If there is one thing we learnt from our Generation BEAUTY BAY event, it’s that making it as an influencer isn’t as easy as Instagram makes out. Our guest speakers and Gen BB ambassadors, Jake Jamie and Hannah Renée gave us the inside scoop on how to make it and how to handle it once you’re there.
Read the 14 tips they gave to aspiring influencers below.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY BEFORE LEAVING WORK
It may seem scary leaving your full time, paid job for an unknown Instagram future. Jake told the Generation BEAUTY BAY audience that he worked full time until December 2018, despite already had thousands of Instagram followers.
“I wanted to do it, but I was scared to death. I’m so pleased that I did though because it enabled me to take things to the next level and it gave me more time to create content. Before leaving work, I made sure I had enough money behind me to keep me going for a couple of months.” Jake said.
“Sometimes in life you’ve just got to take the plunge but make sure you’re doing it in a structured way. Don’t just leave on a whim.”
THE JOURNEY IS GRADUAL
Very few influencers become an overnight sensation and rack up thousands of followers in a week, it’s a long process that can be unpredictable and disheartening.
Jake told us the most views he ever had on one video was seven million, but these moments are rare and the journey as a whole for him has been a gradual process.
“It’s not a steady growth. It can be a very up and down industry. If I upload something, I’ve worked really hard on and it doesn’t do very well, it can be disheartening but it’s really important to forget about it and move on to the next piece of content.”
“Instead of dwelling on it too much, try to focus on creating more great content.”
IT CAN BE LONELY
When you’re building your brand, it’s all you and you’re bound to spend a lot of time at home on your laptop or filming. Both Jake and Hannah admitted this is the not so glamorous reality and both spend 90% of their time at home alone.
“You do reach points where you start to lose your identity. I’m working on taking more time out for me and for my family and friends.” Jake said.
“It is important to find the balance because when you’re working on your platform full time, it’s easy to get consumed by it.”
DON’T COMPROMISE WHO YOU ARE
It can be tempting to change parts of yourself to fit the mould or to gain more influence, but your followers are invested in you and your individuality, so don’t lose it. Jake told us when he started his channel, he tried to fit in to the influencer community, but found his success came from being himself.
“My audience have told me that my page took off because I was like the boy next door, rather than something so far removed from their reality.
“Gaining followers is exciting, but there is so much more value in engagement right now. You need your followers to engage with you for it to work.”
PEOPLE WILL BE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT YOU DO
Hannah told the Generation BEAUTY BAY audience that people are still confused about what she does.
“When I get in a taxi and the driver asks what I do, they’re always confused by the answer. Even my parents were confused when I started.”
“I was 17 when I began my channel and I was in the middle of making big decisions about going to university. It wasn’t a job to make videos then, the industry was very different to the way it is today, and my parents were confused about why I wanted to do it.”
PERSISTENCE IS KEY
Jake’s top piece of advice to the Generation BEAUTY BAY audience was to be persistent.
“I’ve always had this part of my brain that pushes me to do the things that terrify me.” He said.
“I have this little seed that makes me do my job, and without that little seed, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half the things I have because anxiety gets in the way.
“But, even if something makes you feel sick, push yourself.”
DON’T WORRY IF YOU’RE NOT FEELING CREATIVE EVERYDAY
Everyone has days where they’re just not feeling it, including Jake Jamie and Hannah, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work.
“I have days where I wake up and I just don’t feel creative. If you don’t feel creative and you force yourself, the end result won’t be as good as if you had waited.” Jake said.
“Instead of dwelling on not feeling your best, spend the day replying to emails and organising the financial side of things. Always do something, even if it’s just planning the next video.”
Hannah agreed, adding her followers tend to notice if she’s not in the mood to film and it effects the quality of her content.
QUALITY IS BETTER THAN QUANTITY
One thing both Hannah and Jake stressed was the importance of quality over quantity.
