Tina Meeks was 27, with a five-year-old and a newborn. She has been posting on Instagram since 2015 to find a community. She and her husband James had just moved to Phoenix. But she was lonely in her new environment. So she set up an Instagram account that became her side hustle.
Turning Her Side Hustle Into Her Full-Time Job
No one seemed to understand, not even my husband, she said. I would turn on the internet, connect and say to myself: “Don’t do this because my head’s going crazy. I began to share the highs and lows of balancing motherhood and working life. I posted about parenting, clothes, relationships, hair care, food, Halloween costumes and so on. “HerLifeSparkle,” is the IG account name, after my childhood nickname Sparkle”.
Her modest reason for opening the account was that she earned $1,000 in the first year from working with brands. She considered Instagram a side job while she had a full-time job as an insurance clerk with a salary of $55,000. By 2018, when she fell pregnant for the third time, she had reconciled the two jobs very well. It wasn’t a planned pregnancy, but she brought great success and her account reached 10,000 followers.
Many of her followers are fellow mums who enjoy the relevant content and trust her products recommendations. Brands have collaborated with her on everything from diapers to soaps to clothing. This has made her a micro-influencer.
At some point, Meeks realized her side hustle has a growth potential. She opened her account, studied photography and bought a professional camera.
In that time, effort paid off. Meeks used her new skills to start her own marketing business, and when the pandemic hit, she had her children as models and her home as studio. She quit her job and turned her side hustle into a full-time job. By 2020, Meeks had made $300,000 in advertising for brands, coached aspiring moms and worked as an influencer.
The Rise of Mom Influencers
Today she has 67 thousand followers. “It’s on a campaign-to-campaign basis. I go by the calculation of 4% to 6% of your following size as your baseline rate,” Meeks says. “Nine times out of 10 in brand board rooms and marketing rooms, there isn’t someone who knows how to speak to Black women in a way that’s going to connect. So not only are you hiring me to create quality content, you’re also hiring me to speak to my audience about your product in a manner that is relatable and valuable to their life. That connection point alone is priceless.”
Mothers are powerhouses in the social media marketing industry. Companies are starting to use mothers as influencers to market their brands. “Moms are a much more lucrative category than millennials”, says Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation. “Moms have a lot more buying power and are usually very PG-rated in their content. They’re very brandable.”
“People are obsessed right now”, Meek agrees. “As more people are at home because of the pandemic, they are wrapped up in our families, our stories, what they have done, what the children are doing”.
How to Become a Mom Influencer
Tina Meeks now has an own hustle in her own hustle, teaches other women how to achieve their own success as influencers. With that in mind, here’s some advices for other moms interested in opening an account for their business.
“Don’t try to be anyone but yourself”, says Ginger Parrish of Gparrish. “Dig into the things that make your heart tick and hold on to them for a lifetime. Social media becomes much easier when you are able to separate your real joy from what others think about you”.
“Be transparent in your posts, keep in touch with your followers and never let it get to you”, says Angelica Calad of TaylensMom. “The beauty of influencing is knowing how to communicate with photos and small captions without being dazzled by the beauty of your own blessings”.
It’s hard to build a brand while raising children. For Hannah Carpenter, aka HannahCarpenter, it took three years and 40,000 followers before she started making money from sponsorships. “I think people expect a ton of followers,” she says. “This cannot be done overnight and requires a lot of practice and a lot of work”.
“Bringing it all together can be difficult, but the trick is to enjoy the fun we have”, say Shannon Barker and Michaela Ehrle of MotherTrucker.com. Don’t get caught up in the stress. “The best advice I can give mothers is to do what you can to do. You have to stay true to yourself and build on what you believe in. We’ve given tips for mums who want to be what they want to be”.
“My first Instagram post had horrible images, no hashtags and uninspired captions. The only way to get better is to try at your own pace and your own schedule. And before you know it, you’ll be making real money and be home wiht your kids”, says Michelle Gindi of @Buddhabowlsandburpees.