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: Naomi Genota
In the spotlight today is Cali based Lifestyle Content Creator and Influencer, Naomi Genota, who is passionate about empowering other women to step outside of their comfort zones, and live purposefully.
Tell me your story. Why did you start your Instagram?
Honestly, my Instagram grew on accident. I’m a HUGE makeup junkie, and in 2012, I started to post a lot of my makeup hauls on Instagram. Little did I know that there was a beauty community on the platform, and people started to look to me for recommendations and advice on beauty-related topics. I eventually grew that audience up to 36k and started a YouTube channel that grew to 15k.
Because I still didn’t see the potential of having an audience like that had, in 2015, I decided to take a step back from the influencer life to focus on finishing graduate school and gave my engineering career another shot and its time to shine.
When I traveled to the Philippines with my family in 2017, I had an epiphany. I realized how shitty corporate life was… that I worked my butt off to climb up the corporate ladder, make someone else rich… all for 2 weeks of vacation. I convinced myself I was helping people by being a structural engineer, and took pride in it, but I realized I WAS ONLY KIDDING MYSELF.
My real passion is to help people live a better life, and I know it goes BEYOND my cubicle.
So I told myself I would work as hard as I can and do whatever it took to replace my 6-figure career as a structural engineer and project manager. I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but Instagram sparked it all. So I decided to grow my platforms again to where it is today, because I didn’t want to spend another 50 years “convincing myself” that I’m happy working for someone.
Today, I’m building over 7 streams of income, inside and outside social media. But above all, I’m incredibly blessed to be providing value and giving hope to other people who just need a gleam of positivity and a space of escape from all the negativity in the world.
Tell me about your being a lifestyle content creator and your “why”!
I’m a lifestyle content creator. I’m very passionate about empowering the modern woman to get out of her comfort zone, continually practice self-love, and live a lifestyle of purpose. On my platforms, you’ll find a lot of practical tips and actionable value about life and adulting, motivation and inspiration (I call them my naetalks), and of course, my most coveted Instagram influencer tips!
How did you discover Christina?
It’s actually the weirdest way to find her. I stumbled upon Christina’s “How to Take Your Own Travel Photos” YouTube video (back when she was still ‘The Bold Brunette’ LOL) when I needed some tips when I traveled to Guatemala and Belize in 2018. That’s when I hopped onto Instagram to follow her, and found all about her Influencer Bootcamp course.. and, well, the rest is history.
Which course of Christina’s have you taken and what inspired you to enroll?
I have taken both the Influencer Bootcamp and the Blogger Bootcamp, and I am also currently on Christina’s Influence to Empire Mastermind group. I feel like each of Christina’s courses fit right into every season of my life in my influencer journey (as cheesy as that sounds).
When I traveled to the Philippines in the family, I dreamed of a lifestyle and freedom outside of my job, so I promised myself I would find a way to replace my 9-to-5, whatever that may look like. I took a shot with TIB because I wanted to regrow my Instagram as a lifestyle creator, but didn’t know how to transition my content and my audience from beauty to personal to lifestyle. And I haven’t looked back. Best decision I’ve made.
Last year alone, I made $35,000 just from brand sponsorships (on top of my 9-5).
I decided to invest in Christina’s mastermind because I wanted to scale my influencer business and create more streams of income that’s more stable and less active. I’ve seen the success Christina has made with her business that I wanted to know how she did it and have her guidance.
What “lightbulb moments” did you have while taking the courses?
1. Christina explaining the Instagram Algorithm. When she explained its behavior, it opened up SO MANY WAYS for me to increase my reach 3x and keep my audience engaged.
2. Caption writing and microblogging. I was always hesitant to write so much on my captions because I felt like people weren’t going to read them. But when Christina explained the 4 Parts of a Great Caption, I’ve mastered how to immediately hook my reader, make it easy to read, and build up the intensity that people are willing to read until the end.
3. Batching content. THIS WAS A GAME CHANGER! I always felt like I was running out of things to post, but designating a shoot day, a content calendar and planning out my captions, it’s making my process more efficient and more automated.
4. Doing an Instagram audit. The Losing Followers section of TIB really motivated me to survey my audience to find out how they see my content from their perspective, and what they love to see more of. This enabled me to be a lot more intentional with my content, even my sponsored content, so that I’m leading with integrity.
5. Expanding my audience and social proof beyond Instagram. When I started my email list and started posting on Pinterest, I did not realize HOW POWERFUL IT WAS to have something that I own! And I’ve only started diving into this, so I’m excited to do more!
What are the most exciting things that have happened since completing the course?
Since completing the courses, I have mastered the art of pitching. I am now incredibly confident to charge up to 5x my base rate and leverage my strengths to negotiate.
I have worked on high-paid partnerships with brands like the MLB, Amazon, Target, Sephora, Dunkin, GoDaddy and AT&T. In fact, I have grown my Instagram about 8k, my Pinterest views by 38k, started my Email list and grew it up to 300 on the first 3 months! I have learned how to truly nurture my community and provide the value they constantly look for from me.
What do you love most about being a lifestyle content creator?
I honestly just love helping people and inspiring them to always find the good in every circumstance. The most rewarding thing about my platform is building relationships with my community. Hearing them say that I’ve given them hope, helped them, or even said something that they needed to hear during a low season of their life is worth more than any perk or accolade of my influencer journey.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big goal or project?
I just released my Influencer Starter Kit, which has the EXACT tools and strategies I use to land 4-figure brand collaborations as a micro-influencer. Putting this project together really revealed where my strengths are, and what I’m truly passionate about teaching, so who knows, I might create a course or offer 1-on-1 coaching!
I also would like to expand my horizons, push my creative limits even further, and grow my audience on platforms outside of Instagram, like my blog, Pinterest, or maybe TikTok.
What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring lifestyle content creators and influencers?
Never stop being 100% yourself. Your authenticity is your BIGGEST asset in your journey, and the right people will stick around for what makes you YOU, and not who you’re trying to be.
Never compromise your integrity for a profit
Never let your worth be defined by the metrics and the numbers. There is always room for improvement, you just have to make the decision to nurture your strengths and keep on going until you push that boulder to the top of the hill.
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram? Favorite bloggers?
@emmasedition @paigearminta @thatsosofi @sonyasingh @lindsaysilb @tourdelust @ofleatherandlace @kasey.jo.gerst @itsmodernmillie @professionaltraveler @teresaannmoon @imaniinspires @hellomissjordan @chelseaasoflate @frankvinyl