A lot of us are waiting for something great to happen. We tell ourselves, keep working, do your best, and good things will happen. And that’s OKAY, but there’s also another route. The take what’s yours route. The route where you don’t wait for a paycheque – you create one. Let’s talk about how you can make an impact on your own life by replacing your 9-5 salary.

The process to completely replacing your 9-5 salary doesn’t come overnight, it’s gradual but very achievable. Look around and you’ll see plenty of people on Instagram, YouTube, and various blogs who have achieved this kind of lifestyle.

We’re talking about the influencer lifestyle.

Becoming an influencer in 2019 is more attainable than ever. All your favourite industries are crying for authentic influencers who have real opinions, though we’re not talking celebrity influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. Micro, and even nano-influencers are all the rage right now because they offer much better engagement and have a closer connection to their audiences. Marketers are learning that engagement outweighs follower count.

So what are we saying? It’s a damn good time to move into the micro-influencer space.

One of the coolest things about becoming an influencer on Instagram is that it can begin as a side hustle. You can easily do it while working a full-time job, and as you earn more money and experience, you can consider taking the plunge to become a full-time influencer.

Fashion influencers, lifestyle influencers, and beauty influencers all have a wealth of companies knocking down their door. While becoming an influencer is attainable, it can also be intimidating. So it’s helpful to seek the advice of professionals. In the course, How To Become An Expert & Sought After Influencer, they teach you everything you need to know about achieving that lifestyle. Right from gaining your first 10,000 followers, to finding your next long-term collaboration. 

While there is a lot to becoming an influencer, let’s look at four of the core components you need to consider.

Step 1: Choose your niche

You might already be an expert in a given niche, and by “expert”, we mean someone who your friends look to for advice. This could be travel, makeup, lifestyle, fashion, or any number of categories. Once you choose your niche, learn as much as you can about it by joining Facebook groups, Masterminds, email lists, or subreddits. Then, begin to earn the trust of your audience. Build a reputation as someone who knows their stuff. This is step one.

There are a few different ways to earn trust – a couple of the most effective methods are through social proof, or becoming certified in your niche. For example, if you want to pursue the makeup and beauty niche, being a certified MUA would go a long way. It’s not totally necessary, but it helps! The road to becoming an influencer is a lot smoother when you have credibility on your side.

Step 2: Creating excellent content

Once you know what niche you want to concentrate on, you need to create content people in that niche want to consume. You want to create content that is eye-catching, visually stimulating, and valuable

Without an esthetically pleasing feed filled with high-quality imagery and a consistent color scheme, you make it more difficult for yourself to gain followers and increase engagement rate.

Take some time to plan this and decide what kind of style you want to have, because once you choose, you should stick to it and be consistent. Are you going to take a bright imagery approach, where your content is in front of white or bright coloured backgrounds? Or perhaps a more matted greyscale type of vibe? Influencers who nail this are the ones that big budget brands seek out because of the quality of your content. Not only are they gaining increasing awareness from your sponsored posts, but they’re getting access to your content that they can in turn repurpose for their own marketing materials.

Determine what your theme is going to be and try to incorporate it into every post. We call them “curated feeds.” The influencers who have curated feeds are more sought after than those who simply post whatever they feel like.

To get started, follow influencers in your niche that you aspire to be like. Gain insights into what engaging content looks like and then begin mimicking what they create. They’re providing you with all the answers – all you need to do is copy them down.

Another sweet free tip: use an app like UNUM to plan your feed!

Step 3: Get the right number of engaged followers

Notice how we didn't just say “the right number of followers”? That’s because you shouldn’t care as much about those who follow and just lurk and loiter. Care about the followers who direct message you asking questions, comment on your posts regularly, and always throw ‘likes’ your way. That’s called having an engaged audience. There a bunch of cool hacks offered in the How To Become An Expert & Sought After Influencer course that teaches you how to speed up this process.

