What’s The Point?

What’s the point of starting a blog?

Everyone’s done it. The market is saturated. Blogging is outdated. No one will read it. My pictures aren’t good enough. I don’t know how to write or convey my thoughts. I just suck.

Those are the thoughts that ran through my head the first time I even considered starting my own blog. It was silly to me to even try, considering the amount of people who were already way ahead of me in the blogging sphere. To be honest, I LOVE to write and I always have had a sincere passion for it–but after reading countless others posts and seeing all of their beautiful photos that seemed effortless, I was afraid to even put myself out there to the world and TRY. It was fear that was holding me back–maybe because I cared so much about what other people thought of me, and what other people would say.

Growing up, I was teased a lot for my big nose, and I guess that was another reason I was partially afraid to put myself out there on the internet. As I got older, I learned to embrace myself a little more but still, it was tough to post pictures of my face. I also fluctuated with my weight a lot as a teen and into my college years, so I would go through phases where I felt really good and then periods of time where I felt like crap about myself. My last years of college, I started working out and going to the gym on a regular basis to build up my confidence and feel stronger mentally/physically, and that actually worked. I was amazed at how secure and happy I felt–running, lifting weights, drinking lots of water, eating right and just living life in a healthy and positive way. I would work out twice a day sometimes if I felt like it, and that really helped me clear my head and was a means of therapy for me for a very long time.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I think half of why people don’t want to start something new is because they think it’s too late to start, and the other half lies in insecurity and fear. At least these things are what made ME feel like I wasn’t capable of achieving my dreams–for years I felt this way and I was hesitant to do anything outside of the box, because people told me it wasn’t possible. That being a singer, an actor, a radio host, a model, a BLOGGER–as a full time job, was just plain unrealistic.

Maybe it is unrealistic. It’s unrealistic to someone who is constantly negative about their outlook on life. It’s unrealistic to someone who doesn’t believe in his or her self, and is projecting it out on the world. It’s not reasonable to dream big when you’re so trapped inside of a dark bubble of pessimism that you can’t ever see that there is never a goal that is too big. My motto: if someone else has achieved it, remember that it CAN BE DONE. It is possible if you work your ass off and stay focused, and positive, and strong throughout the entire journey. You will also need a lot of patience, dedication and preparation for failure along the way. No success comes with a smooth road–there will be lots of bumps and unexpected turns involved! 😉

Anyway, back to my first question. What’s the point of starting a blog? The point is that this is your outlet. No one owns it but you. You don’t rely on the power of a huge corporation like instagram or youtube to stay in tact. You own your blog, and that’s your outlet for creativity, content, expression and art. You can be whoever you want to be, post whatever you want to post, and use it without expectations of an algorithm affecting your work. A blog is an open opportunity to start your own online business without the fear that it could die out. It can only grow, get bigger, and better if you put your 150% into it every single day. It’s also just fun to upload tons of content without a necessary “limit” capping off your photos and text. You can write as many articles as you want, as many thoughts as you have, and it all sits in one organized place that you own the full rights to.

It’s never too late to start. Some people may say it is, but those people are always the ones who are too afraid to go for it 😉 And this goes for any dream job you want. Whether you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, write a best-selling novel, or own the world’s best cupcake shop, the sky is really the limit. We have SO much to live for and such limited time, so why not just do what you love, all day every day?

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When I Was Bullied…

If this story can resonate with at least one person today, I know it was worth writing. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and I’ve been reflecting on the past year and how drastically my life has changed. I have never felt more loved and connected to you, my audience, the people that follow along on my adventures and make everything possible for me day by day. If you knew how thankful I was that you’re even taking the time to read this right now…just seriously. It means so much to me.

This blog post is going to be about my story growing up and how I was never the “cool kid”. I was never in a clique, I never was the “popular” girl, or had tons of “cool” friends to hang out with. I was never invited to the cool parties, either. In my heart, even at a young age, I knew I was going to be someone special. I remember telling my mom at 10 years old that I was going to be someone extraordinary. Looking back, I realize I had a ton of confidence for a girl who wasn’t accepted by the popular crowd. But…needless to say, it wasn’t a smooth and easy ride through my school years. It was freaking HARD. I’ll never forget how it made me feel.

