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1,000 True Fans — You don’t have to have a ton of followers in order to make money. If you have a product or service to market that coincides with the content you’re providing, you only need 1,000 true fans to purchase from you. True fans are fans that love you so much they’ll pretty much support whatever you do. Create something that you can offer on a monthly basis for more consistent income.

As part of my series about “How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adaya Jaye.

Adaya Jaye is the CEO and founder of Creative Endeavors Artists, a company born from the pandemic that supports artists and brands as they adapt and thrive amidst continuing uncertainty. Today, CEA is expanding beyond their inner circle and actively developing long term influencer, brand and audience connectivity through influencer development, partnerships with sustainable brands, ambassador relationships with emerging social platforms and full service in-house productions. Learn more on their website.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is your “backstory”? What brought you to this point in your career?

Last March, I just knew it was going to be the year I got my big break. I had been working on some great projects, was getting amazing auditions and had even arranged to get a script I had been working on into the hands of an actor I really admire. Then everything shut down. A friend of mine recommended livestreaming on an emerging app to me as a great platform where I could perform, so that’s what I did. I did Cosplay, cooked and practiced my singing on the platform. It was so inspiring, it brought my spirits up, and I was getting paid.

But it got the wheels going in my mind. Everyone around me was struggling, so I started introducing friends to the platform too. Once they had acclimated to the site, I took it one step further and started connecting them to brands who were looking for influencers. It was a win-win. I was able to provide work to creatives whose careers were at a standstill and provide advertising opportunities to companies who couldn’t film commercials due to shut down.

Since last year, I’ve used my producer skills to put on virtual variety shows and help performers like Willie Norwood (Brandy and Ray J’s dad), stay connected despite the safety measures in place.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?

I’m a singer too, not everyone knows that. But I grew up listening to Brandy because she was a kid and I really admired her and loved her music. I just didn’t know about the Jackson Five, or all the other popular performers who became famous at my age. To me, she was the first one. And I was like, “Oh my god, kids can do this too!” When I grew up and moved to LA, I actually ended up working with her father. He was my vocal coach, which was a really cool full circle moment. And now, as I mentioned above, he’s actually also one of my clients!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My success has brought goodness to the world by uplifting people and allowing them to stay connected and feel less lonely during the heart of the pandemic. It has also allowed them to continue performing and sharing their art, given them something to look forward to during the shutdowns and uncertainty and provided them with a way to make money. It’s also extremely important to me that my company be inclusive and will continue to provide opportunities for creatives of color as they are often overlooked and undervalued in the influencer space, just as in many other spaces.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

Keep going! Your so-called failures may be leading you one-step closer to your goals and preparing you for something greater. Also, always remember that you determine how your story ends by whether or not you see it through to the end. You can be the person who gave up thus ending your story early or the person who kept going in the face of adversity. You can be the one who finally broke through to achieve success and who now has a great story that will inspire others because of it.

None of us can achieve success without a bit of help along the way. Is there a particular person who made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?

My mother. Despite our circumstances she did everything she could to put me in the best schools and make sure I had what I needed at home to excel. Most importantly she constantly told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. It was never a question; it was just up to me to choose. I think that is what made such a difference. Many children don’t have that instilled in them at an early age, or any age for that matter.

So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

There’s lots of excitement at the moment. I recently met a chef who owns a food truck that I’m excited to work with. His food is amazing, and he has a really fun, upbeat personality that I think people would love to interact with. I already have all kinds of unique ideas to help him transition to the digital space and develop as an influencer that I am looking forward to discussing with him.

Also one of my clients Debra Haden, a self-proclaimed artistic tour de force that goes by the name FeminineOddities, does these really wonderful live stream puppet shows. It’s amazing because the audience gets to interact and sort of has a hand in the progression of the show and the jokes. Her lives get hilariously wild, and we all need a bit of laughter and fun during this time. Anyway, we’re planning the next edition of our virtual variety show with her, her puppets and a few other performance artists which I’ll actually be pitching to a network soon.

