You don’t need to be a Kardashian to be an Instagram influencer.

  It’s no wonder so many young people, high school graduates, aspire to be YouTubers, Instagrammers, Influencers. Some of the top Instagram influencers charge as much as $25,000 for just one post. If a makeup company or other brand wants to reach its audience, Instagram and influencers are a great place to start. Successful bloggers can work from home (or their houseboat) such as Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who’s blog “Making Sense of Cents” sometimes brings in over $100,000 per month through affiliate marketing and sponsored posts.

How does one become an influencer?

If your last name is Kardashian, it’s pretty simple. For everyone else it takes a lot of work. I recently met Samantha Nelson, a travel blogger/vlogger who became an influencer completely by accident.

“I quit my full-time job in 2014,” she told me at a blogging conference where she spoke. “We (she and her husband Angus) decided to sell our house and all of our belongings and pack up our kids and travel for a year.”

Every 30 days or so, the Nelson’s would pack everything up and move to another location, often someplace sunny and near the ocean. Leaving friends and family behind, Samantha started an online journal or blog just to keep everyone up to speed on where they were and what they were doing. “As I was writing stories about the things we were doing and our family was learning, people started following it.” was born and Samantha began writing more and taking more photos and videos. She and Angus reached out to cities to let tourism officials know that the Nelsons were ready to travel and write about where they go. Oh, and they almost always travel for free.

“It’s funny because everybody’s like ‘you travel for free’, but I’m working. And I know that traveling is amazing but when I go I’m creating content. I’m filming, I’m writing a story. It’s a lot of hard work but yes, cities will invite me in. They will host me, they will put me and my family up. They’ll give us tickets to attractions, they’ll cover our means and in exchange, I do travel stories,” she said.

The Takeaway

The takeaway from Those Crazy Nelsons is that they don’t have the number of followers of a big-time Instagram influencer. Rather than the hundreds of thousands, some of their social channels have hundreds of followers. Nelson says she’s learned a micro-influencer doesn’t need a large audience always following as long as the ones who are following are passionate about what she’s blogging about, in her case, family travel.

“I’m known as a micro-influencer,” she said. “That means I don’t have millions of followers but I do have a dedicated audience that’s listening to my content and making decisions based on my content.”