Olivia Smalley is back on Hair Love Radio for an amazing conversation with Elizabeth about the ins and outs of the influencer life. These wise ladies dive deep into personal branding, working with brands, and some ideas and struggles that aren’t widely talked about.

2:20 – Getting Completely Real

Elizabeth started a lifestyle beauty blog in 2013 and started working with brands for the following years. But guess what? While she was just getting started, she did a LOT of work for free. Often, that is how a lot of relationships with brands start.

Olivia says that so many of us are looking for a fast-track way to get the results we want. Ultimately, she says there is no shortcut to working with brands. You have to prove yourself to a brand before you can start raking in the work and deals.

6:43 – Olivia’s First Brand Love

Olivia began her journey creating simple videos in her bathroom – which she says are funny to go back and watch. She started getting a little following on YouTube, and then Facebook started gaining traction. At that point, she came across a brand called It’s A Ten. She realized that they were headquartered in her city, and ended up reaching out to the Caroline, the owner of the company. After sharing how much she loved their products, and let them know that she would love to work with them. She stayed in touch with the owner over the years.

When Instagram took off, Olivia said Caroline reached out saying that she wanted to meet in person. It turned into a huge project for the company, and allowed Olivia to make money and work with a brand and product that she loves.

As time went on, more brands like Chi, Joico and Kenra started reaching out for Olivia to do similar work.

12:16 – Let’s Talk Media Packages

People in Olivia’s life in other industries started telling her that she needed to put together a media package kit – essentially a digital resume. A media package often includes what your following looks like, your engagement rate, a synopsis of your brand, what you charge, and examples of videos and photos.

Even if you don’t have a huge following, if your goal is to work with brands you love, having a media package kit ready to go will make a really good first impression. If you’re in the hair world, having a media package is considered advanced and will instantly boost your clout.

22:10 – It Only Takes One

If you are wanting to get started, it only takes one brand to change the course of your career. It only takes one relationship to get the gears turning. Elizabeth recommends thinking about the products you already love and use, make some content about it for free, and see where it leads you.

With this mentality, Olivia says this gives you the power to actually create your own job and ask for what you want.

23:40 – Say Yes and Figure It Out From There

Olivia recalls when she first started working for CosmoProf. At the time she was professionally creating content for brands, and learning everything she could about the emerging social media world. They reached out and asked her if she taught social media classes, although she hadn’t taught formal classes on a stage before, she immediately said yes. Instead of succumbing to her fears, she said yes and worked through the first time fear of teaching to a large audience later on.

To put it plainly, if you are willing to put in the work and be the best you can be, it is alright to fake it until you make it.

28:09 – Make Up Your Dream Life And Do It

In so many industries (especially in the hair industry) right now, social media has created an endless abundance of opportunities, whoever you are. Even though it might not be immediately apparent, there IS room for you to do exactly what you want. As Elizabeth says, make up your dream life and DO IT.

37:42 – “What Can I Do To Help You?”

Olivia says there have been so many times where she has reached out to brands just asking what she can do to help them with their goals. She never makes it about herself, she always looks for ways to serve the brand first. Ultimately, that is the best way to operate as an influencer or content creator.

40:59 – Microinfluencers Are Hot Right Now

If you don’t have hundreds of thousands of followers, you can stop worrying that brands don’t want to work with you. Microinfluencers are very much a part of any knowledgeable brand’s strategy. If you do identify with this, don’t worry about your follower number as much as you worry about the quality of your content. Think great stories, great captions, great imagery, and ALWAYS engage with people after you post something.