Fashion

A Step-By-Step Guide On How I Monetize Through Sponsored Instagram & Blog Posts

LaBreaTarPits-1.jpg

"Wait, you can make money through blogging?"

Yes.

"You do this for living?"

Yes.

"Wait, so this is your full-time job?!"

Uh, so how many times do I have to tell you "yes" for you to actually believe me?! Yes, yes, and yes!

LaBreaTarPits-9.jpg

Photography By:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz) from www.sharinaone.com

Hairstylist:
Lyssa (@hairbylyssa_)


Outfit Details:
Top: Free People
Pants: Kut From The Kloth
Shoes: Zooshoo

Flowers: The Bouqs Co.
Purse: StyleWe


LaBreaTarPits-14.jpg

And yep, that pretty much summarizes a typical conversation that I have with various people when they ask me about my career as a full-time blogger - I kid you not. Since this is such a popular topic that I'm frequently asked about by both peers and strangers, I wanted to shine a little insight regarding how I monetize through my Instagram and blog. This blog post is meant to HELP and ENCOURAGE those of you who are interested in monetizing your Instagram or blog on a professional level. It's definitely a possible feat to turn blogging into your full-time career, but you have to remember that it's not all fun and games like you may think - I'll get to that story in the next paragraph.

First off, let me make one thing very clear. If you're not willing to put in the heart and the hustle or if you prioritize feelings of instant gratification over long-term results, you're better off finding a different job than pursuing full-time blogging. In contrast to society's popular belief, blogging is NOT easy, nor is it fun all the damn time. Like with any other job, there comes responsibilities, deadlines, and tasks that you must complete within a certain time frame. At the end of the day, only a few can really survive this super saturated and competitive industry because they have the ambition and determination to make things work when the results aren't showing up quick enough.

If the previous paragraph didn't scare you off already, then let's get started with this detailed step-by-step guide on how I personally monetize through Instagram and blogging! This post was created to show you how I feed my bank account every month all the while encouraging you passionate creatives to make Instagram and blogging your next part-time or full-time hustle if you're ready for the challenge! Ready, set, let's go!


LaBreaTarPits-5.jpg

1. Approach companies with a mutually beneficial proposal.

As an active fashion and lifestyle blogger for three years and counting, I've grown and seen it all. I've witnessed bloggers reach out to companies, only to put themselves first as a priority and not giving a crap about the companies. So ask yourself this - why would companies want to work with someone who is selfish about their own needs? Exactly.

First and foremost, you should work with a company because you actually admire and support their work or mission statement and not because you want to make it rain in dollar bills or products. You'll learn sooner or later that working with incompatible companies will bite you in the ass later, as they may want to create a long-term partnership with you. Eventually, this incompatible long-term partnership will end up jeopardizing your brand name if your aesthetics and style don't align well with this company.

If I ever reach out to a company, it's because I truly WANT to work with this company and I WANT to create content that will help better their brand image and marketing. Also, I make sure to approach the company in a very friendly and professional manner, share a little bit of background information about myself, my analytics and media kit, and what services I can offer to them.

When a company sees that you truly care about their brand mission, they are more likely willing to work with you. However, if you talk to a company in a way where you look like you'd work with just about anybody, you come across as a complete turn-off and you're more likely to experience a higher rejection rate.

Long story short, work with companies who only add value to your brand and personality, and vice versa.


2. In your proposal, create package deals that a company can choose from.

When you dine in at a restaurant, you always want to look at the menu for various options to choose from, right? The same goes with collaboration proposals. Companies enjoy seeing what you have to offer, why you offer these select services, and how your services will benefit their brand.

Personally, I enjoy creating 1-5 package deals ranging from sponsored Instagram posts to Instastory features to Instagram and Facebook giveaways to YouTube videos and more. The possibilities are endless, so be sure to get creative with it and provide them with a few project ideas to choose from!


3. Send me a contract or it didn't happen.

You know the saying, "pics or it didn't happen". The same shit applies here. Contracts are a MUST when it comes to paid collaborations, or any collaboration in general. A formal written agreement ensures that no party screw the other over, whether it's the company or the influencer who's not keeping their word.

With that being said, let me share a previous story of how a company tried to take advantage of my work due to the absence of a contract. We exchanged emails going over various prices and collaboration ideas. Because I didn't have a contract, he "argued" that he didn't understand the collaboration agreement and that I should post for their company for free. In other words, any collaboration without a contract agreement can lead to total manipulation. Eventually, I ended up getting paid for my work, but it took a lot of unnecessary back-and-forth emails that I could have avoided if we had a signed contract to begin with.

