There’s absolutely no denying that Bahamians are really tapped in to the Internet and social media but have we really ‘tapped in’ to it’s immense potential; truly marketed ourselves and explored the endless opportunities to create and leverage our ideas?
“There is a lot of potential in the Internet and that’s something that I hope our government can open their eyes to. Bahamians are very talented but unfortunately the restrictions on entrepreneurs make things very difficult,” says Alex Missick, a young Bahamian who has parlayed her love for all things makeup and beauty related into a business on YouTube via her BeautyBunny channel.
I’m sure we’ve all seen product reviews on YouTube. For many it’s actually become a significant source of revenue. I’m often fascinated that my four-year-old son rarely uses YouTube to watch cartoons, he religiously watches toy reviews. Incredible! Sometime ago I read an article about Marques Brownlee, a ‘YouTube sensation’, described as a tech review prodigy who tests “everything from cameras and headphones to Google Glass and the latest Tesla”. Ironically I actually stumbled upon one of his reviews prior to that article while trying to decide on a smartphone purchase.
Like Marques, Alex says she found herself a niche. “It got started when I was in college and a couple of my mom’s friends began asking me for some beauty tips. I just decided to make a video. I thought it was so cool and easy that I could just make a video, send a link and be done with it. I was just trying to meet a need and solve a problem and I didn’t want to answer the same question a dozen times. I got started using the camera on my laptop. There were simple tips like the best way to put on lip liner, how to apply blush and that sort of thing.”
As the concept evolved Alex says: “I would buy different make-up and hair products on my own and made videos about them. Eventually companies started reaching out to me to do reviews for them. Later down the line when people started offering monetary compensation I started looking at it as a business. I was already monetized on YouTube but I thought that was it. The Internet has so many stream of revenue it will blow your mind.”
Still, Alex says the key is of course ‘consistency’. “For anyone that want’s to do this, don’t think you can upload one video and be done. It doesn’t work like that for everyone. Firstly, you have to provide value, people have to want to watch and then you have to be consistent with it or people are going to forget who you are.”
Creme of Nature, the beauty care brand was the first to offer compensation says Alex. “They wanted me to do a few things for them on social media.” In the past week alone, Alex says she has had four or five brands reach out to her.
“There have been companies I have had to turn down because I’m back home and there are challenges to being back home. The cost of doing business is a challenge. Customs and Value-Added tax have put a real damper in what was a full time job. This was a full-time job for me in the United States and now I’m looking for a full-time job to take care of Customs fees because I’m coming out of pocket more than I’m taking in. When I lived in the US I kept all of the money I made.”
“It’s very taxing and it makes me feel like I can’t pursue my dream in my own home country. It’s like to live my dream I have to leave. I cannot sustain myself doing something I want to do. I have to go and find a 9-5 which is difficult now that I’m sitting on two degrees,” says Alex who has degrees in Mass Communication and Journalism with an emphasis on Strategic Communications.