Now, although this post is geared towards bloggers/content creators, I know many people outside of this whole influencer world are curious as to how this whole thing works. So in addition to spilling the tea on how we grew my account, I also wanted to share our tips on how your S/O can also become your business partner.
So before I continue, I have to give major props to my boo for growing into a role he did not ask for. Without him, none of this would have been possible. You believed in me before I even believed in myself and for that, I love you so much! YOU DA REAL MVP, BB!
Ah, so where should we begin!?
If you’re first starting out and have no idea where to start, don’t stress, because I was there…we were there! And I’d like to preface that although I’m referring to a significant other, these tips can hold true to any helpful person in your life.
Prior to bae and I dating, I had been blogging for half a year but only shared my posts with my inner circle of about 1K friends and family on Instagram.
Although, my blog views were low, each post fulfilled me more and more. Especially when I would receive messages that people actually resonated with my content… OMG, the best feeling in the world! I also felt creatively liberated after suppressing this side of me for so long. But, it wasn’t easy, y’all! I was simultaneously just as nervous to really open myself up and remain vulnerable on this platform, I was so used to posting random sh*t, like the fortune in my cookie that came with my Panda Express meal, not paragraphs on (for example) my journey dealing with anxiety, and the like. So with each post, I felt my walls go down, little by little.
So after half-heartedly blogging for 6 months, I finally decided to publish one of my most proudest pieces to date, “Why it is Okay to be Single”. I figured, I needed to give this blogging thing a true shot and put my entire soul into my writing. Coincidentally, this was published just a few days before my now bf, asked me on our first date.
Well, the rest was history! We were inseparable! One of the things I was attracted to the most about him, was his genuine interest in my passions and blog! He complimented my work and it was clear, he had read a few reads! In fact, he had been a food blogger for a while so we shared that common interest.
As our time together grew, so did our mini roadtrips. And since he has an eye for photography and landscape, he had asked me to pose for the camera a few times. And although, I’ve always been photogenic, I felt so awkward and uncomfortable, LOL. This was brand spankin’ new! I did not want him seeing my bad angles, ugly outtakes, etc! But weekend after weekend, he had encouraged me to shake the shyness off.
After a few months in, I remember us having this serious conversation about my intentions surrounding the blog and online presence.
Bae had hyped me up and really gave me the pep talk I needed to hear. In sum, he laid out the facts. He believed in my content, my creative talent, and potential brand but in order to see real growth, I needed to give this my allll and actually share it with the world, (not just the 1K followers on my private IG account.)
He vowed that he would do everything in his power to help me grow! BUT DAMMMNN, WHAT A CRAZY, WILD, STRESSFUL, BEAUTIFUL, JOURNEY ITS BEEN!! (We legit had no idea what we were in for!!)
The Beginning of Our IG/Content Curation Journey:
For starters, we really had no effing clue what we were doing.
On 2.05.18 we decided to try out our first curated post! This was the day, I made my profile public and one year ago to the date, I can say that day/decision was the first day of the rest of my life. I know, sounds dramatic but its so true!
In my caption, I let my followers know the shift of purpose I’d decided to make for my platform. It was my way of 1) holding myself accountable for all I had set out to do, but also 2) alerting my peeps that things would begin to look different.
Bae and I began utilizing our road trips as mini shoots. Both of us gravitate towards aesthetic photography so we just began to take shots that felt whimsical and pleasing to the eye!
At that point, what became equally important was learning/figuring out what editing software/style we liked. Bae introduced me to Adobe Lightroom and together, we learned the ins and outs of the program. I truly believe in creating a cohesive Insta feed through your editing but, at the beginning, it’ll likely take you some time to know what that exactly will look like. You can try out cool or warm toned photos, colorful, black and white, etc. Some people buy presets from other creators to slap onto their every photo or you can go our route and create your own presets; either or!
But this photographer/subject relationship is the hardest part! At first, I felt awkward telling bae that I did not like a photo. But now, let me tell y’all, she does not hold back! Haha, ugh!
In the beginning, it’ll take you some time to develop a trusting relationship with your partner/photographer. Especially if your partner does not come from an artistic background, YOU WILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. DON’T ASSUME. Even though bae enjoyed taking photos before, ya girl required a whole new level of expertise! SO, YOU WILL NEED TO TEACH HIM!
If you don’t know exactly what this is: I would suggest coming up with a mood board and showing your partner. What niche are you wanting to dabble into? Fashion, Lifestyle, Beauty, Fitness, Travel, etc… the possibilities are endless and with trial and error, you will find yourself gravitating towards one over the other.
So we decided to shoot every weekend at cool locations with some cool outfits that I had in my closet. In the meantime, I began engaging with accounts I found on my explore page and tried to build relationships via DMs with other aspiring content curators/bloggers.
Almost two months later, I landed my first collab. Now, this was the dopest feeling because it made us feel like we had been doing something right.
