From Influencer To Small Business CEO: What You Need To Know

8 min read
2 July 2024

Today, influencers are a growing part of the modern economic landscape. Driven by a desire for authenticity, they’re where most people turn for unfiltered opinions on products, services, and trends. As a result, businesses now make partnering with influencers a core component of their sales and marketing strategy. If you’re an influencer or have designs to become one, this presents a major opportunity. With some effort and the right strategy, you can turn your personal brand into a thriving business. However, doing that successfully is all about timing and proper preparation.

To succeed, you’ll need to develop specific skills, including communication skills, financial skills, and management skills. You’ll also need to understand the basic mechanics involved in starting a formal business. It’s quite a lot to absorb if you don’t already have a business management background. However, it’s not an impossible hill to climb if you’re determined. Here is everything you need to know to do it. We’ll cover how to tell when you’re ready to stop being a solopreneur, how to prepare to launch a business, the steps involved in doing it, and some of the nuts-and-bolts basics you’ll need to understand.

How To Know When Going Solo Is No Longer Enough

As an influencer, the moment a company or brand reaches out to you to propose a partnership, you’re on the road to building a business. What you need to remember about this is that in an influencer business, you’re the product. So, the moment you’re spending more time tending to sponsor deals and finances than you are making content, it’s time to think about launching a formal business. Ideally, this will let you create a support system that takes some of the pressure off of you and lets you get back to doing what you do best.

Preparing Yourself To Start a Business

Of course, it’s not a good idea to simply launch a business without the right preparations. Many of the decisions you make in the run-up to your business’s launch can have ramifications for years to come. Here are some of the things you should do to prepare yourself for launching your business.

Skills You Need

Before launching your business, it’s a good idea to take one or more online small business courses to build the basic skill set your endeavor requires. At a minimum, you will want to take a basic accounting course and a course on writing a business plan. These will equip you with some of the skills you’ll need to hit the ground running with your new business. Some additional useful courses you can take are business communication courses, basic people management, and negotiating tactics courses. You should also take the time to learn about some time management tools and techniques. That way, you won’t get overwhelmed with all of the work involved in launching your business.

Financial Preparations

As you get your business off the ground, you’re going to have to spend money while there isn’t much money coming in. If you don’t prepare your personal finances for that, you might end up abandoning your business early due to foreseeable financial pressures. This is why most experts recommend that you build up savings equivalent to at least six months of your living expenses before starting a business.

However, since no two situations are alike, there’s more specific advice you can follow. You can start by categorizing your monthly expenses. This will let you know how much of those expenses represent fixed costs and how much is discretionary spending. You can still use your topline expense totals to create a six-month savings reserve. However, categorizing your spending may let you know how long that reserve will last when push comes to shove. For example, how much can you cut back discretionary spending, and how much does that extend your financial runway? You should aim for enough savings to last you at least one year using your worst-case-scenario criteria.


Next, you’ll need to do some basic networking to develop the connections you’ll need as you launch your business. A good place to start is by reaching out to experts in your market niche. You can also try making contact with more established influencers in your niche, but that can be a bit more challenging. Finally, you should make plans to attend as many industry events as you can that pertain to your niche. This will allow you to meet potential clients, critical information resources, and even potential competitors.

Formally Launching a Business

When you’ve finished preparing yourself for the business journey ahead, the next step is formally launching your business. Here’s what you need to know to do that.

Legal Formation

Before you can launch your business, you must decide on a legal structure for it. There are several options to choose from, but most small businesses start out as either limited liability companies (LLCs), S Corporations, or C Corporations. Since the option you choose can have financial and legal ramifications for you, don’t rush your decision. Instead, consult with an accountant and a legal professional to help guide your choice.

Setting Up Business Infrastructure

After you formally register your business, you will need to set up some basic infrastructure for it. Early on, it’s fine to operate informally without an office. However, you will need a basic business website, a business phone system, and some type of accounting software suite. As an influencer, it is also wise to invest in some kind of content moderation tool to help you manage communications on your chosen social platforms.

Where To Turn For Support

Once your business is up and running, you may find yourself encountering situations that you lack the training and experience to handle. At those times, you may need to reach out for help from more experienced business owners. You can make some of those connections via the Small Business Administration, your local SCORE office, or your local Chamber of Commerce.

Running Your Business

With your business in operation, it won’t take long for you to encounter some critical decision points. Plus, you will need to further expand your skillset, either through personal development or hiring. You’ll also need to learn how to make some strategic connections to help your business continue growing. Here’s what you need to know.

Knowing When and How To Grow

One of the most difficult decisions you’ll need to make as a small business owner is choosing when and how to grow your business. In general, as soon as your business generates more demand than it can handle, it’s time to grow. However, you must carefully examine your business’s finances before you make any moves.

If your business has consistently generated double-digit revenue growth for more than two consecutive quarters, you should be ready for an expansion. This is a sign that your growth is no fluke and that you’ll have the money needed to sustain an expansion. You’ll need it when you scale up to add new expenses like office space, call center software, and new employees to handle your workload.

When choosing how to grow your business, you should always focus on sustainable revenue growth. In other words, don’t spend any money that doesn’t lead directly to additional profit. For example, it’s fine to invest in things like sales and business development staff. But if you’re still the only influencer in your talent pool and you’re already fully booked, that would be a waste of time. So, make sure to invest in both business generation and production capacity in parallel as you start to grow your business.

Basic Marketing and Business Development

As odd as it sounds, even influencers need to engage in some additional marketing once they become business owners. However, it’s not like you can simply purchase digital Ad space to plaster your face all over the web. Instead, you will need to connect with some of the major influencer platforms and partner with the ones that meet your needs. You should also continue attending the kinds of industry events you did during your early networking phase. Those are the places where you’re most likely to make connections to further advance your business.

Attracting Strategic Partners

Finally, you will need to begin developing strategic partnerships to cement your business’s future as a player in the influencer market. This will include getting connected with brand sponsors that increase your market credibility. It will also include connecting with other influencers that you can team up with to grow your business. On the business side, you can start by identifying the key brands within your niche that you’re not already working with. Then, choose the one that best fits your business’s brand and start talking about them within your content. This is the easiest way to attract their attention and eventually create a partnership with them.

You should also reach out to other influencers who operate in niches related to, but not overlapping with, yours. The idea is to build a network of creators that you can refer potential clients to and who will do the same for you. You should also broach the topic of creating more formal partnerships with them, including potentially bringing them into your business itself.

Influencing Your Future

By following the playbook discussed herein, you can turn your position as an influencer into a business and a full-fledged career. It will require plenty of hard work and personal growth, however, so don’t take the task lightly. In the end, though, if you invest the time and your passion into building a lasting business, you will surely find a way to do just that.