With 112k followers under her belt, 25-year-old Seattle-based influencer Joelle Friend has content creation down pat. Conjuring up a wanderlust grid wasn’t always her career plan though. This marketing and sales buff made the bold decision to leave her full-time job at a software company in July last year, and has never looked back.
It all began with a leap of faith on a 10-day Visit Finland trip targeted at influencers, requiring budding globetrotters to post images from their sojourns. Joelle’s plan was simple: embark on the Finnish adventure for its prescribed 10-day span and head back to the office when its expiration date dawned. It was only a brief jaunt, after all.
But then again, when does life ever go exactly to plan?
After experiencing a taste of the industry, and being presented with a buffet of business opportunities in response to her work, Joelle decided to ditch her desk job and go with her gut. Ten days of snapping glorious landscapes and showcasing her creativity were simply not enough.
Now, she’s thriving in an environment free from the restrictions of four concrete walls, nine-to-five hours and myriad coffee breaks. ‘Freelance social media influencer’ is Joelle’s new tag, boasting whimsical travel and lifestyle content on her Instagram and blog.
She told Yahoo Finance that her course-altering decision was one free from regret. “It bought me freedom to do whatever I want, when I want to do it.”
Although influencer media is often seen through rose-coloured glasses, Joelle still has her fair share of responsibilities, deadlines and obligations to consider (teamed with that forever over-flowing inbox and IG engagement commitments).
Whilst the ‘YOLO’ moments glisten with romanticism, the pressure of making a living still looms. Joelle doesn’t currently make as much as her previous job – but does hope to one day salary match. But for now, she makes enough to save, buy essentials, and pay rent.
Joelle believes patience to be paramount in ‘making it’ on Instagram, standing as a firm advocate for authenticity. “The money will come if [the content] is valuable and people like it.”