Whether you love or hate the concept of influencers and content creators, I think you’d be really hard-pressed to find somebody who would say the idea of working for themself and getting paid to talk about the products they love isn’t an attractive one.
Though while being an influencer is filled with amazing opportunities and experiences, it is not without its own set of challenges.
As I am now a year into being a full-time influencer, I find there are a lot of misunderstandings around what this job actually entails.
I mean come on, the joke that I get paid to take a selfie with the product and it takes about 10 seconds of work is getting a little old. 😵💫
But the more I talk to people, the more I realize that they aren’t joking. They truly believe that’s the job of being an influencer.
And I get where this notion comes from, back when influencers first emerged, it was primarily “Instagram Models” and celebrities posing with the skinny teas etc.
Although… Kim Kardashian probably still could snap a quick photo with a product today, and get paid millions. But for the rest of us, this is not really how it works.
So I thought it’d be fun to cover 10 things that nobody really tells you about being an influencer!
Disadvantages of Being an Influencer
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1. Hard Work
Contrary to popular belief, being an influencer is hard work.
It’s obviously not the hardest (it’s a privileged job, anyone who says otherwise is out of touch), but it is a lot more than snapping selfies.
It is a job that requires a lot of time and self-discipline. As a solo-creator, you take on the role of talent, videographer, editor, set-design, stylist, and so much more.
And when it comes to the brand deals, there is so much more to it than capturing the content itself.
After all of the negotiating back and forth, usually a paid collaboration will go through many steps.
As a creator, you will:
- Receive a brief
- Read the brief over
- Send over a concept
- A brand will approve or decline the concept
- Shoot the concept
- Send the shot concept back to the brand
- The Brand will approve or decline the content and/or provide feedback
- You will then edit the content or you’re good to post
And then at the end, you’re often sending a report on how it performed.
Content creation requires so much work that the bigger creators, especially on YouTube, usually have teams behind them – people that they pay full time to ease the load and maintain consistency.
I think this is really important to remember if you are a creator who’s getting stuck in that comparison loop and comparing yourself to somebody who has a full team behind them while you’re operating solo and on a limited budget.
Another often unconsidered disadvantage of being an influencer, is how isolating it can be.
You see this isolation really rear its head when you look at creators who blew up really quickly on social media and didn’t have time to build out a community.
Despite seeming like a really extroverted job, being a content creator entails a lot of sitting alone in front of your computer, talking to yourself in front of the camera and editing.
It takes initiative to get out and socialize so that the isolation doesn’t become oppressive.
3. Loss of Respect
An ongoing challenge of life as an influencer, is losing people’s respect.
I especially felt this going from somebody who worked a very traditional 9-5 that people respected.
And I consciously knew that when I left my day job and pursued content creating I would lose all of that, and I did.
This was especially noticeable when I would introduce myself to new people.
I remember I once told a woman I just met that I was an influencer/content creator and she literally goes:
“I wouldn’t tell people that if I were you”.
It’s not a great feeling to have others look down upon what you are passionate about and how you earn a living.
Another challenge as an influencer which may be hard to overcome, is that you receive a ton negativity and backlash from others.
You will have to get used to negativity fairly quick. People will be constantly making assumptions about you.
You can’t justify yourself to everybody nor can you explain yourself to everybody.
And I’ve come to learn that on the internet people are incredibly quick to say that you are a waste of space, question your intentions, dissect how you said something, or doubt that you actually like the product you’re promoting.
Case in point:
While it’s not necessarily that you have to be okay with it…
It’s just that you have to have the strength to not let it get you down.
5. “How Do You Make Money?”
A little less of a challenge, and more an annoyance… You will be forever explaining to people how you make money.
It never ends—taxi drivers, strangers, family members… they all want to know.
Some people come to me genuinely confused and curious, while others are concerned, and are really trying to ask; “are your bills paid?” “Are you doing okay?”
Then there are people who genuinely can’t wrap their head around how this works, no matter how many times I tell them.
And if that’s you, definitely check this video out.
6. Financial Uncertainty
Then there’s the undeniable challenge of life as an influencer… there’s a lot of financial uncertainty.
Certain types of content creating and income streams do allow for more predictability.
But overall, the consensus among content creators is that you never really know what’s around the corner.
Surprisingly, even if you’ve signed a fantastic contract with the brand and you’ve invoiced them for your work, it can take a really long time to get paid.
Net 90s are not uncommon in the creative space!
Since you are not always receiving a consistent paycheque as with a 9-5, you have to become conscious of your spending habits and this is where budgeting can be helpful.
This can be one of the hardest challenges as an influencer.
Especially if you are starting out full-time and don’t have any other income coming in as a safety net.
7. Inbound Work
Something a lot of aspiring content creators don’t realize, is that the majority of work is inbound.
In other words, full time creators aren’t usually pitching brands, it’s the brands pitching them (unless they have a manager or agent).
While this seems like a dream come true, it can be a challenge to get on the radar of brands with big budgets who align with you and your audience.
All creators can really focus on is laying a strong foundation and putting out good content in an effort to get work…. And having the patience and trust that it will pay off in the long run.
Related Post – How to Attract Brand Deals without Pitching
8. Influencer Pay Gap
Speaking of money…
Similar to most industries, there is a pay gap!
There is a huge discrepancy in compensation and opportunities based on your race and gender.
Even though women dominate the influencer industry, men are still making around 1.2x more per post.
Further, there have been a lot of studies and conversations out there around the pay gap between black creators and white creators.
While we do what we can to speak up about these disparities, there’s not a lot of transparency in this space, so the needle is not moving fast enough!
As a content creator, the pressure of keeping up with the algorithmic hamster wheel is huge and is a leading cause of burnout.
It’s the caveat that comes with building a business that relies on a platform you don’t own. You have the opportunity to reach millions of new people, but you are at the mercy of the platform’s decisions.
They can change their algorithm, they can cut off your reach, they can disband your account, or you can get hacked and it’s all over.
Similarly creators can feel pressured to pump out a specific trending content, or specific formats (i.e. Reels instead of static images), in order to try to get the most reach possible.
This can lead to a lot of people feeling less like a creator and more just like a machine pumping out content to feed the masses.
Even though that doesn’t sound too bad since you’re still getting paid to create content, losing that creativity and self-expression makes a lot of people question why they started this to begin with.
Final Thoughts on the Challenges of Being an Influencer
Being a content creator will not always be full of rainbows and sunshine. As in any industry, there are numerous challenges we face as influencers and I think it is important to highlight them for anyone who is either considering becoming one, or for those who might not understand the intricacies of this job.
Let me know what you thought of this list and to my fellow content creators, definitely drop more below. I Hope you enjoyed the video, and until next time!