Being an influencer is not for everyone. It’s much more difficult than it looks to be an influencer, and it takes a lot of time. When you’re an influencer, it isn’t like a 9 to 5 job.
You are always the influencer, and, therefore, you are always your brand. So, I have compiled a list of reasons why some people probably shouldn’t be influencers. You may thank me later.
1. You WILL be criticized.
You probably already know that being an influencer means you are open to a lot of criticism, but you might not know the extent of the criticism you could get. Some people will dislike you (and let you know), and I’m sure you know to expect this. But very rude people known as trolls are everywhere, and you’re not immune to them.
Trolls will take the idea of dislike for you and RUN with it. They will find anything about you to insult–whether it’s your appearance or how you caption your posts. Their goal is often just to have fun, but their words are hurtful. Not only might they exaggerate a lot of things about you that you’re insecure about.
They might also say inappropriate things to you or about you and spread rumors. Rumors can cause you to be “canceled” by your fans. Preparing for and getting used to this is going to be hard, so decide if it’s worth it or if it will break your fragile self-esteem.
2. It takes a long time to gain an audience.
Trust me, it’s going to feel like forever. If you’re really in this business to share something you’re passionate about, you’ll be willing to wait for a following to build gradually.
It often takes years before an influencer goes viral, so my advice is this: If you’re producing content you want to see, there will be people who want to see the same type of thing. But don’t be an influencer if it isn’t fun for you, because you may not ever become “big.”
There are pros and cons to becoming an influencer. But if being an influencer is something you like to do–famous or not famous– you will gain intrinsic satisfaction from putting work into it.
3. You may compare yourself to others a lot.
If you’re prone to envy others for having seemingly more perfect lives than yours, being an influencer may not help you with this. Not only does being an influencer mean that you’re constantly in competition with those “perfect” Instagram accounts. It also means you would be encouraging people to envy you in the same way you envy others. Would you wish the green-eyed monster on anyone else?
I know it can feel like a success when suddenly everyone is jealous of you, but you’ll find that those who envy you aren’t really your true friends. Knowing who your true friends are getting harder the more famous you get. Getting to know what it is actually like to be an influencer is extremely important when considering this career path.
4. You won’t earn a living right away.
Don’t quit your day job (yet). It takes a LOT of time for an influencer’s brand to get going and start making any money at all. You often have to gain sponsorships from brands or continue trying to get more followers in order to get more money from being an influencer. Don’t expect to make a living when you’re just starting out.
Make sure you weigh your options, maybe you’ll discover something about being an influencer that you weren’t previously aware of. Keep going, and maybe (maybe!) you’ll eventually have the tools to make a living as a full-time influencer.
5. You can’t just “be trendy” and expect the world.
Like I’ve said a few times already, you have to love what you do, or none of this is going to feel like it’s worth your time. Consider why you want to be an influencer in the first place. Is it for the wrong reason?
If you’re doing it to be a trendy person, you’ll soon find that trends change quickly and are hard to keep up with. Reliance on trends isn’t solid enough ground for your business to stand on. Know the difference between being an influencer and having an influence, a successful influencer is timeless.
6. You can’t just call yourself an“influencer.”
In fact, stay away from the word entirely. To be an influencer, you have to work hard to actually be influential. You wouldn’t automatically trust or follow someone just because they say they’re an “influencer.”
You’d follow them because they care about their focus on an engaging topic and because they love and appreciate their audience. According to Medium.com, “If you call yourself an influencer, you’re missing the fundamental principle of what makes someone influential.”
7. It’s NOT “easy.”
It takes WAY more work than one might think to always look “put-together” and have a nice Instagram theme. Not only do you have to be a constant presence on social media and always have to keep producing content so you’re fans don’t get bored.
You also have to continue gaining followers as you do all this, as I mentioned in #2. The road to becoming an influencer is harder than it seems to be.
8. If you are an influencer, you WILL influence people.
You will be an influence to others. Be careful what you do, because many fans will imitate what you do in an attempt to be more like you. If you’re a person who doesn’t like to “keep up appearances,” being an influencer is probably the farthest thing from the perfect career for you.
Depending on your target audience, you have to decide at the beginning who that audience will be and how tame you’re going to be in your content. Once you’ve decided, you don’t have much wiggle room in terms of becoming more “edgy.”
To be a success as an influencer, you pretty much need to be set in your ways and know who you are. Sure, there is a creative room in influencing, but you have to know that any new things you come up with will be entertaining to your target demographic. To be an influencer is to embrace constantly thinking about what others think about you. It’s allowing others to watch your every move.
You don’t have to be perfect to be an influencer, but you do have to seem perfect pretty much all the time. So, especially if you’re a perfectionist and/or a private person, having a career as an influencer is probably not the perfect job for you.
Elisabeth Chase is a photographer, student, and writer who is passionate about blogging. Through her writing, she hopes to help others learn how to blog and share what they love with the world.