The life of successful influencers isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be, is it? In some cases, it can feel like you are pimping yourself out. Not the experience you were hoping for when you got into this thing. What if you didn’t have to feel cheap, sleazy, and sold-out, hawking crap you couldn’t care less about? 

The most successful influencers tend to be those who partner with brands in which they believe. When they share, it's natural and believable. Followers listen and respond with their dollars because they recognize the authenticity. They want to get the same benefits the influencer is experiencing and sharing.

The message doesn’t scream “paid advertisement.” It’s more like the influencers are sharing insider information. It feels special and exclusive – not forced or fake.

Even better, with this approach, influencers no longer come off as sad, sold-out puppets trying to make a buck. They inspire and, well…influence. (Oh yeah, that’s what you had in mind when you got into this!)

So how do you do it? Here’s how to stop playing the ineffective influencer game and start building your wealth as an entrepreneur.  

Partner with Brand Owners You Believe In

Partnering with any brand that comes your way is the fast track to becoming an impotent influencer. It seems harsh, but it's true. It's hard to influence when you come off as a walking advertisement.

It's okay to say no if you don't get a good feeling about a brand owner. Do your research and be selective. It's time to start thinking more like an entrepreneur if you want to make money like a business. 

Entertain conversations with owners who have a clear mission, solve a problem, and serve a narrow audience. It's even better if the brand has an extensive product line AND sales momentum. Why promote one product when there's an opportunity to profit from multiple products from the same line? On the other hand, if the business owner doesn't have a solid plan or well-established products, consider this a red flag. 

What should you do once you identify the right brands? We give brand owners seeking influencers the same advice we're giving you: Begin to add value to those relationships. Send a note to tell them why you love their product. Feature the product in your stories. Get your followers to like and comment. The more engagement you get, the more the brand owner will take notice.

Once you've spent some time "dating" a brand owner, it's time to take the relationship to the next level. Choose to partner with brand owners who are open to giving you an equity position once it is clear the relationship is working. When an owner sees you take the job seriously, they are more likely to take you seriously.  

“I Would Talk About This Product Even If I Weren’t Getting Paid”

The sweet spot for influencer marketing is to find products you would promote even if you weren't making a cent. So it's not like, 'okay, I have to post about this product 8x in the next week.' It's more like, 'I freaking love this product and have to tell people how amazing it is.’ 

See the difference? 

This shift is what separates “influencers” from “promoters.” The goal is for your followers to feel like they are getting exclusive, insider information from a trusted friend. 

Think for a moment about a time you purchased a product after someone mentioned it. Maybe it was a friend or family member. Maybe it was an influencer on Instagram. What made you want to buy it? 

It probably came down to a few things:

  • The product was a solution to a problem you had.
  • The person was genuine and enthusiastic about the product.
  • You wanted to get the same results from the product that this person described. 

That’s the same vibe you want to create as an influencer-entrepreneur. Your followers should feel like your friends who are getting a juicy tidbit of info that will solve a problem or enhance their lives.  

Collaborate with an Entrepreneur to Create a New Product

Not seeing any products that inspire you to share? Or maybe you are looking for a bigger payday. Consider reaching out to entrepreneurs to develop a new brand. Celebrities have already been doing this with great success. Maybe you’ve noticed a lot of big-name celebrities are launching physical product brands:

White wine from Cameron Diaz.

Gin from Ryan Reynolds. 

Tequila from George Clooney.

And it’s not just alcohol either. Actress-turned-mogul Jessica Alba made millions after starting a beauty business, The Honest Co., with entrepreneur Brian Lee. Lee also partnered with the late Kobe Bryant to launch Art of Sport and with Kim Kardashian to launch Shoe Dazzle. And Rhianna just became a billionaire - but not because of her music. It was her physical products brands that pushed her over the edge.

In nearly all cases, these celebrities make more money as entrepreneurs than they did in their original careers. 

When you create your own product, it's naturally something you can stand behind and promote with authenticity. This can translate to making far more money than you could promoting other people's brands. 

According to eMarketer’s latest social commerce forecast, U.S. social commerce sales will top $36.62 billion in 2021. That is an increase of 35.8% from 2020. The year 2020 had already seen a significant sales surge of 38.9% due to the pandemic-driven online sales boom. Seeking out a partnership to develop a product will help you to take advantage of this promising trend. No need to stand on the sidelines and watch it happen.

Entrepreneurs Are Ready to Partner with You

They’re learning to reach out to influencers and content creators who are just starting to emerge. These are the people who have closer to 10,000 followers instead of 1 million. We call this partnership “the business opportunity no one is talking about.” 

It's this kind of outside-of-the-box thinking that will help you experience a breakthrough. You can go from a basic brand sponsor to an influencer who is building a profitable business you could sell down the road for a massive payday. Instead of collecting sponsorships, you will be creating rewarding partnerships. You can leverage the relationship to build whatever business excites both partners. 

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Remember, whether you focus is on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, TikTok, or a combination, the 12 months to 1 million formula is the same: 

25 sales a day at a $30 price point gives you 1.1 million dollars in revenue. 

You don't need a following of 100,000 people. Even a few thousand or hundred followers can create tremendous sales momentum. Small audiences can be hugely impactful when you have the right relationships. 

Be the Influencer You Want to Be

Even if you’ve been successful in your influencer career, if what you’re doing feels “off” it's time for a change. You don't have to settle for the same thing everyone else is doing. Instead, think like an entrepreneur and seek out opportunities to help you run your business on your terms. Brief sponsorships are unlikely to get you where you want to go. But creating partnerships and building brands will put you on the path to financial freedom without feeling like a sell-out.