What It's About
A Texas blogger masters Instagram and monetizes her weekly excursions!
Words of Wisdom
If you’re looking into social media influencing as a side hustle, Jessica says:
Start by thinking about what you can offer to your potential audience, and what makes you, and your content, unique. And not just that—be as specific as possible. If you want to talk about fashion, think of something within that market that isn’t already supersaturated—maybe make your channel all about fashion in really bright colors or all about scarves. And once you narrow it down, stick to it and try not to get off base.
Named for a character in a Russian novel, Marfa, Texas, is a small desert town in the southwest part of Texas with about 2,100 residents. What it lacks in population density, it makes up for in hipster cred. The tiny town has been featured in The New York Times approximately 12 times, and the art scene has made a splash on NPR, too. Marfa-llous.
Notes from Chris
You may have seen social media influencers on your Instagram or Snapchat feeds, or at least heard about people getting paid to post about brands on their social accounts. But if you’ve ever wondered what it takes, or how to begin your own influencer side hustle, you’re not alone! Jessica Serna in Dallas, Texas wondered the same thing… so she figured it out. Jessica loved her 9-to-5 job working as a recruiter for a local non-profit organization, but whenever she wasn’t at work, you could find her on a road trip, traveling to a new city or town for the weekend. If it was driving distance from her home in Dallas, she would be there. Soon, she developed a knack for finding interesting places to visit in Texas and figured out all the tricks to staying fashionable in the blistering heat and humidity that the state is famous for. As she made the most of her time outside the office, and her Instagram feed became filled with pictures from her travels, people started asking her for recommendations and places to try. She slowly started to build a following, but it wasn’t until a brand offered her some money to promote their product that it really clicked. Maybe she could make money from her social media following while doing something she loved—sharing new places and things with people. Social media influencing was completely new territory for Jessica, but she felt that she was up for the challenge. She spent a weekend at her desk for a change of pace and created a basic Wordpress website to house her new travel posts and images, and kept the name simple and to the point—My Curly Adventures. The name was partially inspired by her wanderlust, and partially because, as a woman with curly hair, she was never immune to the challenges that Texan humidity posed to her hair. After her website went live, Jessica’s following began to grow even more. It turns out that her idea to focus on a specific niche, traveling in Texas, was a hit! And with this increase in her following came incoming brand promotion offers. Since her first paid promotion, Jessica has had the chance to attend special events in different cities, try interesting and unique products, eat at amazing restaurants, and visit new destinations—all either for free or paid for her efforts. In Jessica’s words, “It's a life I never imagined, and every day I can't believe I actually get paid for this.” It took Jessica a year, and a lot of travel, to build her following into a social media influencer side hustle, but now she has over twenty-two thousand followers. In her opinion, it was well worth all those long weekend trips, fantastic meals, and hours spent editing photos—especially now that she’s been able to move from side to full-time hustle. The added bonus? Now her favorite things—traveling and new experiences—come to her either paid or absolutely free. With the upgrade to her main focus, My Curly Adventures is set to create even more content (and Jessica can take even more trips) as she finds interesting new ways to share ideas and locations with her followers. Jessica is her own mane advocate, and the combing attractions over are sure to look interesting!
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- My Curly Adventures: See what kind of adventures Jessica is having over on her blog and Instagram!
- Influence & Co., Markerly, & Statusphere: Some third-party platforms and/or agencies that connect potential influencers with brands
- Bikini Model Creates Multi-Million Swimsuit Line: A swimsuit model uses industry connections and social media savvy to launch a high-end shopping site taking on major swimwear companies from the beaches of Miami
- Travel Blogger Gets Paid via Pinterest and Guidebooks: A nomadic employee writes a guidebook about Iceland and earns $10,000 after promoting it on Pinterest
- Avid Travelers Turn Finding Deals Into Vacation Planning Side Income: A couple in Washington, D.C. convert their passion for travel into a side hustle planning all-inclusive surprise vacations for those who lack the time to do it themselves
- Communications Teacher Turns Love of Journaling Into Etsy Shop: In her search for a side hustle, this college communications instructor turns to her love of journaling. She then learns to manufacture a custom product from overseas and sell it back at home
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