Be extremely patient and don’t let anything stop you. Great things take time. Stick to that thought and think of it as an investment you are making to ensure yourself of a golden future. Always keep your eyes on the prize and do not deviate from it.

We often use the term “Influencers” to describe people with significant social media followings on platforms like Instagram, Twitter TikTok, Youtube, Linkedin and Facebook. Influencers have become today’s media titans, sought after for everything from product placements to timely trends. What’s the difference between influence and impact? Fans and followers? Sizzle versus staying power?

In this interview series, called, “How To Cultivate Community In A Click to Connect World” we are talking to influencers about how they define success and what we all need to discover about the true nature of influence. As a part of this series I had the pleasure of interviewing Angie Makljenovic.

Angie is a 36-year old blogger and Pinterest manager from the Netherlands. She is currently residing as a digital nomad in Belgrade, Serbia, together with her husband and 2-year old daughter Ana Milena. She helps bloggers and online business owners all over the world with her blogging, social media, business and digital nomad lifestyle tips.

Thank you for making time to visit with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. How did you discover your career path and what got you to where you are today?

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so honored.

Up until 5 years ago, I worked as an Office Assistant for Youth Care in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Even though I did have a great time there, and learned a lot from the experience, I always knew that working for a boss was not going to make me happy on the long run and that I would eventually start my own business. It just took a while before I figured out which type of business I wanted to start.

Being totally out of place in the office life eventually led to a depression / burnout. During that period I started thinking about better ways to live my life that would suit me better, and that’s where my desire to become my own boss really sparked. So I took the plunge and registered myself as an entrepreneur and started doing pretty much all the online work I was capable of doing, from translating, transcribing to managing other people’s business blogs.

Wanting to further develop my skills, I followed a course in SEO because I quickly noticed on Upwork that SEO experts were in high demand. To practice all the knowledge I learned in my course, I started my 1st blog, and that’s when I discovered the joy of blogging. Six months later I started my current blog: She Can Blog.

From that day on, I knew that blogging was my passion and my future. Starting my blog has been my best career move ever.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way that influences how you operate now?

To have lots and lots of patience. You won’t build your online presence and your online business in 1 day, or in 1 month or even in 1 year. You have to be extremely persistent and you should never give up. The competition is fierce, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication before you’ll start building your name online and claim your piece of the pie. It has to be your biggest passion, something you want to wake up for, and go to bed with. But when you do, I promise you, you’ll get yourself a whole new life and a lot of freedom in return.

We’re all searching for some good news. How are you using your platform to make a positive social impact?

The blogging community is such a wonderful, welcoming and supportive community. Many bloggers are willing to help each other move forward and grow and most of them are open to making genuine connections with other bloggers. I also strive to make a positive contribution in that regard.

I share many blogging and social media tips for free on my website, so that anyone who has the desire to express themselves online has an opportunity to learn how to do so. In addition, one of my favorite sections on my blog is my Meet the Blogger section where I feature a different inspiring blogger each week to talk about his/her blog and to share some of her greatest blogging tips with other bloggers.

Many of our readers are influencers as well. Others have tried and have yet to succeed. What words of advice would you offer to aspiring influencers, knowing what you know now?

Be extremely patient and don’t let anything stop you. Great things take time. Stick to that thought and think of it as an investment you are making to ensure yourself of a golden future. Always keep your eyes on the prize and do not deviate from it.

Success is often a matter of perspective. I’ve always resonated with Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” How do you see success — or define success — for yourself now?

Financially, I’m still not there where I want to be, but I do live my life in complete freedom now. I can schedule my work hours however I want, I work for the most amazing clients, I can spend time with my daughter every day, I moved abroad with my family 4 months ago and I now live a much calmer, more stress-free life. Success means freedom to me. Of course, I am also looking for financial freedom, but I don’t stress about that part, because I know that this aspect of freedom is near as well.

What are your strategies to make room for who and what matters most?

This is the area in which I still have most to learn. I find it very difficult to balance my personal and business life. The main reason for this is that I work from home, so these two lives are always intertwined. I therefore try to work within fixed hours as much as possible and to work when my daughter is sleeping or going to daycare and to focus on my family afterwards.

This was one of the main reasons we decided to move abroad as a family. In the Netherlands, we basically had little to no peace and quiet and life was rushing by without us even noticing, whereas here we have a lot more time and space to spend with our family.

How do you reduce or mitigate stress?

Meditation is the number one way for me to reduce stress. It helps me to be more present in the moment and to leave the future where it’s supposed to be; in the future. The relocation has also reduced my stress levels a lot. We are very close to family here, whereas in the Netherlands we were more on our own.

