The Uncertainty Of “Influencing”

I used to cringe when people asked me what I did. Back in 2008, it was super weird to tell people I made YouTube videos. Everyone had the same joke, “What kiiiiind of videos?” insinuating they were of sexual nature, which they obviously weren’t.

In 2009, when I went full time blogging and vlogging, no one knew how I actually made a living. I inevitably would end up talking about how I made money which is a super awkward conversation to have with a stranger, but people always asked!

I needed an elevator pitch for awhile. I was just uncomfortable describing my job. Then along came the word, “influencer.” It got easy now to describe what it is I do, although it sounds super narcissistic.

“Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m an influencer.”

It just sounds stupid, right? Unless you are in PR or Marketing, it is super weird to describe what you do with that term.

It does however describe what I do to most people nowadays. So, I role with it and follow up with, “I work for myself, I’m an entrepreneur and have a blog and a YouTube channel that is fitness focused.”

I’ve been doing this for a long time. I started making YouTube videos over 10 years ago! While YouTube has grown, I feel like blogging has taken a backseat to things like photos and videos on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube, too. You may have noticed me blogging less because of this and it takes a lot more time!

I’ve changed, too.

I’m no longer talking about binge eating at night, or losing 5 lbs before the weekend. Instead, I’m sharing postpartum secrets and my 30 minute workouts. Unlike Nick who works in finance, I don’t know what the next step is supposed to be. I don’t have a boss or a mentor who has been down this road before. There are obviously more successful people than me in this space but we are all learning what’s going to be the next big thing together.

I tried with the SFit online gym to create a product that would free myself of the daily posts, something that became unmanageable with every single platform and taking care of Tommy. I was so proud of the SFit workouts and still am, but unfortunately I partnered with a company that didn’t exactly have things in order. The site was constantly down, footage that I shot while pregnant was lost, I was never consulted on branding until it was too late and the customer service was not very responsive. It felt like a nightmare to me. We took the site down last year and it is finally back up through a different host and ready but I’m being cautious about promoting it again. I will soon. Old members will have free access to the workouts and should have received in email yesterday and today with the details.

The lesson I learned from this was to get out of your comfort zone but trust your gut and your heart.

I wanted to create a 30-day program but was convinced to do a subscription model. I knew I wanted a baby in the near future and a subscription was going to be near impossible living on the east coast but I was convinced to it. You know why? Because I wanted to believe that someone knew better than me and was looking out for my best interest.

They did have my best interest but I knew my audience and they didn’t.

Since I partnered with a separate company on this project, I wasn’t able to just take the videos and package them into a 30-day program so I’m hoping to do that separately. I’m also hopeful that the SFit gym on it’s second life will have success because I believe in the workouts. They are so challenging and really helped me get into incredible shape right before getting pregnant.

As an influencer, we are constantly exploring new models for revenue to get away from sponsored content but it has been the most consistent piece of my business. I’m lucky that I can pick and choose what brands I want to work with to protect my authenticity. I never work with a brand whose products I don’t love!

Being an influencer has it’s perks but it’s also highly volatile and you are never guaranteed your next paycheck.

The next move for influencers is yet to be seen but I feel like it’s moving in the direction of short form content.

I can’t divide my attention evenly between YouTube, my blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and SnapChat, and hope to grow them all evenly.

To compete, you almost have to choose one. So I’m curious, to all of you who do read my blog, what is your favorite platform? Where do you spend the most time? Where do you consume the most media. Would you prefer a workout in an Instagram post instead of having to come over to read it on the blog? Would you rather hear me talk about an honest review in a video rather than read?

I want my focus moving forward to be on you guys, providing information that is actually useful and on platforms you like visiting.

My goal was originally to help you lose weight, get fit and love living a healthy lifestyle. My original goal was lost a little bit this past year with the birth of Tommy but I’m excited to get back to it.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Where do you spend most of your time? Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat (@officialSFit), Twitter or reading blog posts from your favorites? Or even other?

I still need to perfect that elevator pitch and I’m still super awkward when I talk about my job to strangers. In case you were wondering.


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