Can Influencers Be Entrepreneurs? How to Pivot and Follow Your Dream

Kylie Jenner makes over $1 million per sponsored social media post.

She is the highest-paid social media influencer to date—but she’s not alone

Non-celebrity social media influencers can make as little as $50 per post to over tens of thousands of dollars per post. 

While every influencer certainly won’t build an empire on social media, it can be a helpful tool if you have a product or service you want to sell. When you’re starting from scratch (with zero followers) how do you grow your personal brand beyond influencer status and become a true entrepreneur?

It starts with becoming an expert.


How to become an expert in your niche 

The following tips will help you develop the skills needed to be considered an expert in your field.


You need to be all in

What does it take to become a credible authority in your industry? You need to be all in. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Am I interested in this? Or am I doing this because it will please someone else or seems like a popular idea?
  • Is this something I’m willing to devote hours of my time each week to learn? 

Skills can be learned. If the passion isn’t there, however, learning, writing, and talking about this topic will soon feel like a chore.


Start sharing your knowledge

You don’t need to know it all before you share it. 

Experiment with how you share your knowledge. You can try: 

You can also keep it simple in the beginning by choosing to post regularly on one of your favorite social media platforms, including: 

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • TikTok 
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit 
  • LinkedIn


Build upon what you know

Once you’ve been posting for a while and start building followership, consider creating different types of content—the types that can help you make money part-time. Some options: 

  • Create a self-study course
  • Write an eBook
  • Host webinars
  • Offer training videos
  • Host virtual events


Becoming an influencer: 5 simple steps

Once you’ve become a recognized expert in your industry, you’re already on your way to becoming an influencer. You probably have a modest online community of followers. Now, it’s time to build upon that. Here are some steps that can help. 


1. Optimize your social media profiles

Most influencers are only popular on one or possibly two platforms. They don’t waste their time trying to engage hundreds or thousands of people on eight different social media platforms. They choose the platform that is best suited for their brand and their audience. Then, they optimize their profiles. 

Some ways to do this: 

  • Switch from a personal to a business account
  • Make sure your bio is engaging
  • Add a professional-grade profile picture
  • Add an equally professional cover photo


2. Understand your audience’s needs and wants

Your goal is not just to build your total audience numbers, but also to: 

  • Encourage engagement (likes, comments, shares)
  • Build a loyal following (people who are always on the lookout for your posts and are quick to share them with others)

To do this, you need to understand your audience. Analyzing your current base provides insights into common interests as well as demographics—both of which are important to creating content that truly engages your audience. 


3. Create relevant content—and do it often

Based on what you find out from your analysis, you can start creating relatable content. Create a social media content strategy and calendar. These tools will help you post content that your audience will love and share. 


4. Engage regularly

It’s not enough to simply post your content to social media. You’ll want to engage with your audience, too. They want to get to know you on a deeper level. Answer their questions. React to their comments. Address their concerns. Daily engagement will help your audience get to know you better, which helps build loyalty and trust. 


5. Let other brands know you’re open to collaboration

In your bio, let your audience know that you’re an influencer that is open to collaboration. Make sure you leave a link to the contact page on your website, post your email address in your bio, or let them know to send you a private message on the platform. You can also tag brands and mention them in your posts. 


How to transition into entrepreneurship

Do you feel like becoming an entrepreneur is one of your life purposes? Here’s what you can do to use your influencer status to your advantage in reaching your entrepreneurial goals. 


Use what you’ve learned as an influencer to market your business

Marianna Hewitt, the co-founder of Summer Fridays, was a beauty influencer before she decided to become an entrepreneur. In a recent interview with Vogue, she said that what she learned as an influencer has helped her market and grow her business, including: 

  • Gifting products to followers
  • Creating campaigns through the eyes of her audience


Embrace sponsorships 

You can earn money from companies when you add the following content to your social media strategy: 

  • Product placements
  • Event coverage
  • Product/company reviews


Try affiliate marketing

Another way to earn a commission through your side-gig is to use affiliate links. If there’s a product, service, or brand that you love, share that with your audience. If they want more information, share an affiliate link. If they purchase from that link, you’ll earn a commission. 


The importance of trusting your gut along the way

You can follow all the social media marketing tips and still struggle if you fail to listen to your gut. 

Your intuition will help you determine whether a certain platform is right for you, as well as what type of content you want to create for your audience. 

While what your audience wants and needs is vital, you also have to do what resonates with you, something that feels authentic to who you are as a person and who you want to be as an entrepreneur. 

When your gut is nagging you to pay attention, listen! It can help lead you in the direction that is best for you in the long term. 

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