DEAR HARRIETTE: I have recently gained a lot of attention through social media (Instagram specifically) as a brand influencer. I get paid a substantial amount of money to simply take a few pictures and promote brands from all over the world.
My friends don’t seem to be supportive of my career at all. Whenever I mention a new sponsorship or brand endorsement, they veer the conversation in another direction almost immediately. They never ask about the work I do, but when I mention it, they are quick to downplay my accomplishments. They’ve made comments asking if I was still interested in a “real job” before. I’m proud of the work I do and attention I’ve gained -- why can’t my friends seem to be proud of me as well? -- Influencer
DEAR INFLUENCER: You are going to need to get recognition for your professional accomplishments from other sources outside of your friend group. That may seem sad to you, since you are close to these people, but know that it isn’t unusual for friends and loved ones to not “get” you in certain ways. It is possible for people to sincerely love you without understanding or appreciating the work that you do or the contributions that you make in other parts of your life.
In your case, you are involved in a relatively new means of earning a living. For some, it may seem trendy and possibly fleeting. They may not understand and may have opinions based on whatever they think an “influencer” is. Rather than fretting over how to convince them of your value, plot your course. Figure out how you can build your reputation and your business. The main caution I would offer is that as you align yourself with various brands, make sure that you do so only when the brand is reflective of your values. Those simple posts that you describe that go all over the world represent you and what you stand for. I strongly suggest that you evaluate each brand, each photo and each post before you put them into the universe. Once it’s out there, you cannot take it back.