“I would much rather spend three days creating something that is amazing and that has the chance to have that viral impact, than uploading something for the sake of uploading.” Jake said.
“It’s good to have a bank of content to post so you’re never in the situation of not having anything to post if you’re not feeling creative.”
“There are so many ways to make use of one piece of content.” Hannah added. “Film a video, have it in two different formats for Instagram or YouTube. If you’re organised, you can get lots of content out of one makeup look.”
MAKE FRIENDS IN THE INDUSTRY
Hannah and Jake both spoke about their friendships with other influencers in the beauty industry and how important it is to have people who understand your job.
“It’s important to have people to talk to who get it and understand what it is like. I talk to some of my friends and it just doesn’t make sense to them, so surround yourself with people who do get it. It really helps because it can be tough sometimes.” Hannah said.
“The people you meet in the beauty industry love what you love, they do a similar thing to you and have achieved a similar thing to you. They get it.
“Be supportive of other people and share your contacts with your friends, they might have one you need!”
LEARN TO DEAL WITH TROLLS
The worst part of a job on the internet, or even being on the internet, are trolls. But, learning to ignore with them is the best way to deal with them.
“Trolls are the most negative aspect of the job. They have made me question things about myself that I never thought about before.” Hannah said.
“When I was 18, I gained some weight while on a girl’s holiday and living my best life. I came home and didn’t notice until I started getting commentsabout it.”
“I was like oh people actually say that to other people. But now it doesn’t register with me anymore. People who aren’t involved in this industry or don’t understand it, tend to mock it.”
Jake agreed: “I am now able to emotionally disconnect myself from the trolling. I don’t know them, and they know nothing about me. As time goes by and you build up a loyal fan base, they’re always right behind you.”
YOUR PHONE IS ALL YOU NEED
It can be tempting to spend money on fancy gadgets, but your phone has everything you need when your starting.
“When I first started, I used my iPad propped against my window.” Jake said.
“I used to take a big bulky camera out with me, and I thought, ‘why am I doing this when I can just use my iPhone that’s just as good.’
“As my channel began to grow, I invested that money back into lighting and equipment. I don’t think you need the fancy kit to start out with, but it’s good to invest as time goes on.”
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH BRANDS
Hannah and Jake both spoke about the importance of building good relationships with brands and marketing yourself to them the way you would for a job.
“I was really cheeky I just reached out to people. I would find their (brands) email addresses somehow and reach out to them. It’s important to stand out. Don’t just ‘say can you send me free products’; you have to see it as a job interview and pitch yourself.
“Even when I had 1000 followers, I was emailing people asking if they wanted to work with me. It’s important to PR yourself.”
KNOW YOUR WORTH
It can be hard to know how much to charge brands for your time and content, and there is no easy formula for working it out, but both Jamie and Hannah agree it’s something you learn fork experience.
“I remember when I started, I had no sense of what my value was.” Hannah said. “It’s something you learn about as you go along, and you get to know you value. Brands are equally as knowledgeable about your worth, so negotiate and don’t settle for less.”
Jake added that while getting paid is the goal, it’s important not to flood your page with sponsorships.
“A lot of people go wrong by selling themselves short and start doing lots of sponsored posts. Audiences can disconnect with what you’re doing.” Jake said.
“Even as you grow, keep any sponsored posts really authentic. Think, ‘would you make your sponsored content without the sponsor’, and if you wouldn’t, it’s not the right fit.”
KEEP UP WITH TRENDS BUT STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
Hannah and Jake spoke throughout about the changing nature of the industry, social media, and trends, and how important it is to stay aware but true to yourself. It’s important to remember why your followers follow you.
Hannah explained: “It’s important to keep up with the trends but it’s also important to stay authentic When you grow a following, they are there for you and not the trends.”
Jake added: “I personally think there is room for every single type of person in this industry, you just have to embrace being you.”
“Don’t try to be like anyone else, don’t try to follow anyone else’s style, because when you embrace your quirks and weirdness, other people will too.”