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: Teresa Moon
Today’s student spotlight brings you self titled ‘Florida-based creative still seeking an appropriate job title’, Teresa Moon. Teresa is passionate about self-improvement, creativity, sustainable living, and travels with her beautiful little family.
Tell me your story. Why did you start your blog and Instagram?
It sort of started by accident, and turned into something I slowly expanded into. And it all began with a pair of sunglasses!
It was March 2018 and I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter. A brand DM’d me on my personal Instagram, which had around 1,000 followers, asking if they could send me sunglasses in exchange for me posting a photo wearing them. I had no idea this was even a thing, and I remember it being really exciting. It all sort of picked up momentum from there.
At the time I got those sunglasses, I was really unhappy at my job. I was mainly sick of the unfairness and inequalities of women in my industry. I had been trying to fight my way up for years, and I was sick & tired of my path being determined by someone else.
So that free pair of sunglasses got me thinking.. could I finally take control of my own life? Could I finally be my own boss and not have to listen to men tell me what to do anymore?
I’ve always been that girl with a camera in my hand and it was my dream to make it into a career…
But I never knew it was possible. But these sunglasses got me motivated. My last few weeks before my baby arrived were spent lying on the couch with my big ‘ole belly, educating myself online about this industry. Watching videos & reading articles about bloggers and influencers and all the ways to grow a brand and make a living.
After my daughter arrived, I began working with more brands and gaining experience as an influencer. Admittedly, it helped having a cute newborn baby to show off in my content!
And I absolutely loved it. All of it. I felt like I had finally found my “thing.” And while I faced criticism and judgement from some, my husband was very supportive and we came up with a reasonable one-year plan for me to be able to quit my job. And in the meantime, we would save money and I would get as much experience as I could in the digital world.
I launched my blog in December 2018, worked my first paid collab in February 2019, and I was finally able to quit my deadend job in January 2020!
And I still have that pair of sunglasses 🙂
Tell me about your business as an influencer and blogger. What is your “why”!
My business is a combination of blogging, social media collaborations, and creating content for brands. In fact, my goal with my content is to ignite your passion for creativity. My creativity is my voice, and my goal is to use that voice to share my journey, connect with others, and inspire positive lifestyle choices.
I would describe myself as a deeply curious human always looking for ways to live as a better version of myself. I love the feeling of learning new things, progressing in life and overall becoming a better person. The best compliment I receive is when someone tells me that I helped them cultivate their inner creativity and share it with the world.
As for my “why,” it’s because I aspire to set a positive example for my daughter.
So that years from now, when she reads my little space on the internet, she knows that she, too, can follow her dreams and refuse to let anyone hold her back. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up watching her mom be treated unfairly at her job and think that’s what her life had to be like, too, just because “you gotta pay the bills.” I want to teach her (and others) that when you genuinely love something and put your hard work out there, it attracts more opportunities your way.
How did you discover Christina?
I found Christina during my “pregnant on the couch” research back in 2018. I found her Influencer Bootcamp back in it’s VERY early days when it was still called the Instagram bootcamp. And I was one of the OG members! I instantly followed Christina, bought her course and binged all her content!
Which course of Christina’s have you taken and what inspired you to enroll?
I took the Influencer Bootcamp back in 2018, and I’ve gone back through it multiple times for refreshes since then! That course literally kick-started my career as an influencer and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. Then in January 2020, right after I quit my job to do this full-time, I applied for a spot on her Influencer to Empire Mastermind. It was a strategic investment motivated by a belief I had in myself.
I had followed Christina for almost two years. And there was something about her that separated her from all the other educators out there. I trusted her. I felt like she had taken the time to know me and what I needed. And I just knew she would help me take things to the next level with my business.
The first thing Christina had me do for her Influence to Mastermind was complete her Blogger Bootcamp to help me relaunch my blog (move it from Squarespace to WordPress) and start building my email list. The Blogger Bootcamp is truly a life changer in the blogging world, it literally walks you through everything step by step and there was no way I could’ve navigated my blog/email list without it!
