Welcome to another Student Spotlight! If you’re wondering how to build a business online as a blogger or social media influencer, read on. In this series, I’m handing the microphone over to my students to tell their stories, share their missions, and give their best advice for working online.
Introducing: Adrienne Jordan
This week’s Student Spotlight shines a light on our inspiring Adrienne Jordan. Adrienne is a Newark, NJ USA-based Adventure Travel Writer and Blogger, whose work has been published in the likes of CNN and NatGeo! It is her hope to inspire women of color to seek wellness opportunities while exploring the world and be confident in solo travel. I know you’re going to love Adrienne’s story!
Tell me your story. Why did you start your blog and Instagram?
As a lifelong adventurer, I started my Instagram and blog in order to grow from being solely a travel writer to providing a social media presence to my brand. I have been a freelance travel writer since 2011 and frequently cover outdoor, adventure, and lifestyle topics for publications like National Geographic Traveler, The Washington Post, AFAR, Esquire, USA Today, and GQ. Starting my Instagram and blog was meant to showcase some of my most thrilling adventures as a supplement to my writing. Some of which recently includes rafting down a village river in Fiji; scuba diving the cenotes of Tulum; and staying in tiny homes in Upstate New York.
Tell me about your business and your “why”!
Some of my favorite adventures from my career as a travel writer includes gorilla trekking in Uganda, cruising the fjords of Norway, swimming in the devil’s pool in Zambia, and road tripping through South Africa. By following me on Instagram and through my blog, my hope is to inspire women of color to be active; seek wellness opportunities while exploring the world; as well as being confident in traveling solo.
How did you discover Christina?
As I was conducting research on growing a brand, I somehow came across Christina’s name and brand. I read reviews of her courses and the success stories that many people have shared and was inspired to join in order to learn and grow a travel brand.
Which courses of Christina’s have you taken, and what inspired you to enroll?
I’ve taken both the Influencer Bootcamp and Blogger Bootcamp and was inspired by the feedback from prominent women in both the lifestyle and travel areas. These women have shown amazing progress and have acquired brand deals from key advice from Christina’s background and expertise.
What “lightbulb moments” did you have while taking the courses?
Before taking the Blogger Bootcamp course, it was difficult to know where to begin: who should I choose to host my site; what widgets and plugins are recommended; and how strict should I keep my posting schedule. The best advice I received from the Bootcamp course was to host my blog under an independent site in order to allow for potential affiliate marketing and advertising deals.
What are some of the most exciting things that have happened since completing the courses?
The Influencer Bootcamp was immensely helpful in that it helped me learn how to negotiate brand deals, where I’ve landed a few paid tourism board brand deals. As well as four figure paid prominent clothing brand deals on my Instagram account-all while having under 10,000 followers. I haven’t made much money from my new blog as of yet. But I was able to get a paid branded post which was an accomplished feeling. The Blogger Bootcamp has allowed me to take the steps I need in order to continue to grow my adventure traveler brand.
What do you love most about the work you do?
I love inspiring women to travel and love receiving DM’s on Instagram or via email looking for all sorts of travel advice: how to get started on Instagram; where to travel solo safely; as well as general recommendations on traveling to places that they have seen me post. I believe that travel helps to open people’s eyes to diversity; history and culture; as well as new ways of seeing the world and thinking differently. Therefore, giving back in a small way in order to inspire women to travel means everything.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big goal or project?
My 2020 goals were to travel extensively through Canada, Europe, and the South Pacific to generate tons of content for my social usage and growth. However, those trips were cancelled due to the pandemic. Therefore, my 2021 projects will center around domestic travel opportunities like #vanlife trips around the U.S. as well as exploring more of the Caribbean and Mexico. The pandemic has forced me to think more outside of the box. So in a way it is exciting to pivot and open myself to different and unexpected travel opportunities.
What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring influencers or bloggers?
Stay true to yourself and brand regardless of follower count. A fellow black travel influencer @thepassportabuser gave me this invaluable advice at the start of my consistent IG posting in the spring of 2020 when I had less than 3,000 followers. This advice coupled with Christina’s course gave me the confidence to keep posting my adventures on Instagram. And helped me to grow to over 9,000 followers by the end of 2020. There will always be people that are looking for inspiration from your social presence. And as long as you don’t compromise who you are, then you will be successful-and happy at the same time!
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?
Because I geek out over awe-inspiring travel feeds, Christina’s page is a favorite, but I also love @jesswandering, @angelaliggs, and @mikesugianto. My friend and fellow adventurer @emitoms is another page that I love for stunning landscape photography.