Issue One Episode Two: Zero to 250,000 Instagram followers with Luisa Gaffga
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For the She Heals The World Talk Show Episode 2, I asked my colleague from Germany, Lulu, to come on the talk show to talk to all of us about being Vegan and Instagram! Lulu has over 250,000 followers and runs a business as a vegan food stylist that is completely funded by sponsorships.
Luisa Gassga from Lulus Dream Town shares her life with the world and loves to inspire others. Listen in to hear her story, jot down a cool vegan recipe and learn how to grow your Instagram so that your brand can stand out online.
Dr. S: [00:01:49] I am so excited to bring you today’s guest Luisa Gassga from Lulus Dream Town. She is otherwise known as Lulu. Lulu is a vegan blogger who lives in Germany and shares her life with the world as a creative artist. With a following of over 250,000 on Instagram, Lulu loves to inspire and empower people.
Lulu I am so happy to have you on the show!
Lulu: Thank you for having me.
Dr. S: Totally. So why don’t you give everybody a little bit of information about how you got started in this work. I mean you’re kind of like an interesting mix between a lifestyle brand and a lifestyle blogger and a creative and an artist; so how did you even fall into all of that.
Lulu: Yeah it’s actually pretty strange. I started when I was 11 years old. So a long time ago I know. I was always really crazy. When I was 11 years old I was like I want to have a blog. And I started doing that.
In the beginning, I was just doing makeup and nails and everything. And after a few years I think I was 14 years old, I started loving just taking pictures.
[00:03:21] It was just so beautiful and all I did was actually working in the business at the age of 16
Dr S: So, what made you become a vegan?
Lulu: I really appreciate living beings. So one day I thought why should I care more about human rights than animals? When I was like 14/ 15 years old I realized that animals die for us, even with egg production.
Dr. S: Do you find that there are many people who are going vegan in Germany?
Lulu: Yeah definitely. And in a city like Berlin there are many people like this.
[00:05:18] There are so many big shops and products and everything.
Dr. S: And even with that, you still have been able to rise to the top and build this huge following. So what were your first few Instagram posts like?
Lulu: My first few posts were actually mysterious pictures of me . You are not an expert when you first begin to do something you know. I became better over time. I never had anyone helping me with anything, so I always did everything by myself. And I just learn by doing and I learned by watching YouTube videos or just getting inspired by others.
Dr. S: And so you went from zero to over 250 K in how many years?
Lulu: Because I wasn’t really uploading a lot it took me 1 year to get 1000, then it took me one year to get ten and then another year to get 100k and then a few months to get to 200k.
Dr. S: So do you get approached by a lot of brands now that your following has grown so large and so quickly.
Lulu: Yes of course. I’m self-employed and I actually live off Instagram. Seriously. Yeah it’s just wonderful to do what I love and get money from it.
It is a lot of hard work. I mean I work I don’t know how many hours a day. But I love it. It’s really amazing.
Dr. S: So, what hurdles have you experienced in this building process? I’m sure when you first got started you didn’t think that you would be self funded or funded by brands, it was just a thing where you said I’m going to share the recipes and I’m going to just be creative and take pictures and tell people about what I’m doing and spread the message of being a vegan. And so, when you realized like oh my god I have to support myself and have to make money from this somehow; what hurdles did you overcome as you were building?
Lulu: So when I was 11 years old I wasnt thinking about all that stuff. Like at all. I just started because I love it.
[00:09:18] And I think that’s really important to anyone who listens to the show because you should never do it because you think you can make money out of that or you can become famous or something like that. Always do it because you want to create something.
So I started because of that and I realized that many people want to work with me.
When I was 16 and I quit school, it actually was a hard time for me because you know everything changes in your life and it’s such a hard decision to work for yourself especially because family thinks you’re trying to destroy your life and Instagram is going to be gone in a few years. So, I think it can be hard to work for yourself. Sometimes, you think that free time is a waste of time. You know when you do something for yourself like going for a walk and stuff and you think oh my god I could actually take that time to work. Or you’re just afraid that you are not going to be paid next month and I think that’s kind of like a stressful thing because you never know what’s going to be in the future.
[00:10:50] But you know when you have a normal job it’s kind of the same feeling actually.
Dr. S: Yes, sometimes it’s a false sense of security.
So for the people out there who are teetering at like 1500 followers feeling like I will never get to a hundred thousand followers. What do you contribute to the fast growth – what would be one big tip you can give women entrepreneurs who are trying to grow; they know that they need a following to get brand sponsorships or to get their clients to believe in their work, so what advice would you give them?
Lulu: First my advice is always never to give up and don’t do it for the numbers – that’s so important and I have to learn that too because I used to think – I have to give up, I need to do something else.
Also, pay attention to the quality of your pictures. Soo many people are like yeah I can totally take pictures with my phone.
[00:12:43] I know they’re pretty good. But I think you have to analyze what people like more and what they don’t like.
Like for me when I post pictures of cupcakes. People don’t like it that much but when I put something like ice cream I get likes. So you have to analyze everything you do and see what people like during the time you post.
And also interact with the people that comment on your pictures. I actually know their name because I see them comment all the time and when I see their posts I’m like oh I want to like the picture to give some love back.
Use the right hashtags for your followers and for the topics you’re posting about and truly love what you’re doing – don’t force yourself and focus too much on those numbers -enjoy the time and enjoy the process.
Dr. S: Beautiful.
[00:14:29] So what is your favorite vegan recipe – one that’s pretty easy and simple that anybody can create if they want to dip their toe into eating Vegan.
Lulu: I love making pancakes.
Double the amount of flour, the same amount of almond milk, baking powder. And that’s usually it.
I mean you don’t even need a replacement. It’s so easy to make.
And what I actually love is just cut some potatoes and put it in the oven for like half an hour. And it’s amazing.
Dr. S: This has been soo helpful.
[00:16:20] I mean I feel like we could talk about the Instagram thing for hours longer but I know we only have so much time, so I think I would be remiss if I didn’t ask you to share like some really important tools that you think people may need to grow their Instagram accounts and grow their business using creative approaches.
I saw you have an awesome video on YouTube and you are just like such a creative spirit and you do a lot of this yourself. And so what is in like your arsenal of must have tools to really pull this off.
Lulu: So, what actually helped me a lot is having a camera and a good lens.
I don’t really have like a marketing tool because Instagram stopped letting us use them but what I do is set up a business profile so that you can see all your analytics like how many male and female followers you have and all that stuff.
[00:18:23] Watching tutorials on YouTube and just having fun.
Dr. S: Yea, I can tell you have a lot of fun in your brand, it’s just so light and airy and inspiring to everybody.
Thank you so much for sharing with us today Lulu!
If you could look back and give your 10-year younger self any piece of advice what would it be?
Lulu: It’s really funny because I don’t even want to change anything of my past. Some horrible things happened. Now I’m so happy about things that happened to me because they made me to this person that I am right now and I’m really happy with my life right now so I wouldn’t change anything.
And a piece of advice to everyone is don’t stress and enjoy the journey.
Dr. S: Wonderful Lulu, how can our listeners find you?
Lulu: [00:20:25] My name on Instagram and YouTube everywhere is Lulus Dream Town.
Dr. S: Thanks for coming on the show
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