I can’t believe I’m writing this, but —
After 12 years of blogging and six years of doing this full-time, I’ve realized I don’t want to be a full-time influencer anymore.
Let me explain.
I started this website 12 years ago, in 2011, when the term “influencer” did not exist. It was just me, my blog, some photos, and some thoughts. That wasn’t the first time I’ve had a website- I’m a low-key, huge nerd and taught myself HTML and CSS at the age of 10, as soon as I got the internet. I had domains and designed websites back in the early aughts. And, to get deep into it, I had a Myspace layout site with over 40,000 “friends” back in the day.
I’ve had some sort of internet presence for a long time, and with the start of this particular blog, I just fell into the influencer world by accident.
I started this blog before Instagram was that popular, and honestly? I’m thankful for social media for allowing me to connect to a bunch of really cool, like-minded people, but it has also taken a pretty detrimental toll on my mental health over the years, and quite frankly — I’m burned out. I’ve been burned out.
These past 12 years have been fabulous — this blog, along with my social platforms, has allowed me to travel the world, write a book, meet new friends, and develop a whole new set of skills I didn’t realize I had an inkling for.
However, I struggled this past year. And truthfully, I haven’t been happy in this industry for a while.
So, I’m walking away from the traditional “influencer” life.
That sounds scary to say. But let me elaborate.
Over the past ~5 years, I have primarily relied on brand deals for income. Most brands opted to pay for sponsored posts on Instagram. I comfortably made six figures a year from this strategy and did pretty well with it for years — so much so that I somewhat abandoned my blog and email list and was pretty quiet on my other social platforms that I adored and loved.
Let me tell you, my friends: that was a mistake I’m slowly, but surely, making up for.
I was not the only content creator to face this issue this past year, but the (paid) brand deals really weren’t flowing in 2023. And honestly, as much as I am a delulu Pisces, I don’t think they will be abundant in 2024 either.
Truthfully, the industry is oversaturated. I charge accordingly for my talent and over a decade of experience, and there are always newer influencers out there who will take a lowball offer because they don’t know any better.
Another issue with brand deals is that brands often do not pay in a timely manner. This is also something that has wrecked my mental health. Chasing down late payments gives me so much anxiety. Truthfully, it is heartbreaking knowing that you’ve spent so much time and money upfront crafting content for brands and still can’t manage to get a payment within 30 days (you guys — I have waited up to SIX months for payments from brand deals!) I was able to make it work in 2022 because of the sheer volume of brand deals I was getting, but it’s not a sustainable way for me to keep working in the future.
I’ve known for a while that it’s been time to pivot, but change is scary. I’m also just sad that I haven’t posted on my website as much as I want to; it’s the only thing that’s been consistent for the past 12 years. I have spent so much energy on a social media platform that is very inconsistent and, sometimes, volatile.
So, what’s next?
I’m slowly but surely beginning to transition out of the traditional “influencer” role. I’m not going to trash Instagram and say it hasn’t been a great tool for me over the years — because it has. However, it’s one of the reasons why my mental health is in the gutter at times, and I realize that I need to take a bit of a step back from it. And also, I don’t think you guys like Reels. Truthfully, I don’t like them either.
I’m not saying goodbye to Instagram — in fact, I’m still taking on a few brand partnerships over there, and I have some brand deals lined up for 2024 on the platform. I also still love the community I’ve fostered on IG, and I will never give up the hot takes or the juicy opinions we chat about on IG Stories. However, I’m not beating myself up over the platform any longer. I’m not going to agonize over Reels trending audios and editing techniques, I’m not going to take it personally when the algorithm does me dirty, and I’m not going to pay too much mind to folks trying to lowball me on the platform, either. It’s just not going to be my main focus, and I’m not going to let the politics of monetizing that platform rob my joy anymore.
Instead, I’m working on a few things: one, giving some love and TLC to my blog and email list since I still love this part of content creation. It makes much more sense to focus on this rather than pulling my hair out over brand deals on social media. I love writing, and long-form content makes much more sense. Transparently, I’ve also been able to slowly but surely monetize this website without brand deals, worrying about social media algorithms, and chasing down late brand payments.
Two, I’m chasing some of my hosting dreams. I’ve had excellent on-camera work opportunities since moving to LA, and I’m thrilled that I’ve already been cast in projects over the past couple of years with zero on-camera training. I will take some classes this year to improve, develop my reel a bit more, and pursue this budding dream of mine. It makes me happy, feels like a challenge, and is the shake-up I need after years of doing the same thing.
Three? I want to give some love to other platforms. I know YouTube has its pros and cons, but I enjoy the challenge of making long-form content and working on my on-camera skills a bit. I also adore Pinterest with my heart and soul, so you’ll find me there, pinning pretty often.
Lastly, for peace of mind, I am, admittedly, open to taking on marketing contract roles in 2024. I had a career in marketing before I took the plunge into full-time influencing, and I wouldn’t mind doing it on a contract or freelance basis. I don’t particularly see myself taking on a traditional 9-5 next year. However, I’m still pretty passionate and knowledgeable about all things marketing, and I’d love to take on some new projects in that field.
Regardless, if you have read this far, I want to thank YOU for being here. Without you, I couldn’t make this small business possible. Don’t worry, IG friends. I’m not leaving you hanging completely, but I’m looking forward to pivoting this year and putting my dreams and mental well-being first while creating content!