Here’s a job title you’re probably not familiar with: Instagram influencer. It sounds fake, but the money some people make is very real. Take it from Shelcy Joseph. She makes $1,600 a month just by posting pictures.
After realizing that a career in neuroscience research wasn’t for her, Joseph decided that storytelling and the creative arts were what really interested her. She was also fascinated by the concept of human behavior and what motivates us as people. It was this combination of creativity, human interest and a passion for fashion that led Shelcy to becoming an Instagram influencer.
Aside from her regular college courses, Joseph took additional classes in fashion blogging and writing to be able to “hone her craft,” she wrote for The Penny Hoarder.
“I discovered new social media platforms that made it possible to share my love for writing and connect with people,” wrote Joseph. “That’s how I came to create mini blog posts on Instagram…Combined with my interest in photography, Instagram became my experimentation ground.”
As Joseph was discovering her voice on Instagram, she and her sister decided to start a fashion and lifestyle YouTube channel together, as well as an Instagram account that followed the sisters’ “personal styles and adventures in New York City.”
View this post on Instagram
✖️Part 3 of our 1960s series where we go back in time and think about things we've overcome ✖️Social media often does a disservice to people with dreams, making them think the road is straight and the journey's easy. But who talks about the bumps along the way? The times when you want to give up because no one seems to care. The self-doubt. The friends you lose because they aren't real supporters. These hurdles are just as relevant to the process. Times when you really have to hold onto yourself and your dreams like dear life because you're your own cheerleader. If nothing else, they build character. And when you look back, you'll remember these moments dearly because they made everything you have so much more worth it. // #nycxclotheseditorial // 📸: @travc_90z
Now, Joseph and her sister dedicate the entire weekend (and several hours during the week) to their brand. This includes editing videos, getting content at live events, modeling, scheduling posts on social media, pitching brands and bloggers for collaborations and more.
But Joseph’s work as an Instagram influencer is about more than just cool outfits in pretty locations.
“Our brand now aims to empower women to live up to their potential and do it all in style,” she writes. “We invest in the production of high-quality images and videos…to tell stories that delight our audience.”
But $20k A Year?
Joseph says she’s made, on average, $1,600 a month since July 2016, just from Instagram. And that’s after Joseph’s sister gets her cut. Part of this income comes from sponsored posts. Joseph and her sister partner with brands on Instagram in order to create these posts, taking care to pair up with brands that fit their aesthetic. They charge at least $75 per sponsored post. They also monetize their YouTube videos through Youtube’s Partner Program.
On top of this, Joseph has leveraged her popularity on Instagram in order to become a consultant to local business owners and startups. She assists companies with with image and video editing, and also helps other entrepreneurs manage their social media accounts and increase their engagement and visibility online. In the three months since starting this service, she has made about $500.
Of course, success like this isn’t a given. But if you aren’t feeling creatively challenged, or you want to experiment with different forms of income, why not give it a go?