It was at the very beginning of my blogging career when I got to know today’s guest on Young Entrepreneurs Talk. I visited her website to read tips on how to grow my Instagram account.
Her article was different from the many others I’d previously read. It provided real numbers and valuable tips. What’s even more important – it was sweet and genuine. That’s how I immediately felt the connection you’re going to experience now.
Naomi Louwerens is from the Netherlands, but she travels across the globe both for business and pleasure. And she successfully combines them. Let’s peek into her world.
- Dear Naomi, thanks for agreeing to be on “Young Entrepreneurs Talk”. How did your entrepreneurial adventures commence?
Hi, Svet, thank you so much for this honour and so great to be able to do this together. You know I love your work and always love to collaborate.
I started as a freelance girl boss 1.5 years ago, after having worked for big companies for over 18 years. I always wanted to be my own boss, I was just looking for the right form to mould this into!
As a freelance consultant, I feel that I have finally found the right way to offer my knowledge and experience built up in all those years, without having to make a financial investment.
- You call yourself “Authentic Chica”. How did you come up with that brand name?
This is a derivative of Authentic Chic, which is my style, the way I travel, and the combination I always seem to find in everything I do, as I love stylish luxury but also authenticity. I strongly feel you shouldn’t have to choose between the two.
Also ‘’chica’’ means girl in Spanish, which I always strive to be: an authentic girl!
- What’s a typical Naomi day?
Haha! Great but hard question. It differs a lot as I have a lot of freelance projects for short periods of time, so in general, I work around two days on location for several brands. If not, I work at home, go to fairs, travel, have lunch meetings, or do photoshoots.
I love sleeping late. So, I usually wake up around 8-9 am with a cup of coffee and some Instagram activities in bed as I manage a few Instagram accounts for brands, as well as my own, of course.
Then, I turn on my laptop and check my e-mails, which are usually quite a few. I prefer to answer everything quickly, and I manage my own administration and invoicing still manually so that also takes up a part of my week, next to writing blogs and creating constant content, of course.
I also hold monthly social media group workshops and get at least 1 request per month for private company Instagram masterclasses, which take some time to plan, prepare, and customize.
As you can see, my days differ a lot and I need to be flexible with my time, but this is actually what makes being my own boss fun to me!
- You’re the embodiment of an Instagram influencer. What does it take to turn into one?
Haha, that is a big compliment, I think😊 But can we call it an online inspirator instead pls?
[Svet: Sure, we can!]
I actually dislike the word “influencer”, as it has been misused so often, and inspiring others is why I started my social media accounts and website in the first place. But, of course, if you really have influence as well, you’re doing something right and that is a great bonus.
For me, being a real inspirator/influencer means that you have to tell a story, stand out, represent something new, special, and beautiful through images, stories, and text, give value, as well as create real connections with people (online).
That is what I strive and love to do in the most authentic way possible.
- You hail from The Hague, the Netherlands. Personally, I’ve been to Den Haag several times and I love your city, but what would be your tips for people who haven’t visited the so-called “Dutch Capital”?
The Hague is actually the Royal Capital of the Netherlands, which so many people don’t know about…yet. However, it is definitely worth a visit!
It hosts numerous palaces, the Dutch Parliament is also there, and it is a city hugged by the sea, with the longest stretch of beach in the Netherlands and one of the greenest cities in Europe!
From The Hague, you can easily visit Leiden and Delft which are utterly quaint and spellbindingly beautiful. Of course, Amsterdam with its UNESCO canal area is amazing as well, but it is also much busier and very touristy.
My advice is to travel around, because only 20 minutes from Amsterdam, you will find the real Dutch culture and our distinctive windmills at Zaanse Schans, and the historic area around Volendam where you can experience real Dutch heritage!
Need I go on…?
[Svet: Go on : )))]
- What are your Top 3 travel destinations and why? Would you mind sharing a photo?
This is such a difficult question as it is just too hard to choose…
For me, Portugal is definitely a country that captured my heart as it is so friendly, diverse, and beautiful, and the food, culture, and climate are wonderful. The Lisbon area, Alentejo, and Algarve are great to visit throughout the year.
