Reversing Influencer Roles
Poolside Beauty Must-Haves from Sephora
I post a Question Box on my stories nearly every Monday and take a bit of time to answer a handful of them as I kick off the work week.
One question I got recently was “How have WE influenced YOU?”
It stopped me in my scroll immediately, and I knew I wanted to draft a blog post as a reply.
You have influenced me in immeasurable ways. The ability to communicate with so many people through an app, e-mail, or comments on the blog, is so unique. I remember when “chat rooms” started in the early 2000s. And AOL instant messenger became a thing too. We were able to communicate with strangers online, but that has only grown since and gotten more personal.
There are downsides to this, of which I’m very personally aware, but overwhelmingly I feel grateful to have gotten the ability to connect with so many of you online.
I started this website and this idea of sharing beauty tutorials with the goal of just sharing what I knew with other people. I wanted to help, and I’m naturally a “sharer” of information. I used to do it behind the chair, I do it with my friends in real life, and have built an entire business around sharing helpful information, reviews, tutorials, and more.
You, the reader, have influenced me directly by sharing with me what you like to read about or watch. But beyond the content creation part of my job, you’ve opened my mind to so many notions and ideas that I may not have otherwise discovered. I know this is a bit vague, and it’s hard to type out what I mean here.
I wouldn’t have had the access to learn and engage with such a wide variety of people from so many parts of the world would it not have been for this site. People have shared incredibly personal things with me over the years, from incredible triumphs to deep heartbreak. It has been a blessing and a huge responsibility that I have never taken lightly that some of you have felt safe and comfortable enough to share personal things with me, even though we have never met.
In 2013 I met a woman named Kari. Her friends reached out to me and told me that she was in the hospital with cancer. She was a blog follower and they asked if I could come to the hospital to meet her, and give her a cute haircut before she lost it all from the cancer treatments. Kari was a wife and a mom of 3 young girls.
I went and met Kari, cut her hair, and enjoyed chatting with her for some time. She passed away 4 years later. I think of her often, and the impact she left on me. Had I never started this blog, I would have never gotten the opportunity to meet her, and be deeply moved by her spirit and positivity despite knowing the cancer she had was certainly going to end her life sooner than she wanted it to.
This is the kind of experience that will stick with me forever.
I’ve had the opportunity to partner with dream brands and achieved goals I set for myself in business. And there is value to both of those things, but they pale in comparison to the stories and connections I’ve made with the people reading and interacting with me through the blog.
You’ve shared heartbreaking stories of damaged self-esteem, of feeling lost after having a baby, and how you learned something from the blog that helped heal that. You’ve shared joyful news of new jobs and nailing interviews because you felt confident in what you were wearing, or really rocking your hairstyle that day.
Those wins are more gratifying to me than I’ll ever be able to express.
This work as an Influencer is a 2-way street. If no one is listening or learning, it doesn’t work. Your involvement, support, feedback, and interaction are an essential part of this, and I’m so humbled to be able to get to know you, even if it’s just for a brief interaction online.