Brittany Noelle got into the influencing game before even she even realized its full potential. After she started posting about her workouts on Instagram in 2015, she grew to 20,000 followers in just two years, thanks to her efforts building connections with other creators. With almost 50,000 followers, the member has worked with brands like Lorna Jane and Luna Bar while still running her personal training business. 

“It's 50-50,” she explains to me in a phone call. “What's great about both of those fields that they definitely both have their seasons. In my really busy content creation season, that's usually when people are not looking to train as much, or when people are looking to train a lot, that's usually my slower time in terms of content. I try my best to balance them out so that I'm not overwhelmed on any one side.”

In addition to fitness, Brittany also promotes health and wellness and clean beauty. One of her income streams includes a shop with Beautycounter

In the past few months, Brittany says she’s totally changed the strategy she uses with brands. While she’s always been a stickler for sustainability and trustworthy ingredients, now she’s making sure her values align with the brands, as well. By communicating with other creators and calling companies out, Brittany is fighting for diversity and transparency in the influencer industry. Unsurprisingly, she rarely gets a day off. 

Here’s what she’s learned in her five years as an online fitness creator.

It’s never too early to monetize

I wish I knew that you could monetize sooner than when I did, because when I started it, blogging had just became a thing. I first was working at a gym and then I went into a corporate job. So when you're in that corporate space, influencing just kind of seems like a nonsense hobby and not so much something that you can make a career out of. I wish I had had people in my circle that were a little more in the know and open to change so I could start capitalizing on that.

Hustle for the right reasons

One of the biggest things that I see now is that people go into influencing with the idea of becoming an influencer. Their main goal is just, “I want likes and follows.” And because of that, they end up putting a lot of pressure on themselves. It's very similar to the modeling-acting industry, where you're basically putting yourself out there to be rejected. And if you don't have a strong mindset, if you're not someone that has ever dealt with being in the spotlight or that's your only motivation, you will quickly get burnt out or feel judged. You need to know why you want to influence people and ultimately what you want your impact to be, because if you don't do that, then just looking at likes and follows will drive you crazy. 

There’s no shame in making connections

When I started I was fortunate that I knew a couple of people who had started on Instagram around the same time and grew their audiences like crazy. So what I was doing was sort of following their page and mimicking what they were doing, and what they were doing then was getting shout-outs from really popular fitness pages. And this was before the algorithm change, so if you got an organic shutout from a fitness page, you got a lot of exposure. When I first started out, I focused on making really good content, really trying to take solid photos and posting them. And then I was looking for accounts that featured trainers and fitness models and asked them for shout-outs.

You’re entitled to hold brands accountable 

With Black Lives Matter coming to the forefront, now I make a really big point of making sure that whoever I work with is very diverse. If I see other content creators of color on their page and it seems genuine, and that they're also continuing to be very transparent about their messaging and that they're fighting for equality [I’ll work with them]. I don't really work with brands that have chosen to be silent and not take any sort of stance because I think that being silent and not saying anything is not okay. It's a human rights issue. I really believe that the LGBTQ community, the BIPOC community, everyone should be equally represented. So now I am being very cognizant of that with brands and calling them out, like, “I don't want to be the only black person in your campaign. Where are the other people? Where are Latin people, where are the Asians? What are we getting paid?” I'm very transparent about that. I will ask the other creators, the non-BIPOC ones, “How much did they offer you?” I'm not going to get paid a lesser rate.