Lorraine C. Ladish is a Florida-based communicator, helping empower women and others to achieve their goals. Co-founder and CEO of Viva Fifty Media, a bilingual venture that celebrates midlife and beyond, she has contributed to NBCNews, Huffpost, AARP, Mom.me, Purple Clover, Latina magazine and Redbook. She is also a digital influencer and brand spokesperson. Her latest book on embracing age, “Tu Mejor Edad,” (Your Best Age) was published by HarperCollins in 2017. She is an RYT-200 and is studying towards her RYT-500 at Heartwood Retreats. She recently launched TheFlawedYogini.com
How did you start?
I was always a writer, from a young age. I come from a family of writers. I started out writing and publishing books, and working as a journalist. In 2006 I wrote a blog called Success Diaries, in the most unsuccessful time of my life. It later also became a book. In 2008 I lost everything I had to the recession and to divorce. I was a single mom on welfare with two girls, 4 and 7. By chance, someone hired me to write for a blog, and then I realized I didn’t need to switch careers. I just had to figure out how to make my communication skills work online.
Where do you find inspiration?
In daily life. And it’s usually not in the happy times, but during the struggles. I love sharing how I’ve overcome certain situations, because I know it helps me when I read about how someone else overcame what I’m going through now.
What do you post about?
Life. Parenting teens, exercise, fitness, yoga, midlife, relationships, failure, success, writing – mostly about learning to make the best of what you’ve got and making your perceived flaws work for you until they become assets.
What does your audience relate most to?
To what goes on behind closed doors. Meaning that I can post a beautiful photo, but I don’t hide behind it. Anyone who follows me is going to know the backstory. They know when I’m facing a health, personal or even professional struggle. My IG stories and even YouTube vlogs are something I get a lot of responses to because I share life stories as I would with a good friend over a cup of coffee. I don’t necessarily tell it all, but I share enough that we can connect over it.
What has been your favorite experience as an Influencer:
So many … but I truly enjoy partnering with brands and organizations that allow me to use my yoga and wellness teaching skills in their activations, to help people improve their quality of life. I recently hosted a yoga and wellness retreat and it was truly magical to see women’s stress melt away thanks to my work partnership.
What 3 things does anyone starting as an Influencer need to know?
It’s not easy, it requires resilience and, despite what the majority may think, it’s ageless.
What is the best thing about being an influencer?
The best thing about being a content creator and working for oneself (I’ve always been self-employed), is that you get paid for being you. Perhaps in some cases, influencers are sought out for their fabricated persona, which is another option. But in my case there is no persona. For me, that’s pretty liberating and cool.
What’s the largest challenge you face as an influencer? How do you overcome it?
Not as an influencer, but being self-employed. Cash flow. I use an invoicing system that connects to a funding source that advances money on outstanding invoices. It helps bridge the gap when you’re waiting for payments but you have to pay for your overheads.
Tell us about your proudest moment as an influencer?
When my kids come with me to conferences and get to see me speak in public or they witness someone coming up to me asking for a photo or a hug. My kids’ recognition means a lot because they mostly see the grind part of it all. Sitting at my laptop for hours with my hair up in a bun is not very glamorous at all!
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but because the space is ever-changing it’s really hard to know what I’d have done differently. I’m glad I bootstrapped, I’m glad I worked diligently and still do, and I’m glad I outsource certain things and that I now work with a manager.
What factors do you take into account for what you charge with a post?
My manager helps me with this, it was harder when I repped myself. But we take into account the time it takes to develop content, the high quality of the photos we take, the care we put into writing content, and honestly that we do what we say and say what we do, which should be -but isn’t- the norm. Of course, any budget we will spend amplifying content is included in that. If it’s an exclusive campaign then we need to factor that in. If it’s a hot topic for me, we need to factor in the work I will not be able to do with other brands.
What is the best practice for Brands looking to work with Influencers?
Knowing in advance what they are looking for in a specific influencer, finding out why his or her audience follows them, and giving as much creative freedom as possible, so the message doesn’t come across as canned.
How do you choose which campaigns you will and will not participate in?
I typically won’t say yes to a product that I would never use in my own life or to a cause I don’t believe in. I also gauge whether the brand or PR company is easy to work with. I’ve learned that when a brand haggles and still tries to convince you to do the work for less money than you are asking for, promising future work for better pay, it’s best to move on. My time and energy are best spent on a project where I feel I’m valued. That said, money is not my only or even my main motivation.
What do you do to encourage authentic engagements on your sponsored posts?
It’s hard when the brand wants certain verbiage in there no matter what and said a certain way, but I do try to reference something my followers already know about me and tell a (short) story that illustrates my relationship with the product and then I explain how the product or service helps or improves my life.
Where do you see the future of influencer marketing?
Perhaps the name will change; the platforms will change; the way the messages are delivered will change. The only way to succeed in this or any other field really, is to embrace change and keep on going.
Any open-ended story you’d like us to share:
I love social media because it took me from being a single mom on welfare to making six figures doing something I love. Plus, I’m not your typical influencer. I’m a woman in her 50’s doing handstands online. If I can do this, anyone can.