Carolina Millan is an entrepreneur, public speaker, content creator, marketing coach and influencer based in Chile. Carolina loves traveling around the world, making videos and working from her computer. Carolina shows others how to live the laptop lifestyle, freeing them from the corporate world while establishing their personal brand online. You can learn more at carolinamillan.net, where Carolina helps readers dare to inspire the world and live with passion and purpose.
What led you to begin traveling the world as a marketing coach and what were some of the challenges you faced when you were just getting started?
Well at the very beginning when I started my career when I quit my job basically. The first challenge was the income, of course. I took a risk by leaving my HR job but I knew that at the beginning it would be a little bit of a roller coaster so that was the first challenge. Just getting use to that because when you have a paycheck you have this consistency and then when you become independent you sometimes don’t know how you’re going to make ends meat.
So that was probably the first challenge, the most basic one. Then the next was that most of my initial clients were local clients in Chile, where I live, so I couldn’t necessarily handle all of the work online and that’s also what really drove me to find clients that were all over the world where it didn’t matter where I was or where they were and that way I could still work from my home in Chile or from Europe, US, wherever I was. So for that I had to come up with a whole different strategy to get clients that wasn’t just referrals or business owners that had local businesses but really focus on people who had digital businesses where again it wasn’t an issue for them that I wasn’t there or for me that they were not in the same location as myself. Those were the two main challenges I’d say.
Then, of course,. there’s always how when you become independent there’s always the issue of balancing your personal life with your work life which is not always that simple. I do not have any kids yet but still finding the boundaries between your home and your home office that’s challenging. That’s still a bit challenging for me today even though I have a separate office now from my apartment but I still sometimes work for my home and so yeah I would say those are the main things
When did you get into influencer marketing?
Well it was very early on I would say around 2010 or 11 right around the time I quit my job and it was mostly because I started using Twitter very heavily in 2008, that’s when I joined Twitter. And I joined social media with my goal was to become known for what I did. It was to brand myself as an expert in marketing and use my resources and at the beginning it was just brands, mostly retail brands, that started to reach out to me for specific campaigns.
I wasn’t even promoting myself as an influencer I never even called myself one because I don’t think that’s cool. And so I participated in many campaigns with Latin American retail companies at the beginning technology companies, app ,shopping apps stuff like that. Then I saw the potential and the small audience that I was building because, you know, I didn’t have an audience of hundreds of thousands and I think today the micro influencer space is also gaining a lot of traction because of that.
Because you can no longer just spend all of your influencer marketing budget on just one big page but instead you go and find an army of micro influencers and so that is where I was. I participated in many campaigns with several people it wasn’t just one person and it’s good that brands are realizing that and giving the opportunity to people with smaller audiences to be a part of their efforts.
Can you describe influencer marketing in Chile in terms of popularity and perception?
Yeah, yeah. So like I said this is something that started quite awhile ago, like ten years ago maybe even earlier than that. But I think brands started to see it very early on as an advantage over just going with radio advertising or TV advertising. They still do it obviously but they started to expand their vision and really see social media as something they could take more seriously. And many times the ROI can be measured I mean not every time but many times it’s even easier to measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign than, you know, a billboard on the highway where you don’t exactly know who went to your website because of that specific billboard.
But I remember many of the campaign I participated in they would give me a specific traffic link and that made it very easy for the brand to know if I was bringing any clicks at all or not and if any sales resulted from it. So I think in Chile they started doing that very early on even earlier than our neighboring countries where when I – I mean when I speak to people from Argentina or Peru or Bolivia or mostly those countries they tell me they are still very far in terms of the use of social platforms in use of marketing and branding. Even today like I see that the influencer marketing locally is still very strong. I remember 2012 Direct TV contacted me, the local Direct TV in Chile to participate in a campaign for the, what was it 2012 was it the World Cup, the Olympics I think yeah London and so it was really cool because they invited me to this event and it was not like they gave me money they gave me the opportunity to share with some of our athletes.