In high school…

I was bullied a lot through my teenage years. Some comments were about me being too skinny, some were about my nose and how big it was because it didn’t fit my face, other comments were about the way I dressed because I wasn’t the most stylish, and others were just people finding a reason to bully. It was the little things people would say to you as a kid that hurt the most even though now I can laugh about it…those little things seemed so big at the time. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to just keep shining bright and keep doing exactly what I’m doing–being myself and owning it.

There were times when I would come home in tears because everyone got invited to a party and I didn’t. Or there was the time when I hosted a birthday party and 70 people RSVP’ed, and then not one single person showed up. I had set up an entire floor of my house filled with snacks, drinks, decorations, everything. And I waited for 2 hours…not one person came. I later found out someone who was considered cooler than me decided to throw a party over mine, and everyone chose theirs. I know these instances may sound ridiculously silly to some of you reading this right now (I’m smiling and laughing as I’m writing this), but trust me – when you’re 14 years old, these things hurt man.

In college…

College was a bit intimidating for me, but going into it, I was still super excited to start an entirely new chapter of my life. My university heavily focused on Greek life, and if you weren’t in a sorority as a girl, I thought it would be impossible to make friends. My heart was telling me not to join one, even though I had a ton of pressure to do so. I have nothing against Greek life and I believe for some girls it’s such a great way to connect and make friendships! But for me, I just felt it wasn’t my thing. It was hard for me to really dive into that world, and I ended up choosing to join a singing group instead. That group was the best decision I could have made for myself because I loved to sing, and the people were such amazing friends that I’ll always love for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, not joining a sorority came with a bit of a price. I was friends with a lot of the guys in fraternities (I’ve always gotten along better with guys. I grew up with two older brothers and it’s just my nature). Some of these girls in sororities at my college would talk so badly about me behind my back, and their words would always somehow find a way back to me through my guy friends. I knew about it, but I ignored it because I never liked to get involved in drama. I’m not a confrontational person. But the worst part was when these girls made a thread in Yik Yak about me. Yik Yak is a mobile app that connects people in a close area (it’s popular on college campuses), and it allows anyone to write in a forum anonymously. They would write things about me, blasting it to everyone on my campus, about how ugly and pathetic I was. They would also write the harshest things about my instagram. I immediately deleted the app after reading some of it, and I never downloaded it again.

A photo of me from college, and one of the first instagram “mirror selfies” I’d ever posted. Hahaha my leggings were awesome.

I think the way I’ve learned to get over bullying is to just tune it out and tell myself that I am making a positive and important difference in the world by being true to myself. It doesn’t matter if other people accept me, it matters if I accept me. Kindness will always overpower everything, and I know that by being loving, open-hearted and forgiving, I will ultimately have a better and more successful (and happier!!) life. I refused to let the words and actions of other people tear apart my worth, because I knew my worth and that was all that mattered to me. It’s still all that matters to me – and at the core of my foundation, there lies indestructible confidence and strength that I’ll always carry with me.

Over these past holidays, I was sitting with my parents at dinner and we were talking about my childhood. My mom looked up at me from her plate and said, “Alyssa, you were always very different, from as early as I can remember. You always did your own thing and beat to your own drum.” What she said made me smile because it suddenly reminded me of how I got to where I am today in the first place. I had overcome all of the bullying, the days where I felt lost, confused and like I’d never have friends or fit in with anyone. I pushed past the days where I felt alone, because deep in my heart, I guess I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That I’d find my peace, and the right people to walk into my life, at some point and time. It was just a matter of patience and staying strong, but more importantly, staying TRUE to myself…however “nerdy” that may be 🙂

Xo,

Lyss

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Getting Over My Ex and Finding Love Again

As personal as this topic may be to a lot of people, I actually love opening up about my relationships because they helped shape me into the person I am today. Throughout middle school and high school, I was that friend who always loved giving advice about anything relationship-related and I felt it was liberating for me to share my love life.

What most of you probably don’t know about me is that I was in an on-and-off 8-year relationship before I met my current boyfriend. I never mentioned this previous relationship publicly because I’ve moved so forward past it, but it had definitely played such an important role in shaping my teenage years and helping me figure out what I wanted in my future relationships. I hope sharing this story will connect with some of your own stories and feel relatable to some of you.

