It has come to my attention that people are intrigued by the world of blogging and life as an influencer. Which I get. I mean, it’s a pretty weird job. Brands pay seemingly normal blogging people to use their products. It’s new age advertising. I think much of the confusion lies in the fact that everyone uses the internet and social media. Why are some of us getting paid for it? I get questioned on the daily about my side hustle, so I thought I’d do a little Q&A with the ten questions I hear most often. Hope it sheds a little light onto this unconventional career path.
- So people just send you stuff for free?- Didn’t your parents ever tell you, there’s no such thing as a free lunch? If I post about a product, it is most likely for one of four reasons- I am being paid to promote the product, I was gifted the product (either in exchange for blogging promotion or purely as a gift), I would like to work with the brand in the future or simply because I’m a fan. So, to make a long answer even longer, yes, I receive things that I do not pay for. But, it is often with the pre-agreement of an exchange of blogging promotion on my end.
- Are those all your own clothes?- Embarrassingly enough, everything I wear comes from my own closet. Or, as I like to call it, my boutique. I’ve amassed quite a sartorial collection over the years. As I have a hard time parting with pieces (what if they come back in style?!), I still have items in my wardrobe dating back to high school. Which doesn’t stop me from adding to my closet, of course. It just means that I have too much stuff.
- Who takes your blogging pictures?- I have two fabulous photographers. Michele LoBosco, in LA, has been my primary blog and social media photographer since day one. I can’t say enough good things about this wonderful woman. Henry Young is my San Diego go-to; he is talented, kind and lightening-fast. And, when I’m in a jam, my family, friends or anyone within earshot will do!
- How do you make money blogging?- First of all, rude. But, I understand. Because, in theory, bloggers and influencers are doing the same thing as anyone else- posting our thoughts and photos on the internet. So how are we getting paid for it? I believe the answer lies in the root of our title- influence. Based on our audience size and the influence we’ve cultivated, brands will compensate us to promote their products. Product promotion can be in the form of photos, videos or written posts on our main platforms and social media channels, attending and covering events, giveaways, etc.
- How did you start blogging and The LA Survival Guide?- For a couple of years beforehand, it was one of those things that I kept seeing girls blogging and saying to myself, “I could do that.” Until one day, I got fed up with just talking about it, bought the domain, taught myself WordPress, hired a photographer and started “doing it.” And the rest is history.
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an influencer?- There are so many pieces of advice I could offer (future post, perhaps?)…but, if I had to narrow it down, these are three things I would tell any future blogger/influencer. First, the same thing I have always said to anyone who wants to become an actor- only do it if you really love it. Don’t do it for the money or the free stuff. Because those will not come for quite some time. Do it because you have something to share and you love creating content. It’s a fun job, but it’s too much work if you don’t enjoy the process. Second, be consistent, not only in terms of frequency, but with your content, as well. You should aim to post on your blog once a week (something I’m clearly working on!) and on Instagram daily. And your content should be consistent and cohesive, meaning it should all work together. Everything you post needs to be a reflection of your brand. For example, if you are a food blogger, don’t post a random picture of your cat. Because your audience has chosen to follow you for your primary niche. Give them what they want and what they love you for on a regular basis and they will keep coming back for more. Lastly, take pride in every single thing you publish. Every piece you publish is a reflection of you and your brand. Put the work in to ensure it’s a positive reflection, working towards your greater goal.
- How did you get so many followers?- I started out with zero followers, just the same as everyone else. With time and a lot of hard work, I’ve seen my numbers grow. People are surprised to hear that I probably spend a minimum of an hour on Instagram each day, interacting with my own followers and other accounts. Not to mention the time I spend blogging, styling, shooting, editing and planning content. I style all my own shots, I typically shoot with a professional, I edit each Instagram photo in anywhere between two to five apps and I plan my content for the coming week so it is cohesive. These followers have not come by accident. I’ve worked for every one of them!
- Why doesn’t Pip have his own page?- Because I need his audience! I’m basically riding on Pip’s
coattail. If he started his own spinoff, I’d be left in the dust and have to become a stage mom.
- How do you work full time and have time for your blog?- I don’t always, but I try my best. I work full time in real estate investment. During the week, I’ll usually post on Instagram and respond to comments while I have my morning smoothie, before I head into the office. After work, I’ll write, respond to emails, plan upcoming content, edit photos, etc. On the weekends, I’ll do all that, plus shoot, take meetings and attend events whenever I can. It’s basically two full time jobs, but I love it.
- What are your plans for The LA Survival Guide?- I have so many! Last year, I focused on growing my social media. This year, I will be dedicating more time to the blog, while continuing to work on my social channels. I plan on writing more travel content, as well as introducing a wellness aspect, which is a huge passion of mine. Long term, I could see designing an accessories line, writing books and who knows what else. As long as I’m having fun, I’m going to keep it up! Photos by Michele LoBosco