Success Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated - Alex Reynolds

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1. Tell us about your background and journey.

I’m Alex, a 20-something American solo female traveler from the United States. For the last four-plus years, I’ve backpacked around the world full-time… or, I did until the pandemic made that impossible! 

Most of those years were spent traveling in Central and South Asia, though I also spent a few months in the Middle East as well.

A long trip like this was a dream of mine for years, but my parents wouldn’t allow it. It wasn’t until a few years after graduating from university that I fully realized: hang on a second, I can do whatever I want now! 

After more than a year of aggressively saving (on top of savings I’d built up before that), I sold all my belongings, left my apartment rental, and began backpacking. I didn’t expect to travel for so long—I expected to last about one year—but my savings lasted longer than expected, and I managed to start making money while traveling. Why not keep on going?

2. What led you to start your page on Instagram and what is it about?

While researching my trip before I left, I had a lot of trouble finding the information that I needed. I’ve worked both as a designer and a web developer and have a passion for photography, so I figured I was well-suited to make a website where I shared the travel information I always wanted but never found so that other travelers would have an easier time of things than I did. 

Around that time, I also learned that travel blogging was a “thing” that people made money doing… clearly a sign!

I started a blog right before I left on my trip, and I’d read that having an Instagram account to go with your blog is a must for anyone interested in photography. Seemed like a reasonable suggestion to me, and so my Instagram was born.

3. How would you distinguish the term blogger from an influencer?

I’d say bloggers are influencers, but not all influencers are bloggers. Personally, I feel you need an actual blog site to be considered a blogger. You know, a place where you write articles and share information. 

However, I understand some people use social media as their primary information distribution platform; if they consider themselves bloggers, fair enough!

What I’m more wary of is when people call themselves bloggers even though all they do is stereotypical “influencer” stuff: posting photos of themselves with little helpful information or backstory for others. You’re not blogging, then, you’re just influencing. In my opinion, anyway.

4. Is it financially sustainable to be an influencer today?

Ha! It can be. I find it difficult because I’m very picky about who I work with and how I want to make money—I never promote products I wouldn’t use, don’t promote experiences I wouldn’t do, and I only go on sponsored trips if they’re something I would have trouble arranging without a tour. 

My followers and readers are what made my blog what it is—I would never want to undermine their trust by lying or falsifying things to them.

Of course, if you’re less picky, aren’t afraid to promote the crap out of everything and anything, and wouldn’t mind selling people courses on things you don’t even understand yourself… well, you can certainly make a living out of it. Whether or not that’s ethical is another matter.

5. What do you think influences consumer behavior?

Trends, social pressure, and/or accessibility. They’re like a triangle of factors that affect each other in my mind. If something is trendy, easy to do or financially accessible, AND there’s social pressure to buy/do it, you’re virtually guaranteed to have the consumers buy in.

6. What is your idea of success or your mantra in life?

Success doesn’t have to be complicated. Be happy, be a good person. If you can accomplish both of those, you’ve succeeded in my book.

7. How can someone become a successful social media influencer?

Be authentic. Do something because you love it, not because you want to profit off of it. People can tell when it’s the latter, and as people tire of influencers, they’ll have less and less patience for artificial BS.

8. Which is your favorite book and why?

I could never choose just one! Ahh! It depends a lot on my mood, though I’ll read and re-read anything by Murakami in a heartbeat.

Instagram ID - @lostwithpurpose

Alex Reynolds

Chief of Rambling at Lost With Purpose travel blog

Interviewed By - Sandeep Virothu 

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