I’m not going to mention his name out of respect for him and his privacy. I met my ex-boyfriend when I was 14. I was a freshman in high school and I had went through a ton of middle school “crushes”, but I had never dated anyone seriously before him. I met him at a birthday dinner for one of my friend’s, and we sat across from each other. We immediately clicked and ended up spending the entire duration of dinner talking and getting to know each other. I remember feeling like we were instantly best friends. I think that’s always been a key factor in my relationships — feeling like your significant other is also your best friend is so important. I wasn’t nervous or closed off to be my true self from the beginning, and that’s something truly special.

To make a very long 8 years short, we dated all throughout high school and broke up quite a few times, but always ended up getting back together. At that time of my life, I was super emotionally attached to him because he was my first love. We did everything together. I spent almost every day at his house after school, we had a core group of best friends that would all hang out, and we could spend hours upon hours together just doing nothing and still having the best time. This relationship taught me that I could be loved by someone with all of my flaws, my crazy mood swings, my weird sense of humor, etc.

 Although I can remember so many amazing times with him, our relationship also taught me how to pick myself up off the ground and piece myself back together after my heart was broken. There is no feeling worse than a broken heart and although I wouldn’t wish this gut-wrenching feeling upon anyone, I think it was so important for me to experience it. I spent nearly a month crying in my bed the summer that we broke up for the first time, and it felt like half of me was completely missing. I felt so hurt and so lost, and I struggled to find the good in this feeling—all I could see or feel was pain. I had a job at Carvel at the time, and I would take breaks in between customers to cry in the bathroom and eat ice cream (totally kidding about the ice cream part, but now that I think about it, that was probably the best job to have for a broken-hearted teenage girl). Now every time I pass by a Carvel, it brings me back to those memories of my broken heart, and I smile because it’s so bittersweet. I remember my mom hugging me so tightly and telling me that “time heals everything”, and although it didn’t feel that way at the time, she was right. Time does heal everything—including a broken heart.

My ex and I ended up going to the same college, but we had established our separate lives there so our relationship was super on-and-off, but mostly off. Being away at college had given my mind such a different perspective that I had never experienced before. I found a new group of friends that supported me, I was always busy with reading for classes, writing papers, and studying for exams, that those things started becoming more of a priority than my love life. I was growing and changing so much during my college years, and truly took that time to figure myself out. I had started my instagram account, and I was working so often on that as well, that I barely had time for a relationship. I dated a few different guys in non-serious relationships, and some of the stories are so funny thinking about it now.

Some of the past guys I dated in college:

  1. The Player — had a girlfriend who went to the same college as us, and I had no idea whatsoever. I didn’t know her personally (there are over 20,000 students who went to my university) but she knew who I was. Once I found out about her, I confronted the guy and he lied and said he had no idea what I was talking about. As you can guess, this relationship fizzled out quite rapidly.
  2. The Manipulator — made me feel super special for about a week until I found out he was talking to a bunch of other girls the same exact way. It was basically like he copied and pasted his cute texts and sent them out to any girl he found attractive.
  3. The Narcissist — a guy that was super good-looking and that every girl was obsessed with at my school, but he was also so into himself that it was a bit extreme. He only saw his point of view and if anyone challenged him, he would freak out. It was very unattractive to me, but a shame because he was hot.

And now I’m going to tell you one of my favorite stories now leading up to my current relationship and how I met my amazing boyfriend Meir.

Flash Forward to my Senior Year of College:

This guy was apparently in love with me since my freshman year of college but never had the courage to really do anything about it. All of his friends told me he was super interested in me, and would do anything to take me to his senior formal. I was not by any means interested in dating this guy. He wasn’t my type at all, but I was open-minded and after a lot of convincing from my friends and his, I decided to take a chance and hang out with him. After a few weeks of hanging around this guy, he seemed super genuine, so sweet, really funny, and just an all-around nice guy. My roommates and I would joke about how he was too nice and that there had to be a catch. So I was like, “hmmm, maybe I do like him after all”. Usually, I know right away when I like someone, but since this was a gradual feeling, it was enticing me to pursue it and see what could happen.

Well, there was a catch. So this guy’s formal comes around and he invites me to go with him, and then out of nowhere he stops answering my texts. In my gut I immediately knew something was off, but I didn’t say anything. I quickly found out he was getting back together with his ex-girlfriend and then he uninvited me to his formal. Ouch.

