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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming An Influencer

Trips to Fiji, loads of free products, a perfectly curated Instagram feed—yes,  influencers look like they’re constantly living their best life, and it’s created a mounting surge of those who aspire to do the same. But while it all appears to be what dreams are made of, there’s a lot that actually goes into building out your career as one. Many influencers also say that this lifestyle was never planned and something they just sort of fell into.

For those of you hoping to transform your blog or YouTube channel into a career, or make money through Instagram, here are a few things members of The InfluenceHer Collective want you to know, and wish they knew, before becoming influencers.

It can get expensive—like really expensive

“Money matters. Unfortunately, it’s hard to ‘influence’ others if you do not have some sort of a solid financial background, and that’s another thing that is never shared but is constantly shown via Instagram. To influence, you need to buy, and to buy, you need money. That’s just the way the industry works.” —Sophia Lu, @sophiahlu

“Starting a blog requires more money than the domain and hosting charge. Over the years, you’ll be spending money on antivirus software to secure your site, domain name renewals, and any camera equipment that you use for your photos—and that’s if you don’t hire someone to design your logo and site for you! It can get pricey but it’s definitely worth the investment!” —Jasmin Suknanan, @hello_jasmin

It’s very time consuming

“I have spent 40 hours a week sometimes working on posts and SEO Optimization (WHILE working 40 hours or being in school full-time) just for them to flop or not work the way I wanted. It’s been a long learning process and sometimes I wish I’d researched more in the beginning! I didn’t plan on monetizing my blog/IG the way I have when I originally started.” —Amanda Johnson, @sequinsandsales

You’ll fail, a lot, but that’s OK

“You’ll fail quite a bit. There are so many YouTube videos, blog posts, and Instagram posts that didn’t get quite the reaction I had hoped for! Figuring out what your audience needs and wants can be a lot of trial and error and take time. Don’t give up!” —Marissa Strang, @Marissa.Daily

Being yourself is a superpower

“Be authentic. It’s so important to share what make you unique with your followers. Let your personality shine through! Regardless of what you see from other influencers, it’s important to share what’s genuinely you. People can see right through you when it isn’t coming from the heart.” —Marissa Strang

“Being different is a plus, NOT a minus. Yes, there are trends and patterns amongst similar influencers, but when you allow yourself to stand out instead of trying to mask your differences, that’s when you’ll start to flourish.” —Kerry Ingram, @Glaminista08

There are skills you need that will prove to be vital

“Learn how to take blog photos of yourself! I used my boyfriend while I was in school, then I had an internship in New York and was really flustered at first. Order a tripod and teach yourself! I have a post on this as well.” —Amanda Johnson, @sequinsandsales

People might not understand or respect what you do

“Some people won’t take you seriously. Others won’t understand this job. What matters is that you love and are passionate about what you do.” —Yesica Sanchez, @yessibause

Growth on your platform is hard

“I think a lot of influencers can agree with me on this one, growing is so much harder now that everything is becoming more digital. How do you stand out amongst the hundreds and thousands of fashion bloggers and travel influencers? Are you engaging the right audience? Is your audience engaging with you? These are some questions we have to ask ourselves daily and it’s a bit embarrassing to say, but it’s been almost four years since I started, but I’m still struggling to grow. Nonetheless, I love what I do and am so so so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way.”  —Sophie Leung, @sophieeleung

You will have people recognizing you at random times

“People will recognize you when you’re out and about. Every time someone recognizes me, it always takes me by surprise! I love to meet all of my amazing followers, but sometimes I forget that I am sharing my life with such a large following. So when someone approaches me, I am always shocked.” —Kelsey Gross, @missouriprepster

Priscilla is the resident pop culture junkie at Her Campus, aka HC's Entertainment Editor. She graduated from Hofstra University ('09) where she studied journalism and founded the Ed2010 on Campus Hofstra Chapter. Before her days with Her Campus, Priscilla worked at Latina, Teen.com, InStyle, and J-14, just to name a few. She is completely obsessed with Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiatos, sobbing on Tuesday nights over This Is Us, listening to podcasts, and curling up with a good book. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat: @priscilrodrig