Turning your social media presence into sizeable income is a tall task, but as many influencers have proven, it can be done. Case in point: Social media star Michelle Phan. The make-up artist’s social media success story has served as a source of inspiration to influencers everywhere, as she has tackled many challenges while transforming her YouTube presence into a business empire. Read on to learn about the cosmetic queen’s rise to social media fame, her struggles along the way, and her successes courtesy of social media skill and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Michelle Phan’s Rise to Fame
Following a rough childhood, Michelle Phan developed a passion for the cosmetics industry at an early age. She kicked off her social media career in 2005 with a blog on Xanga dedicated to her make-up routine and tutorials. What began as a fun passion project quickly evolved into a legitimate business. By 2007, her blogs had turned into vlogs and Michelle began constructing her YouTube page.
The social media starlet experienced rapid success on the video sharing platform. Her first YouTube video earned more than 40,000 views in one week, and the beauty icon reached more than 1 million followers during her first few years uploading videos. To her surprise, sharing her personal beauty routine was all it took for her creations to go viral and she was widely praised for her understanding of cosmetics, her ability to effectively communicate with an audience, and her passion for what she was doing. Her continued success on YouTube generated interest from cosmetic companies around the world, allowing her to explore business opportunities away from the platform.
Since 2010, Michelle has experimented with her own cosmetic lines and services thanks to previous partnerships with L’Oreal and Lancome. In 2011, she co-founded a makeup subscription service, Ipsy, and in 2013 she partnered with L’Oreal to develop a cosmetics line known as Em. While things seemed perfect from the outside looking in, Em was deemed a colossal failure and social media became a source of many problems for the aspiring entrepreneur.
Learning From Success and Failure
While social media was the impetus of Michelle Phan’s success, the disappointment of her cosmetic line and issues in her personal life caused her to second guess her role in the industry. In fact, she took a several-month hiatus from social media to traverse the globe, reevaluate her career, and find herself, in what she described as a “year of deconstruction.”
The time off paid off as Michelle rediscovered herself and made a triumphant return to social media and the business world in 2017. The process of both reinventing herself and sharing her story hasn’t been easy, but Michelle says she is back “stronger than ever.” Her current projects include relaunching Em without L’Oreal, a premium lifestyle network known as ICON, and getting back to creating content she is passionate about. Moral of the story: Social media success can lead to incredible business opportunities, however, there will be plenty of challenges along the way.
Michelle’s Blueprint to Success
The beauty mogul credits her persistence and creativity for helping her move forward. Her continuous commitment to growth, her willingness to reinvent herself when necessary, and her ability to share openly with her audience are all components of her sustained success. Here are a handful of tips aspiring entrepreneurs and influencers can learn from Michelle’s journey:
- Identify a problem and be the solution. Content that resonates with an audience solves a problem.
- Tie in trending topics to your message. Michelle found sustained success by creating content that related to newsworthy items, holidays, and other timely topics.
- Take creative risks. Just as social media platforms evolve, social media influencers must evolve too. Change is a non-negotiable component of success.
- Post consistent content. Creators know the value of consistency, and Michelle’s initial success was a model of consistency.
- Engage with fans. Respond to every comment, ask questions, and have ongoing conversations to develop legitimate relationships with your audience.
- Post what you’re passionate about. Passion is contagious.
- Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. Michelle is the perfect example of reinvention gone right.
As you navigate the challenges as an aspiring social media entrepreneur, use Michelle’s story for inspiration. While her blueprint to success is unique to her, the lessons she has learned along the way apply to all. Best of luck on your journey!