I was upset for about 20 minutes, and then I decided to make it my ultimate mission to never look at another guy again (LOL).

Over the remaining couple of weeks of college, I chose not to be sad. I chose to be positive, strong, and happy to finish off the last year of university right. I knew I would never get that year back, and I wasn’t about to let a frat boy ruin it for me. I spent the remaining time working on myself, going to the gym, creating content for my instagram, finishing the last of my schoolwork, and just surrounding myself with good friends. 

The last few days of school were a whirlwind. I ended up going out to this day party that my university was hosting on campus, and I was the designated driver. I pulled up my car, parked, and my friends and I got out and were walking towards the party when all of a sudden, I heard a group of guys calling us over. I looked to my left and there were a bunch of guys that looked unfamiliar. I knew right away they didn’t go to our university. We ended up walking over to them and that’s when I locked eyes with this tall Swedish-looking guy with the most insane blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I thought he was going to have a European accent before he spoke. He, to my disappointment, did not have an accent, and wasn’t European at all. But…I guess the look was enough 🙂 He told me his name was Meir and that he was visiting a friend at our college for the weekend. We exchanged numbers for some odd reason. I remember clearly thinking in my head, “Do not talk to another guy.”

I ended up going home from the day party and passing out because I had been up since 5 AM that day and was exhausted. At midnight, I woke up to a thread of texts from Meir, asking me where I was. I didn’t respond for 2 reasons: one of them being that I really wasn’t interested in meeting another guy to potentially hurt me, and two was that it was already midnight and I had slept through the first half of the night. All of my roommates were out and had left me sleeping in my apartment. On any other night, I usually would have just stayed home, but for some reason I got a burst of energy to go and find my friends. I quickly got dressed and walked over to the strip of bars that was next to my apartment building.

I ended up bumping into Meir, who was flirting with another girl when I saw him. Needless to say, I was super jealous and I ended up talking to him for the rest of the night. We kept in touch after that night, and continued to see each other back in New York City when I graduated a week later. We spent the entire summer together, and although it was definitely a long process until we started seriously dating, here we are. We didn’t establish a stable, healthy relationship for about 6 months. There was a lot of work to be done and trust to be built throughout our relationship, and that’s what I want people to know the most.

People see us as this “perfect” couple on instagram, but that is so far from it. We are definitely happy together and we love each other, but we have our ups and downs as a couple just like any others do. We still fight (although not as much as we used to), and we continue to work towards our goals together on a daily basis. There are times when we definitely need space from each other, but for the most part, I see it as a blessing to be able to work with my boyfriend everyday. It’s so much fun. We help each other grow and become better people, and that’s what the key to a successful and strong relationship is. There have been times when we’ve almost given up on each other, but we’ve always managed to fight through those struggles in order to stay together and continue to be a team.

I hope this post can show you that relationships are never perfect and that there is always work involved to keep it going. And that some relationships that don’t work out will always lead to something better for you in the long run. When my first relationship ended, I thought there would be no one else better for me than him. But life doesn’t work that way. When you are ready for it, the right person will come into your path and you will learn to love again, if you’ve been broken before. Just focus on yourself and being true to who you are, and you will not only succeed in love, but in life! 

Xo,

Lyss

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The Truth About Being An Influencer

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In today’s day and age, the term “influencer” is more frequently used than the term “celebrity”. People are turning to their favorite influencers to look for a more personal and instant connection–someone they can actually relate to, trust, and build a social media “friendship” with, so to say. Influencers are known for their relatable content and often are well trusted because they are there to be themselves and influence by being everyday people, just like their followers. But, as time goes on, I’m noticing that more and more people are interested in becoming influencers not to build a brand for themselves while being genuine. Instead, people are focused on being “social media famous”, which is far from the reasons I believe influencers developed their own space in the first place.

I feel like the new thing is to “be an entrepreneur” or a social media “influencer”. It’s become almost like a trend to not work at a 9-to-5 job and sit in an office cubicle. While having my own career as an influencer is a blessing that I’m truly grateful for, it’s not nearly as “luxurious” or as easy as it seems. Most people looking at my instagram assume I make thousands of dollars a day, can travel wherever I want, and work with any brands I want to work with. So let’s break down the truth – because this is far from it.

