Being an influencer started as a career that many didn't understand and some didn't respect. There were all kinds of questions and assumptions surrounding the industry like, "Don't they just take pictures?'' Or, "Can you really earn money from doing that?" But, oh how times have changed! Because babyyy, some of these influencers are bringing in dough! One of my personal favorites is JaLisa Vaughn-Jefferson, a Dallas-based lifestyle influencer and content creator who has taken the social media world by storm.
I came across her page randomly one day and was immediately drawn to her posts. Between the fashion, authentic voice, and her beautiful family, it's pretty easy to want to follow along. Something that stands out about JaLisa is that what you see is what you get. For example, when she was heavily promoting home decor, she was buying a house. And now as a new mom, she's working with a lot of baby brands. So whether the content is branded or not, it feels relatable, and always looks top-tier.
However, this wasn't always her plan. After graduating from college, JaLisa worked in IT for three years and influencing was simply a side hustle that she enjoyed. But the more she shared, the more her audience grew. She toldAfroTech:
"After work hours, I would drive to the city, do my shoots, write blog posts and all that stuff. It got to a point where I was making more from those after-hours than I was at my corporate job."
Still, when she decided to leave the position many of her friends and family thought she had made a huge mistake. In fact, she only made $50 on her first branded post.
"When I put a real strategy [behind myself] and started providing value to my audience, that's when things started to monopolize and I set myself up as a brand. I think a lot of people think if you have a lot of followers, then brands will just start reaching out. But you need to be the full package and market yourself [to make real money]."
The energy is a bit different now! So much so that last year Jalisa tweeted, "A mill in brand deals next year. Mark my words and remember this tweet." Well, cue, Lil Wayne's "A Milli" because, earlier this week it became a reality. JaLisa announced via Instagram that she is now a part of the seven-figure club saying:
"Mood when you wake up and realize you hit your $1M brand goal and still have Q4 to go. God I thank YOU."
As she shared in her interview with AfroTech, JaLisa has been able to make the bulk of her income through brand deals, with the remaining 10-15 percent coming from a combination of YouTube and affiliate links. In addition to her consistency and hard work, JaLisa also attributes a great deal of success to her team. Whereas sometimes creatives naturally try to perfect every element of the process, she decided to do things differently, find people who were good in the respective areas, and work as a unit.
Thanks to faith, consistency, and a bomb team, a dream became a million-dollar reality!
Read more about how JaLisa secures the bag on AfroTech here.
Featured image via JaLisa Vaughn-Jefferson/Instagram