This 34-year-old mom quit her job to do some sideline – and made $ 300,000 in one year


Tina Meeks started posting on Instagram about motherhood because she felt lonely as a relatively young mom.

It was 2015, and Meeks and her husband James, a tech entrepreneur, had just moved from Phoenix to Dallas. At the age of 27 and with no one to feel sorry for about the parenting problems of a five-year-old and a newborn, Meeks felt like a fish out of the water in her new community.

“Nobody seemed to understand, not even my husband,” she told CNBC Make It. “So I turned to the internet to connect. Just let someone tell me I’m not going crazy on my mind . I started sharing the ups and downs of balance between motherhood and my work life. “

Meeks, now 34, named her Instagram “Her Life Sparkles,” based on her childhood nickname, Sparkle. She made recommendations on clothing, family, relationships, hair care, and parenting. She posted pictures of Essen and their children in Halloween costumes.

From a side business of $ 1,000 per year to a six-digit full-time business

In the first year, Meeks made about $ 1,000 working with brands. For Meeks, it was just a side job to her full-time job as an insurance surveyor, where she earned a salary of $ 55,000.

But in 2018, Meeks became pregnant with a third child. Although the pregnancy was unplanned, it was actually very good for her brand. Her Instagram followers quickly rose from 2,000 to 10,000.

A few months later, she recalls, “the floodgates opened and brands – diapers, clothes, soap – started looking for a partner.” Meeks had made a very busy life for herself on social media, with thousands of mothers eagerly waiting for their next product recommendation or photo to glimpse the lives of mothers.

In the influencer hierarchy, based on interviews with multiple mom influencers on mine A micro-influencer can have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers on the “Under the Influence” podcast.

That may be smaller than some of the top tier influencers (500,000 to 1 million followers), but micro-influencers often have very close relationships with brands and high follower engagement. This can make their brand very lucrative, as it was for Meeks, who currently has an Instagram follower of 57,000.

Realizing her company’s potential growth, Meeks decided to take things more seriously. She studied photography and bought a professional camera.

That paid off enormously. When the pandemic hit, Meeks found a way to use her new digital skills. The companies she worked with, including Children’s Place and Fab Kids, were unable to run their own ads due to quarantine restrictions. So she offered all of her services and became a one-woman digital marketing studio.

Meeks’ children became little models. She had a kid in every age group – a toddler, a toddler, and a school kid – and could film all kinds of brand content right in her house.

In 2020 alone, Meeks made more than $ 300,000 working with brands and advising budding influencers for moms on how to grow their business. She was able to quit her job and turn her sideline into a full-time business.

A booming, multi-billion dollar industry

The influencer industry is set to grow to around $ 13.8 billion this year, according to it a 2021 report from Influencer Marketing Hub – and experts don’t see any slowdown in growth anytime soon.

Based on my interviews with influencers and digital marketing experts, the starting point for how much an influencer gets paid for a single post is around $ 100 per 10,000 followers.

That means macro influencers with around 500,000 followers can make up to $ 5,000 for a single Instagram post. The recommended sweet spot is to post once a day. Even if only half of the posts are sponsored, an influencer can make around $ 910,000 a year.

Nine times out of ten in boardrooms and marketing rooms there is no one who knows how to talk to black women in a way that makes a connection.

Tina Meeks

Mother influencer and content creator, Her Life Sparkles

Meeks’ following is growing exponentially, but she says she doesn’t believe in the standard metrics. She sets her own prices, and when a brand comes to her with what she wants to pay for, she always negotiates because she knows her audience engagement is high and she has a lot of confidence in the black mothers who follow her.

“It’s campaign to campaign. I’m assuming you calculate 4% to 6% of your next size as the base rate,” says Meeks.

“Nine out of ten in branding and marketing spaces, there is nobody who knows how to talk to black women in a way that makes a connection,” she explains. “So, not only are you hiring me to create quality content, you’re also hiring me to talk to my audience about your product in a way that is relatable and valuable to their lives. This connection point alone is priceless. “

The story of Meeks is just one example of how powerful mom influencers are in the social media marketing industry – one that is often ignored, perhaps because it’s female dominated and made for women.

“Mothers are a much more lucrative category than Millennials,” Joe Gagliese, co-founder and CEO of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, told CNBC Make It. “They have a lot more purchasing power and are usually very PG-rated on their content. They are very brandable. “

Meek agrees, adding that “people are obsessed. Now that more people are at home during the pandemic, they are just so into our families and our history and what we do and what the kids do.”

Meek’s advice to budding mom influencers

Meeks is now speaking louder about her influencer journey, “because I think I can help other women with it.” (About 15% of their income comes from coaching other influencers – through through online courses and e-books – how to make money.)

Here’s her best advice:

1. Be true to yourself and allow yourself to be a beginner.

“Nobody starts at the top level of their field of work,” says Meeks. “You have to try, fail, and try harder to get there. There are thousands of mothers, wives, makeup artists and stylists telling their stories, but none of them are you. Being you is what makes you different the crowd stands out. ” . ”

2. Be ready to make serious efforts.

“Yes, I get paid to spend time with my family and do everyday things like spending the weekend in a rented apartment or doing an Easter egg hunt in coordinated outfits,” admits Meeks.

But she’s also working harder than ever in her 9-to-5 job now.

Not only is she a wife and mother of three, but also: “I’m a photographer, copywriter, editor, image consultant, hairdresser and cloakroom stylist, secretary, research and development analyst, technical support, accounts payable and so many other titles.”

3. Be prepared for your private life to be reflected in your work.

Meeks loves her job and the opportunity to support her family in ways she could never have imagined.

But the downside, according to Meeks, is that “if I’m not careful, my balance can be lost”. She now understands that she must draw clear lines to separate her professional and private life.

“I can’t always be in and available to my online community,” she says. “Sometimes I just have to be the mother of my children and my husband’s wife.”

Jo Piazza is the podcast creator and host of the critically acclaimed series “Under the influence” and “Involved.” She is also the best-selling author of nine books that have been translated into more than 10 languages. Your latest novel, “Charlotte Walsh likes to win” was recently published in paperback. She is also the author of the upcoming book “We’re not like them.” Follow her on Twitter @JoPiazza.

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