The truth is, a prosperous career path does not come easy to anyone. You can be given certain tools or leverage, for example, coming from a wealthy background or having a famous parent, but if you don’t have the passion, the work ethic, and the skill set, the tools you are provided with are pretty much useless. In fact, I’m so thankful I didn’t have any sort of leverage to begin with because it taught me how to work my ass off and be strong mentally in the business world.

I spent all 4 years of my college life building my following on social media without a dime in my pocket from it. At the time (about 6 years ago now), Instagram was still extremely “new” to brands, and they would laugh if you asked them to pay you for a post. The influencer space did just not exist yet. On top of going to the gym at 5 AM, attending 7 AM classes until 3 PM in the afternoon, completing all of my assignments which usually took up most of my night, and going to practice for the a-cappella group I was a part of, I spent the remaining few hours I had left in the day marketing my brand and building a following for myself. I gave up my social life for my phone, which a lot of people thought was an “addiction”, but to me it was my future business. I was pushing out content on my Instagram daily and working as much as I could allow myself to without getting burned out.

Since I was not making any money from social media yet, I didn’t have money to spend on anything really other than college related things like my meal plan and books. I didn’t spend much on food, let alone travel (I actually rarely ever traveled, I don’t even remember if I did at all). My parents never ever spoiled me with money like some of the other people at my school. A lot of kids my age growing up had their parents’ money to spend on drinking, going out, driving nice cars, looking fashionable, etc. My family didn’t have that type of money, which actually taught me a lot about how to have a strong business mindset. I was by no means poor, I always had a bed to sleep in, food on my table, and a great education throughout my life, but I didn’t have parents to be financially dependent on. That, to some people, can be seen as unfortunate–but to me that was such a blessing because it TAUGHT me how to become a business woman and make money for myself doing what I’m sincerely passionate about!

So how did I start and BECOME an influencer? This is no easy question to answer, and there’s really no short version of this story. Building a social media brand for myself took me over 6 years, tons of patience, hard work, lack of sleep, and sacrificing the “fun” in my college years. While most people spent their nights going out to the college bars, I was in my dorm room working on my instagram page, looking at trends, researching how to grow my audience on social, and networking with other content creators who were building their accounts just like I was.

For the first few years I was working on my instagram, I received nothing more than a few free boxes of yogurt from a food brand and some free workout clothes (which at the time was extremely cool to me!) But after a market started to develop, fitness companies were reaching out to me, asking me to promote their products for $100-$400 per post, depending on what it was. Fitness companies took advantage of the instagram market the earliest, and were paying creators like me daily to promote their companies. After years of working hard to build an audience for myself, I was getting paid up to $400 per day to promote products, which was awesome at the time, and I was able to save a lot of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the value of my brand because the whole influencer space was SO new. I don’t think any creators at the time (at least that I knew of) really understood how much value we had. IF I HAD KNOWN THE VALUE, I wouldn’t have promoted these companies. We were just doing this because we loved it and were having fun building our platforms, and I was finally making money while doing it!

As more time went on, I learned a ton about the social media market and the power of digital advertising. It was then that I decided to create my own fitness guides and sell a product I actually believed in and knew was effective. I was super nervous to release my own program, but it felt right at the time because it was something I actually was passionate about. I always kept it super real with my followers, and I was as connected as I could be to them. I was always interactive with people who engaged with me, and I felt that the power of a social media community was only going to become stronger and more powerful as time went on. I was so excited that I was able to help people become healthier while also creating a brand for myself. I went on to sell my own products for about 2 years, using instagram as my main marketing tool, until my life and my brand took a turn into a brand new direction.

After meeting my boyfriend Meir after college, we decided to team up and work together. We spent time marketing my products through social media together, but over time, I realized I wanted to venture into more of a lifestyle and travel brand and not be tied down as a “fitness” influencer. Everyone knew me as the “fitness” girl, and to me, it put so much pressure on me because I feel like I’m so much more than just a girl who works out in the gym and sells fitness guides. I never wanted to be limited to a category, I wanted to just be myself and be free from that title. I was so torn on how to transition my brand into something different, especially because I didn’t want to disappoint or let down my followers who were so loyal to me and my fitness image. At some point, I decided I’d have to make that leap into the lifestyle / travel space if I wanted to be happy, and those who loved me for me would stick around and understand.