What “lightbulb moments” did you have while taking the courses?
I had a major “lightbulb moment” in the Influencer Bootcamp in the section about Instagram growth strategies. I couldn’t believe how comprehensive and strategic it all was. And I remember thinking…. “You mean people won’t just follow me for taking pretty pictures?” No Teresa. No. You have to actually have to BUILD a community.
The most memorable part of Influence to Empire Mastermind so far has simply been Christina helping me understand my business better and guide me into a more specific direction. I was all over the place!
Christina has helped me narrow down my niche and identify the profitable areas of my business. I needed to do better at focusing my time on 1) what I enjoy most and 2) what’s earning revenue. Everything else needed to take a backseat or be outsourced.
It’s not one of Christina’s courses, but her YouTube video about shooting yourself with a tripod was a big “lightbulb moment” for me. I had tried it a few times and could never quite get it right until Christina broke it down and now I’m so confident with it. Plus, joining a community of other students that took pictures of themselves helped normalized the whole thing in my mind. I got a ton more confident shooting myself and stopped caring about anyone staring.
The first photo I ever took of myself with my tripod after watching this video is the one above. I had just had my daughter 2 weeks prior and was desperate to go try everything I learned on her courses, and this is the photo I got! It will forever be one of my favorites.
What are the most exciting things that have happened since completing the course?
Quitting my job! It was honestly magical. I don’t even know how to describe it. After I went in to resign, I remember driving home and crying tears of joy because I felt so free. I was so proud of myself! And I knew it was meant to be because within 12 hours of quitting, I got two big emails with brands wanting long term collaborations. I had never had a long term collaboration before, and I got 2 emails the same day I quit. Also within a few days of quitting, I had 2 big trips booked with hotels. It wasn’t a coincidence, it was all a sign from the influencer gods that I had made the right choice!
The next most exciting thing to happen to me is building my team! I now have 5 amazing women who work with me and I can’t wait to keep growing my team!
I’m really proud and grateful of the brands I’ve been able to work with in the last year. A few are Ann Taylor, Trip Advisor, Estee Lauder, Kay Jewelers and NASA.
What do you love most about being an influencer and blogger?
Nothing brings the life out of me more than getting into a creative flow state. I view the world as if my eyes are the lens of a camera; constantly looking for ways I can capture the beauty I see in front of me and use it to express myself in a creative way.
Also the community. I absolutely adore the friends I’ve made in this industry, and I truly value each and every person that follows me and takes time to look at what I’m creating. My goal with putting myself online was to inspire others, but what’s actually happened is other’s have inspired me.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big goal or project?
I just hired a manager, which is a big step for me! And I’m currently in the process of building my team. It’s been so fun to find like-minded women that share my passions and want to help me grow my business. Oh and I’ve also just signed a partnership with Adobe that I’m SO excited about! Video editing is my favorite creative outlet, and for a brand like Adobe to want to sponsor me is a dream come true. I’m so proud to be on this journey, and while somewhat uncertain, the future excites me.
What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring influencers or bloggers?
Create with intention. Be real. Be different. This industry is wildly saturated, and you can’t just take pretty pictures anymore… because everyone takes pretty pictures. So find your way to stand out from the crowd and don’t just copy what everyone else is doing. Be true to yourself, be genuine, and be uniquely YOU!
I can wholeheartedly say that I don’t post for other people anymore, I post what makes ME happy. If you’re not staying true to yourself, people won’t buy into your brand. I learned that the hard way early on that I wish I could go back and redo because it held me back. And I hope that those reading this can learn from my mistake. I think it’s so incredibly important to anyone just starting out. Not only for growing your following & community, but for your own mental health.
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram? Favorite bloggers?
Obviously Christina is a favorite! I’ll name a few other long-time favorites of mine too:
@chelseakauai – I love her dreamy Instagram feed and her sustainable values
@inthefrow – I love her timeless style & outspoken support for other women in the industry
@garyvee – I love his unapologetically-honest content, a must-follow for all creators
@chasejarvis – I love his voice in the creative world, he’s another must-follow for creators