This excerpt is taken from an interview with Lisa Schwartz by Josh Skinner on American Influencer Real Talk. Some minor dialogue was edited for better understanding and reading flow.
Josh: You know, Lisa, you’ve been doing this for quite some time. You’ve been an influencer. What was the moment that you thought, I’m really an influencer?
Lisa: Here, gosh. I remember way back in the day, YouTube was holding a contest and it was called The Next Up. And if you submit your videos, you can be like, the next YouTube sort of star. And 25 of us were picked and we won, like, I think it was $20,000. And they flew us to make content per week with other content creators. And that’s when I was like, oh my God, this is a real thing that I’m doing. And I guess this is my life now. So I definitely think that was kind of the turn for me in terms of going from a hobby to a full career.
Josh: Wow. Well, what is it like trying to sustain millions of followers?
Lisa: It’s terrifying. It’s a rat race, man. It feels like I’m on a hamster constantly, just like you kind of can’t get off once you start. You just kind of go, go. I did take, like, six months off a couple of years ago, and it was such a relief. But I also truly missed doing it. And ever since then, I feel like I’m slowly climbing back again, just proving the point that, like, once that hamster wheel, it benefits you to kind of keep pushing. So, yeah, it’s a race every day.
Josh: Let’s talk about your first book. 30 Life Crisis. Navigating my Thirty s one drunk Baby shower at a time. What was that like?
Lisa: It was a really long but kind of cathartic experience. I had waited, I’ve been asked. There was a period of time when a bunch of influencers were putting out books. It was kind of the trend, and publishers were sort of seeking it out. And I had been asked at that time to write something, and I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t really feel like I had a point of view or anything, like, relevant to say that hadn’t already been said. And then I entered and the stories and experiences started rolling in. I knew, like, oh, now I’m a good long process. I want to say it took about a year and a half from start to completion, which is awesome, and I’m so very proud of it.
Josh: I love it a lot. Let’s talk about your YouTube channel. You have over 2 million followers. And what are some of your favorite videos that you’ve released?
Lisa: Since I’ve been doing this for so long, the channel has continued to change in terms of what kind of content I’m putting out. When I first started, it was all comedy sketches and character based stuff, and then it turned into a daily vlogging, and then it turned into really big productions like music videos and parties. Those are some of my favorite. I’m just so proud of them, the work that went into it. But now I’m really enjoying where I’m at, which is just kind of doing like daily lifestyle relatable very well and honest of my life. And people seem to be responding to that. And I think that my age group and my generation need more of that right now, being taken over by the younger generation and the hype houses of the world. So I feel like I’m trying to cultivate this corner of YouTube and kind of keep the old school games from a lot of people want to be influential as an influencer.
Josh: How do you think you’ve been influential?
Lisa: So funny. The word influencer wasn’t even around when I started, so I don’t even know if I totally identify with that. But I hope that I’m making a difference in somebody’s life and I feel like I read the comments and there’s more to that. Strike me as someone who I moved, inspired or motivated in one way or another. And if that’s all it is, then I’m happy to be that person for that person. I think that’s just what the world needs right now is a little bit more kindness and motivation and positivity and I guess that’s where my place and all this is, or at least I hope it is.
Josh: Well, I’m so glad you touched upon kindness. Often in these interviews I ask our influencers, what does kindness mean to you? So let’s ask you that. What is kindness mean to you?
Lisa: Kindness is acceptance and understanding that not everyone is exactly the same. And people approach things differently and have different point of views and you might not always agree with them. The kindness comes from accepting that that’s where they are in their point of view or in their life right now. And if they’re not, then accepting them for who they are and what they believe is all we can do. And I think that’s kindness.
Josh: That’s beautiful. What tips would you have for people out there that would like to be influencers?
Lisa: Think long and hard before you put yourself out there. Whatever goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. Even if you try to bury it, it’s there to be very mindful when posting. I mean, you should always be mindful when you’re on the Internet in general. But if you’re going to put yourself out there on a platform make sure you’re very careful with what you choose to put out, what you choose to reveal. And also, I think ultimately, what I’ve told and I think ultimately what I’ve been telling people who ask this question. Make sure you like what you’re doing. Make sure you’re just trying to chase a trend. I’ve gone through periods where I was doing that and I was miserable, and the response from the audience was never good. It’s like they can unlock up on that. So if you’re going to do something, make sure you’re actually enjoying it and doing it because it brings you joy, and then it will bring other people joy. So just try to be authentic in what you’re putting out and be mindful of how much you’re sharing.
Josh: I’m sure you can get a lot of haters if you share too much, right?
Lisa: Oh, my God. Yeah. Or it becomes a safety issue, too. You need to remember there are some crazy people out there, and they have access to you. So the more you put out, more access people have to you. And yes, the more haters have, like, hold against you or take things out of context. So very important to be mindful of what you put out, how you put out what you put out, and make sure that your safety is number one, at least.
Josh: I’ve done over 50 of these interviews, and every influencer that I’ve interviewed has a different spin on how they deal with their haters. I was just wondering, what are some of your tips?
Lisa: I think it depends on the day, the time, where I am in my life, my confidence. A lot of times I’ll just ignore. I think that’s probably the best thing to do. I feel like a lot of these haters just want to stir up trouble and they want attention. So I feel like often not giving it to them is probably the best way to handle it. Once in a while, if I’m feeling a little snappy, I’ll respond. But oftentimes I respond with so much kindness. Or maybe sometimes it’s not so kind, but I present it as overly nice. I guess that’s passive aggressive. Most of the time, the people will back down, apologize, take down their comments. I think a lot of people just want to be seen and just remind yourself that these negative comments coming at you most of the time have nothing to actually do with you. It’s just a projection of this person or something that’s going on in their own life or something that’s being said to them. And for that, I just feel kind of sad for them. So kind of keep that in mind and in perspective.
Josh: How do you want your followers to be influential?
Lisa: We’re circling it back to kindness. I think I should have this written in my description box of every video. It’s like, I understand we’re all going through such a hard time right now. So I’m just asking, not only are people kind to me in the comments, but kind to each other, because those mean comments don’t just come at the influencer, they often are at each other within the comments section. So I just hope that I am spreading that idea that we need to be better to each other, to ourselves, and to our community.
Josh: I love that. I absolutely love that. Tell me about the time that you really, truly felt influential.
Lisa: I went on when I had my book signing. We got to do it at the Grove here in Los Angeles, which is a huge honor and was kind of surreal. And to be able to meet the people behind the screen that I have either talked to over the years or I just have seen their names pop up or even people I didn’t know show up and meet them in person and actually get to connect and hear their stories and hear why they connect with me or why they appreciate my content. That’s when you’re just like, whoa, it’s not just a numbers game. It’s not just me at home behind my camera. It is an actual community and there are people being affected by everything I do and say and that’s such an honor and also so scary and all the feelings. But I think being able to put some faces to names and hear those stories in person was kind of that like, AHA, Oprah moment for me.
Josh: What’s next for you?
Lisa: Well, I started doing content Monday through Friday. I haven’t done that in years, so I’m just like pumping out content. So fun. And I’m also pitching a show based off of my book, so we’re in development and we’re out talking to networks and streamers and I’m hoping that will be able to bring that to everyone who’s been so loyal to me all these years.
Josh: Now, Lisa, if they want to follow your journey, where can our listeners go?
Oh, yes, I would love for the listeners to come join me over on my channel, youtube.com. Lisbug L-I-S-B-U-G. I’m also on Instagram. Lisa Schwartz on Instagram. And that’s kind of queue you into when I put up videos. But I’m there on YouTube Monday through Friday, so come join me.