But with this, also came the pressures to provide service/quality to brands outside of the one we were trying to build for our own. The bar of expectations were now raised and bae felt that. (Well the relationship did! Will elaborate in a bit)
Road to 10k:
As time passed, I began connecting with soooo many like-minded people! I decided to use the same unfiltered/authentic voice that I spoke in in my blog posts but now in my work over on IG. The more I did this, the more I felt like I was resonating with others. Like actualllly making an impact in someone else’s life, no better feeling! A couple months in, (still figuring out what the heck I was doing) a girl had confided in me in that her random stumbling across my content the night before, actually saved her from hurting herself. I was taken aback. That conversation really moved me. What good would it be to just post photos? I needed to provide real relatable substance to those who came across my content. I began to feel like this was God’s way of telling me I was heading down the right path…that this was the purpose he had intended for me to live out. That 1 heavy, genuine message, turned into at times 120+ a day. I truly felt so incredibly blessed that my words and photos actually meant something to so many souls!
BUT. All of this correspondence takes time! SOOOO MUCH TIME!
And if you’re in a relationship, this is time away from the relationship!
We struggled with finding this balance for such a long period! This, I’d say is this second hardest part about being business partners with your S/O! It’s really about finding that right balance. But in order for this to work out, your partner must be truly understanding of the hard work this whole thing takes. But in order for your partner to truly understand this world, you must introduce him to it. Show him your stats, explain the pros and cons of this industry, what your intentions are for the passion and if then your partner is willing and all in, here are…
Ways your partner can support:
- Take his role seriously:
- Bae and I are celebrating today as OUR 1 year IG anniversary. The brand of “Jasmin Vanessa” has two heads behind it. He takes pride in all his efforts surrounding my IG, because he has also put his heart and soul into it! AND HE’S SEEN THE BENEFITS! We’ve been blessed enough to BOTH reap the benefits of complementary stays, dinners, amazing experiences, the opportunity to connect with so many people, creating amazing works of art, and just simply sharing each little milestone together. If your man is talking crap about your passions, thank you, next! LOL JK… But seriously, your S/O may need some convincing, and thats totally okay! I suggest sharing your vision in its full potential! Map it out, create a powerpoint, buy him dinner on shoot days, just whatever you need to get them fully on board. Because at the end of the day, this is a career, and in just one year from now, your life may very well look 100% different! I know yours, does!
- Understand the dynamics in turning your IG account into a business.
- Read business articles, study other content curators, watch YouTube vids, etc.
- Master an editing software:
- + assist with edits
- Bae and I worked together to create our own presets (which we hope to release in the near future)
- First, learn your preferred style of photography:
- And show him! Practice makes perfect!
- Be your photographer.
- THIS can be the trickiest part! We allll know how bratty we can get when we’ve been photographed in an unflattering angle! And sometimes if a friend takes a shot, we’ll joke or mask our frustration. But when it comes to family members or S/O, most of us will say it as it is. I saw a meme recently that said: *Me after my man takes my photo, “Ew, I hate this photo!!” *Him to me: “What do you want me to do about it, thats how you look!!” HAHA. Some days will be easier than others but I def think this is an art form that can take years to master. I mean it makes sense considering, we as the influencer have a creative concept in mind and we are just hoping our partner can evoke that on the other side of the lens. It really is a symbiotic relationship that requires time and patience. What has helped us is positioning bae in the perspective I’d want him to shoot me in, I take the photo on my phone and he’ll study it and then refer back to cross reference while shooting me on his camera or phone.
- Be the listening ear you’ll need.
- If your partner is out of the loop, the complaints or frustrations you have about this platform, will sound so ridiculous. But if your partner is as invested and knowledgeable in this as you are, they will not only be understanding but actually have the capacity to provide you insight, morale boosters, and hopefully constructive criticism.
- Give honest feedback:
- I am such an indecisive person but having that reassurance or difference in opinion means everything to me!
- I live for constructive criticism. I always want to know the areas I could improve on for the next time, so having that outsider perspective can really shape and mold your brand into something even greater.
- Assist in emailing brands:
- Once you are at a point where you are working with brands, email correspondence can feel overwhelming. Especially when you are constantly negotiating your rates, getting campaign approvals, or just planning out your sponsored content for the month.
- This is where you will make your money, so having your partner knowledgable in the business side of things can be a hugee help!
Today, one year later:
02.05.19. We are still wrapping our heads around this all! Just a little over a year ago, I knew I was called to do something more. God was tugging on my heart to ACT but I was just so scared to take that next step. I almost allowed fear of critique and the unknown to block me from one of the biggest blessings God had waiting for me. I truly believe if something is tugging at your heart and it scares TF out of you, it is not random, it is what you were called to do! I am so entirely grateful for every single soul who I’ve connected with this past year. And all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Y’all have pushed me to become openly vulnerable, true to my authentic self, and just overall a better freaking person and I thank y’all for giving me so so much in such a short amount of time! I wake up every single day with the intent to create aesthetically pleasing content but most importantly, content that is of substance and content that will somehow shake up and challenge my little community for the better! Love y’all and thank you bae, for everything! I hope I can give just as much to y’all, as you have given me! XOXO