MONDAY MUSE: EMELINA SPINELLI Interview
MONDAY MUSE: EMELINA SPINELLI
Emelina Spinelli is a creator, entrepreneur, marketer, bad-ass business chic, and wanderlustin’ babe. She grew her IG following from 500 to 5,000 in three months – without buying her followers. If you’re looking for Instagram consulting, Emelina is your girl.
With a genuine love for Instagram Emelina uses the community to help brands gain exposure, launch influencer campaigns, connect with their audience or attract collaborations.
Starting her career at 19 years old selling pop art paintings in coffee shops and bars, the list can go on and on with Emelina’s skill set and resume. She has morphed her graphic design business into a digital marketing and brand agency and now runs her own digital marketing blog.
I could seriously write paragraphs about how inspiring Emelina is, but luckily her “About Me” page on her own site is killer, so I want you to check it out yourself!
What was your dream job as a child?
To be honest, I loved researching about dinosaurs. I had always said that I wanted to be a paleontologist (I think I just thought it sounded cool, lol). Other than looking for prehistoric reptiles, I loved art. On any given day you could have found me drawing, learning how to make things, build different crafty-type things, making pin-hole cameras, or playing my saxophone.
I’m not sure that I had a “dream job” per se, but I always knew without a doubt that I would be an entrepreneur. My parents ran their own business, and the entrepreneurship was bred into me at a young age. I knew that entrepreneurship meant that you had control over your time, and that you could make whatever you were willing to make and work for financially. Those benefits spoke to me. It felt like freedom.
Who is the person that inspires you the most?
First, I’m really great at inspiring myself without external people or circumstances. I believe that you have to be able to motivate and inspire yourself on demand if you want to get anything done and accomplish larger-than-life goals. With that, my boyfriend, Austin Iuliano inspires me tremendously every day. I’m so grateful that we’ve been together for 6 years, and his strengths are the opposite of mine.
He inspires me to be happy and grateful every day, no matter the external circumstances. Nothing shakes him from being happy—he’s probably the happiest person I’ve ever met. And considering the things he’s been through, and that we’ve been through together this is not an easy task. In fact, I think it can be easy to lose track of what matters and get caught up in what other people think you should do to be happy.
Austin inspires me to keep excelling, laugh constantly, and enjoy every moment in this life—and I love him for it!
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice that I’ve received is to be patient, and that success is inevitable if you put in the work.
#1 Be Patient, Life is a Game of Inches
I used to think that all these people and influencers you see in the media were “overnight successes.” After digging deeper and learning about their backgrounds, what they went through, and when they started, I realized that success takes years! It doesn’t even take 3-4 years, it’s more like 10-15+. I have some very high goals, so I was looking at how long it takes to become a millionaire, billionaire and celebrity personality. These things take time! The point is to be patient, keep doing the work and the results will show in time.
Life’s a game of inches. If you do one small thing to progress yourself every single day the results in a year will be astronomical!
#2 Success is Inevitable if You Put in the Grind, and Never Give Up
I remember the day that I learned that success is inevitable. I cried out of relief and happiness. I had been running businesses for years, and was hoping for the “overnight success.” I put in 12-15 hour days for years (and still do!) and I just didn’t know if it was ever going to pay off. I remember hearing somewhere that if you put in the work every day and never give up—that you’ll inevitably achieve what you’re aiming for.
After doing this for over 9 years, I can say it’s true! There will be tough times, and really tough times, but if you stick with your goals and obsessions they pay off. Success is inevitable.
What’s the worst advice you’ve received?
The worst advice that people have given me (it’s come a number of times) was to be a “big fish in a small pond.” I grew up in Upstate New York, and I met serious resistance from everyone I knew when I wanted to start a business, and then move to New York City. It took me years to muster up the courage to move there, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. There’s the idea that it’s better to be “known” or be a “big” person in a small town. I’ve heard this countless times, but it never resonated. I always wanted to live in big cities, and be surrounded by the best of the best to inspire me to excel and achieve more. Any day, I would rather be nothing in comparison to the “greats” than look like the biggest thing since sliced bread in a small community.
If you were to challenge your friends to a race (and you were better than them) you would win every time. However, if you were to race people that were much faster than you—you’d lose every time! Your time however, would get better and better.
Surround yourself with people that are much better than you at something that you aspire to be. This keeps you in a constant state of bettering yourself and striving to achieve more.
