Social media can really turn you into a whole new person. Sometimes, that means it can make you broke. Society nowadays puts pressure on people to look perfect while posting on social media platforms. If you fall under the pressure and try to look perfect, you are probably living a perfect life online, while struggling with your real life at the same time. One woman decided to become a social media influencer when people were not even aware of that term. Back in 2013, she decided to become an Instagram star, but it all went down the road. After ‘living a lie’, she found herself in $10,000 worth of debt.
Lissette Calveiro from Miami, moved to New York and had an interesting idea. She wanted to document her “Sex and the City” life full of new clothes, brunches, bars, and expensive holidays. But soon, she realized she is in a huge debt.
Speaking to UNILAD about her Instagram journey, Lissette said:
“I intended to start my own blog to document ‘life in NYC.’ In 2013, I was an intern at a public relations firm. The idea of ‘influencers’ didn’t exist, but I wanted to see how far I could take my blog. I got a lot of nice engagement from people online, and really enjoyed connecting with strangers over similar interests and values so I continued to live a very public, social-forward lifestyle. Trying to emulate social media personalities at the budget of a young professional fresh out of college, it’s entirely unrealistic.”
“I was swiping credit cards at every turn thinking ‘I’m sure I’ll pay this off later.’ While true, it’s a very dangerous slope and can cause many people to get into a sticky financial situation. Also – because I was always more focused on my career OFFLINE (profile).” I didn’t have the time to build an influencer business like many others have to make money from it or do experiences for free. It simply wasn’t my priority to grow my audience and just kept “posting photos” for whoever did want to listen.”
Lissette explained that she started ‘upping’ her lifestyle experiences. This was done only to be documented on her blog and Instagram in 2013. In 2016, she decided to stop. And for a good reason.
The 26-year-old admits she continued to get into more and more debt. But this had to stop.
“We estimated around $10,000 — though this was ‘$1-3K USD’ spread around various cards, never one $10,000 bill (that would be even scarier!) Thankfully am not. The first step was growing my career to where I was making much more money in order to pay back debt, living UNDER my means. For example: moved to NY to live far from work, with a room mate, to have really cheap rent, cooking at home, and starting a savings at the same time.”
She goes on:
“I also had a small following on Instagram at this point, but was already working with brands on sponsored content. I used any money made from Instagram to pay off debt. I also lucked out on jumping on the Crypto currency craze for a short period of time and used money to clear out debt.”
Lissette understood the importance of ‘being authentic’, but she didn’t get much response from her followers. People were interested in her ‘journey as a millennial, tips and career advice’ instead.
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“Living above your means is never as enjoyable as spending on things you can actually afford. I find lots of joy in doing things I love – like travel – but being able to pay for it upfront and not on a credit card. The best way to grow a following is by being yourself and finding a community through that. These days, it’s important to stand out in the sea of sameness by finding something niche that you are a good voice for, or passionate about, and connecting with people in that space.”
Ms Calveiro was not only living in luxury, but also buying plane tickets to exotic locations like the Bahamas because she wanted to collect “at least 12” Snapchat geo-filters.
In 2016, she moved back to New York after landing a job in PR, and made some major financial changes.
She began posting old photos to Instagram instead of taking new ones, and rented expensive clothes instead of buying them. Moreover, she got the help of a money-saving app, and now she is debt-free. Way to go!
“Nobody talks about [his or her] finances on Instagram,” she told The New York Post.
“It worries me how much I see girls care about image.”
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