So I went to this lunch and there were some of our Chilean athletes that were going to compete in the Olympics so that was really cool, I got to meet other influencers, and then they gave me free Direct TV, which I still have for free today. So yeah indirectly they gave me money because I’m not paying for my Direct TV subscription but yeah. So that’s cool that’s kind of the things they do they invite you to parties some brands will pay you to tweet of course but I see it as not just the money but also having the experience to be at places and share with people otherwise you wouldn’t have access to.
As an influencer, what are some of the brands you have partnered with, and what has been your favorite brand partnership to-date?
I think that was definitely my favorite because they invited me to several events and they really nurtured the relationship with the influencers they picked. Another one was I remember Volvo invited me to the launch of one of their cars a couple years ago that was also very cool.
And even Direct TV then invited us to another party so I would say those are the most memorable ones because other brands I’ve worked with have mostly just “hey we want you to Tweet this and here’s some money” and not really focusing on nurturing the relationship like these other brands did.
As part of your coaching description on your website, you help people get rid of the limiting beliefs that keep people from getting what they want and deserve. As an example, what’s a common limiting belief and can you give an overview of how you help people overcome it?
Yes, of course. Well I work with a lot of entrepreneurs mostly who, you know, they have an idea, they have something they are passionate about, and they want to build an online business around it. And many times like one of the most limiting beliefs I see people have is, you know, I don’t have any experience why would anyone buy from me or will why anyone go with me or consume my content when there’s so and so more successful, better, prettier, younger, et cetera so what I tell people is “listen
I’m from Chile, right I’ve got a lot of clients from the USA and Europe why would they work with someone who lives in a developing country most people think we’re a third world country even, why would they work with me when they can work with someone in the US or Europe” it’s because they found something they could relate to. And it didn’t matter where I was from or that my English was not perfect or it wasn’t my first language so it’s the same thing for you. Somebody is going to relate to you more than some superstar that seems impossible to reach and I think it’s the same even with influencers.
When considering an influencer campaign I’m not going to people with ten million followers because they are never going to see me reply, I’m never going to be able to afford them et cetera, right so that’s why it’s important that there are other people who are more reachable, who are more approachable, who are relatable and that’s something that we all have as an advantage versus people who is more successful, who are playing at a different level but they can no longer work one on one with somebody, they can no longer give their undivided attention to somebody and you can. And so that helps people see that and understand that oh okay so I do have something to give even with all this belief or disadvantages I think I have. So yeah that’s one of the main things I see in people.
What’s your favorite social media platform to use and why?
Well I still think I use Twitter the most. I mean I really like Twitter because it’s a place where you can really interact with so many people from so many different place, you know. Unfortunately for business the problem with Twitter is that there is a lot of noise today it’s really hard to get the reach that I used to get ten years ago when I would say “hello” and all two thousand followers I had would see it and now I say “hello” it’s like three people will see it and you see that with really big account as well.
But i think still if I had to choose one I would probably go with Twitter because I know it will allow me to meet more people, get more business contacts eventually, and I mean it’s the network I go to know what’s happening in the world. So if I didn’t have access to any other Internet tool I know I just go on Twitter and I know what’s going on in the world if there’s anything important I’ll find out on Twitter so yeah it’s still my favorite.
According to your site, you’re committed to impacting at least one million lives… Do you have an estimate on where you’re at right now in terms of reaching that number?
I would say I’m still pretty far, yeah. I know I still have a lot of time. You know, I follow people like Gary V who is always talking about that, about being patient ,about how much time we have. You know, when I see people who are nineteen or twenty years old complaining that “oh my god I’m getting so old” I’m like “ehh I want to strangle you because you don’t know how much time you have you’re so young you’re not old I’m not old” you guys are not old.
Yeah we have a lot of time. So because I’ve been focusing mostly on doing one on one work with clients the last couple of years It’s obviously difficult to people a million people one on one. So part of my projects for this year and the coming years is create more group environments where I can train more people in a group format, in a one too many format, and not just one on one. But I love it I mean I love working with people one on one.
I’m here in Miami I will be meeting a client here this weekend but I think if we want to make a bigger impact sometimes we have to be able to spread our message to multiple people at once and that’s like the only way aqnd that’s also why I’m excited about building my social platforms more in a way and reach more people.
Note: Influencer Spotlights are edited for time and clarity.