You will be contacted by up and coming brands early on- be picky.
My first brand contact was with a small clothing company actively looking for brand ambassadors. They wanted me to be an affiliate, but didn’t offer me pay or clothing. Instead, I was given an account that I could use to promote them and receive a very small commission off of. My friend actually purchased something through the link! How supportive! It was a waste of her money as it took ages to get her item, and the clothing was bad quality.
I received a $2 commission from her purchase that could only be used toward their shop. I had jumped at the chance to be noticed by a company, but it was primarily them taking advantage of me since I had a small following (and still do, I’ve gained about 1k followers in the past year). Its important to pick and choose who to work with. Yes, it might be nice to be able to say, “Use my code!” But really, you look cheap. And if you’re hard work is making a company money, you should receive more than just a MAYBE $2 credit.
Currently, I have accepted free items in exchange for photos from brand’s I like such as Unicorn Rockstar, Ludlow Luna, and Nature’s My Friend. This worked out for me as I received things I like from companies I like.
People won’t always agree with you on what is your best work.
I can’t tell you how many times I have posted something thinking that its the best photo I have ever put out, the best post, the best writing… only to have no one pay attention to it. And then something I’m not sure of or don’t like nearly as much gets four times the engagement! It happens. It doesn’t mean that the work you loved wasn’t great. Sometimes it just isn’t what people were looking for and thats fine.
You can also sort through your most popular and least popular posts to figure out if there is a trend in what people are clicking vs what people are not clicking. Maybe your food posts do better than your style posts. Maybe people like OOTD posts over hauls. Reevaluate what you’re putting out accordingly, just keep in mind you still need to enjoy it yourself.
Occasionally, you will bleed followers.
We all know that companies and influencers LOVE to pull that follow and unfollow crap. It can be massively disheartening to post something you like, gain a ton of followers, and wake up to find yourself down 30 followers and counting. It happens to everyone. Seriously!
I’ve had a weekend where I gained 100 followers and by the following Wednesday I lost 110. It is unfortunately the name of the game. I’ve taken to blocking accounts that do this because some have followed me and unfollowed me everyday for weeks at a time.
I also suggest NOT participating in this tomfoolery. Build yourself a strong, organically grown audience that actually likes what you do. My followers are fucking awesome. They talk to me, they reply to my Insta stories, they tag me in stuff- they’re all awesome people! Awesome enough that sometimes I follow them back and not the companies trying to trick me into giving them money.
At the end of the day it is just important to be on the look out for scummy emails trying to sell you followers and companies trying to use you. Brace yourself for potential criticism or lack of interest- not everything you do will be a win! But if you do it with a passion, people can tell.