How much do Australian Instagram influencers really earn a year?

What being paid to post pictures is REALLY like: Full-time Instagram influencer earns a six-figure salary from selfies and sponsorships – and can charge $5,000 a pop

  • Holly Leelu is a veteran Instagram influencer having been online for 10 years
  • When she was made redundant she decided to start a digital marketing agency
  • On top of representing other brands’ platforms she boosted her personal one
  • In total Holly makes $80,000 from influencing alone, and more from the agency
  • She charges $650 for selfie, $250 for an Insta Story and $5k per package 

A full-time Australian Instagram influencer has lifted the lid on her mysterious – and lucrative – industry to explain how she earns a six-figure salary by posting selfies and scheduling sponsorship deals.

Holly Leelu, who has 78,000 followers on her Instagram page hollyleeboorman, has spent a decade charging clients for paid posts on her social media account, while balancing her digital marketing agency HLL Creative.

To look at Holly’s profile is to see a swathe of designer fabrics, lithe limbs and the latest and greatest accessories, all adorned on her perfectly primed face, hair and body.

Holly Leelu, who has 78,000 followers on her Instagram page hollyleeboorman , has spent a decade charging clients for paid posts on her social media account, while balancing her digital marketing agency HLL Creative

Speaking to Mamamia, Holly explained how she got into the business after she was made redundant from an old job, and her father encouraged her to work for herself.

In her first month out on her own she made $6,000 from various posts and promotions.

‘I was stoked. Because I’ve always had this annoying thing where I doubt my skills and my potential, so I am always surprised when good things like that happen,’ she said.

Now she charges a premium of $650 (plus GST) per selfie, between $250 and $300 for an Instagram Story and upwards of $5,000 for a ‘package’ which includes one grid post, a Story and 20 edited shots sent to the brand for their own use. 

If she didn’t have her marketing agency Holly would be making $80,000 a year from ‘influencing’ alone, but that tips over into the six-figure category when her additional work is factored in.   

Putting a price on her work was extremely difficult to begin with because there was no industry standard for what Holly was doing.

‘There weren’t really industry standards, and it was all really hush hush. You can’t just go onto Seek and see people’s salaries for this sort of career. So I just had to use trial and error,’ she said.

Now online websites will give influencers an idea of how much they’re worth, based on engagement and followers.

Putting a price on her work was extremely difficult to begin with because there was no industry standard for what Holly was doing

But spending 50 hours on each job has taken its toll on Holly personally, with the reality being a vicious cycle of chronic fatigue and difficulty socialising with her friends and family

But spending 50 hours on each job has taken its toll on Holly personally, with the reality being a vicious cycle of chronic fatigue and difficulty socialising with her friends and family. 

‘I kinda just work all the time. I miss quality time with loved ones. I miss going out with friends. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, and I can’t switch off,’ she told the publication.

There is no paid annual leave for Holly, or sick leave, and she organises just about every minute detail between the brands and photographers, videographers and designers herself. 

So while the final photo may suggest Holly’s life is glamorous and drama-free at all times, that’s just part of the job.   

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