A picture is worth a thousand words. And on Instagram, a picture can be worth a lot more than that!
The power of Instagram as a marketing platform has smart entrepreneurs using it to blend their passions, skills, and expertise to make a living doing what they love.
Now you may wonder, is it really possible to just share pictures, do what you love, and make a living?
Well, there is a little more to it than that, of course. But the short answer is “yes!”!
Visual content is powerfully engaging and effective on social media, and when combined with a well-crafted message and marketing strategy, makes Instagram the perfect medium for entrepreneurs to build large, revenue-driving audiences.
Here are 7 examples of individuals who have made a name for themselves (and a living) by turning their passions into businesses on Instagram:
1. Grace Ciao
Grace Ciao, artist and fashion illustrator, turned her passion for flowers and paints into a career creating prints and designs for fashion powerhouses such as Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Jaeger Le-Coultre, JW Marriott and more.
She posts photos of her inspirations, creative process, and finished illustrations on Instagram, which has become a platform that helps her build awareness around her unique style and create demand for her designs.
She’s making a full-time living as an illustrator and leverages Instagram to attract brands, as well as book engagements and events.
2. Lauren Bath
Lauren Bath is the first “professional Instagrammer” from Australia. She’s being paid for traveling and posting photos of her travel.
She has built a sizable following of 463k — an audience big and specific enough to attract sponsors that want to reach a targeted audience.
She makes a living by taking photos while traveling all over the world, with the main focus on Australian destinations, and providing exposure for tourism boards, brands (including Nikon) and businesses at various locations through posting the photos on her Instagram account.
Caitlyn Turner has transformed her passion for yoga into an opportunity to making a living on Instagram, which connected her with various brands and other fashionistas, travel enthusiasts, and yogis from all over the world.
Many of her posts feature yoga apparel brands such as Alo Yoga, or cosmetic brands such as BECCA Cosmetics — giving these companies exposure to her 332k followers.
Caitlyn blends her passions into carefully crafted photos that not only share her love of yoga but also provide a stage to showcase products from the brands that sponsor her posts.
4. Ali Ebright
Ali Ebright’s blog Gimme Some Oven was already a leading blog site featuring easy and healthy dishes, many of which also cater to special dietary needs when Instagram became popular.
When she combined her passion for cooking with her talent for photography to create mouth-watering images, she amassed 139k followers and drove traffic back to her blog for monetization.
Chris Burkard was first introduced to Instagram when shooting photos of surfers in Iceland. Since then, he has traveled the world and shot pictures of sports and adventures in many exotic locations.
He creates captivating photos by delivering visceral experiences and feelings of “being there” to his followers. He advises aspiring photographers to stay focused on the subject matter and pay attention to the viewing experience on the small screen to create photos that work well on Instagram.
Chris built his 2.4 million followers by posting consistently (1-2 times a day) and carefully studying analytics provided by Instagram, Spout, and Iconosquare to understand what works so he can better target his followers.
Natasha St. Michael is a holistic health coach and skincare expert with an Instagram following of 30.5k. She uses Instagram to market her business by sharing dietary advice, skincare tips, and products she likes.
Instagram has helped her boost traffic to her website, where visitors can subscribe to her email list, join her coaching programs or purchase products she recommends. She noted that traffic from Instagram has been converting better into email subscribers, customers, and page views, compared to many other sources, such as Pinterest.
Natasha’s Instagram fame also gave her the opportunities to make many professional connections and work with a few luxury skincare brands.
Sean Perelstein is the CEO of Sting HD, a New York-based high-end jewelry design company that sells stunning jewelry pieces made from exotic materials.
Sean started out by taking photos of his pieces and posting them on Instagram. He combines his passion for jewelry design and luxury materials with an eye for photography, set in aspiring lifestyle backdrops to create images that capture the attention of affluent individuals around the world — thereby generating demand for his one-of-a-kind pieces.
In fact, he made his first sale via Instagram to a buyer from China who spent $8,000 on his jewelry. Today, Sean has struck deals with major retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, without spending a single dollar on traditional marketing channels.