Honestly, don't make your contract look like complete shit, but it doesn't have to look like a presidential document either. Below, I've included a few important points that you should include in your contract:

  • what services you will be offering to the client
  • the price of the services you offer (if applicable) & method of payment
  • the payment amount (if applicable)
  • the deadline of the collaboration
  • your business name and the client's business name (don't forget SIGNATURES and DATES!)

After signing under the dotted line, your collaboration is sealed. You're welcome.


4. Follow-ups are important!

Following up with a company after publishing a sponsored post is as important as following up after a job interview. Whenever I publish a sponsored post, I email the client right away with the respective links of my posts and confirm with them when the payment will process. And don't be afraid to ask for payment - you're doing your fair share of the work so you deserve to be paid! Also, if a client doesn't get back to you in a few days, follow up again! I've learned that a lot of employees just happen to be on business trips or experience a "lost in the mail" moment, but most of the ones that I've followed up with truly appreciate the gesture!


5. Establishing a long-term relationship with the company (if desired).

If this is the type of company where a long-term relationship can be fostered, I would almost always jump at the opportunity to create a strong connection with a company that I wholeheartedly support. However, you have to make sure that continuing a (monthly) collaboration also has to make sense on the company's terms. If you're promoting a winter wear company, it would only make sense to promote this client during the winter and not during the summer, right? All in all, the time/season and frequency that you partner with a company truly matters and may negatively affect the reputation of your brand if done incorrectly.

If you had a great time working with a company (I mean at least I hope you did!), be sure to share this positive note with them! Tell the company how much you enjoyed working with them and if they'd be interested in a long-term partnership. If anything, the worst they can do is turn you down or postpone a potential collaboration to a later date in the future. Whenever I am able to work with a company more than once, it brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart because it makes me realize that I've built a professional and genuine relationship with the client all the while staying true to myself and my brand name.


The last topic I wanted to discuss was the use of the popular hashtags #sponsored or #ad.

A question I get asked frequently by both followers and influencers is...

"Are you getting paid if you add #sponsored or #ad at the end of your caption?"

The answer is yes and no. I'll go over more precise details of when to use these hashtags below based on my personal experience.

When to use #sponsored & #ad:

1) Campaign Guidelines
You must hashtag #sponsored or #ad if a brand's campaign guidelines specify that you must include these hashtags on your social media posts. It doesn't matter if the campaign is paid or not; if it's specified, you have to use it.

2) Receiving payment from a client.
Even if the client does not tell you to do so, just include one of the above hashtags yourself. It's like putting your name on the top right hand corner of your assignment - it should be naturally done. Also, if I heard correctly, I believe it is against the law to not include one of these hashtags if you're being paid for a sponsored post. If you're getting paid for your post, do remember to include #ad or #sponsored at the end of your caption. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!


Whew, now that was a mouthful of the financial side of my career in one post! If you guys enjoy reading more informative and finance related posts like these, please click the heart button at the bottom of this post and leave a comment on what topic you'd like to read next! Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to y'all next week!

LaBreaTarPits-8.jpg
LaBreaTarPits-13.jpg

Much Love,

Logo-MMC.png

My Confidence, My Way x Famous Footwear

FamousFootwear-1.jpg

"Michelle, what is confidence to you?"

FamousFootwear-4.jpg

Outfit Details:
Top: Free People
Overalls: Level 99
Shoes: Nikes (from Famous Footwear)


FamousFootwear-8.jpg

Confidence is getting out of bed every morning to work towards my goals, whether they are short-term or long-term.

Confidence is not knowing how each day will turn out, but always wishing, hoping, and praying for the best.

Confidence is knowing things will fall into place if I pour all of my heart and hustle into my work.

Confidence is setting realistic goals and trusting the process.

Confidence is having faith in myself, my (unconventional) entrepreneurial lifestyle, and the unpredictable future that lies ahead.

Confidence is standing out among the crowd, among the haters, among the naysayers, and among the majority of society, saying that I can do it when others refuse to believe so.


These are the messages that I recite to myself on the daily - that I am an ambitious and hard-working individual who can confidently crush her dreams. 

With this post, I've partnered up with Famous Footwear for their "My Confidence, My Way" campaign to share with you guys how I #StepForward and chase my dreams through the creation, hustle, and thoughts that go behind Missmisschelle, one day at a time. By believing in my potential and staying confident, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

What makes you confident? Share with me in the comments below!

