A Hustler's Spirit: What It Takes To Be An Influencer

Being an influencer is all anyone talks about these days. And for good reason. Who doesn't want to sleep in, make some YouTube videos, get free stuff, and get paid crazy money while doing it. And the money is pretty good if you’ve got a large following. According to Inc. influencers are getting paid between $25-$75 per thousand followers. Do the math. If you've got 1 million plus followers, you're talking big money.

So where do I sign up? Is there an opening for a bald guy in his late 30s, with literally hundreds of followers?

I had a chance to sit down with Mariale Marrero, a YouTube star, who produces three channels and has a following of 6 million people just on YouTube. She breaks down what it takes:

• Be Passionate: Mariale said, “Without passion, you won't put in the time it takes to be successful. Also, viewers can tell if you're being authentic or not. You've got to be doing it for the right reasons; not just to get famous or make a lot of money."

• Get The Right Equipment: It's all about quality not quantity. Sure, you can post crappy videos all day, but it's better to post one quality video less frequently. To do this takes time. You need to have a good computer, camera, lighting, backdrop, and editing software in order to create a video that people actually want to see.

• Learn Your Craft: When I asked Marrero what it took to put a video together, I was shocked by the amount of time that went into it. “First I'll have a couple of ideas, then I’ll research them to see if they'll work. I'll pick an idea and write a script for the video. Then I might have to buy some things for the shoot, like a backdrop or lights. Filming is the easiest part, although it can sometimes take 5+ hours to put together. If the audio isn't good or the lighting is bad, you have to reshoot. Assuming the shoot is good, the editing begins. This is a beast! It's so important! I spend hours and hours editing. If you look at my videos, you'll see things pop up on the screen or audio changes about every ten seconds. This is because people get bored. Then you've got to pick the thumbnail. That's really important, almost as much as the video. Then you hit upload. But you're not done yet! You've got to decide on a title, tags, and a description. Finally you publish it and then you need to promote it on social. Then you reply to comments." And you thought they put those videos together in 10 minutes, didn’t you?

• Take Your Time: While there are some overnight success stories, most influencers that I've talked to have had more of a gradual, steady rise. Mariale said, “I didn't even look at the numbers in the beginning. My channels didn't grow for three years. I just kept doing it because I loved it. I loved the community; people telling me to try this eyeliner or that lip gloss." It can be easy to obsess over the numbers. I'm guilty of this too. I guarantee that I'll check the views of this article, dozens of times today. We can all learn from Mar and take a step back and focus on producing great content, instead of chasing numbers.

• Be Authentic: Most of us try to show the best version of ourselves on social, instead of just being real. Marrero said, “It's funny because sometimes I'll post a video of myself applying makeup perfectly and then I'll post a video of myself in my pajamas talking about how I just ate a steak, and I'll get way more comments about the steak dinner. People want a sneak peek into your real life, not some polished image of yourself."

Finally one of the most important traits is to be humble.

Don't forget where you came from or get too cocky because you're only one click away from losing your followers.

This article originally appeared in Forbes on March 30, 2017.  To read full article click here