I’m going to try a few of your tips, and I’m hopeful our readers will, too. Now it’s time for the big reveal — the moment our readers have been anticipating. What are your “five strategies to cultivate a large & engaged social media community?’ Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Engage with my audience

Interacting with my followers has been the best way for me to build my social online community. I’ve noticed that other small business owners really appreciate it when you follow them back as well as show appreciation for the work they do every day too. Also, respond to others’ content and respond to ALL your DMs. Behind every follower there’s a real person who wants to feel like they matter and who wants to be heard. Build real connections and real followers. You will see that these followers are more willing to share your content with their followers and that they will turn into loyal followers.

2. Post consistently

Be sure to post valuable content regularly. So, don’t post every day for 2 weeks first and then nothing for a week. Rather post 2x per week, every week. This way your followers can count on your content and they will know you are reliable. This will also show them that you are serious about your business and that you are willing to put your time and effort into it. Soon your followers will start seeing you as an expert in your niche.

A while back I had the flu and wasn’t able to post consistently for a few weeks. My engagement and stats immediately tanked, my followers decreased, but when I’m posting consistently I always see growth.

3. Use all the types of available content

Each social media platform has several different types of content you can leverage. On Instagram, for example, you can use video, feed posts, stories, reels and story stickers. Make sure to use all types of content each platform offers, because each type of content has its own specific audience. Plus, this will keep your content diverse and interesting for your current followers.

On Pinterest, my regular pins only get more impressions when I post Idea pins every now and then as well. The Idea pins bring new Pinterest users to my account, and that’s when they find my regular pins as well. So, don’t rule out any type of content, because you think it’s not working for you. Posting a combination of all types of content is what’s going to do the trick!

4. Show my face regularly

The 1st year of my entrepreneurship, the plan was to grow my blog without showing my face online and without having a social media presence. Boy was I wrong! This thought came solely from my fear of being seen online. What if people thought what I was doing was stupid? What if they do not find my content valuable? What if people I know stumbled upon me online and show my profile to other people I know? The horror. 😉

I soon found out that growing a blog online without a social media presence is incredibly difficult. It can be done, with SEO, but I didn’t have enough knowledge about SEO. Step by step I started to use the possibilities to promote my business with social media. It started with Pinterest, which felt somewhat safe because it is not too personal. Then the “real” social media platforms followed: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. In the beginning I only had the courage to post a picture once in a while, but now I also have the confidence to record stories of myself speaking!

Showing myself online has resulted in the largest amount of growth and interaction on my accounts. In hindsight, my fears turned out to have been based on nothing, because aside from a single negative reaction, my experience has been incredibly positive and I’ve built really valuable connections with it.

5. Help for free

When you are just starting to build your social media following, it is important to focus on building relationships, trust and your expert status first. In the beginning, I shared an awful lot of free information, shared a lot of valuable tips, helped people that I would charge for today. And sometimes I still do. Sometimes a loyal follower is more valuable on the long-term than seeing extra money on your bank account today.

I have given free advice to many of my followers who then shared in their stories that I helped them. Which always results in a new follower or two. And oftentimes the same people I helped before come back to me later to purchase one of my products or services. It’s always a win-win situation. People don’t buy from you because they can’t get the information for free from someone else, but because they started to trust and like you and because they already know you’re delivering quality products or services only.

What do you do to create a greater sense of connection and community among your fans?

As I share tips on blogging and social media marketing, I try to support other bloggers and to establish connections between bloggers as much as I can. I regularly share “drop your blogs” posts where my followers can leave their blogs in the comments in order to get some new eyes on their content and to network with each other as well. I also interview bloggers weekly in my Meet the Blogger section. For this section a different blogger is featured each time. I interview them about their blogs, and they share their blogging tips with me and my readers.

As an influencer, you are, by definition, a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

This is something that I strive to create indirectly on a daily basis already. I am trying to create a movement in which everyone can work together in a positive and safe way, without letting the mutual feeling of competition prevail. There is room for all of us and we should help each other to become our best, most beautiful and richest selves. There’s no loss in helping others to achieve the same and to cheer for each other’s accomplishments. This is what I stand for and I try to encourage others to do the same.

All too often I see that my “competitors” don’t follow me or don’t want to share my content out of fear that you’ll steal their customers away from them. And I think that is a shame. You can mean so much to each other and help each other grow. For your followers it is also more appealing to see that you are working together instead of competing with each other and thereby forcing their loyalty to you.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He, she or they might just see this. 🙂

Gabby Bernstein! She has been motivating me on a business and spiritual level for a few years now to always be my best self in life, to always see the lesson in the pain, to never give up and to allow myself to be seen in this world. Her energy is so tremendously contagious and positive. Love her!

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

You can follow my work on my website:

On Twitter:

On Pinterest:

On Facebook:

And on Instagram:

Thank you for these thought provoking insights. Here’s to your continued success!