When I started a blog back in 2010, the notion of an “online influencer” wasn’t really a thing. At the time, I was really just trying to get my financial house in order and decided to share my journey publicly.
Fast forward a few years and now you have bloggers (including myself) making money as online influencers by partnering up with brands, writing for different outlets, consulting, affiliate sales, speaking engagements and selling digital products.
Now I go to local events for bloggers and the room is full of people who want to become “online influencers.” This is literally what they say. For someone who has been in the blogging and social media game as long as I have, it’s a little weird but also very exciting.
If you’re interested in creating a business as an online influencer, here are the different stages of how it works based on my experience. But first, I need to note one major difference between doing this now versus doing this almost seven years ago.
Set the intention to make money from the beginning.
As I already mentioned, having a business as an online influencer wasn’t really a thing back in 2010. Therefore, being able to make money as a blogger and social media influencer wasn’t really on my radar because I had no idea you could even do it.
Now, it’s totally different. There is a good chance that you can make money as an online influencer if you play your cards right. Part of doing so is setting the intention from the get go that you want to run a business.
You have to be clear from the beginning that you aren’t just a blogger, you’re a subject matter expert and a business owner. This will guide you as you start making business decisions like who your audience is, which social media platform to focus on and where you should reinvest some of the money once you start making it.
Set the foundation.
Once you’ve set the intention that you will make money as an online influencer, it’s time to set the foundation to help make this happen.
No one likes to hear what I’m about to say, but I’m saying it anyway. Setting the foundation is the hardest part. It can also take a long time before you start seeing the rewards of your efforts.
It took me about two years of full-time work before I started seeing a shift in my business. And this was from the moment I decided to quit my job. I already had a few years of creating online content under my best prior to that.
If you’re willing to put in the time and the work, then you will be able to create a business as an online influencer. Here are some of the things you need in order to start building a solid foundation:
- Commit. One of the biggest struggles I see among bloggers who can’t seem to make it as online influencers is the fact that they haven’t committed to seeing this thing through. They are still “dabbling.” If you want to change your trajectory, you must commit.
- Be consistent. In the beginning, your primary concern will likely be how to remain consistent in your marketing. You need to create the habit of putting a consistent message out there with blogs and social media. This is how you build clout and get people to trust you.
- Get your own website. Don’t just rely on social media channels. They are necessary marketing tools, but you don’t own them. Social media can be here one day and gone the next. That’s why you should always have your own website you can direct people to in an effort to build your community and your email list.
These are the three biggest mistakes I see newer bloggers and business owners making as it pertains to setting their foundation as an online influencer. The good news is they can be avoided.
Invest some money.
One of the biggest mistakes I made as I was creating my career as an online influencer was that I didn’t invest any money.
In fact, it wasn’t until 2016 that I started investing money in social media marketing in the form of ads, automation tools and hiring consultants. And it wasn’t until 2017 when I started investing in coaches again.
The reality is that if you want to jumpstart your success as a social media influencer, then you need to invest some money.
It should be of no surprise to anyone that once I started investing money in social media and getting those numbers up, that it became a lot easier to sell coaching packages and be asked to be a part of social media campaigns for large companies.
It should also be of no surprise that my business revenue has started to go up since throwing down the money to work with a sales coach.
Start making money.
Once you’ve begun setting the foundation as an online influencer, you can start making money. Granted, it may be a while before you’re raking in the big dough. But, as I already mentioned, you can cut this time in half by investing in your business.
Here are some of the ways online influencers start making money once they’ve built some trust with their community:
- Writing. Mostly for other outlets.
- Consulting. This could look like working with companies or individuals.
- Affiliate sales. Making money by recommending other people’s products.
- Selling your own products. Depending on the industry this can look like anything from selling digital courses to selling sunglasses.
- Influencer campaigns. This is when companies partner up with influencers for social media campaigns. This usually looks like the influencer creating content that a company has sponsored.
As you can see, there are multiple ways for online influencers to earn a living. This is no longer something that is available to a select few as it was a few years ago. This is now a full-time reality for millions of people including myself. With hard work, commitment and consistently you’ll be able to do it as well.