My name is Viktorija and I'm an instagram addict. I downloaded the app the second day it came out and LOVED it instantly. 

My first instagram post, promising huh?! :))

My first instagram post, promising huh?! :))

It was October 2010, I was working full time in luxury retail and wanted to break through into illustration world. Who would have known that the door which will let me do what I love for a living will be opened with help of a peculiar app to share your daily snapshots? 

Here is my instagram story as told in September to Brighton Etsy Team members (thanks for inviting me guys!), this story will be interconnected with advice I'm always happy to give but through the years I find it hard to balance all the aspects of my business. So sometimes the instagram & social media part suffers a bit.

Things I've learned from 6 years of using instagram (and using instagram to build my freelance career).

It might sound obvious to some people but it took me a while to figure it out and actually apply to practice.

As an example from my experience: I started making shrink plastic badges to attract more people to my shop and to spread the word about my work. It's kind of hard to sell prints and postcards (market is saturated), so nice to find a niche. Instagram was my main platform to promote products and to show how they came to life, how I did what I did, the process, behind the scenes. The way I shared things came from an honest place of enjoying the process and need to share! Luckily some wonderful people found my posts interesting and they followed and stuck around.

But I always knew that in the long run I wanted to draw and to build illustration career. And that instagram was helping me to make that a reality. It was a portfolio of sorts and also a fantastic way to spread the word, meet people. So in my case I started to offer portraits, listing them as a product in the shop. Because until we tell people what we offer and what we want to do no one will know, no one can read our minds. 

So think about where you are going, what do you want to do in the future, where do you want to be and have that big picture in your mind every day, every post. 

A bit of contradiction, oops! But hey, life happens, shit happens, fun days happen, we change our minds and sometimes we just can't figure stuff out. So don't be scared, KEEP GOING! There will be days when you feel lost and not sure of what you are doing or what do you want to do or how to get somewhere etc.. just let these thoughts be and keep doing what you love, keep posting, keep snapping, keep making, stay inspired, let go of expectations. We can't be and feel the same way everyday. I go through weeks of ups and weeks of downs, different aspects of my business require different amount of attention and sometimes I just can't handle everything. And it's ok to take time off, it's your business, your instagram account, your rules and your decisions. It's ok and you are doing great! 

Things to remember

  • Things change very fast with instagram (or any internet based business), so embrace the change and be ready for it (also diversify your income).
  • Experiment, try new things!
  • There are as many opinions about instagram as there are people using it
  • But I think the most important aspect is E N J O Y what you do, people will love things which come from a genuine place and I think people really feel if something is not really true or is really tortured (and also what's the point of doing something you hate or feel is a burden?) 
  • PLAN!!! Have a schedule, collect photos, ideas and posts. Think for some time in advance, not word for word but at least know what you'll be posting to keep you going for super busy days or for when you just don't feel like posting.
  • Be kind, make friends, have fun! :)