Greetings, all! My name is Whitney Haldeman and I’m so excited to be taking over the blog here at HireInfluence. I’m an influencer and blogger myself (you can find me over at Blonde Atlas) so I have lots to talk about in this ever-evolving space that we’re all in.
But one thing at a time: Today, I’m introducing you to two of my international influencer friends, Simone and Mark, as we continue the Influencer Spotlight series. I had the pleasure of meeting Simone while traveling in Copenhagen this past summer, where she and Mark both reside. We cozied up over lunch and cocktails at a modern Danish restaurant and lost track of time talking about the unconventional lives we lead as influencers.
While she and Mark (her boyfriend) are both based in Copenhagen, you’ll quickly see from their Instagram accounts (@simonemoelle and @daysofmrgray) that they don’t spend a whole lot of their time there. These globe-trotters are working remotely all over the world and embracing the “digital nomad” lifestyle. This typically leaves people asking lots of questions, so I asked them a few of my own to share here with you:
Q: You both live a pretty unique and unconventional lifestyle. How do you explain to others “what you do?”
A: We very much do live a different life an sometimes we have to tweak the “what we do” speech depending on who we talk to! Like, I don’t think my old grandmother has ever understood it fully;) But in short, what we do can be summed up to this: We work like everyone else. The world is just our office…
Q: Are you both full-time influencers or do you have other work you do as well?
A: No, I wish we were- but our Instagram profiles, blog and so on is just a nice add-on where we share our story and hopefully inspire others to travel more. We do collaborate with companies every now and then but it’s usually just a bit of “fun money” or some nice experiences we get out of it.
Q: What did you do for work before being a digital nomad? Did you work in an office setting?
A: We worked at an office and when I quit my previous job, all it took for Mark was to ask his boss for the opportunity to work remote. Luckily his boss thought it was a good idea! When I started at my new job, I also asked about their policy for working remotely. So, we are just lucky to have some very understanding bosses and the “balls” to ask.
Q: Were you both already Instagram-ing / Blogging when you met?
A: No, I (Simone) have been blogging for 7-8 years and Mark only picked up a camera when we met. Now, he’s very much the creative brain behind a lot of what we do photo/video wise!
Q: “Instagram life” can often look very glamorous. What do you think is the biggest misconception about the way your life looks on Instagram vs. how it plays out in everyday life?
A: Having an Instagram profile is a lifestyle you choose and it affects so much of your everyday life. It’s honestly hard work to create good content! We love being creative and we love capturing that “killer shot” – it has become a constant hunt which we enjoy. But we hope people understand that what they see on “The Gram” is only 2% of the full picture.
Q: As a traveler myself, I know what an impossible question this is- but I know you’re probably asked it all the time so I’m going to ask it anyway: Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled?
A: It’s really a tough question, yeah! It’s hard to pick one place without adding a context like “Where could you see yourself live?”, “Best food scene”, “Most beautiful nature” etc. However, the placed that surprised Simone the most was probably Madeira. Before we left people told us that it was very much a destination for people above 60. So why would two “young” people go? We realized that Madeira had it all and the nature left us in awe after every corner! Best of all: there weren’t a lot of tourists so we had all this beauty more or less to ourselves (and that’s rare these days) Mark’s favorite destination has so far been The Faroe Islands. For more or less the same reasons: Nature and not a lot of tourists.
Q: You both live in Copenhagen but seem to have partnered with brands all over the world. What advice would you have for influencers who want to expand outside their specific region?
A: We are pretty fortunate to live in a country with not a lot of people but with a good economy. So, when we reach out to brands we really put a lot of focus on the target audience they will hit by working with us! No matter where you live it’s about finding your unique value proposition and sell that to companies.
Q: You both have very distinct/identifiable looks to the content you create. How did you land on it and what advice would you give to influencers looking to create a consistent look for their brand?
A. During our short career as pro-Instagrammers (if you can call us that) we have tested out a lot of different editing styles and it’s only recently we have landed on something that really sums up who we are. For far too long we tried creating a visual that looked on other profiles but it just didn’t feel right for us! E.g. Simone had a pastel theme because it was “in” among female travel Instagrammers but usually Simone wears a lot of darker colors. So, it ended up feeling so forced. With that knowledge in mind, we highly recommend others to find an editing style that fits their life and contributes to tell the story of who they are.
Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in the influencer space in the last year?
A: SO many are really getting good at taking photos and growing a large follower base so you really need to step up your A-game to keep up!
Q: What would you say have been the biggest keys to your success?
A: The fact that we are two that share the same passion has really made a huge difference for us! We get each other and spend a lot of time knowledge sharing as well. on the other side of the phone, so to speak, we have an audience that really likes what we do which also motivates us to become even better at creating value for them. For us it’s not just about sharing a beautiful photo anymore, it’s also very much about sharing locations of the coolest places off the beaten track. And that seems to work quite well.
Q: Any projects on the horizon you’re excited about?
A: We already have 2 adventures planned in 2018 and we can’t wait as at least one of them aren’t on the tourist map yet! The other one very much revolves around foot which is our second favorite hobby! Furthermore, Mark and I are just about to launch a visual city guidebook to Copenhagen to literally all the most trendy places that only insiders know about. He’s planning on more guides coming out so that’s a cool and exciting project! You can follow that adventure on @youseful 😉
Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: Both of us know that the lifestyle we live isn’t viable for everyone and where a lot of other digital nomads just say “Go for it” we also encourage people to take their time and plan for it! Being a digital nomad isn’t always pure bliss and you only really know if it’s something you like when you have tried it. First of all get your boss to approve some smaller trips where you can test the lifestyle and then remember that you don’t need to be a full-time digital nomad with only a suitcase and a computer as your belongings! We still have our base in Copenhagen which gives us the best of both worlds! So, in short, we just encourage people to live the life they want and not necessarily what society or the “The Gram” dictates!