I adore being an entrepreneur and influencer because I have the stage to share my imagination with others who are similarly passionate. Many people would argue that one of the biggest triumphs is taking your creative work and turning it into a profession. If you want to be a successful blogger-turned-entrepreneur, you have to arm yourself with an arsenal of skills. This means learning photography, styling, editing, PR, and sales (to name a few).

1. Be Authentic 

It might not sound difficult, but it will become harder when you see the promise of a paycheck in front of you. Everyone has experienced being a fan of a favorite blogger, only to watch her following grow and then content turn into irrelevant ads. Inauthenticity breeds resentment and users will feel deceived if they think you’re not being genuine.

If a proposed partnership doesn’t feel like it falls in line with your brand, don’t be afraid to say no. You can remain polite and professional while still making it clear that the partnership isn’t something you’re interested in at this time. Ensure that your brand partnership outreach garners the most results by focusing on organic partnerships where you can produce interesting and compelling content. For example, on my social media platform (my dog’s luxury persona), I passed on a partnership with a brand because it didn’t make sense. Later, I saw the same brand partner with some of the most well-known names on social media. The campaign succeeded on other social media platforms, but it wouldn’t have been as effective on mine. I was pleased for my co-workers, and the agency told me they respected my honesty (in a polite way, of course!). We made a fun video with a luxury vacuum cleaner, and it ended up becoming one of my most successful posts in terms of likes and comments. The content was entertaining, aligned with our brand identity, and easy to relate to. Businesses should view increased engagement with organic content as a marker of success when negotiating deals.

2. Organic Income

Monetizing your platform doesn’t just have to be about making large deals or being paid a lot of money.

If you’re not using affiliate links, then you’re missing out. Sign up for ShopStyle Collective today and start earning money from your referrals. It is the simplest way to monetize your content from day one.No matter your experience level with blogging, the open platform makes it easy to sign up. The tools also make it simple to create tracking links on products so you can monetize all the content you are creating. You don’t need to be an experienced vlogger or have a large following on Instagram to use these tools. We’ve got you covered, no matter your level of experience. And don’t wait to start monetizing your blog with affiliate marketing – you can start today! Starting to consistently create affiliate links from day one ensures you’ll grow your revenue as you scale your following. As a bonus, you’ll also be able to track the products and brands your users are interested in. This knowledge can help shape future content and give you a better understanding of ongoing consumer trends. With this information at your fingertips, you’re now empowered to become a true consumer expert while making money simultaneously!

[Related: How to Manage Your Money on a Variable Income]

3. Options, Options, Options 

Keep your readers in mind while you’re creating affiliate content. We all want the stunning Chloé crossbody bag you featured in your post. But some of your readers might have more limited budgets. By placing widgets at the bottom of each post, you give viewers options for products from multiple price points. This is also an effective strategy if you are promoting something that is no longer in season or if your focus is on vintage items. The experts say that the rule of thumb is to have three to five options on your primary focal piece in your post. Having that amount of product is easy for readers to digest and manageable for you. Plus, all you have to do is plug your search term into ShopStyle, and presto! You’ll have more options than you know what to do with.

4. Think Mobile

With an increasing number of users spending time on mobile, it’s challenging to convert them into customers. Bummer, right? It’s time to get creative. Consider creating a newsletter signup so you can email followers links to your outfits. Stay current with new technology releases to ensure smartphone users can shop easily from your website. We are always striving to improve our mobile monetizing options, and we would love to hear your suggestions. We have some great ideas of our own that we will be rolling out in 2016. In other words, don’t forget your mobile ad placements. If you have banners and widgets on your site, make sure some of those are placed optimally for mobile devices, so you’re not missing out on that entire audience. Get ready—mobile money is going to be everyone’s best friend.

[Related: 5 Lessons Learned From Female Entrepreneurs]

5. Think Beyond the Blog (and Instagram)

Your properties are important, and you should be using content to drive users across your channels. However, maybe excellent photos will suffice. Have you considered marketing your photography to clients, or becoming a branded photographer? Perhaps you have great styling skills and could be the brains behind a company’s next lookbook. If you can style a mean vignette or have an eye for editing closets, brands will be crazed for your unique content ideas. Getting experience in areas that make you stand out from others is essential as you advance in your business. Develop long-lasting relationships with small brands or influential influencers that you identify with by offering your services, building your portfolio, and exchanging social and blog post mentions. With our editorial features and social media mentions, you’ll be able to grow while gaining valuable experience that make you stand out from the crowd.

[Related: How to Be More Entrepreneurial at Work]

Bonus tip: There are different forms of currency, and social currency can be incredibly valuable when scaling your presence online. If a brand doesn’t have the budget to work with you but aligns with your values, think about how to make it worth your while. You can trade content for features on different channels. For example, you can make content and social exchange a recurring feature.

Throughout this process, don’t forget to have fun! You decided to create your own business for a reason, so try and enjoy the ride. Remember to celebrate the wins and view challenges as opportunities- take advantage of them to improve your skillset and learning. While it may sound cliche, the most challenging situations I have encountered have led to me becoming faster and more intelligent in both my personal and professional life. These trying times have also allowed me to generate greater revenue opportunities than before.

[Related: What Keeps New Entrepreneurs From Succeeding?]

This article was originally published on Create & Cultivate.

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