Honestly, this post isn’t going to be a typical one that you might see on my blog. It’s going to start with a bit of a story that I think is worth sharing, along with my lessons I have learned along the way.
I have been blogging for almost 4 years now. Before that, I worked in Operations/Project Management at one of the best Big 4 Accounting Firms in the world. Working at an accounting firm teaches you a lot about best practices, ethics, professionalism, and of course, data. These lessons are some of the things that I took with me as I transitioned into the blogging world. They have helped me define how I want to run my business and the type of structure I want to achieve. I’m happy to say my team and I are getting close to mastering that structure by the way!
Lately, I have been experiencing a bit of “hate” on Instagram. I use the word in quotations because it’s a passive attack, but an attack none-the-less. There’s been a lot of words floating around, but the main point overall is the assumption that I have either 1.) bought fake followers or 2.) have cheated the system using spammy methods.
I’m here to set the record straight, and share some of the best lessons I have learned in the industry to date.
For starters, when I first started blogging (literally the first month or something) I did buy fake followers. Not a lot, about 1 or 2k, but I bought them under the assumption that they were “real, active and engaged followers” that the company I bought them from told me they were. I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing, but like everyone just starting out, you’re kind of willing to try anything to get a head start. I didn’t know what I did was wrong until it was too late. Fast forward a year later, Instagram does their “Great Purge” and I lose those 2k bots anyways. I was actually HAPPY about this, because I got a clean slate and was able to let go of the embarrassment I felt for being so naive in the first place.
You’re probably thinking, “she did it once, what makes us believe she wont do it again?” Honestly, I guess you’ll never know. Chances are if you’re already thinking that, I can’t change your mind anyways and thats OK too.
Another year goes by, and throughout that year I finally started figuring things out. I start reading about algorithms and start figuring out the importance of data and ROI. Two things I related to thanks to my previous work through my old job. I was GRATEFUL that I started to learn more about these because I started applying ALL of this information into how I run my own business now. It’s given me an edge, and it feels great to be able to show your brands details and information about what you are working on with them. Especially because they can’t always get that data for themselves.
Throughout the last two years, I have grown my following in a number of ways. Those ways include: Brand Giveaways, Loop Giveaways, Shoutouts (worthless by the way) , the follow/unfollow method and commenting my ass off until I get cramps in my hands (the most painful, but most effective way).
The best way I have found to “grow fast”, is a loop giveaway. Sure, they aren’t fun to look at. Yet, Insagram’s new algorithm loves that shit and now the posts go VIRAL because they gain so many comments. Think about it, how many have you seen in your explore page recently? Over the past 6 months, I have been participating in a number of these loop giveaways. Some with major accounts and this has caused major jumps in my following. I personally gained over 20k new followers and almost 300,000 impressions in 48 hours with one (see below). This is why I can’t really blame people for assuming I bought followers or being upset with me for “getting ahead”. Truthfully I once felt the same way about others.
Thankfully, I have kept the screenshots (which I will share shortly) for most of these events, in case I ever felt like I might need to explain myself to a brand I was working with because I believe in transparency. If I’m going to preach about it, I might as well be willing to share it with you too!
Unfortunately for me, some of the people who might think I have faked my way up have decided to publicize it passively, but it’s quite plain to see. While I like to think that I have thick skin, I would be lying if I didn’t think it sucked. Some of the people who are partaking in this conversation are people who I have trusted, looked up to and even followed before I started blogging. I actually confronted one of these people and approached them as a colleague. I wasn’t upset because I completely understood why they would think that, and wanted to shared my side to be objective. Truthfully, I didn’t even find out they were talking about me until later when others told me, which made me feel a little silly.
Regardless of this, I find myself really lucky to be where I am at in both my career and my life, no matter how I have chosen to get there. You see, a year ago, something like this might have really hurt my feelings. I probably would have obsessed over it a bit. A year ago, I focussed more on what other people thought of my blog and me, more than what I thought of me. A year ago I compared my work to the work of others, I would think I was doing something wrong by not being as successful or pretty or whatever bullshit I was telling myself at the time. A year ago, I was insecure about my work. One of the best stories I can share with you goes back to when I first decided to move back to Vancouver. I emailed ALL of the bloggers that I looked up to in the city to see if they wanted to sit down and go for coffee so that I could pick their brain. I did this because I admired them. Truthfully, only Randa Salloum responded and she remains my friend to this day. I’ll never forget how grateful I was, and how nice it was of her to take the time to teach me some things.
This year, I have found inspiration in myself. Confidence in my data, my methods and my relationship with my brands. I’m still learning, and I still make mistakes, but I am loving the process and truly believe they will make me better. I have also surrounded myself with so many great people who push me positively, who help me bring out my best self. I have never been happier to be in my own shoes than I am this year. I have been able to travel the world, meet so many amazing people and have been able to connect and create projects with so many brands that I love. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.
This brings me to one of the greatest and most valuable lessons I have learned in my career.
- Don’t Give A F***. This is my number one rule for myself. Only you and how you choose to run your business, matters. No one can do your job like you do, and you can’t do your job like anyone else. Put all of the energy that you pour into comparison, into yourself. Focus on succeeding at your own goals, instead of trying to succeed based on what other people are doing or being upset that you aren’t doing them. If you want to to work with someone – ASK THEM. The worst they can do is say no, and you move on. 99% of the time it’s not personal. People will always flaw in you or your work, you can’t make everyone happy. You can only do what you can to make yourself and your brands happy.
- Be transparent/Communicate. One of the things I learned from my old boss was to over communicate. You can never assume that someone will know what you mean or what you want. I think this is just a good life rule in general. Even in friendships/relationships. Transparency plays a big part in relationships too, especially in business. Be open, honest and professional with your brands. If you want something from them, talk to them about the benefit of working together. SHOW them as much evidence of this as you can. Charge HONESTLY for your campaigns and be open to negotiating for the right fit. It helps build their trust in you as a professional. If you make a mistake or if they don’t like what you to, have some integrity and own up to it, apologize and remedy the issue.
- Work Hard. I’m sure some of you are thinking “well, did she really work hard? She gained 20k in a day”. What you don’t see is how much time I spend emailing people, creating projects and ideas and editing videos and photos for your viewing pleasure. Even if your images aren’t as good as Sincerely Jules, brands appreciate the effort and the passion you have for your work, especially when you’re doing it for them.
- Surround Yourself With Positive People. These are the types of people who will not only inspire you, but they will bring out the best in you, and that’s a great feeling.
These are the four most important lessons I have learned this year that have really helped me grow both professionally and personally. To the people that have supported me and been in my life to help bring me up, THANK YOU!