Ilona Kors is a full-time blogger, Instagram, and branding coach and digital marketing strategist. She is the owner of an Instagram branding boutique agency, ilonakors.com, where she helps bloggers and creative business owners to turn their passion to Instagram blogs into successful businesses, grow their personal brands and tell outstanding stories online. She successfully turned her blogging hobby into an online business and teaches woman worldwide how to become ‘blogpreneurs.’ Ilona shares a few tips and tricks on how we can build a personal story and brand, as well as exploring exactly how she launched the Instagram Hype Tribe that catapulted the popularity of her free 5-day e-mail course.
Hey Ilona, can you introduce yourself to us?
Hey! I’m Ilona and I help new bloggers, creatives and business owners to win on social media with the help of digital marketing, brand building, and powerful stories! I am a true digital era and social media believer, but particularly I am in love with the most visual social media platform – Instagram. I know that there is a common misconception that only big influencers/brands with thousands of followers can win on Instagram, but it is not true. Small accounts can truly benefit from Instagram as well, with powerful brand building, storytelling, and visuals. So this is what I try to teach to women across the globe and give them the guidelines and foundation on their own journey to success. I believe in magic and a world where dreams come true! For me and my clients, they totally do!
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I started blogging (only on Instagram) back in 2014 and it was more like a visual diary for me where I shared my adventures with friends. However, after some time I saw so many great accounts succeeding and making the most out their Instagram blogs that I decided to learn to do it too. After countless hours or learning, practicing & mistakes I have finally cracked the code. Not noticing I have grown from an amateur user to a blogger. While still on my daily work I started to receive brand deals, signed new collaborations and getting inquiries from other girls/brands to share my knowledge with them. Without massive following (I had a bit more than 10k followers back then), no paid adds and big acquaintances I started to monetise my account and built my own tribe!
That’s when I realised that I need to make the next big step! I decided to leave my full-time job in order to pursue my dreams of remote working and teaching people to grow their personal brands with digital marketing and social media help! I knew that I want to build my own brand and business and wanted to be totally in charge of my own life!
What is a day in the life of you like?
I don’t have the same daily routine or that each day looks the same. I’m still getting into a new routine now that I am a full time in my business. Usually, my morning starts with journaling! This is my daily routine where I write down my affirmations and things I am grateful for in my life. In the mornings I work in a nice coffee shop or at home. The first half of the day I reply to my e-mails, client messages and doing some work online. The second half of the day is for meetings with brands, client works and 1:1 coaching sessions. Also, I try to dedicate time for myself and family each day in the evening. Evenings are usually when I can have some quality time with loved ones, read a book, meet friends or do sports.
How did you launch the Instagram Hype Tribe?
Insta Hype Tribe was born in April 2018. Actually, at first, it was just a community dedicated to bloggers, business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals who are passionate about social media, Instagram and branding. I wanted to gather together people who would share their own success stories and experiences on building a personal brand and helping each other grow on Instagram. Building your own brand and business is hard, especially when you are alone and without any support. Therefore, I decided that I need to gather a group of people together who would support each other on their journey, as I need this support. Now it is more than just a support group, it is a group where you can actually make friends, meet your new business partners and have fun!
Can you talk us through the Instagram Hype Tribe?
Insta Hype Tribe is a Facebook + Instagram community. There are no requirements for entrance. You just have to be proactive and interested in the topic (Instagram + branding)! Plus whenever you post on Instagram use hashtag #instahypetribe and you will be automatically in the group with the possibility to get featured on my account. As I love to tell about my tribe on my account and always promote the most active users on my page.
Can you tell us a little bit more about how you are helping entrepreneurs to learn the core basics of personal branding power?
First of all, I have prepared a 5-day e-mail course which is completely FREE and was taken by more than 1000 people already. It goes through the core basics of brand building on Instagram, storytelling, and different tricks and has amazing e-books and free materials. The course is delivered straight to your e-mail daily!
Also, I do 1:1 coaching with clients where I help with strategy building, positioning and Instagram branding. The program is called ‘Instagram Intensive’ where I help you to totally re-brand and re-make your Instagram brand. But for those who want to learn themselves and do it all yourself, I have prepared amazing digital recourses (they are available in my shop).
Can you give us 3 tips and tricks on building a personal story and brand?
- First of all, decide what is your “why” You need to understand what do you want to convey and what is the purpose of your brand.
