are you’re going to lose a lot of followers as you start branding yourself. When I first started, all of those single guys who had been liking all my photos unfollowed me when they realized my Instagram is now place for business and not a place to make small talk with somebody who is looking to Netflix and chill. So yes, I lost a some followers, but overtime saw that I was replacing them by gaining followers who are actually going to engage properly with my content. If someone unfollows you, they don’t care about what it is your posting. So they won’t like/comment or provide you with any engagement. But f someone new comes along and follows you after you appear on their explore page, you not only gain a follower but also another like and comment- and that, my friends, is how you grow.
I know I’ve been rambling, but I am super excited to be back in the game of blogging. I’ve been receiving tons of DM’s from girls asking for all different blogging and influencing tips, and I’m going to be sharing some soon. I felt this was important to address, because most of these messages come from people who feel like they’re “failing.” So the last truth is: you’re not failing. You just need to pull it together, put on your entrepreneur cap on and stay consistent. Like I said, technically anybody can do this. But don’t be just anybody. Be somebody who is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
As always, it was a pleasure writing to you guys! I will be posting a new blog EVERY Sunday moving forward and a new YouTube video every Wednesday. So please do share with me exactly what you want to see from me moving forward, and I will be more than happy to provide. I’m even more excited to share that I’ve also been in the works of starting my very own PODCAST! I cannot wait to really get into it. I’ve received my equipment, but I’m still in the process of deciding which topic I want to focus on and commit to. SO TELL ME: What do you want to hear from me? Comment, shoot me a message, whatever you gotta do – just let a girl know!