Episode 15: Followers Don’t Pay Your Bills & Let’s Get Insta-Real


I'm Alora
I'm a Wedding Photographer Sales Strategist. I teach Marketing and Sales strategies that scale my students businesses to $100k confidently without leading to burnout.
FINALLY raise your rates & book your highest package
Sign up for my live training where we teach female wedding photographers how to make $100k with 1/2 of their weekends free
heck yes, I'm in!

You can have a thriving, successful business with a small Instagram audience. No, seriously. Followers don’t pay your bills, friend.

Copy of Align with Alora Podcast Blog (16).png

Instagram Followers ≠ Sales

Let’s talk about how I pretty much scraped my way to where I am now. Because honestly, let’s be REAL. Nobody started off at the peak of their life, right?

When I first started, social media was my focus. I was doing really well on Instagram, but I was actually up to my neck in debt.

I was behind on bills and I was scraping for jobs. #minisessions? I booked like 50 of them because your girl needed the money.

I remember I was at this one wedding, talking to a DJ about Instagram and he said, “Listen, I am booking like crazy, but I have no followers. I have literally 100 followers on Instagram, but I’m so booked… nobody would ever know.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry nobody seems to realize it, but followers don’t pay your bills – they just boost your ego.”

You can have a huge audience and no sales, or a really successful business with a small Instagram audience. Those likes don’t prove anything.

Some Instagram Advice for Business Owners

If you want to feel like what you’re doing is important, don’t look to your followers or number of likes.

Ask your actual paying clients for reviews – that’s golden. The year that I asked all my clients for like an honest review, I felt like I was the BEST photographer in THE WORLD! You couldn’t tell me anything different and it was the best Christmas present for me.

One of my FAVE business owners is Jasmine Star, and she always says: “Jump and a net will appear.”

If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s literally what you have to do. You don’t know what’s going to happen, so you just have to jump and you know what happens?

A net appears and things start working out.

You get the hang of it. You fail, you learn, you grow, you succeed, you achieve. And it’s awesome.

You don’t have to show up on Instagram every day

When I post to my Instagram stories, it’s usually because I’m just really eager to show off some new decor thing that I’ve done, post a meme, or share videos of Ella running around like crazy. But sometimes I don’t post on my stories, and it’s really relieving to actually live my life and just be present.

Honestly, I miss the simple life and privacy. This curated perfection gets old. Everyone wants you to believe that their life really is as beautiful as it looks on Instagram because they need that perfection for their marketing campaigns.

Maybe I’m gonna get a lot of flak for this, but I just wanted to let you guys know that everything isn’t what you think it is.

And honestly, my heart goes out to those influencers out there always pushing, marketing, and working for these companies because it’s just so much work.

But unless your job is to make money as an influencer, Instagram is just another marketing tool for your business. And you can have a wildly successful business with a teeny-tiny small Instagram audience. So don’t get so caught up in the numbers and likes and comments.

Taking a Break from Instagram

When I took a two-week break from Instagram, I felt so enlightened.

The heaviness was gone and I felt so light. It took me a while to get back into the mode of posting every day. I often schedule posts on the Later app so I don’t have to think about it for a few days.

If you’re wanting to take a break from Instagram yourself, here are some of the things that work for me:

  • Deleting the Instagram app
  • Leaving my phone somewhere + just forgetting about it
  • Reading a book
  • Writing in my journal
  • Talking to a friend
  • Going to the store
  • Eating some ice cream
  • Being alone

Honestly? Taking a break from Instagram is beautiful.

Enjoy life because it was meant to be lived, not to be envied on a social media platform. Thanks for coming to my TED talk. 😂

I hope you feel inspired!

To hear more on these topics, Listen to the full episode