In addition to that Coach Norwood wants to do a virtual singing competition with some surprise guest judges and another client Dianna Williams, the no nonsense majorette coach and creator of the Dancing Dolls franchise is doing lots of behind-the-scenes content in preparation for her 20th anniversary show. Her fans absolutely love her and it’s great that she’s stayed active and continued to build during the pandemic, so they knew what she was up to, got a chance to interact with her and have something to look forward to.

What are your “Top Five Ways That Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand”?

A quick Google search will return hit after hit of the same repetitive answers to this question. There is some truth and value to those answers but rather than give you my version of the same I’ve decided to approach this in a different manner. In the spirit of helping those that are interested in transitioning to the influencer space, here are my top 5 ways that influencers can monetize their brands.

  1. Start with what you know — It may be tempting when transitioning or starting out to follow the current trends. That’s ok if what’s trending is organically you but following trends in the hopes of creating and monetizing your brand will have the opposite effect. Audiences, including new followers and potential brand partners, will see that’s what you’re doing from a mile away and your content will feel forced. Content consumers want to see YOU, whatever you’re into. There are so many niches from cooking to decorating to pranking to sewing to lifestyle aesthetics, performance art and everything in between. Don’t be afraid. Show us your passion! Even if you think it’s weird. We are in a time where people are literally getting paid to be themselves. Why shouldn’t you be one of them?
  2. Be Consistent — The more content you create and the more consistent you are, the faster your fans and followers will increase. Post, go live, or drop your videos at set times. Your fans will start to look out for your content and will even plan ahead so they don’t miss you. Create a schedule and stick to it! Your fans, and eventually your pockets, will love you for it.
  3. Grow Organically — While it may seem like a good idea to pay for followers or use other tactics to fluff your numbers until you “make it” you’d only be hurting yourself. Companies have gotten very savvy at being able to differentiate between organic and inorganic followers. Don’t be discouraged when starting out. There are opportunities for micro influencers as well.
  4. 1,000 True Fans — You don’t have to have a ton of followers in order to make money. If you have a product or service to market that coincides with the content you’re providing, you only need 1,000 true fans to purchase from you. True fans are fans that love you so much they’ll pretty much support whatever you do. Create something that you can offer on a monthly basis for more consistent income.
  5. For Celebrities — Show us a more intimate side of yourself! Do you have a secret hobby, hidden talent or otherwise different side of yourself that you’d like to share? Not only do your fans enjoy seeing and interacting with you on new social platforms but they really love it when they feel like they’re getting to know a more intimate side of you. So cook, sing, garden, play the ukulele, relax with your singing bowls or whatever else it is that you previously did when no one was looking.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Bring the arts back to schools! Whenever they reopen! Having the arts in schools not only helps foster the next generation of great talents, but it also offers kids a creative outlet. It can be a fantastic way to destress and temporarily escape from the stresses of adolescent and teenage life. Right now, there’s a worsening mental health crisis among the youth because of the pandemic. We also know that obtaining therapy can be hard to do in underserved communities. For kids stuck at home, this can really help relieve stress and anxiety. Get out a coloring book, write a story or just find some time in the day to be creative.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Oh gosh! There are so many! Warren Buffet, Oprah, Mackenzie Scott and Iman are a few that come to mind. They are all remarkable. I am deeply inspired by all of them but if I could only choose one, I’d start with Tyler Perry. It’s compelling how much he’s overcome to get to where he is. To go from being homeless to owning your own studio is an incredible journey in and of itself and his studio has provided so much opportunity for people of color both in front of and behind the camera. I’d be thrilled to have lunch with Mr. Perry.

What is the best way our readers can follow your work online?

Keep an eye on my website for news and upcoming events.

Adaya Jaye of Creative Endeavors Artists: Five Ways For Influencers To Monetize Their Brand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.