A woman who tried to be an Instagram star found herself in $10,000 worth of debt after ‘living a lie’.
Lissette Calveiro from Miami, moved to New York and decided to start documenting her Sex and the City life filled with new clothes, brunches, bars, and expensive holidays.
After living what looked liked the ‘perfect’ life on Instagram, Lissette found herself in $10,000 of debt.
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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 in order to document them on her blog and Instagram in 2013, but by 2016, she decided to stop ‘doing things for Instagram.
The 26-year-old admits she continued to get into more and more debt, treating herself to a $200 (£145) spending spree every month and wouldn’t be seen in the same outfit twice.
She was living above her means and the debt loomed over her until she decided to take control.
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.
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’ and said she got minimal engagement when she posted photos of ‘shoes or a ‘new bag’.
Instead it was her ‘journey as a millennial, tips and career advice’ that people were interested in.
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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.
She said there is ‘nothing wrong with wanting to be a blogger’ and pointed out that ‘full-time influencers are hard workers‘.
Lissette encourages those looking to become Insta-famous to make sure they have a business plan to ensure they don’t accrue debt like she did.