Quarantine Interview with Patrick Van Negri

1. How did you get your start in the blogging and influencer industry?

I just wanted to help my girlfriend with her fashion blog to get more traffic and get more clients for my friend, who was a personal trainer. So, I decided to turn my private Instagram profile public and learn everything about social and digital media because I saw a huge potential in it and the internet itself. I started growing, I learned something new every day, and then the first offer for a collaboration came. I was mind-blown that you could make a career out of it and the warm and kind response and friendships I made with my followers, so triple-down on all my efforts and made it a full-time job.

2. Who is your biggest inspiration?

I do not have a single person or a thing that is my inspiration. My inspiration is gratitude. My inspiration is the urge that we have only one life and that nothing is guaranteed. My inspiration is that I can get in my car and drive to get groceries and that I never come back. It is very dark, but it keeps me grounded and keeps me moving fast. My inspiration is that all my family and friends are happy and healthy. With that in mind, I keep pushing it every moment because you never know when is your last one. So, I guess my biggest inspiration is time and love.

3. What brand has been your favorite to work with?

 It is the same as asking parents, who is their favorite child. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with so many brands. I have the privilege to decline many brands that do not have the same vision, or they are not a good fit, even though I am losing a lot of money daily due to that, but authenticity is the only asset I have. The privilege goes even further because I do not have to pitch myself to brands; I answer emails with the offers, which I am grateful for because that means that brands and agencies see the value and good investment in me. Therefore, every collaboration I do is my favorite because I get to pick them out of many different ones. The ones I choose I make sure they provide value to my followers and make sure my followers will love it, so the brand gets the value as well. I know it is a cheesy answer, but I am just grateful to be in that position of exchanging values and improving lives.

 4.Recently, we have seen that international bloggers have been more prominent in the American market, how have you taken advantage of this?

 I am not sure if that is entirely true, or if I noticed that trend. I did not take advantage of this since I opened my Instagram while I am living in the USA, so the majority of my audience is American. I guess American owned brands want to expand on different emerging markets, which is always an excellent opportunity to get ahead, and many different creatives get to work with American brands, so they create diversity among their consumers.

5. What are the differences between an American blogger and a Croatian blogger?

 I would have to disappoint you because I have no idea about Croatian bloggers, nor I even know one. I started this career in the USA. I would assume, just like the rest of the world, that Croatia (and other non-American countries) are always years behind the USA. It has always been like it, and looking at different markets and even influencers I know; I can tell that is true. In America, you have much greater access and opportunities. No wonder it is called the “American Dream”.

 6. With the saturation of bloggers and influencers, how have you stayed at the top of your game?

 I believe that saturation happened with bloggers and influencers who post meaningless content, not the true and real ones. Content that has no value or story to it. Content that is boring and self-centered. To be successful in this industry, you have to work hard and think things through. You cannot just post selfies, and “filler content” as they call it, and caption it “travel goals” and other meaningless generic captions unless the creative is mindblowing. It works for some, but for many, it doesn’t. I try to stay authentic and honest, with the priority of adding value to my followers and be there for them in the comment section. I work hard, and I am in it 24/7, even though it doesn’t look like it because I do not post every day in-feed. I always make sure and triple-check that whatever I post is valuable, meaningful, entertaining, inspiring, motivating, or educational. That is because the only asset as humans we have is time, and I respect and value my follower’s time.

 7.Have you ever thought about going back to your home country and resuming work as a blogger there?

 With the internet era, you can work from anywhere in the world. In 2019 I went to Croatia 4 times and stayed for 4 months because some collaborations allowed me to travel back and forward. However, moving there permanently would not work because I go to many events in the USA, have meetings mostly in NYC, and you have to be here to keep being relevant and relatable to the USA market and brands. Being outside of the leading country from your demographic will be super-exciting to your followers at first, but it will be challenging long-term.

8.What tips would you give to people that look up to you and want to be like you?

 I would tell them to understand that with everyone trying to do this job, it is is becoming harder and harder to break-through. I would say to those people that they should be self-aware if they are genuinely passionate about this space and have the skillset and the will to make it happen. There is a lot of work and sacrifices you need to make, and nothing is guaranteed. I see many talented and hard-working creatives that don’t have the following they deserve, which is sad. It is a big risk, but an even bigger reward.

9. Are there any changes you would like to see in the blogging and influencer industries?

First, I would like to see the limit of postings, not just in the blogging and influencer world, but in general the entire social media. I think it would minimize meaningless content. Second, I would like to see brands and agencies being smarter about not endorsing influencers with fake followers, because that motivates them, and others who are thinking about it, to do it more and better. Also, it takes away the opportunity from those talented and hard-working influencers, and the entire industry in general, because there is no ROI and performance, so the agencies and brands think that influencer marketing doesn’t work. At the same time, it is the most performing and economic investment in marketing today.

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