- Second, be active and show up! The brand is not built overnight. You need to show up online daily. It will take time and consistency.
- Be yourself! I always say to my clients that there is no one like you in this world and magic is in you!
Who does the team involve behind you at the Instagram Hype Tribe?
Instagram Hype Tribe is purely managed by me. I am always active there and give responses and recommendations myself personally. However, I have a team of 2 people who help me with Social Media Management for clients and content creation as well.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
Apart from being an owner Instagram Branding Boutique Agency, I have other projects in mind. I would love to organise big conferences about blogging, influencer marketing and business in 5 different countries. Also, I see my brand more as a digital education agency which is helping bloggers/creative to finally start their own online businesses. I have a plan to organise digital nomad retreats and write a book as well. So a lot of projects I would say!
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of your business?
The main focus of my business would be definitely going into digital full time and delivering my knowledge that I share with 1:1 client to more people. That means creating more digital materials and concurring new markets. Plus I would love to grow more my client base and my core team.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
The hardest thing was to hire people and trust them with tasks, projects. When I just started I was doing everything myself and it felt overwhelming. So I needed to delegate work and trust people I work with if I wanted my business to grow. Also to adapt to different situations fast. Being 100% accountable for my life and business.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
Yes, of course! It is great to learn from a person who has been in your shoes some time ago and now has a successful business, and who can share the experience with you. I still consider myself a young entrepreneur and consult with my mentor monthly. This is only OK to ask for help and feedback! If you want to succeed in life you must learn from those who have already achieved what we want for ourselves.
What outlets do use to market your business?
The main social platform where I market myself is surely my Instagram account, but also I market my business on Facebook, my personal blog, different events. All digital.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I show up daily on my Instagram account. I tell my story, give value to my followers and market myself there. I share my personal experience in my blog as well. I am building my expertise through Facebook groups, where I answer different questions people have about brand building and Instagram.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur?
A common misconception is that people think that with a business they will only sit on the beach, drink cocktails and money will go to the bank account on autopilot. Very often it is not like that, you need to work during nights, on weekends and holidays. Actually, you work a lot and at the beginning, you do everything (starting from content creation, website building, accounting, customer service and etc). You work a lot! But it pays off.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
I love that nowadays you can have a business and be location independent. I believe in the international teams, where you can work from any place in the world. And I would love other business owners to understand that you don’t need to sit in one place in the office from 9-5. Millennial business is on the go and in the digital era, with a flexible schedule and freedom. And I want to create a business that gives jobs for such millennials with the same mindset.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Best business advice is to actually start doing! We are always thinking of failures, planning, preparing and thinking what if this happens or that and never actually execute. So better just start doing and you will see what happens!
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Know your standards and never lower them! Only with higher standards, can you achieve a better life.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
This is prioritising and time management. For me, family and personal time are important, therefore I always have time for it. Even when I have hard days or a lot of projects at once I still have time for personal life. This is actually the beauty of entrepreneurship so that I can plan my work and day myself.
The highlight of your career so far?
I think that the highlight actually was the day I decided to quit my full-time corporate job in order to start my own business full time. This is the ultimate change in my career that I had the courage to finally pursue my dreams!
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
When I see my clients succeeding and sharing great results! Seeing them achieve their goals, dreams gives me real satisfaction and understanding that I am doing the right thing in life.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Challenges are met on the daily bases. Hiring, delegating, customer service, every day I learn something new!
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I have a lot of people I admire and follow on social media. I cannot say, one particular person, because they are all different and have different lifestyles. But I love Beyoncé a lot for her hard work, hustle, and dedication!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I love to read a lot and read daily. However, there is one book that actually influenced me a lot and helped to quit my corporate job is ‘4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferris.
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
To be honest I don’t listen to many of them, actually only one. Which is the ‘Goal Digger’ podcast by Jenna Kutcher. I love her story, energy, and work!
How do you measure your own terms of success?
Success for me is measured in achieving my goals and plans that I have created and visualised for myself. It translates in the freedom and lifestyle I have created for myself. For me, the most important thing is to be happy and enjoy the process along the way!
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
For me this community means becoming a better version of myself, learning and getting motivated by other successful lady entrepreneurs across the globe!
Lastly, what is next for you?
Besides my current services, next for me is launching my first online course apart from digital resources and coaching. So stay tuned and see you online.
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/436636350089290/
Website link : https://www.ilonakors.com