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Millionaire reveals how she racked up over 1.2 m followers on Instagram

A woman has revealed how she went from college dropout to an Instagram influencer earning up to $50,000 a month in just five years. 

Alexa Nicole Collins, 25, from South Florida, said she was her second year of studying communications when she realized education 'wasn't for her' and that she wanted to pursue a career in the social media industry. 

Now Alexa, who works between Miami and LA, earns up to $10,000 a post for brands like PrettyLittleThing and Urban Decay and says she makes between $35,000-$50,000 a month from her content across different social media platforms. 

She boasts 1.2million followers on Instagram alone, where she entertains followers with travel photos, fashion finds and lifestyle tips.

However she said being an influencer isn't as easy as it looks and that it requires hours of work each day to produce enough content. 

Taking a leap: Alexa Nicole Collins, 25, from South Florida, said she was her second year of studying communications when she realized education 'wasn't for her' and that she wanted to pursue a career in the social media industry 

Social media star: Now Alexa, who works between Miami and LA, earns up to $10,000 a post for brands like PrettyLittleThing and Urban Decay and says she makes between $35,000-$50,000 a month from her content across different social media platforms 

Downsides: However she said being an influencer isn't as easy as it looks and that it requires hours of work each day to produce enough content 

She also is 'constantly' on her phone and had to work for years without being paid by brands while she built up her following. 

'It took me about five years to build a following,' she said. 'It wasn't easy, and it took me a long time. This type of thing just doesn't happen overnight. I realized that in order to grow, you have to stay relatable to your audience. 

'I was always talking back and forth with my followers, answering questions, and letting people get to know me on a more personal level.'

Alexa, who also runs her own website and earns money by investing in the stock market, explained her parents initially weren't impressed when she said she wanted to dedicate her time to social media but now they are really supportive. 

She said she was quick to appreciate the important role social media would play in online shopping. 

Alexa continued: 'I realized that this was going to be the new age. Most retail shopping would be online, and women and men wouldn't have to leave the house to make a purchase. Doing it all through Instagram was becoming the new thing. 

'I realized that there was going to be a huge change and knowing that I wanted to get in at the right time, I dedicated most of my time trying to figure out how to make it work. 

Alexa (pictured) said it was difficult to 'individualize' herself with lots of people trying to become influencers and revealed YouTube is the most difficult platform to get fans

'I'm glad I got into this at the time that I did, because over the years I've made so many connections and I've built so many relationships with people all around the globe. Now, I feel like the market can only expand for online shopping. I think shopping malls will eventually close and people will only be able to shop online.'

Alexa said that while she had fewer than 100,000 Instagram followers, brands would send her products in exchange for posts, rather than payment. 

'This is a good thing to start off with, but you have to make sure you know when its right to cut it off. Making sure that brands value your content is super important,' she continued.  

'The most I've earned from a single post was $10,000. That was a fun day. Depending on which brand I work with, rates are always different. A lot of brands like to do four to six month contracts and they pay monthly. 

The most I've earned from a single post was $10,000. That was a fun day. Depending on which brand I work with, rates are always different. A lot of brands like to do four to six month contracts and they pay monthly

'I usually negotiate my rates by sending my media kit over to brands and negotiating from there is always a good method. Some clients enjoy to see an influencers media kit right of the bat because it shows your analytics, rates, and statistics all in one file.' 

Early in her career, Alexa reached a point where she thought she was plateauing and made an effort to maximize my content by traveling, filming, and meeting other influencers and collaborating. She also said it was difficult to set herself apart from the competition. 

She continued: 'I felt like everyone was doing the same thing all at once, and it was beginning to feel like too much competition. Over the years I saw a lot of people hopping on the 'influencer' bandwagon.

'It almost made me feel like I couldn't 'individualize' myself. I feel like in any career path there's always a time where you feel lost or stuck, you just have to figure out how to make the change.' 

Alexa (pictured) said being an influencer isn't as easy as it may seem, adding that it's about scheduling, communication and connecting with the industry

Now Alexa spends up to five hours a day generating content, whether that is photo shoots, preparing posts or working with other creators. 

She has also realized how important it is to be accessible and relatable. 

Alexa said: 'You don't want to be untouchable on social media. Everyone has their own problems and hardships in life and you should let others know when you do too. Not everything is as glamorous as it seems.   

Her YouTube account, launched six months ago, takes up a lot of her time because of the technical side of it.    

'I spend hours filming, editing, and finding new ways to hook my audience. I've started to make it a habit to film my travel, personal life, relationships, family problems, and fashion tips,' she said. 

'I'm always down for a challenge though and can't wait to grow on the platform. I have a vision and plan with my YouTube channel.' 

Relying on her social presence means it is also difficult for Alexa to take a break from her phone, which she says she's on '24/7'. She owns a four bedroom house with her boyfriend of two years, Tom Shields, 31, who works in real estate.

'Sometimes it would be nice to just take a few days to breathe and disconnect without any contact,' she continued. 

'I'm constantly filming, editing, speaking with clients, and much more. There are some days when I wake up and just don't feel like getting ready, doing my hair and makeup, or putting these fancy clothes on. But that is a part of the job and this is what I'm passionate about. 

'I work super hard at what I do, so maybe I'll have plenty of time to take breaks when I'm older. For now, I'm all about the grind.'

Offering her tips for aspiring influencers, she added: 'It's all about scheduling, communication, and the relationships that you build in the industry. And I like to let people know that. Another good tip is to make sure your content stands out, make sure you're using good editing programs, a good camera, etc.  

'Don't give up on social media because you feel like you're not growing fast enough. These things take time. I've had friends try several times and they failed. So did I. 

'That doesn't mean you need to give up. Trying new things and experimenting is a part of growing. You never know what may stick for you and what your opportunities you may miss out on if you don't try. You may not hit it on the first try, but you can do anything if you set your mind to it. And I believe that goes for everyone.' 

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