Blogging was my initial outlet after I found I was pregnant in residency. After trying for years to get pregnant with no success I started residency in July and found out I was pregnant in August. Insert dramatic gasp.
I was excited but admittedly very apprehensive. How would I manage a baby and residency? Who was going to help me? Would I be able to finish on time? These are all the questions that ran through my mind as I timidly stepped into my program director’s office to tell him I was 11 weeks pregnant.
And so, I began to write. I wrote in my journal. I wrote on social media. I shared my pregnancy experience as a new intern. I shared the highest highs and the lowest of lows. I was raw, honest and real and that resonated with my audience, especially those who thought it impossible to have a child as a brand new intern in residency. There was no play book. There were no instructions. Some people were happy for me. Others were not. Some felt I would not pull my weight for call shifts (although I always made up days I missed). My writing went from simply sharing to encouraging. I began telling my audience that If I can do it you can do it too. I didn’t want my story to be an exception. If you want children in medicine then do it. Unapologetically and without anyone’s permission.
The more I posted the more brands started reaching out. At first, I would do a post in exchange for free products. I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff? New outfit here, new picture frame there. Oooh look a new pair of shoes for free! It was wonderful. Then came a brand who actually offered payment in exchange for me doing a post for shoes. It was for $750 not including the cost of shoes. I could not believe it. People actually pay me to put on a product and post about it. Who knew?! I told my husband. He was as surprised as I was. Then another popular grocery store reached out and offered a gift card for a post. Free groceries? I’ll take it! I didn’t work with many other brands that year and that was in 2019.
I began working as an attending and was very busy trying to get adjusted to a new home, a 7 month old baby, a new job and a husband who was still working long distance a few hours away.
Then I started to hear the term “influencer” being thrown around. Ahhh so that’s what this is! These people that I see on my feed with every day products. What? They are getting paid for this?! I started following some popular influencers in Atlanta. I would watch webinars, take online courses and read all of their e-books. I learned everything I could. I signed up for several influencer marketing platforms. I partnered with some amazing fellow physician friends where we shared tips about how to become better in the influencer marketing space. I decided I wanted more family brands to reach out instead of the usual scrub companies so I started posting quality photos of my family on my page. I got the Lightroom app so I could edit my pictures. I became more intentional about what I posted and presented a cohesive feed.
The summer of 2020 is when I began to get serious about working with brands. As I began to make changes to my page I began to get many inquiries. 4 figure deals became normal for me and the more I worked with brands, the more I was approached with new opportunities without me even having to reach out. I continued to follow some popular influencers and learned that many of them were full time influencers. I’m addition, many of them made more than me as a physician! Say what now? I began educating myself on the contracts that brands sent. I began negotiating my worth and never accepting the initial offer presented to me. Ever. I created a media kit and a rate card. (You can purchase my e-book for examples of each). I started learning what terms like “exclusivity” “usage rights” “perpetuity” and “licensing” meant in contracts. I began using my expertise to leverage the money I made. I hired a photographer so I could shoot once a month and get some quality pictures. Yes, she has taken the beautiful pictures in this blog post. I decided that if I treated blogging like a hobby it would be just that. But If I treated blogging like a business then so would everyone else.
I established an LLC (super easy to do), obtained a business mailbox, separate business account and started taking myself seriously. In less than a year, I have went from zero dollars to over 6 figures from social media marketing as a full time physician. I have worked with amazing brands including Dove, Dawn Dishwash, Tide, Fabletics, Mass Mutual, Laurel Road, Hoover, Tampax, Shea Moisture, Swiffer and so much more! I have had the opportunity to serve as a medical expert for brands and contribute to popular magazines including Glamour, Bustle and PopSugar.
Now as I am scaling to the next level, my plan is to begin hiring a team because I know I can no longer do this on my own. I love that I have stepped outside of traditional medicine to find something I am good at and to make it work for me and my life. In future blog posts I will discuss how to begin working with brands and how to leverage your worth to get paid what you deserve. My current advice—Just start. Influencer marketing is estimated to have grown to approximately 9.7 billion in 2020. BILLION! This number is expected to reach 13.8 billion in 2021. So basically, there’s room for all of us. And maybe influencing isn’t for you but we are all influencers. We all have unique talents, gifts and abilities that we can share with the world. No can tell your story like you. You have things you are good at, things you are passionate about and things no one can do quite like you. I dare you to tap into your gift. Your gift was not meant to be hidden but to be shared with the world. Happy influencing!