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Famous Footwear, but all opinions remain my own.

FarmerJohnsPumpkinPatch-2.jpg

Much Love,

Logo-MMC.png

Six Things That Bloggers & Influencers Should Know

LACMA-1.jpg

Photography by:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz)
www.sharinaone.com


LACMA-3.jpg

Outfit Details:
Top: Free People
Skirt: Thacker NYC
Flowers: The Bouq Co.
Shoes: Shop IPPO

Hairstylist:
Lyssa (@hairbylyssa_)


LACMA-4.jpg
 

1. Sit down, be humble.

Nobody likes entitled, and nobody likes overly cocky. Nobody cares if you have 100k if you act like a cold-hearted bitch. In this competitive industry, numbers won't get you as far as a powerful voice and influential platform. Be humble, be appreciative, and be thankful. Trust me when I say that being thankful and genuine with both your colleagues (aka business owners, PR managers, etc.) and your followers will really thank you in the long run.

 

2. Your hustle determines your paycheck.

A lot of bloggers ask me, "How do you get paid when companies won't reach out to you?"

The answer is simple - I reach out to them. Don't wait for the opportunity; act on it. If you have a brilliant and creative idea, find one (or multiple companies) that you would love to involve in this project and craft a proposal around your idea. More often than not, companies are interested in creating content with passionate influencers and the worst they can do is say no.

While rejection may hurt, feelings of regret and not trying new things hurts even more. So what are you waiting for? It's time to get out a pen and paper - let's get them creative juices rollin'.

 

3. People follow you for your influence and your voice, not your numbers.

With the shitty Instagram algorithm becoming more and more intolerable by the second, I continue to hear an endless amount of complaints about how nobody is growing.

However, I learned a long time ago that complaints get you nowhere and change does. Instead of asking "Why aren't I gaining any followers these days?", why not ask yourself "How can I help out my community? How can I create content that will stimulate my readers' minds?"

When people see that you're focused on your goals and actively pushing to become a more effective influencer, you will naturally attract an audience that will continue to support you endlessly. This will be the same audience that will translate among multiple platforms and will follow you wherever you go, whether it's on Instagram or the next trending app years from now.

 

4. Don't feel obligated to work with every company that is interested in your work.

I'll admit that past Michelle used to jump on every collaboration that she received. However, times have changed, young blogger Mish has grown up, and now she knows better.

For anyone who has a clear mission statement for their brand or blog, I would highly recommend NOT working with every company that wants to send you complimentary products and/or a paycheck. The more companies you work with, the more confusing your brand becomes to other companies and your followers. And along the way of accepting collaboration after collaboration, you may lose the trust of your followers in the long run if you cannot explain to them what your brand is really about if you are saying yes to every company.

Only work with brands that align with your blog and push your brand's mission statement even further. Stay consistent, and don't venture off too far from your own personality and comfort zone. When you reject brands that don't fit your style, aesthetic, or feed, you only leave room for better opportunities ahead that do fit your brand.

 

5. If you want to be treated like a professional, stay professional.

If you ever receive an email where a company undermines your work or value, do not send an angry email back. Not only is it a waste of your time, but it also just comes across as unprofessional. Simply ignore them, or tell them your honest thoughts in a calm, but effective manner and leave it at that. As I always say, anger and unnecessary sass never help communicate your point any better than addressing things rationally.

Also, this is a pet peeve or turn-off to me, but to each their own. If I attend a media event that involves gifting or goodie bags at the end of the night, I would NEVER open it at the venue or in front of the host/hostess. I personally don't think it looks good to be gushing over your gifts in public, nor is it necessary to open your gift the very second you receive it. Save the unboxing for Instastories at home, and don't forget to thank the company for their generosity!

 

6. Be aggressive - but in the right way.

In the past and even today, I would craft an extremely detailed proposal of a project I would love to work on with a company, only to receive no response - multiple times.

I thought they were interested? Do they hate me? Did I say something wrong?

More often than not, the employee who manages the public relations or marketing side of the company most likely missed your email. If you think about it, hundreds of other influencers are reaching out to the same company so there's a high chance that your specific email will be lost in the mail. After all, the world is saturated with content creators, and same with the email inboxes of every company that exists.

