How and why I started:
I began my Instagram journey in 2018. I had my account about 2-3 years prior to that, but only used it for a couple of months. I officially started my Instagram in May 2018 with a little over 300 followers. I was in my last semester at Pace University in NYC and consequently, the only semester I didn’t have a job/internship. I decided to put all my time and energy into the account to help others live a healthy and happy life. I was constantly creating healthy recipes and I wanted to share them with the world. Additionally, I wanted to show my followers how to live a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Food and life collide. I started to take pictures of my food, show myself working out and snap photos on my way to class. I would find new inspirational accounts, follow them and connect with like-minded people. I had about 700 followers and a brand reached out to send me some free-product in exchange for a post on my page. I was ecstatic and shocked. It was a brand I loved! I quickly made an email with my handle and sent the brand my address. After that, I caught on and started reaching out to brands I adored and would ask them if they would be willing to send over some product for content creation. I was constantly in contact with brands.
I received my dream job out of college, but I had to complete a summer internship with the company before the full-time job started at the end of the summer. I didn’t let the internship or job get in the way of my Instagram. I worked around it and used my two hour commute each way as leverage to grow my business and my following, I utilized the evenings and the weekends. I loved inspiring others, seeing people make my recipes and working with brands I believed in. I never took a break from posting. I didn’t do this to make money. Honestly, that never really crossed my mind in the beginning.
In 2019, when I had a following of about 10,000 people, I was talking to a friend and she explained that I could charge brands for my creations. I was in shock. I thought only influencers with a ginormous following could do this. I went home, told my boyfriend and family and they thought it was awesome. It was then that I knew I could do it. I knew I could make some extra money from the platform. I created a media kit outlining my following, engagement and audience demographics. This is basically like a resume for influencers. I started emailing, messaging and contacting brands. I sent them my media kit and calculated a price for my services. I started receiving contracts. It was awesome and I was so proud of myself. It felt so good that something I was so passionate about could make me money.
Since then, I have created this website, a Facebook and a Pinterest. These other platforms have become other outlets to touch more people and to bring in additional income. I have challenged myself to talk on my stories, make videos and write blog posts being completely open and honest to help others. I will continue to learn and grow. I hope that if you are wanting to become an entrepreneur/influencer/content creator (or whatever you want to call it) reading this inspires you. There is room for everyone to succeed and I am more than happy to help you achieve this goal. I have included a list of tips below that I believe are helpful to succeed in this space.
Tips & tricks:
Just Start - Create quality content, establish your audience and get familiar with what works best for you. Begin with participating in product for post exchanges. When you feel as though you should be paid for your work, charge based on the factors that go into creating the content.
Make an Email - Create an email with your handle to professionally speak with companies.
Create a Media Kit - Outline your following, engagement and audience demographics. DM and email brands you want to collaborate with and have this document ready to send over.
Keep Track of Conversations - Make an excel sheet and keep track of conversations with companies to follow up on collaborations and partnerships.
Don’t Be Discouraged - The algorithm on Instagram sucks at times. You might have 10 collaborations one month and only a few another. A brand might turn you down. A brand might request that you re-shoot content. Remember why you started during times like these. Remember to continue to display content that you are great at and ALWAYS remember your worth!
Don’t Compare - Yes, there are accounts that get paid half a million dollars to put up a photo. Yes, your blogger friend could be growing faster than you. Yes, someone has 30k more followers because they had their account for 2 years longer than you. Just do you! You have something special to offer.
Make a Website - Instagram could be deleted tomorrow. Scary to think about, I know. I think it’s super important to make your own website because you own the platform. It’s yours to keep and if a true follower wants to find you, they will know they can always visit your website.
Get on Other Platforms - Make a Pinterest, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat etc. Get on other platforms to reach a wider audience and show brands that you are reaching people through multiple outlets. I know this can be difficult. It’s hard to manage and provide content for each platform. Get on a couple that you see fit. You can keep Instagram #1, but pin some photos on Pinterest or upload your Instagram pictures to Facebook.
It Takes Work - This takes A LOT of time. When I was working my corporate job and juggling Frozen Bananas at the same time, it was difficult. I worked 24/7. In the end, it paid off and now I devote all my time to Frozen Bananas. I feel extremely lucky. If you are working and your brand is your side hustle, I feel you. BUT I believe in you. If you really want it, you will make it happen.
You can. <3
Love this, Krista! Thanks for all of the tips. -Katie @theceliachacks
So happy you enjoyed the post, Katie! Thanks for reading. <3
I love this so much!!!! As I start creating my own media kit, it’s so encouraging to see that’s where you started too. You are amazing and helping so many! -Maggie @maggiebakesgrace
Thank you so much for your endless support, Maggie! Always here to help! - Krista <3
Thank you for sharing all of your tips on your blog! I started reading about when you left your corporate job and ended up reading all of them! 🙂 So inspiring! I started my Instagram platform for creating recipes this summer and am in the process of building a website also. These blog posts are very helpful!
- Kollie with Fitfoodbound
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about my story, Kollie! Your support means so much. I am happy you found the posts helpful! Amazing that you are building your site! So exciting. Good luck. 🙂 – Krista <3