I absolutely hate it. Full of huge egos, too many selfies, and dishonesty in the way product placements (I’m old school) work or “brand deals” as they’re now called.
All of this personal brand mumbo jumbo is designed to make the people behind them money. Yet ironically it does the exact opposite.
2.8 million followers couldn’t sell 36 t-shirts
Ariana Renee had big dreams.
She took photos of herself all over Miami. Many of the pics were softcore p*rn, as most of Instaglam is these days (now she’s on L-Onlyfans).
Eventually it came time to cash in her likes for dollars, so she could afford all the luxury BS needed to maintain the fake lifestyle.
She did a deal with a manufacturer to release a clothing line. She had to sell 36 items to keep the deal. She thought she’d piss it in and easily get the sales. She sent out PR packs, flew in high-profile photographers, asked her influencer friends for shoutouts, and asked her diehard fans to support her.
She made less than 36 sales from 2.8 million followers.
Devastated, she went to Instagram to blame the world. “Like I can’t believe people didn’t support me when I supported them. I need to work harder.”
She concluded with “I need to make the personal brand better for ya’ll.”
No. The truth is personal brands don’t sell. No one cares. Taking photos of yourself doesn’t solve problems for the world. So when you don’t solve a problem, money doesn’t change hands.
As my friend JK says: “Likes ain’t cash, bro.”
Here’s how to make real money on the internet (without g-strings or selling your soul)
Personal brands are useless. Become a creator that tells stories and solves problems instead, if you want to make a living doing it.
1. Throw all your time and energy behind this strategy
In the last 6 months, I’ve seen many of my fellow writer friends get wrecked. They refuse to listen.
You make money from an email list, not from a platform you don’t own, where an algorithm controls access to the audience.
Sure, use social media apps to find an audience. But use an email list to build your audience. Because followers is the weakest way to measure whether someone cares about your work. It takes 5 seconds to like or follow someone.
It’s a one-night stand.
Then the next day you forget you even did it. That’s the truth. Whereas when a user joins an email list they hear from you at least weekly. If you piss them off with crap content they simply unsubscribe.
Email lists force you to add value otherwise you spike the unsubscribes and eventually go broke if you ignore the trend.
Build an email list with a tool like $ubsnack or ConvertKit.
2. Create clever tripwires
Tripwires make you sound like an ax murderer.
They’re innocent though. A tripwire is just a digital asset you giveaway to gauge interest in whether someone wants to join your email list.
A big mistake I see creators make is they ask people to follow them, join their email list, click an affiliate link, or buy them a coffee.
But they give people zero in return. There’s no incentive.
I don’t give a stuff about your email list. What will you give me if I give you my email address?
That’s what people are asking. And it’s not a one-time deal either. If you give away a cool book and then spam people with BS promotions every day, they’ll still love ya and leave ya.
Honestly, to be a creator these days, you’ve got to understand the basics of business and economics. Otherwise you end up slapping people in the face with too many asks and destroying the 5 seconds of credibility you had.
3. Don’t be afraid to sell
You can’t make money if you don’t sell.
Starving artists are a thing because they refuse to sell. They think it makes them a sellout or takes away their precious badass image of being non-commercial. No. It just makes you poor.
People like to buy stuff from creators if it’s good.
Like, there are plenty of kids and adults who happily paid to get a Harry Potter book. There’s nothing dirty or naughty about that transaction. It’s a basic exchange of value.
Sell … or get sold by platforms for $0 and have your content be used to place ads against in return for useless likes/followers. That’s the harsh truth too many creators need to be reminded of.
4. Learn this underrated skill
Every type of content online uses words in some form.
Words need to persuade if you want to make money. No two ways about it amigo. The skill that converts words into cash is copywriting. Figure out how it works or take a course if you’re serious about the creator life.
To give you an idea, before I knew anything about copywriting, I launched the same online business three times. I made less than a few hundred dollars each time.
On the fourth attempt, I worked with a copywriter and made $30,000 in a few days on a product I hadn’t even created yet.
That’s the power of good copywriting.
5. Only link to these
As creators we get to link out from social media to whatever we want.
Too many people link to other social media platforms or a useless website. It’s 2023. Websites don’t work the same way anymore.
It’s much smarter to link to landing pages. They’re simply a one-page website with only a single button that allows a user to take a single action.
If you want to convert users into customers, landing pages are the fastest way. Sending people to a website is the fastest way to ensure they get lost and buy nothing.
The final bizarre twist to Arii’s story
I followed up to see what Instaglammer Arri is up to now.
What I saw made me shake my head. She hasn’t learned her lesson. She sends her audience to a Linktree-style page. All the links on the page lead to borrowed platforms she doesn’t own, like Snapchat and TikTok.
You’ve been lied to. Borrowed platforms that pay in likes will never make you money. Neither will personal brands. Soz not soz.