“With influence comes the ability to make a positive change within your audience. As the curator of a travel inspiration page, I try to be conscious to never feature practices that are irresponsible, damaging to the environment or wildlife, or exploitative of local communities. By encouraging travelers to do the right things and stay away from the wrong things, they can encourage locals susceptible to engaging in those damaging practices.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Carina Otero of She is Not Lost, an Instagram community for inspiring female travelers. Carina has created a network of 240k women (and growing!) from all over the world to connect, share their stories, and encourage each other to dream about and discover new experiences. Having been featured in Forbes, Buzzfeed, and Huffington Post, Carina hopes to encourage her audience to develop meaningful relationships to the places they visit, with ethical travel being a big focus. By connecting women from all corners of the globe, Carina hopes that female travelers can feel the support of their community and help each other follow their dreams.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
She is Not Lost purely started as a hobby, because I was always interested in travel and photography. I would use Instagram as a tool when researching a place I planned to travel to, scouting different locations to visit and photograph. Over time I built a personal collection of beautiful and inspiring images, and I thought it would be fun to share them on Instagram, giving credit to the original photographers and owners of the images. I thought of the name @sheisnotlost, and the community has been growing ever since.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
The main reason why I started She is Not Lost is because I was working in a corporate, salaried, 9–6 job and was feeling uninspired and unfulfilled in my career. I worked for a division for a large multinational corporation based in the US, and for many months I was in a position that was not challenging and left a lot of time for me to daydream. I left that job for another position that promised more opportunities for travel, and by the time that job ended She is Not Lost had grown to a point that I was able to start generating an income. Fast forward about two-and-a-half years, and I received a message from the headquarters of the large multinational corporation, unaware that I used to work for one of their divisions. Their marketing department wanted to partner with me on a sponsored post! I completed the campaign and received a paycheck, and felt like I was exactly where I wanted to be in my career. It had come full-circle.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
With influence comes the ability to make a positive change within your audience. As the curator of a travel inspiration page, I try to be conscious to never feature practices that are irresponsible, damaging to the environment or wildlife, or exploitative of local communities. By encouraging travelers to do the right things and stay away from the wrong things, they can encourage locals susceptible to engaging in those damaging practices.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
I would say that having good intentions may have had a lot to do with my success. My goal was never to make a lot of money, but rather it was to inspire people. Regardless, I worked and continue to work hard to be able to inspire more people every day, and the “perks” started to come naturally: an income, a flexible schedule, and the ability to travel. For someone who wants to build and speak to an audience, you first need to identify what you are good at and what others can learn from you. If you are good at writing, or photography, or videography, or editing, make it your focus and work consistently toward bettering yourself and putting yourself in a position where you can set an example for others.
Can you share a story?
I recently traveled to Guatemala with the brand Hiptipico (www.hiptipico.com), which empowers and employs local Maya women and shares their talents and traditional textiles with the world. The brand repurposes traditional textiles and contracts local artisans and leather workers to make bags, camera straps, and other accessories. By preserving their traditions and providing opportunities for steady income, Hiptipico is making a difference in the local communities. Additionally Hiptipico encourages their travelers to visit to Guatemala, and curates experiences for anyone interested in textile processes. Working with brands like Hiptipico is especially rewarding because their mission is to better the lives of communities who are often marginalized or overlooked.
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
I was recently named a Brand Ambassador for a Behere, a travel service for daydreaming professional females who crave the flexibility to travel, supporting them with the framework to make those dreams a reality. Behere is like a combination of Airbnb, Classpass, and The Wing (the-wing.com is a women-only coworking space) that allows its members to choose one of 12 locations all over the world to live month-to-month, work remotely, and maintain their lifestyle. I am proud to be sharing their service with my audience because their mission speaks exactly to who I was when I was working an unfulfilling, inflexible, and monotonous corporate job.
What are your “Top Five Ideas About How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand” . (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Sponsored content, paid reviews
a. Once you have built an audience that is interested in the things you do, they can be influenced by your recommendations, making you very valuable to brands within your industry. Brands will pay you to get in front of your viewers or readers.
2. Affiliate marketing
a. Earn a commission by linking products and services that you recommend. The more you use and mention a product, the more likely your audience with follow in your footsteps.
3. Create or design your own product to sell
a. You can create something original, that is useful or valuable to your audience. Whether it is physical product or digital product, offer your audience something that they will benefit from. An example of physical product can be a book or an article of clothing, and a digital product can be an online guide or presets for editing photos.
4. Create original content. Your content is your portfolio.
a. Sell your photography to stock image sites or write blogs for websites that need written content.
5. Freelance as a consultant. Your brand is your portfolio.
a. The ability to grow and engage with an audience is a skill that businesses and other brands are constantly looking for. Use your experience and apply it to other brands to help them grow and see results.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
On Instagram the community is @sheisnotlost, and my personal page is @carinaotero
Originally published at medium.com