The Celebrity Effect: Building A Business Online Based On Influence

”In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” uttered Andy Warhol nonchalantly in 1968. Almost half a century later, his words continue to manifest. But why would you care about being famous? Well, it’s a valid career choice.

Anybody can now build an online following. Your followers then become consumers of your content and goods. It’s the business model celebrities use. If you have access to Wifi you can cash in. The culmination of our increasingly connected world, ease of e-commerce and hunger for media enables us to have the option to actually pursue our passion on a meaningful scale and if you’re lucky, earn a side income.

In my own career, I turned my passion for the arts into a blog, gained an audience which enabled me to have a ready-made readership for when my books were published. The viewers of my blog naturally became readers of my books, which apexed into a fleeting Kindle Store No.1 spot. Then I mustered up the courage to read my poetry in coffee shops, which gave me experience to performance at prestigious British literary festivals.

Another fellow Brit whose blog ignited exciting career opportunities is Ella Woodward. She had her blog recipes published into a book, ”Deliciously Ella”, which became the fastest-selling cookbook in the UK!

The secret is in building an audience. This means once your passion becomes your talent, you share it on a website and wait for people to find you (Facebook ads can speed up the process). These online viewers are like new friends that are interested in what you have to say and can potentially buy your painting, book or handmade crafts. It can take a good couple years of hard grind to build an audience online but given the global usage of the internet, amassing followings will become the norm. So start blogging, write about your passion, take photos and videos then you’ll attract like-minded viewers who over time can become potential customers of your product or service.

As Joe Simpson says, the manager of singer turned businesswoman Jessica Simpson, ’’. Anyone can actually have the chance to be a star.” So if you can sing, get recording and stream that music on Soundcloud. Thanks to technology, the gatekeepers have less of a say. You can get started on your laptop and present your gifts to the world.

Before you can reap exceptional opportunities you need to have a core talent people know you by. Take for example Jessica Simpson. She started her career as a singer which opened doors to her getting a reality TV show, which then increased her fan base. She then launched a shoe line that a decade on has expanded into her clothing line, The Jessica Simpson Collection. The clothing line generates a billion dollars worth of sales worldwide annually. She hasn’t released an album since her 2008 ”Do You Know” album but this exemplifies how the power of celebrity and media can magnify one’s career and take you to the next level.

Essentially the more people that know about you the more people you have to sell to. Before people had to be granted access to get on television, radio or print to be noticed and in some cases millions of dollars were spent on publicity. For example, for Mariah Carey’s debut album release Columbia Records spent $1 million on promoting it. Thanks to social media you can now do it for free.

The celebrity business model is contradictory not a popularity contest. Don’t let the amount of social media likes and followers fool you. Case in point, British author L J Ross has sold 750,000 books yet has only 1,513 followers on Twitter. Focus on audience engagement by way of comments and returning viewers of your site and sales.

With the prominence of Instagram ”My Stories” and Snapchat anyone can attract a following. Real life experiences are transferring over to the digital space, so get ready to move in before everyone on earth gets online and gets world-famous.

Top 5 Celebrity Hacks You Can Try

1)   Do What You Love

To capitalize on the celebrity business model, you must be known for a particular talent, whether it be writing, singing or painting. Once you have worked hard at these gifts, muster audacity, and promote your work on the web. Then if you’re good enough, ways to monetize will appear.

2)   Be Bold

Master the skills people are afraid of like public speaking and sales. These are the core skills that can be attained with practice and garner maximum leverage for further career success like speaking engagements or book deals.

3)   Record Your Journey

Document your life. Record the journey and not just the destination of becoming a solo artist or setting up a successful online gift shop. (This can be content for your blog.)

4)   Own Digital Real Estate

So much of media is moving from traditional outlets like magazines and radio to mobile so having a website showcasing your passion projects is mandatory. Remember, the more eyeballs on you, the more chance you have to sell your side hustle to consumers.

5)   Connect With Other Influencers And High Profile Figures

Go to events, whether it be a book-signing, business conference or seminar. Put yourself out there, hustle and network. Your net worth increases as you broaden your network.


Catherine Vaughan is a British Author & Poet. Her debut poetry collection is The Quarter Life Crisis Poet. She has performed at British literary festivals such as the Cheltenham Literature Festival and is currently working on her debut novel called Welcome to Wonderland which is Book 1 of a Bohemian Love Story which will be out next year. She blogs about the arts and lifestyle on

For more details of her publications visit

Connect with her on Twitter: @CattVaughan