But you know what I learned while being an entrepreneur? You NEED to be aggressive if you want to get your point across, or if you want to be noticed. Think of it like a recommendation letter or job interview situation - you need to follow up constantly with a professor to make sure that they've sent in your letter or call the employer if they are interested in hiring you for the job. Whether we like it or not, the ones in power may not be the ones who control our future - it's us.

Here's a fun story to remind you to stay positive and focused when your follow-ups are being ignored - it took me at least SIX follow-up emails (one sent every 2-3 days) to finally work with a company that I collaborate with on a regular basis to this very day. If I had given up after the first one or two emails, where would that have left me? Back at square one. If you want to get ahead, you have to think ahead. Be fearless, work hard, and your results will show.

LACMA-2.jpg

I hope that these tips resonated with you guys & I would love to write more articles similar to this one - after all, inspirational tips and tricks are one of my favorite topics to share with you all! If you want me to write about any additional topics, please share with me your requests in the comments below or feel free to DM me on Instagram!

Much Love,

Logo-MMC.png

Top Three Tips For Better Time Management

Snakeskin-1.jpg

When I observe the actions of the people around me, one thought doesn't fail to cross my mind - why are we in such a rush to get through our day? And why are we in such a rush to live?

Why do we jam-pack our day with back-to-back errands, if it adds stress to our lives and doesn't make us happy inside? Why are some of us programmed to sporadically squeeze in as many tasks in our day as humanly possible - to be productive? Can you really call yourself productive when your stress levels go off the charts?

In my opinion, there's a fine line between maximizing productivity and creating an unorganized chaos for yourself. And I'm here to differentiate the two.


Photography By:
Sharon Litz (@sharonlitz) from www.sharinaone.com


Snakeskin-2.jpg


Maybe I just enjoy chillin' like a villian too much and appreciate living in the moment, but one pet peeve that really grinds my gears (Peter Griffin reference anyone? LOL) is when others enforce their unhealthy fast-paced living habits on me. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for productivity, but only when one is capable of crossing off their to-do's off in real time and not under an unreasonably timed window.

What doesn't make sense to me is when people massively cram back-to-back errands in an inconvenient manner IF they have additional time to space these errands out throughout their day. And worse - if they complain or stress over the fact that they don't have enough time to complete their daily tasks when they obviously do?

Snakeskin-3.jpg

TIP #1:
If you find extra time in your day-to-day schedule, space out your errands accordingly so that you avoid burning yourself out and causing extra stress on your mind and body.


Hypothetically, let's say I have an entire Saturday free to take care of my work and complete my errands. I've written one hypothetical individual's Saturday schedule in two types of formats - an inconvenient and stressful schedule versus a convenient and laidback schedule. At the end of the day, this individual gets the same tasks done, but just prioritizes his/her time better and feels less stressed. Let's compare the two and analyze why the convenient schedule is a healthier day-to-day lifestyle.

*Note: 30 minute increments refer to driving or transitioning to the next task*

HYPOTHETICAL SATURDAY: (INCONVENIENT & STRESSFUL SCHEDULE)
Sleep 11:00PM - 8:00AM
Breakfast 8:30 - 9:00AM
Gym 9:30AM - 11:00AM
Shower 11:30AM - 12:00PM
Lunch 12:00PM - 12:30PM
Grocery Shopping 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Work/Errands 2:30PM - 6:30PM
Dinner 7:00PM - 7:30PM
LEISURE TIME (TV, magazine read, etc.): 7:30PM - 10:30PM

RESULT OF AN INCONVENIENT SCHEDULE:
- 30 minute meal times (no time to actually enjoy your food)
- Always rushing to the next location/task (no breathing time)
- Stressed out for a majority day trying to meet the next task on time
- Burnt out from not taking any breaks or pauses throughout the day

Meanwhile...

HYPOTHETICAL SATURDAY: (CONVENIENT)
Sleep 11:00PM - 8:00AM
Breakfast 8:30AM - 9:30AM
Gym 10:00AM - 11:30AM
Shower: 12:00PM - 12:30PM
Lunch 12:30PM - 1:30PM
Grocery Shopping 2:00PM - 3:30PM
Work/Errands 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Dinner 6:30PM - 7:30PM
Work/Errands Pt. 2 7:30PM - 9:30 PM
LEISURE TIME (TV, magazine read, etc.) 9:30 PM - 10:30 PM

RESULT OF A CONVENIENT SCHEDULE:
- 1 hour meal times (Can actually live in the moment & enjoy the flavors of his/her meal)
- No panic attacks or unnecessary stress from rushing to the next task/location
- Added dinner as a break between work/errands so he/she avoids burning out throughout the day
- Less leisure time available
- Overall, he/she will encounter less stress and feel much happier when a productive day runs smoothly

