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: KATE LONG
Today’s student spotlight brings you Melbourne, Australia based travel and lifestyle influencer @explorewithkate! Kate’s Instagram is so dreamy and guaranteed to brighten your day with her fun content!
Tell me your story. Why did you start your Instagram?
To get to the start of the story, we have to go back a little farther in my life. Growing up I always had an interest in photography and art. When I was in the 3rd grade, my mom got me a Polaroid i-Zone camera for Christmas. It was my favourite gift! I snapped photos of anything that interested me and would use sticky tac to hang them on my bedroom walls.
As I got older, I always had a point and shoot camera around. I even was “influenced” by a Maria Sharapova ad to get a Canon Powershot in the 10th grade. I’m a bit of a tennis fan as well!
My favourite museums growing up were the art galleries. In high school, I would spend hours at the Smithsonian Museums just admiring the beauty and history of paintings, sculptures, and photos.
Fast forward to my university years where I studied abroad in London. It was my first trip to an international destination outside of the Caribbean and North America. During this time, I took a class called Photographing the City. It was the first time I’d ever used DSLR after using point and shoot camears for years. I took thousands of photos that summer and started practicing framing, editing, learning Photoshop, and also at this time, I fell in love with international travel. For Christmas that year, my parents got me my own DSLR – a Canon T3 Rebel.
I took photos of our pets, the outdoors and watched countless hours of YouTube videos to develop my skills.
During late 2017, I finally gave in to taking my passions of travel and photography to a serious place. I had spent the last year and a half traveling internationally to Thailand, Taiwan, England, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Singapore, and Bali. I was obsessed with The Blonde Abroad blog and wanted to create a blog of my own. That’s where Explore With Kate was born. Initially, I had planned to write travel guides, share my photography, and share my favourite products with readers. My Instagram account was inteded just to be a companion to my blog. I quickly learned that writing was not for me and so my blog never really went anywhere. I think I wrote a total of 5 blog posts over 2 years before I scrapped my blog completely. My Instagram, however, gained traction and has been my outlet of choice!
Tell me about your business and your “why”!
My business has a lot of different layers to it. I do sponsored posts on Instagram, content creation for brands, and also have grown a little advertising agency where I do Facebook and Google advertising for a variety of clients including small businesses and other influencers.
On my Instagram, I share a variety of travel and lifestyle content. I aim to inspire women to live their best life. I try to portray myself as your best friend. My DM’s are always open for a chat and I share aspirational content that is also completely attainable!
How did you discover Christina?
I started following Christina back when she was The Bold Brunette. It was 2017 and I had found her while hunting for new Instagram accounts to follow. I can’t remember exactly what led me to her page initially, but I started really paying attention to her content after she went on a trip to Greece with a few other bloggers. Her content started to really develop after this and I started noticing that she was turning this into a side hustle.
Which course of Christina’s have you taken and what inspired you to enroll?
I took The Influencer Bootcamp course (though at the time it was under it’s former name!). I enrolled because although I had done an in-person retreat with another influencer, I felt there was more for me to learn and I was really attracted to the community Christina was building. The Facebook group for TIB has led me to some amazing friends that I speak to almost every single day
What “lightbulb moments” did you have while taking The Influencer Bootcamp?
While taking TIB course, my cohesiveness lightbulb finally went off. The module on creating a cohesive feed was the first time I finally understood what I needed to do to make my grid feel less disjointed and more aesthetically pleasing. Christina’s video explained it in a way that no one else has and it just clicked for me.
I also particularly loved Christina’s media kit templates. While I quite liked my old media kit, I used Christina’s templates as inspiration for a more clean, streamlined media kit that took my brand from looking like a side project to a professional business.
Christina’s videos on posing and batching content also gave me ideas that helped cut my shooting time by more than half! I’m so much more efficient now and can reinvest that saved time into other aspects of my biz.
What are the 2 – 3 most exciting things that have happened since completing The Influencer Bootcamp?
Since completing Christina’s course, I’ve turned multiple gifted collaborations into paid deals and had the confidence to turn down brands that don’t align with my values and niche.
What do you love most about the work you do as an influencer?
I love being able to get paid to do something I’m so passionate about and have loved since I was a little kid! I also love that through Instagram, I’ve been able to network to win clients for my advertising business.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been quietly working on a website and Instagram for my advertising agency and am hoping to get it launched before the end of the year.
What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring influencers or bloggers?
Stop second guessing yourself. The majority of the doubts or questions that I see aspiring influencers or bloggers have are all mindset issues. Follow accounts that provide mindset advice and motivation to be a true boss babe. I recommend @thefemalehustlers @ceoschool and @bossbabe.inc
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?
@kennedyfrazer for hilarious stories and everyday style
@professionaltraveler for her insane travel photos and inspiring story. I relate to her on so many levels being in advertising myself.
@lindsaysilb for transforming my skincare routine and just being a boss.
@lolahubner for minimalist dreamy travel photos
@josie.bullard for her photo aesthetic. Love looking at her page when I need some inspo to try something different.
@tourdelust for her gorgeous aesthetic, fun personality, and just Christine as a person. She is the sweetest!! I started following her around the same time I started following Christina, so I feel like I’ve “grown up” on IG with her.
@naohms for her no-nonsense attitude and passion for educating aspiring influencers. She is one of the incredible ladies I’ve become friends with via TIB!!
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU?
@explorewithkate on Instagram!