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: Jessica Litras
Today’s student spotlight welcomes Boston, Massachusetts, USA based @jesslitras! Jess is a laid back luxury travel Influencer who left a career she loved, in the middle of a pandemic, for one she loved even more. Her own! You’re going to love Jess’s positive and motivational attitude.
Tell me your story. Why did you start your blog and Instagram?
I started my Instagram back in 2012, when the only posts I shared were me in college with friends and pictures of my food. I’ve always been a writer and loved sharing my stories with others, so I started a blog in 2014. Over the next few years I would sporadically write, with that journal-type mindset, just sharing what I loved with others.
In 2017 when I moved to California, that’s when I started sharing photos of my travels. I started to grow, without realizing where this was going. From 2017-2020 I experimented greatly with IG content. I went from fitness and yoga to fashion to travel and everything in between, but none of it ever quite stuck true with me.
I knew that travel was my number one passion and that I could make this a side hustle, at least, but had no idea what I was doing wrong or how to really make this legitimate. It wasn’t until I discovered Christina’s story and online course when it suddenly clicked.
So long story short and to answer your question as to why I decided to go in this direction is because nothing has made me feel more fulfilled than connecting with people online and sharing stories. I’m very open and vulnerable online and started receiving daily messages from people I know and don’t know saying how inspiring I am and how much they love my content. I fell in love with connecting with people and sharing what I love in the most true form.
Tell me about your business and your “why”!
My business is wrapped around the idea of encouraging women to travel while looking and feeling their best. I love sharing stories, tips and guides for travel and bringing my audience along with me. My ideal travel involves luxury hotel stays, local cuisine, amazing views and lots of wine/champagne.
I also give an inside look to building my online business, showing people both the ups and downs, and sharing my journey as I go. One comment that I get all the time is that what I’m doing is extremely relatable and obtainable. My audience feels they could do what I’m doing, which is exactly what I try to portray. I’m very vulnerable and open with who I am, so deep conversations are my favorite, which is why I love connecting with people online, especially in DMs.
My why has always been wanting to connect with others. I value people over profit, as Marcus Lemonis always says, because, without my audience, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing. The reason I do what I do is to connect with others and inspire people to live their best life and show them that you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to.
How did you discover Christina?
I discovered Christina through an ad on Facebook! I’ve said this for months now, but Christina is very intuitive and has always shares content we didn’t even know we needed. I was on the brink of discovering what I could actually do as an influencer and her face popped up on my screen, talking about how to become an influencer. I looked over at my boyfriend and said, I think I’m going to invest in this, but I’m nervous. He said “do it.” And since then, it has completely changed my life.
Which courses of Christina’s have you taken, and what inspired you to enroll?
I’ve taken the Influencer Bootcamp and am halfway through the Blogger Bootcamp. I decided to enroll in the Influencer Bootcamp because I wanted to learn as much as possible about the influencer space, and knew I needed more tools to do so. It’s like I knew a huge piece in the puzzle was missing and I was hoping this would help me find it. Well, it did that and more.
While going through the course I realized that this was my “ah-ha” moment and that it was going to be a game changer for my influencer career. Best decision I ever made.
What 3 – 5 “lightbulb moments” did you have while taking the courses?
There have been so many light bulb moments when taking the courses but there are a few that stand out. The first one was making sure to niche down. I truly did not realize that by posting ALL the things you love on Instagram could actually hurt your reach and cause people to unfollow. The more niched down and specific you are, the more loyal and trusting followers you’ll have.
Another big moment was choosing a filter. This might seem so simple but I had been experimenting with filters for a while and realized that in order to have a cohesive feed, you need to stick to 1-3 very similar filters ALWAYS. This increased my following and engagement almost instantly. It was like magic lol!
There are so many more, but the posing lesson on what to do/not do when posing for photos was huge for me. I don’t always naturally know how to pose for photos, especially because I love more candid photos/in the moment type shots, so this lesson was super fun and educational. I’ve taken so many tips from this lesson for when I shoot my content.
What are the 2 – 3 most exciting things that have happened since completing the courses?
This is extremely exciting to answer. Since completing the Influencer Bootcamp Course, almost a year ago, I have locked in paid collaborations with brands that I love, have worked with 5 hotels, 3 travel companies and freaking quit my job. Talk about a life-changing career. AND this was all during a pandemic!
“I left a job and a company that I LOVED to do something that I love even more!”
You guys, Christina has changed my life. This is no exaggeration. I left a job and a company that I LOVED to do something that I love even more. This isn’t your typical, ‘I quit my 9-5 because I was miserable’ story. I actually loved my corporate job but was being pulled in a direction that I couldn’t ignore. I wanted unlimited vacation days, I wanted to be more creative (something I never even considered myself to be for the longest time), I wanted more time with friends and family and I wanted to create my own dream career. And I couldn’t have done any of this without Christina’s course. I’m even getting emotional as I write this.
What do you love most about the work you do?
What I love most about the work I do is that it allows me to tell my own story, share products and hotels, in a way that resonates with so many others. I don’t do this to say, “Oh, look at me, look what I’m doing.” I do this to say, “Look at what we both could be doing.”
The community is the best part of it all. I now work 10-12 hour days but the hours fly by because I’m doing something I truly love. I am connecting with like-minded women who are some of the most inspiring I’ve ever met. It’s all about the passion. I read a quote on Instagram yesterday that said, “Love what you do before you make a dime doing it.” That’s exactly how I feel.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big goal or project?
2021 is going to be a year of growth. I feel that I’ve spent all 2020 laying the foundation for my brand, and while I will never stop learning, I plan to really excel in my influencer career by partnering with more brands, more hotels and creating more streams of income. So I guess this is more of a business plan, but it’s exactly what I’ve been working toward and I am looking forward to most.
What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring influencers or bloggers?
My number one piece of advice is something most influencers and bloggers will tell you, but it’s not to get caught up in the numbers. Don’t compare your chapter 1 to a chapter 15. Don’t worry about your follower count, like count, view count, etc.
Learn and get inspiration from others, but don’t obsess over what they’re doing versus what you’re doing. Stay focused on you and what your goals are. Keep going even when you feel like giving up. Continue to bring value in your own way. It takes time to build your business but the rewards are SO worth it.
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram? Favorite bloggers?
@tannermann – She’s been my favorite for years! Complete opposite niche, as she’s a mommy beauty blogger but I absolutely love the way she connects with her audience. She’s also a stories queen. I look forward to them every day.
@lindsaysilb – A common favorite but for obvious reasons. She represents the travel and luxury space so well. She’s also funny and real. Always the key to my heart.
@jetsetchristina – Someone I found through Christina G, but also caters to that top luxury travel content and is always somewhere tropical, drinking wine and loving life.
@dancing.for.donuts – The kindest human you will ever meet who shares all things healthy living and is also an amazing dancer. We became friends through IG and talk on a daily basis!
@emjacquelyn – Fashion ladies, you need to follow her. She grew her fashion account from 6k to now almost 30k in a matter of like 8-9 months. I watched it happen. She shares all things affordable fashion and seriously kills it every day.
Where can people find you?
Instagram – @jesslitras
Website – jessicalitras.com
Pinterest – jesslitras