Getting Over “Influencer Embarrassment”

It’s been a hot minute since my last post! I could use my baby as an excuse but to be completely honest, I just need to figure out how to better manage my time – #momstruggle. I was actually starting to feel a little sorry for myself that I haven’t been able to grow this insta/blogger thing for the past few months. Along that same train of thought, I started thinking about all the little road blocks that sometimes stop me from posting. One of them is influencer embarrassment.

I’m sure (I hope) I’m not alone. I think most of us understand the appeal of becoming an instagram influencer/ blogger. Social media is something you probably already do, so if you can make money at it why not? We all see those insta famous people living their best lives getting alll the free stuff and who doesn’t want that too? But when it actually comes to pursuing a career path in influencership (yep, just made that word up), it’s hard not to get hung up on what other people think.

Just the word, “influencer” can be embarrassing. I personally hate that word. Telling someone “I’m an influencer,” feels like I’m saying, “I’m kind of a big deal,” which sounds incredibly selfish and narcissistic. And that right there is probably the biggest hang up. I don’t want to come across that way to people. And I especially don’t want to come across that way when I don’t even have a large following to legitimize it.

Another big hang up is picture taking. Obviously, you need pictures for this business. More specifically, pictures of yourself. Again, this feels incredibly narcissistic and therefor embarrassing. It is especially embarrassing if you’ve been in situations where you didn’t have a photographer to shoot with and resorted to a tripod and camera clicker. I’ve been in those situations plenty O times! Along the same lines, talking to your phone to record an instagram story in public feels awkward AF. But to be completely honest, there is a level of vanity in this job that’s just unavoidable and that you’re going to have to get past. That’s why I believe it works to your advantage to just be as real and true to yourself as possible.

Lastly, enduring the jokes and judgement from family, friends, or just plain old strangers can be enough to make you quit. Even if they haven’t said anything to your face yet, you can still see the judgment in their eyes or think you have an idea of the thoughts in their head. But I’m going to stop you right there and give this little tip. Always give the benefit of the doubt that if someone hasn’t said something judgmental to you directly, just assume they’re not thinking it, because they’re probably not. It’s a lot easier to go through life this way in general.

The embarrassment factor is almost enough to make you give up. It’s definitely made me hesitant to create content many times. But if there’s any single piece of advice I can give, it’s this: Just don’t give up. Cliché, but its valuable. As long as you don’t give up, the embarrassment hasn’t won. Take breaks and start small, but don’t give up. Here are some other things you can do along the way to help get over influencer embarrassment:

(By the way, as much as I’m writing this blog post for you, I’m writing it for myself. I constantly need to remind myself of these things)

Everyone started somewhere

You might feel that growing your following to a “legitimizing” high number seems so unobtainable that it isn’t worth continuing – because, “who cares about my tiny opinion?” It’s easy to get down on yourself and get stuck thinking you’re just a wanna be (just me?) when your “influence” seems so insignificant in such a saturated space. But take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Take comfort in the fact that everyone started somewhere. As much as we want overnight success, it usually doesn’t happen like that. Yes, there are some lucky peeps out there that had viral growth but for most, it took time. Years even. Even Danielle from @weworewhat started with 0. Before writing this post, I even thought, “Who wants to read this from someone who only has 1,500 followers on instagram?” – I’m still in the works, and I have to start somewhere, but I’m not giving up.

Unfollow. STOP Comparing. Focus on you.

This is a hard one. It kinda ties into the first point, and I am so guilty of this. How can you not compare when you’re literally scrolling through photos of other people who have achieved the very thing you’re trying to do? If your embarrassment stems from a little thought in your head saying, “Who do I think I am, I can’t do it the way _____ does it,” you gotta stop. First I would say to work on correcting yourself to feel inspired, rather than jealous, but it’s not always that easy. Know yourself, and recognize when those jealous thoughts repeatedly come into your head and take action. Lovingly unfollow accounts that make you think this way. I say lovingly because it doesn’t have to be permanent and it doesn’t mean you hate that person. Go back and follow them you’re ready, but in the meantime, focus on you. Everyone always says authenticity is how you make it in this industry. How are you supposed to do that if you’re always comparing? Be you, not them.

Create an Alter Ego and Have a Sense of Humor

Sounds silly, and maybe even more embarrassing, but I personally think it helps. Somehow, I have an easier time talking about my influencer gig to family and friends when I refer to Suburban Mango as a different person. I usually get a laugh out of it, and I’m not embarrassed because I feel like I’m poking fun at someone else. Ultimately, I guess I am making fun of myself, but you need to have some sense of humor. Example:

“The Suburban Mango is ready for her next close up…Can you take my pic!?”

*Everyone laughs*

*They take the picture*

*We all move on*

Find Community

This is something I’m constantly working on. Embarrassment hurts less when you have someone to be embarrassed with. It’s such a relief when you have people to confide in who are in the same boat as you and who have the same struggles. Not to mention, they are less judgy at taking your pics (lol). There are plenty of ways to go about finding a blogger community. They don’t even have to be people you’ve met before. Join blogger facebook groups (I like Blogger & Biz Babes), Look up your city’s hashtag and find bloggers in your city. Chances are, they want to connect too. I’ve even used Bumble BFF before.

Resources

I think the opposite of embarrassment might just be confidence. And what better way to feel confident, than to know what you’re doing. I found that actively trying to learn about this industry and educate myself on methods of improvement boosted my confidence and got me inspired to go out and attack this influencer thing. They say knowledge is power, and it really is. There are lots of resources out there just a google search away, but there’s one that I really find invaluable and that is Julie Solomon’s podcast titled The Influencer Podcast. You guys, it is SSSOOO good. And I wasn’t paid to name drop her or anything, I just sincerely found her so helpful. Specifically, episode 2 with Jennifer Puno. The influencer podcast is a great place to start if you want to learn more about turning this whole influencer thing into a business. She has lots of great interviews with other influencers and entrepreneurs which you can branch off of for more resources.

Think of it as a Business

In the end, I think it helps to think of this influencer thing as an entrepreneurial business instead of some sort of popularity contest. Not many people really find a career their passionate about or even one that correlates with their college degree so if this is something you have fun doing and you can make a buck doing it, why the F not!? You do you boo boo and don’t be sorry…or embarrassed!

The End

So there you have it. I hope someone out there reading this can relate even just a little bit. As I mentioned before, I’m mostly writing this post for myself!