Where did the idea of Instagram Consulting come from?
I grew my account from 500 to 5,000 followers in 3-4 months and I knew I was on to something. I had a re-creatable method of growth hacking social media followings—specifically Instagram. I’ve always done social media consulting and brand consulting. It just made sense with my success on Instagram to start offering consulting.
Can people really make money off Instagram?
Absolutely! I’ve met countless influencers that make money off of Instagram. I even believe that you could be making money without much influence at all—500 followers or so. You just have to know exactly what you’re offering (what you’re selling) and to whom (your audience). Here’s a hint—the thing your selling must provide a solution to your audience. Don’t just sell something because you think it’s cool—it must resonate with and be of value to the audience.
My friend @tatianna_tarot makes the majority of her full-time living as a tarot card reader from Instagram. No joke! A friend I met in LA, @charmainelago makes her monthly income from brand collaborations on her fashion blog (all sourced from Instagram). Not only do I get clients from Instagram, but brands have hired me indirectly because of my following.
If you’re wondering how to stand out (for any job) in a crowded marketplace, just grow your social media following. I could argue that it holds more clout than a bachelor’s degree. I’ve worked with Fox Studios, Pepsi, Coke, Honda, Samsung, Happy Socks, Free People and Daniel Wellington—all because of my Instagram following (among also being tremendously good at marketing, design and content creation). I never would have received these opportunities without Instagram (building my following there). I hear the same thing from other influencers and businesses all the time.
What is the #1 mistake people make when trying to gain followers on Instagram?
People post what they think is right for them, not taking into consideration what their followers actually want to see. Each following is a little different, but there are consistencies in what they like to see in people’s accounts. The easiest way to increase your engagement, is to pay attention to what your followers like in your account. You want to keep your engagement as high as possible to grow your following.
Go through your Instagram feed and find all the photos that did the best for you. Then create and post more photos like these. I do this every month. I take the cream of the crop in my account every month and give my audience more of what they like. This has a lot to do with how I’ve grown my account and have kept my engagement high. It’s really important! And unfortunately, I think most people treat their Instagram feeds like a celebrity feed where they assume it’s about them. It’s not! Your just creating content that becomes an extension of your followers. It’s really about your followers—not you. Make them happy, and keep them engaged by posting things they want to see.
What do people assume about your career that isn’t true?
They think that if they make great content that they’ll automatically be found and discovered. You could make the best content in the world, but if you don’t know how to market yourself, get yourself out there and distribute your content—you won’t be found (by brands, influencers, etc.)
I think to a large degree people think I’m lucky for what I have, and though luck is certainly involved, I work ridiculously hard to have what I have. For example, I spent at least one hour every day on Instagram commenting and being present for my community and on the platform for my first year. Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to start their own brand?
Get a photographer to grab some really great candid shots of you. Use those for all your cover, profile images and photos for your website. Then get to work growth hacking your social media following. These are all the factors to brand building that make you “credible” and “attractive.” Past that, the next steps would be figuring out what you’re selling, and how you’re going to market it through social media.
What’s the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in creating your brand?
The hardest part about branding yourself, is that you are ever-evolving. Similarly, you’re brand is ever-evolving, changing and moving. As you learn and grow, your brand changes a little bit, and you have to reflect that in your branding, copy and imagery. I’ve “re-branded” and re-positioned countless times as I get to know myself better, and as I understand what I desire. It’s always easier to help other people brand and market themselves than doing it for yourself—you tend to overthink things. At least I do!
I really love Sara Blakely. I think she’s been a really great feminine entrepreneur role model. She always has grace and beauty and runs her business with a feminine touch that makes all the difference. Michelle Obama is another favorite celebrity of mine.
If you could go back and give your 19 year-old self advice, what would it be?
Work harder. What you think is “work” right now is a walk in the park. And never take things for granted. Be grateful for the things and people you have in your life now.
How do you want people to remember you?
I want people to remember me as the influencer that told it to them “real.” I’m not here to sugar coat things, or spoon feed people BS that it’s going to be easy. It’s not. Running a business, marketing yourself, mastering your online brand and online presence is no walk in the park. However, the people that master these traits have the entire world at their fingertips. They have options, they can choose the jobs they want, work with top Fortune 500 brands, and they get to make a difference in the world.
I desire to be remembered as the person that gave the real information to succeed in social media and branding and that gave all the resources to do it!
This article was originally posted on: Joss Because