A quick tip for you to take away – engagement goes two ways. When you do have a few people engaging on your posts and sending you direct messages, make sure you respond to them and let them know how much you appreciate them. An appreciated audience is an audience that will stay engaged with you, and there’s nothing more valuable that than.

Step 4: Attracting brands to come to you

This is the last and most daunting step. It may actually require you to be the first mover. Before brands reach out to you, you’ll need to prove that you’re professional about being an influencer and can work with a brand. Like we talked about at the beginning, you could continue to build your engaged audience, sit back, and wait for it to happen, or you could take it into your own hands! Reach out to brands yourself, express your value to them, and offer to promote their products in exchange for free product gifted to you. This can be tricky, but rest assured the course will teach you everything you need to know about reaching out to brands. They offer templates for each niche; you just fill in the blanks and fire away.

Once brands see you working with other companies, creating beautiful content, and receiving genuine interest from your followers, they’ll be knocking at your door asking for your rates. Promise.

If you’re willing to invest in yourself, spend a few hours a week (that we spend on social media anyway), focusing on how to tactically grow your Instagram, build an audience that cares, and create awesome content. With a bit of hard work and perseverance, you can, and will replace your 9-5 salary. This brings a wealth of opportunity with it, and it’s up to you to make an impact on your own life.

Let me know how you get on. 

Love Ciandra x

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, lovers and friends worldwide are getting ready to celebrate their love and planning the perfect date for their partner. However, if you’re like me and can’t think of a single romantic thing to do, let alone create the ultimate Valentine’s Day experience for your loved one then just keep on reading. I have listed some great date ideas alongside some of my favourite Valentines outfits from Pretty LittleThing that will put a smile on your partner’s face and melt their heart (plus you might get in their good books too!).

Recreate your first date

Now this one is rated pretty high on the “romantic gestures scale,” it requires a good memory and a bit of work to make it just right, but it is well worth it and will impress your other half. Walk down the same streets where you first kissed and have a couple of drinks in that old coffee shop where you had your first drinks together. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit extra and add a little romantic gift into the mix.

Cook for your loved one

Start researching good recipes for a romantic dinner for two, get the right ingredients and prepare a couple of practice dinners to make sure you’ve got your technique and presentation down pat. Cooking for someone can be a big turn on and you can create some incredible meals without spending too much money. Take it up a notch by dressing classy, decorating your dining room and presenting your partner with a printed menu.

A romantic weekend getaway in the mountains

For those looking for a change of scenery and an escape from the busy city, there is nothing better than a quiet, romantic weekend in the mountains. There are plenty of fun activities like skiing that will keep you active. You can have fun making a snowman or engaging in a snowball fight, and, of course, there is plenty of privacy and great room service waiting for you back at your room.

Spend the day driving around the city and visiting new places

This one is geared towards couples who have been together for a year or two and want to experience a few new things together. Visit a few cool coffee places on the other side of town, check out interesting restaurants you’ve never been to, and consider going to see a play or having fun at a comedy club on open mic night. Take loads of pictures and just have fun!

Wine and chocolates at sunset

Pick out a romantic location, such as a camping spot on a hill overlooking the city or a balcony in a restaurant with a nice view, open a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates and wait for that perfect moment when the sky turns fiery red to embrace and share a passionate kiss.

Ice skating

There is something incredibly fun about ice skating that brings people closer together and just keeps you laughing (maybe it’s all the falling and clinging to the other person for dear life, well that’s me anyway). You can have some great fun and then move on to a more private location for some alone time.

Dance the night away

If you and your partner other are relatively good dancers, or if you simply enjoy moving your body to music, then a night at salsa club or similar venue is the perfect thing for you. Alternatively, you can set up dance floor at home, play your favourite music, have a few drinks and dance like there is no tomorrow.

No matter what activity you choose for this Valentines I’m sure you’ll have a night to remember. All of the looks I have styled are perfect for a variety of events, you can purchase from the Pretty Little Thing Valentine’s Day shop, you’ll be sure to find something that’s perfect for the night you choose.

Happy Valentines,

Love Ciandra x

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