At the end of the day, I feel happiest when I cross off my daily to-do list at my own pace. I personally don't mind if I take longer to do each task, just as long as my deadlines are met and the quality of my work is not compromised. Feeling stressed over a routine schedule that you've set up for yourself or rushing through each task does not sound like a productive lifestyle in my opinion. And remember, you have the power to CHANGE how you live your life, so why not do shape your day around a schedule that works best for you? By not rushing through tasks or speeding to the next location, I personally feel in more control of my day, which leads to an improved mood and work ethic. I personally find that constant movement and work makes life feel less enjoyable. Besides, it's good to have a balance between busy and relaxation. 

Obviously, this tip doesn't apply to every single individual, as some people juggle multiple jobs or are parents. However, I've included this list for the average person BECAUSE there are so many of us out there who rush through our daily lives, thinking we don't have enough time when in reality, it's all about proper time management and how we effectively utilize every minute of our day.


TIP #2:
Add breaks in between LONG tasks or after completing multiple tasks.


Breaks act as breathing time so that I avoid burnout and that I can complete my tasks as efficiently and stress-free as possible. Also, breaks do not count as checking your phone for Instagram notifications. A break includes taking a quick nap, meditation, going on a short neighborhood walk, or anything that puts your mind at ease. Also, I've learned that a change in scenery really helps those creative juices move - hence why I always go to coffee shops to work, heh.


TIP #3:
Use a planner (whether on your mobile device or a physical notebook) to jot down your daily list of to-do's and errands. An organized schedule leads to focused goals and a healthy mindset.


Planners have been my lifesaver since I started my blogging career three years ago. By juggling an endless amount of deadlines (guys, blogging is like constantly turning in schoolwork, but in overdrive mode. Not kidding.) and scheduling photoshoots 1-3 times per week, there's no way this goldfish memory of mine can remember every project that's due and every location and time that I have to meet somebody in my industry.

If you want to save a bit of money, I would recommend using your free "Calendar" and "Notes" mobile apps. However, if you're more of an old school planner typa gal like me, I would recommend investing in a planner that gets the job done. For those of you know already know me well, Passion Planner is my absolute favorite planner that I've been using for years because of its goal-chasing mission! Please check out their website here and see their planners for yourself - Passion Planner has literally changed my life for the better.

Stay tuned for a list of my favorite planners - coming to a blog post on Missmisschelle later this week ;) 

I hope that these three tips at least helped one of you guys out, whether it means reassessing your current schedule or learning how to apply better time management to your day! To be honest, I've struggled with poor time management in the beginning when I was getting situated with the blogging lifestyle, but this career has definitely shown me how to balance my work and social life for the better. With that, I am forever appreciative that I can do what I love for a living all the while inspiring you guys to chase your dreams! Also, I want to thank one of my best friends, Wendy, for helping me get my life back on track with her coaching sessions - please read about my coaching experience here and how integrating a weekly coaching call into my schedule has improved my financial, social, fitness, and work life for the better.

Please let me know in the comments section below which tip resonated with you most, or if there's a tip you'd like to add to my list :) Until then, I'll talk to y'all soon! 

Much Love,

Logo-MMC.png

Three Reasons To Own A Large Handbag ft. Hazlmay

Three Reasons To Own A Large Handbag ft. Hazlmay

As much as chokers, jean patched shorts, and embroidered jackets make the list for this spring's current trends, we can't forget the one important accessory that will never go out of style - the classic ol' handbag. Today, I've partnered with Hazlmay to share with you guys the top three reasons why it's so important to own a spacious and large handbag not only during the spring, but all-year round.

My First NYFW Experience: Mimi Prober

My First NYFW Experience: Mimi Prober

NYFW, or New York Fashion Week, is a semi-annual series of events that showcases future collections of various fashion brands that haven't been released to the public eye yet. Attending NYFW shows is recognized as a prestigious honor in the blogging community, as guests must receive an exclusive invitation by the brands themselves in order to attend. During this prime time, my Instagram newsfeed blew up with countless photos of established fashion bloggers posing in the streets of New York and professionally captured runway shots. Throughout my seven days in New York City (see previous blog post here), I was given the special opportunity to attend Mimi Prober's runway show and wanted to personally share my first time experience attending New York Fashion Week with you guys.