Ten years ago the idea of making a living out of being an “influencer” didn’t exist. Today I travel the world, get free clothes, take pictures of my outfits, eat at 5 star restaurants, stay in mansions or luxury hotels, attend fashion events, party with celebrities and even call some of them my friends. I am a social media influencer.
Don’t get me wrong none of these amazing perks came easy to me. I am a Latina from the Bronx. I had no connections so I decided to work hard at becoming part of the plus-size fashion community. When I was in college I worked a part-time job, interned at a magazine, went to school full time and blogged. I never had a day off. My days started at 5 am and ended at 1am. The day Hurricane Sandy hit was my first day off that entire year. I had never been so grateful for a natural disaster in my life.
I am now a full-time blogger/ social influencer and I have been doing it for less than 5 months. When I had a 9-5 job, being a blogger almost felt like a fun hobby. It was a great way to bring in a little extra income I could add to my bank account. Being invited on press trips where everything was covered from flight to dinner was a perk for working even on the weekends.
View this post on Instagram
I have a really big love and hate relationship with swimsuits. What’s your biggest struggle with them? Watch my latest swimsuit video on my channel. Link in bio! #effyourbeautystandards #goldenconfidence #tcfstyle #celebratemystyle #psootd #ootd #plussize #hudabeauty #andigetdressed #plussizestyle #motd
The plan was never to become a full-time social media influencer. It was just my way of getting my name and resume out there. I wanted to work in fashion journalism and talk about plus-size fashion and it worked. I got my first official journalist job as a fashion reporter because of my Instagram and blog. I felt so proud of myself. That feeling didn’t last long though, I always felt like I got there by mistake. It was a fluke and I managed to sneak into a job. I struggled a lot when I first started and even contemplated quitting to avoid embarrassing myself. Because I felt like an imposter at my job, I worked even harder. I would come in at 7am and sometimes wouldn’t leave until 10pm. Meanwhile, our work hours were 9-6. I then began to create viral videos that made the company I worked for become known in the community and in the media in general. We were exceeding our company goals. I spent over two years there and then decided to leave and create the success I had done for them, for myself.
After almost three years at that job, I left to become a full-time blogger. I was beginning to make bigger amounts of money with my side hustle that it convinced me to quit my job and explore other options. In many occasions I was making the same amount I would get in paychecks in one day. But I quickly learned that it wasn’t always going to be so easy.
I never learned how to manage my money. The paychecks I received would run through my fingers like water. The money I was making I would put back into my job. I bought new camera equipment, paid photographers, bought clothes and so many other expenses you don’t realize you have to cover when you don’t have a big company covering those expenses for you.
The money didn’t come as easy or as fast as I expected it to be. I am lucky to live with my parents and have them cover the rent but I still pay for a lot of bills in my home. People don’t realize that a lot of the times the work you get, you won’t get paid until 2-3 months later. A lot of the times I have to invest the little money I would have left in my bank account to be able to work. That means that on many occasions when I was partying with celebrities or staying in a mansion I had less than $100 in my bank account.
I thought that the days of working before 5am and until 1am were over. I was very wrong. My days still start really early though not always at 5am. I work every day of the week. I don’t have days off and I don’t have office hours. Even on my “down” time I am working. When my family gets together to watch a movie I am sitting there with my laptop fighting for a campaign or chasing my money—literally!
View this post on Instagram
@bobbibrown Skin Long- Wear Weightless Foundation and Primer Plus Mattifier, are 2 products I have been obsessed with for the past month. My skin feels extra soft and the primer helps keep my makeup on even on the hottest day. Have you guys tried out Bobbi Brown before? Let me know the comments below. @sephora #BBAmbassador #BobbiBrown
I have learned that I can’t just depend on one source of income. I produce 2-3 videos for Youtube, have a weekly podcast, post almost regularly on my social media, create sponsored post and reach out to companies to pitch myself for new campaigns. To have any type of income I also write for various sites and produce videos for different companies. I do all of this and still look cute while doing it. At the end of the day my body and presence is my business.
You really have to be a hustler and I have learned ways to be able to work that doesn’t involve me dropping up to $500 for a photographer every week. I depend a lot on my siblings, friends and other bloggers to help me create my content. I meet up with a lot of my blogger friends who work as my photographers and creative directors for my photoshoots and videos. We take turns being the designated camera woman.
I didn’t realize how much I work until I wrote it down. My paychecks depend on me and how much work I put in. I still struggle trying to find a consisting income that helps me sleep at night. Constantly working and feeling like I don’t do enough really affect my mental and physical health. There are also days were I can’t even get up from bed from the mental or physical exhaustion.
I wish I could tell you that I now have millions in my bank account and that I can go to sleep before midnight but it’s not true. I don’t have influential parents that can get me in contact with agencies that would hire me or that can afford to pay for everything while I work for free on most days. I have to work twice as hard to get the bare minimum other bloggers are receiving. Being an influencer isn’t all glitz and glamour but a lot of influencers aren’t necessarily honest about that. I’m here to tell you that it’s hard work but in the end I believe it will all pay off.