Before I get started on this post, it’s important that you know I love my job. Being able to work creatively to my own rules is something I wouldn’t trade for the world, and the benefits outweigh the cons for me. I definitely don’t take this opportunity for granted. However, just like any other job, there are down sides to being an influencer (I hate that word, but it seems to be used a lot now). Here are some of the things that have gotten me down at one point or another.
Unlimited work hours
When you are a self-employed Instagrammer/Influencer, no one tells you to go home at 5pm. Sometimes this means you can take some time off and enjoy the finer things in life. At other times it means you work into the night to meet deadlines. Aaron sometimes requests that I stop working and pay him attention. I hate that he has to ask, but I’m glad he does, because sometimes I just don’t see it.
Associating your profile with your self-worth
As I run a lifestyle account, in many ways I am my own brand. If I upset my followers, disagree with a client or my engagement drops (although I do everything in my power to avoid these situations), it’s hard not to feel personally flawed. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you have a good support group you can talk to. I am part of a message group with some other Bristol-based influencers. We pour our hearts out to each other and pick each other up if we need it.
This seems to be a common thread among the self-employed. I generally invoice my clients on 30-day payment terms. Sometimes it will be otherwise stated in the contract, and there’s nothing that can be done about that. If a client has 60-day payment terms and I can’t invoice until I have posted the content, it can take up to four months to be paid for a job, assuming the payment comes through on time. Unfortunately, I have to chase late payments more often than not. However, there are some agencies that pay instantly or within a week. Sometimes these make the world of difference to paying the bills.
Maintaining a creative outlet
For me, Instagram began as a creative outlet. It was (is?) a place where I could escape some of the realities of life. I completely immersed myself in it after a family bereavement, and it helped me carry on. When monetisation came into the picture, some of that control was taken away. When working to a brief, you have to fulfil what the client wants. I post once a day. Sometimes, if I’m posting for a client, I will feel an overwhelming sense of frustration because I don’t have my creative outlet and sense of control for that day. Couple this with lowered engagement and the self-worth problem, and it’s all the more intense. It might sound trivial, but it feels real.
The best way to deal with this problem in my experience is to head out with my camera and my dog, and think about why I started. Quite simply – take photos and focus on nothing else.
The problem of perfectionism definitely comes down to personality. Though I can’t help but feel that those drawn to curating an Instagram account have a perfectionist streak. On the one hand, perfectionism allows you to craft a well-curated feed with a consistent style. On the other hand, it can become obsessive and critical. It’s like there is a little voice in my head that continuously says, try harder, post better photos, look better, dress better, get more followers, yada yada yada. It’s about learning how to tell that voice to put a sock in it.
Networking vs introversion
I wasn’t really sure what to call this problem, nor was I sure if it will apply to everyone. For the more extroverted, it might actually be a positive. For me, a highly sensitive Queen of introversion, it can become draining. Of course there are times when I enjoy meeting like-minded people. It can be a great source of joy and inspiration. However, there are times when I struggle. Part of the job involves attending workshops, events, press parties and press trips. Usually there is travel involved too. I’ve been known to tire myself out worrying on the journey, and then exhaust myself from socialising too hard. I can become so frazzled that I develop a creative block, and need to rest myself back into creativity.
I also wonder, are introverts more attracted to Instagram? The solitary act of creating lifestyle photos, paired with socialising online definitely appealed to me. It just sometimes becomes paradoxical in the real-life networking that follows.
Those points pretty much summarise the woes of being an influencer for me. As I said at the beginning, in spite of them all I’m still here, and I adore what I do. If I told you the things I like about my job, this post would be notably longer. Maybe I will do just that. For now, would you add anything to this list? Or do you have any advice for dealing with the problems? I would love to know.
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