GOING FULL TIME
There is a feeling in the influencer industry that turning your blog into a full time profession is a benchmark of success, but this isn’t always the case. Some incredibly established bloggers never “go full time” and it’s not something that’s right for everyone.
It's not all parties, photo taking and brunching and we see a huge number of influencers doing this a little earlier than we’d advise so here are our top indicators on when you should consider it as a career option:
It’s all about the numbers, but perhaps not the ones you expect. Admittedly some brands won’t work with an influencer unless they have a certain number of Instagram followers or unique users on their blog (as a rough benchmark it’s often 25,000 Instagram followers and 15,000 unique users) but it varies. You need to be able to produce compelling examples where you can show brands (and yourself) that you are worth working with; that you “convert” for them in the way they expect in line with the fee you command.
We’d suggest having such examples for sales (the number of products you sell as a result of your promotion) and user gathering (the number of people you attract to the brand as a result of working with them). Put these examples together in a PDF format and have them ready to go alongside your media pack whenever you approach a brand.
Not being up to date on marketing benchmarking tools; Google Analytics, social media platform demographics, SimilarWeb or affiliate network statistics is not only unwise, but unacceptable and could well result you in being disregarding from campaigns.
Consider the Competition
This is often the hardest aspect because you need to remove your head from your heart and take a solid look at the market. Ask yourself, what are you representing in the social media space and how many of you are there saying the same thing? In order to be regularly taken on by brands you need to offer something compelling. So make sure that you know you stand out.
Consider how much your current full time job makes you attractive to your following. For example, if you are a vet, what percentage of followers engage with your content because you regularly post images of cute animals? Would they stay with you if you stopped doing that? Equally, consider how much your following is around the life stage you are at. Perhaps you are preparing a wedding and people are using your content to inspire their own. Once your big day is over, will they continue to follow you?
Are You Cut Out For Self Employment?
This is a question so few consider. Working for yourself, regardless of the profession, can be tough and doesn't suit everyone. Ask yourself these questions and answer them truthfully:
How much do you rely on working as part of a team?
How do you cope with working alone in a workspace?
How good are you at focussing if you're working from home?
What skills do you have by yourself, rather than collectively as part of your current team?
Can you handle stress well?
Will the people you need to function well in a role still be available?
Can You Afford It?
Once you’ve assessed the above here comes the big question: can you afford to do this? We suggest looking at the last 3 months takings from your blog (don’t forget to include affiliate network earnings) and consider if you could live off just that.
Don’t do the “If I had more time to devote to it, I’d be able to draw in more money” – the risk isn’t worth it and you only have to look at the countless number of influencers currently taking on work they don’t want, from brands they don’t like, to see we’re right about this.
Also look at the projected earnings you have confirmed for the next 3 months which together with some savings mean you’d survive for the immediate future. We advise influencers to have a pot of funds to cover their expenses for at least a couple of months before giving up the day job.
Hire an Accountant
Influencer marketing is being held under the microscope by the HMRC (UK taxation body) and expects all influencers to know the rules. These often change, so we’d recommend hiring someone to manage your taxes, VAT payments (if applicable) and corporation taxes.
An accountant can also correctly steer you towards what expenses are reasonable: eg the amount of your rent/mortgage you offset as “office space” and whether clothing, travel and IT equipment are tax deductible. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to operate as a business owner (where your company, your blog, pays you a salary) or a sole trader (where you work on behalf of others; the brands you partner with).
An accountant can also look at previous takings and give you an honest and impartial take on whether or not going full time is an option; considering mandatory all factors such as the amount you spend on living.
Consider an Agent
At One Roof Social we’re often wary of advising influencers of hiring an agent, but there are some exceptions. Remember that talent agencies often focus on incoming work rather than as business developers working around the clock to find you new partnerships so bear in mind that your earnings may in fact go down when you first hire one as they’ll take a percentage of the work you have brought in to start with.
We recommend choosing an agent if you have the following issues:
The administration behind your collaborations is hindering the amount of time you can dedicate to creating content
You are inexperienced or have a poor ability to negotiate or manage administration
You are unable to reply to emails quickly (especially relevant, ironically, for those who are employed outside of their influencer work) and are missing out on work as a result
Remember that an agent often works around 20% If you do not feel you need an agent to take 20% of your workload, or perhaps your current agent isn’t working to that proportion split (use your previous 3 months work as an indicator) then it may not be the time to sign up with one.
We hope all of this helps you make the decision!