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This 34-year-old mom quit her job to work on her side hustle full-time—and made $300,000 in one year


Tina Meeks first began posting about motherhood on Instagram as a result of she felt lonely as a comparatively new mom.

It was 2015, and Meeks and her husband James, an entrepreneur in the tech house, had simply moved to Dallas from Phoenix. At 27, and with no one to commiserate with concerning the trials of parenting a five-year-old and a new child, Meeks felt like a fish out of water in her new neighborhood.

“Nobody seemed to understand, not even my husband,” she tells CNBC Make It. “So I turned to the internet to connect, just have somebody tell me that I wasn’t over here in my head going crazy. I began sharing the ups and the downs of balancing motherhood and my work life.”

Meeks, who’s now 34, known as her Instagram “Her Life Sparkles,” based mostly off of her childhood nickname, Sparkle. She gave suggestions on garments, household, relationships, hair care and parenting. She posted photos of meals and her youngsters in Halloween costumes.

From a $1,000/year side hustle to a 6-figure full-time enterprise

In the influencer hierarchy, based mostly on interviews with a number of mom influencers on my “Under the Influence” podcast, a micro-influencer may need anyplace between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.

That could also be smaller than among the top-tier influencers (500,000 to 1 million followers), however micro-influencers typically have very intimate relationship with manufacturers and excessive engagement from followers. This could make their model very profitable, because it did for Meeks, who presently has an Instagram following of 57,000.

When Meeks realized the potential progress of her enterprise, she determined to take issues extra severely. She studied images and bought an expert digital camera.

That paid off vastly. When the pandemic struck, Meeks discovered a means to use her new digital abilities. The firms she labored with, together with Children’s Place and Fab Kids, may not shoot their very own adverts due to quarantine restrictions. So she supplied all her companies, changing into a one-woman digital advertising and marketing studio.

Meeks’ youngsters grew to become little fashions. She had a toddler in all ages bracket — an toddler, a toddler and a school-aged baby — and will shoot every kind of content material for manufacturers proper in her home.

In 2020 alone, Meeks made greater than $300,000 from working with manufacturers and consulting aspiring mom influencers on how to develop their enterprise. She was ready to quit her job and switch her side hustle right into a full-time enterprise.

A booming, multibillion-dollar trade

The influencer trade is about to develop to roughly $13.eight billion this year, in accordance to a 2021 report from Influencer Marketing Hub — and specialists do not see the expansion slowing down anytime quickly.

Based on my interviews with influencers and digital advertising and marketing specialists, the place to begin for a way a lot an influencer will get paid for a single put up is about $100 per 10,000 followers.

That means macro-influencers with about 500,000 followers could make up to $5,000 for a single Instagram put up. The really useful candy spot is to put up at a price of as soon as a day. So even when solely half of the posts are sponsored, an influencer can convey in about $910,000 per year.

Nine instances out of 10 in model board rooms and advertising and marketing rooms, there is not somebody who is aware of how to converse to Black ladies in a means that is going to join.

Tina Meeks

Mom influencer and Content Creator, Her Life Sparkles

Meeks’ following is rising exponentially, however she says she would not imagine in the usual metrics. She units her personal charges, and when a model comes to her with what they need to pay, she all the time negotiates as a result of she is aware of that her viewers engagement is excessive and that she has loads of belief with the Black mothers who comply with her.

“It’s on a campaign-to-campaign basis. I go by the calculation of 4% to 6% of your following size as your baseline rate,” Meeks says.

“Nine times out of 10 in brand board rooms and marketing rooms, there isn’t someone who knows how to speak to Black women in a way that’s going to connect,” she explains. “So not only are you hiring me to create quality content, you’re also hiring me to speak to my audience about your product in a manner that is relatable and valuable to their life. That connection point alone is priceless.”

Meeks’ story is simply one instance that proves how highly effective mom influencers are in the social media advertising and marketing trade — one that’s typically ignored, maybe as a result of it is dominated by ladies and made for ladies. 

“Moms are a much more lucrative category than millennials,” Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of the influencer advertising and marketing company Viral Nation, tells CNBC Make It. “They have a lot of more buying power, and are usually very PG-rated in their content. They’re very brandable.”

Meek agrees, including that “people are obsessed. Now, with more people at home during the pandemic, they are just so wrapped up in our family and our story and what we’re doing and what the kids are doing.” 

Meek’s recommendation to aspiring mom influencers

Meeks is extra vocal about her influencer journey now, “because I believe that I can help other women do this.” (About 15% of her revenue comes from teaching different influencers — by way of by way of on-line courses and e-books — on how to earn cash.)

Here’s her greatest recommendation:

1. Remain true to who you’re and permit your self to be a newbie.

“No one starts at the top tier of their work field,” Meeks says. “You have to try, fail, and try some more to get there. There are thousands of moms, wives, makeup artists and stylists telling their stories, but none of them are you. Being you is what will set you apart from the pack.” 

2. Be keen to put in severe effort.

“Yes, I get paid to spend time with my family and do everyday things like hang out in a rental home for the weekend or have an Easter egg hunt in coordinated outfits,” Meeks admits.

But she additionally works tougher now than she ever did in her 9-to-5 job.

In addition to being a spouse and mom of three, she says, “I’m a photographer, copywriter, editor, image consultant, hair and wardrobe stylist, secretary, research and development analyst, tech support, accounts payable and so many other titles.”

3. Be ready to have your private life present up in your work.

Meeks loves her job and being able to assist her household in methods she by no means may have imagined.

But the draw back, in accordance to Meeks, is that “balance can be lost if I’m not careful.” She now understands that she has to create clear boundaries to attempt to hold her skilled life and her private life separate.

“I can’t always be on and available to my online community,” she says. “Sometimes I just have to be my kids’ mom and my husband’s wife.”

Jo Piazza is a podcast creator and host of the critically acclaimed sequence “Under the Influence” and “Committed.” She can be the bestselling writer of 9 books which have been translated into greater than 10 languages. Her newest novel, “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win,” was just lately launched in paperback. She can be the writer of the upcoming ebook “We Are Not Like Them.” Follow her on Twitter @JoPiazza.

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