The True Cost of Being a Social Media Influencer

Living the dream life on social media can get expensive.

It looks glamorous. It looks fun. It looks profitable (especially for those who have 500,000+ followers and can sometimes receive between $5000 and $10,000 per post). But while it’s most definitely a cool side-hustle, being a social media influencer is no easy feat — especially for those trying to budget out their life.

Between the right clothing, camera, location and all the other tools needed to showcase the perfect shot, my life as a social media influencer is far from inexpensive. And because not every picture is worth a thousand (dollars) words, much of my social media must be “paid for” by me. Here is a look at the costs of one of the most coveted jobs around.

Read More: Tony Robbins and 18 of the Richest Social Media Influencers You Should Be Following


Having the right camera is key to being an influencer, and though my iPhone X can oftentimes do the trick, a professional camera (and a tripod for those solo days) are a must. If a company or brand is paying me to showcase their product or service, I always shoot the shot in the best light possible — something only a true point-and-shoot camera can do.

That said, you don’t need to go crazy with a camera that has hundreds of bells and whistles that you’ll need months to understand and will set you back thousands of dollars. Instead, purchase a camera that’s simple and user-friendly.

When I first bought my Sony a5100 camera, I was extremely intimidated. I was used to the ease of an iPhone, so I let my $500 purchase sit in the corner of my room for months, collecting dust. One day though, I popped it out of the box and actually took a beginners class on how to use it. Once I took the time to learn about the camera and all of its features, taking amazing photographs was a breeze.

  • Camera: $500+
  • Tripod: $45+
  • Extra batteries and a battery charger: $50+
  • Photography class: $85

Estimated Cost: $680+

More on Influencers: Here’s Where These 14 Rich Influencers Went to College


I’ll let you in on a secret: The best social media influencers have a mix of unprofessional shots blended with professional photos that have perfect lighting and angles. It’s all about the mix.

Even though I have my own cameras, I need to hire a professional to help get me that perfect-looking social media page. This person can spend a “social media day” with me, taking all the photos I need or simply edit the photos that I take myself.  It’s great to get paid for posts, but my social media page should also cover my life, which a professional can help me capture.

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In 2009, I decided to get my real estate license. I didn’t care about it being the worst time ever to do it, but instead, I thought I could be “one of those guys on TV” who seemed to make 5 and 6 figure commission checks by simply showing a few homes. I wanted the easy life. Well, after three months of “waiting” for business to come to me, I quit real estate and blamed it on the recession— it was a convenient excuse for me to use. I didn’t want to work in a bad market. What easy money was there for me? Fortunately after a candid pep talk with my sister about how I needed to get my ass in gear and stop taking things for granted, I gave it another go thru a different perspective she set in place— real estate, business and life in general is all cyclical; If I couldn’t handle the ups and downs, then I shouldn’t be a Realtor, nonetheless an entrepreneur. Today’s lesson: the reality of success in business is not “as seen on tv”. It requires patience, persistence and a whole lot of hard work. Business is full of ups and downs. If you’re only wanting to work the ups, your business and longevity will lead you down and out. ????@chrisheadshots . . . #inspirationalquotes #motivation #motivationalquotes #hustle #grind #worthit #yes #empowerment #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #realtor #realtorlife #realestate #milliondollarlisting #energy #positivevibes #selflove #sale #sales #power #positivity #girlboss #life #realtalk #wisewords #courage #success #follow #me #instagood
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When time is of the essence and I’m not able to get professional edits done quickly enough, I do it myself with apps like VSCO ($19.99 per year) that help filter my photos beautifully.

Estimated Cost: $150-$500+ per session

Related: 30 Jobs That Didn’t Exist 30 Years Ago

Time — Lots of It

Though online pictures look effortless, I can sometimes spend a solid 30-45 minutes trying to get the “right shot” and even more time on drafting the most engaging caption (especially if it’s for representation of a product, brand or service).  Depending on how many images are needed, those 30-45 minutes per shot add up. And time is money, as we all know. Fortunately, since most of my social media is implemented into my day-to-day life and because I am always on the move, backdrops and scenery come easily to me.

Cost: Priceless

For those that are trying to make being a social media influencer a full-time gig, I wish you the best. Remember, though: Yes, it can be cool, but it’s also a very difficult, costly and time-consuming venture.

Read More: 21 Time-Management Hacks Successful People Do Daily

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