It took me over a year to transition my brand into something much bigger than just fitness. I spent months strategizing how to incorporate more of my travels and everyday life without scaring my audience away. I know a lot of people definitely unfollowed me, but I know some of them eventually came back and re-followed me too. I answered every message I had from girls who looked to me for fitness inspiration and were distraught that I decided to change my image. I made sure I was still making an effort to show people I’m exactly the same that I was before, but I’m just showing more of what makes me truly happy. That was all I could do. And it was the best decision I ever made for myself.

Meir helped me re-focus my brand and my goals, and I am forever thankful that he walked into my life. He was always super passionate about photography, and when we decided to work together, I knew we were going to make an incredible team. He has such an amazing eye, and is so naturally gifted with the camera. We strategized how we were going to push out content and change everything in an authentic and personable way, and after almost 2 years now, we have achieved more than I could have ever imagined! We have been fortunate enough to travel often, live in New York together, work with some of our favorite brands, and most importantly do what we LOVE! 🙂

Despite the fact that our job is such a blessing and all I could ever want in a career, there is a huge misconception that it just “happened”, that I got “lucky”, or that we, as influencers, don’t work hard. We just snap pretty pictures and call it a day. But this couldn’t be more far from the truth. Influencers are some of the hardest workers I know. They built a personal brand with a loyal following that LISTEN to what they say, which is pretty incredible in itself. Most of the influencers I know have also spent years building their following. There are a tiny percentage of people who blow up overnight from the internet, but 99% of the time, people don’t become overnight sensations. They work HARD to get to the top in their field. Influencers spend hours a day planning their shoots: from their outfits, to their hair, to the location, to finding the right photographer, to collaborating with other people, to finding the right brands to work with, and the list goes on and on. Yes, we are a fairly “new” community, but we are powerful business men and women who take our jobs just as seriously as any other business people would. So yes, we deserve to make money from our platforms because it is our line of work.

TRUE OR FALSE INFLUENCER EDITION

  1. Brands approach us first and want to pay us immediately to get promoted on our page. The truth is, it’s more of me taking my time to pitch brands, reach out to brands, set up personal meetings with brands, and email brands. Sometimes brands don’t have that much money to spend, or they take months to choose their influencers. Brand partnerships actually take a LOT of organizing, planning, time, patience and contracts before proceeding. It rarely happens quickly.
  2. Influencers make thousands of dollars per post. This depends on each individual influencer and what they offer in terms of exposure, return on investment, and uniqueness. Some influencers do make this type of money, but some influencers do posts for free and pretend they’re getting paid (yes, that’s true). I don’t discourage smaller-tier influencers promoting brands for free, simply because it builds a resume and can show brands that you have experience creating good content for companies like them. It builds trust and credibility in the long-run.
  3. Influencers have stylists, managers, and people who do and plan everything for them. In some cases, yes this is true. Large-scale influencers sometimes have a team of people assisting them with brand deals, styling, photoshoots, blog posts, etc. which to me, is amazing and inspiring. Having a team means your business is growing, which is always a positive thing. However, most influencers I know (even the big ones) do not have a team helping them out at all times. They usually have a photographer helping with their shoots, but most of the work is done by the influencer themselves.
  4. We get everything for free – travel, clothes, makeup, you name it. While a lot of brands love gifting us influencers, I would say 80% of the products I own and experiences I’ve had are on my own budget and paid out of my own pocket. I always appreciate gifts from brands, but I typically prefer choosing my own things, planning my own trips and styling myself the way I want. I like investing my own money back into my brand. I think this goes for a lot of influencers as well.
  5. We take pictures for a living. Yes, we do, but it is SO much more than that. Being a digital content creator is a strategic job. It’s knowing what to post, where to be, what to say, when to post, being relevant, connecting with people, and communicating your message through a screen. It’s a full time job to say the least.

The next time you scroll through your feed, which will most likely be right after reading this article, I want you to consider the amount of work that really goes into building a social media presence. It may seem like a lot of fun (and it is), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it takes time, patience, and a ton of execution. It was definitely not an easy or short journey for me to get to where I am today, but I couldn’t be more grateful for all that this process has taught me.

Xx,

Alyssa

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