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My kid is an Instagram Influencer. Here’s what I do with her money

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By next year, the Instagram influencer marketing business may be valued at anywhere between $5 billion and $10 billion. A growing demographic is the kid influencer, who can appeal both to young parents–millennials who frequent Instagram–and kids who have grown up scrolling through Instagram. These kid influencers, who can be as young as 2 years old, can reportedly earn at least $100 per 1,000 followers for a sponsored post. If their audience is in the millions, that could spell a paycheck of $15,000 or more for a single post.

With this new influencer economy comes a generation of kids who, from an early age, are earning thousands of dollars and showered with free gifts from brands. As the architects of these mini influencers, parents are tasked with both managing their money and keeping their kids grounded. We talked to three parents about how they manage their influencer earnings–and how they keep their children’s expectations in check.

When Martha Krejci started posting about her daughter, it was after she quit a longtime job to spend more time with her. “I was at work, and my husband sent me a video of Norah taking her first steps,” she says. “It was like time stopped, and I just felt like more of a caged animal than I’ve ever felt in my life. I could not leave and was missing moments.” A week later, she started a marketing agency with her husband.

Eventually, she started getting approached by brands that wanted to feature Norah. (She’s currently promoting a show for Nick Jr.) “It just organically happened,” she says of their platform. But Krejci cautions parents against jumping into this without thinking through the implications of prominently featuring their kids on social media. “To any parent that thinks this might be something their kid would enjoy doing: You really have to be okay with your kid being in public.”

Krejci claims her daughter understands–as best as a 4-year-old can–what she’s doing when her mom features her on Instagram. (Norah also has her own page as of last month.) “Any time I’m doing a live [stream], she will jump in on it,” she says. “She knows there are people on the other side of the camera. She’ll wave at them and talk to them. As she has questions, I’m helping her understand what this life is about and what she’s doing and the part she’s playing in it.”

Me and Mommy building our business ????????????

A post shared by Norah Avonlea (@norahavonlea) on Apr 29, 2019 at 7:45pm PDT

For Krejci, putting all the influencer money toward Norah’s future was an easy decision. Their earnings are “relatively not a ton of money,” according to Krejci, but amount to about $10,000 a month. “All of that money basically goes into [Norah’s] own account,” she says. “I have a gigantic aversion to the dance moms or the momagers that really seem to almost treat their kids as a commodity. That alarms me, not just for the moms but also the kids.”

Four months ago, Krejci also started a side business that is already bringing in $4,500 each month, which she plans to put in Norah’s name when she turns 16. She doesn’t want to raise a “trust fund kid,” but she does want to empower her daughter. “If somebody is not financially laden or feeling the stress of finances, then they can do good in the world,” she says. “They can do good things without being stressed about making their monthly payment. You can lead with your heart instead.” In fact, 15% of what they earn goes to the Ronald McDonald House, as per Norah’s wishes. “She has a friend who has Down syndrome, whose family stayed there for a while,” Krejci says.

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© Fast Company