In the last two years, I’ve been to Croatia three times already which also says a lot and it keeps me wanting to come back for more, as there is so much history, heritage, beauty, and authenticity.
Tropical islands such as Bali, the Maldives, and Mauritius are among my favourites.
And our visit to South Africa last year was truly amazing as well. The African country is a world in a country, especially when you do a road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Combine it with a game drive, and you will be amazed by the diversity and beauty it has to offer.
- Which are your favourite brands to collaborate with and why?
Again – hard to choose.
In general, I like smaller brands with a special story. For example, right now I am working with a clothing brand NKNekane. It’s a Spanish, lesser known brand, but it’s really classy.
They use unique, high-quality materials with beautiful details that make them really stand out, so I am proud to represent them.
Another collaboration of mine, which I really enjoyed, is the boutique hotel where I give most of my workshops in the Netherlands. I wrote about it in my last hotel review. I love to promote the place because it is such an authentic and classy concept, which perfectly matches my taste and my website.
- Have you had any regrets in your life up until now?
Not many. Maybe I should have traveled more before I started working and could have started earlier on social media, with my website, and as a freelancer when there was still less competition.
However, I am very proud of what I have accomplished in the last three years and have traveled a lot in between work and for my jobs in the fashion industry.
Next to that, I also feel like everything I did before I started working as a freelancer led to the success I have right now.
I am happy I built up such a strong network, gained so much experience and knowledge at big companies, and I certainly feel that I needed all of that as a basis to build up the value I have as a consultant right now.
- How do you unwind after a hectic day/week?
Netflix definitely helps in the evening to get my mind off work. But also relaxing in the garden or going for nature walks really relaxes me and makes me feel more grounded again. I certainly feel that I need to go offline sometimes and feel connected to nature to keep me sane.😊
- What would be your advice to people who want to make a living, using Instagram? Are numbers the main thing to upgrade? If not, what else do companies look for in an account to start collaborating with it?
Be authentic but also give value!
Overly promotional in general does not work on Instagram and you need to proportion this and stand out. Did you know there are 95 million pictures posted on Instagram every day? And this number keeps growing, so you definitely need to up your game more and more.
The easiest way to make this work for you is to do something you really love and comes naturally to you.
Create genuine content which you are passionate about but also be very critical of your own work. Choose only the most spectacular and appealing pics and edit them to make them look even better so they will stand out among those 1 billion users…
Give value through being a storyteller: You can do this both visually as well as by:
- Giving tips;
- Sharing funny and/or authentic stories;
- Being personal, opening up and really connecting with people by asking questions, being genuine, and responding to your followers.
This is what being an influencer is all about.
Brands will look for that, they will measure your engagement more and more by digging into your audience, reading the comments under your posts and look at what kind of people interact with you. If both these, as well as the look of your pictures, match with your brand’s values, then this will be an important reason for them to work with you, next to your followers’ numbers.
That is why presenting yourself in a clear and professional manner on social media and connecting with your followers to reach the right audience is even more important than getting followers. In the end, it really is the combination that counts…
However, there are so many more tips I can give you about this, and I am actually educating brands about influencer selection, as for a lot of brands, this is a very new market as well. That’s why they hire me as a consultant.
If you want to learn more about turning your account into a brand and how to grow it faster, then you can always connect with me for a private consultation, join a masterclass, or come with me to Lisbon at the end of September on a girls trip. During it, we’ll explore my favourite city in Europe for 4 days, including Instagram consultancy and photoshoots. Can’t wait to meet!
It’s obvious that Naomi Louwerens knows her craft perfectly. Hopefully, these tips will serve you well, my dear reader.
I encourage you to follow Naomi’s social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. By far, my favourite one is her Instagram. And what I love most about it is her real raw, genuine, and authentic style. She responds to every single comment, which, as you can imagine, takes a great amount of time.
That’s not only how you establish and maintain a brand. That’s also how you build solid relationships and friendships. And that’s how we met and connected, and now, we support each other along the way.
Dear Naomi, I wish you nothing less than riveting success. Dank u wel for sharing your inspiring, entrepreneurial adventures!
Fancy reading more motivating interviews with young entrepreneurs? Take a look here.
If you’re a young entrepreneur with an story that inspires, reach out to me.