Club Life Design Students sitting on a boat

From no collaborations to having to decline collaboration requests within 8 months

Jun 29, 2022

We always tell you guys to just put yourself out there. There is no right moment and there probably never will be. If you want to make it on Instagram, then you just need to get started. It doesn’t matter if you have all the skills already or not. It doesn’t matter if you are working a full-time job or not. What counts is that you take matters into your own hands and just get started.

Now, we know this might sound like wishful thinking and it’s often easier said than done but, today we want to show you that it is actually possible! And what better way to prove it to you than introducing you to our students Fabiana & Sandro, aka @nextstopwithlove. In November 2021, they took the decision to quit their full-time jobs as nurses, go on a one-year honeymoon, and travel the world - sounds crazy, no? Well, it ended up being the best decision they could have ever made. Their story is so inspirational and really shows that anything is possible if you just go for it - but let’s start at the beginning.

About them

Fabiana and Sandro always had this big dream of traveling the world and so they saved up as much money as they could until they were able to quit their jobs, pack their bags and leave their home. Since they wanted to be able to share their travels with their friends and families, they decided to start a new account on Instagram. Since they were already students of our TPI course they knew a thing or two about creating good content and understood how the algorithm works. They wanted to give the whole “Instagram thing” a try, but didn’t expect much from it - “what’s the worst that could happen? There will always be jobs so at least we can give it a try”. They had a little bit of hope that it would work out but even if it didn’t, at least they had nice memories of their travels that they could look back to.

So, in November, they started their trip and went to South and Central America. At the same time, we started the 30-day Reel challenge with our TPI students, which @nextstopwithlove decided to join - “we tried to hop on different trends and created funny videos adapted to our niche. It was important to us that we didn’t just copy anyone’s ideas but that we had something that represented us and our story.” And it paid off - out of these 30 Reels that they posted consistently, 3 actually went viral, one of them with over 1 million views! “We grew 12k followers in only 2 weeks, so approximately 1000 new subscribers every day”, says Sandro.

One thing led to another, and hotels started to become interested in their account and offered them their first hotel collaborations - with a complimentary yacht day!

After South and Central America they decided to travel to the other side of the world and discover Asia and there their Instagram success took off even more. “By now we had over 13 hotel collaborations already. We even had to decline a few offers, just because we don’t have the time. We still want to enjoy our trips and create valuable content, so we can’t accept every offer.”

Even though every collaboration looks a bit different and has different deliverables, a common package that they offer looks like that: 1-2 in-feed posts, a picture or Reel, 5 stories per day, and a review on trip advisor or Google. “Especially the reviews are really appreciated by hotels. It’s so simple but brings so much value to the property.”

What are the biggest challenges?

Even though this sounds like a lot of luck, it’s not. It’s hard work, dedication, and showing up consistently! And just because a lot of hotels reach out to them, it doesn’t mean that they are always successful. “We send out many emails to hotels. Sometimes we get a yes, but the norm is just not getting an answer.” But instead of giving up or being discouraged, they keep on going.

Another challenge is delegating the different tasks. “Everything has happened while traveling so far. We haven’t had the chance to stop yet, to sit down and really plan everything out. It’s definitely a lifestyle where it’s all up to you. No one will tell you what to do, when to post, and how often to post. It’s all up to you - but that’s what makes it so exciting and it has allowed us to grow so much already.”

Their favorite part about their Instagram journey so far

And talking about growth, Fabiana told us that they both have changed a lot since they started this journey. “We used to be so shy - talking to a camera really meant we had to step over our shadow. Especially I had low self-confidence but now I don’t care what my hair looks like if I have make-up on or not. I’m just enjoying myself while we do our thing. Instagram has helped us both to get this confident and to care less about what people think. Of course, there are also downsides to sharing your life with the public and there will be the occasional hate message or negative comment, but as long as you focus on the good, you will see that these things will bother you less and less.”

And that’s not all. When we asked them about their favorite part about their Instagram journey so far the answer was clear: the people they have been able to meet so far - online but also outside of Instagram. “So many people send us messages telling us that they feel like they’re traveling through us - that makes us so happy and we never thought that we would be out here inspiring others. But also the people that we meet during our trips have brought us so much joy. Before we were in our little bubble, with all our nurse friends. Now we get to meet so many different people and learn so much about them and their cultures.”

What comes next?

Fabiana and Sandro are still very new to all of this but they have already achieved so much and they don’t plan on stopping now. They started this journey with no experience and they are still learning every day. “We had no idea about technology or about taking pictures”, says Fabiana. “So for now we want to focus on expanding our skills and upgrading our equipment.”

Can you believe that they have been working with nothing but a phone - no cameras, no tripod, and not even a laptop. And even that didn’t stop them from getting started. Because as we always you, at the end of the day all you need is a phone to create content and to capture people.

Within 8 months Fabiana and Sandro managed to go from traveling the world on a tight budget and with zero experience with Instagram or photography, to getting one hotel collaboration after another. Now if this doesn’t prove that sometimes you just need to take a chance and get started… We can’t wait to see how their journey continues!

If you want to learn how to grow your account and land brand and hotel collaborations then you have the chance to join our course "The Power of Instagram". 

We’ll see you soon! Lots of love,

Your Club Life Design Family

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