Josie Bullard is an Indianapolis-based digital content creator who has amassed over 100,000 Instagram and TikTok followers since dropping out of the Herron School of Art and Design to pursue her dreams of growing her social media presence. Josie has since made it a goal of hers to provide others with the resources for social media success through her podcast Behind the Feed and digital content creation guides. PATTERN had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Josie about her platform and her social media journey!
Katie Freeman: You pretty much do it all –– you have over 100k on Insta and TikTok, you have your own presets, guidebooks, a blog, and a podcast. How did you get started?
Josie Bullard: I’ve always had a passion for creating! Even when I was really young, my friends and I would film videos in our backyard and take photos, so in high school, I started a photography business. I would do people’s senior portraits and weddings, and I also started a beauty YouTube channel. It was purely out of passion; I just loved sharing that side of who I was with the world. I carried that into college with me at the Herron School of Art and Design. I was going for graphic design and I quickly realized that I was drawn to the online world. I had this gut feeling that this could explode if I put time into it, but I just didn’t have the time given my school schedule. Although I loved Herron, I was feeling pulled to drop out and see where this took me. I knew I could do photography as a backup, so I dropped out of college and really went for it. Not a lot of people believed in me, but I just kept going. I worked probably 70 hours a week back then when I first dropped out. I just really grinded my butt off reaching out to brands, constantly developing my own products, meeting people, going on trips, and I just slowly built everything to where I am now.
KF: So when you dropped out, that’s when you felt for the first time that you could be a creator as a full-time job?
JB: Yeah! Before I dropped out, it seemed like it could be a possibility. I’d seen a few people doing it. But when I finally dropped out of college is when I finally felt like I had this insane freedom to really pursue my dreams and be who I wanted to be. That’s when I feel like things really took off for me.
KF: How have you seen your style evolve as your online presence has grown?
JB: I think when I first was starting off, I was looking to what everyone else was doing and it didn’t really feel sincere to my own style. Over the years, I’ve really been drawn to bold colors, fun prints, and mixing and matching. I really feel like I’ve been able to express myself in my style in a unique way.
KF: What is it like being a content creator in Indianapolis?
JB: I honestly think it’s a really amazing experience. If you look at some of the other industries in LA or New York, it’s just so saturated. Everyone is trying to make it as a content creator, influencer, or model, actress, or whatever. Around here, I feel like we have a close-knit community. I know almost everyone in the industry personally, and so it’s really cool. You can make great connections. Honestly, I feel being in Indianapolis forces me to be creative. I think if I was in a place where every single corner was a beautiful photo op, it’d be super easy to just snap photos and maybe not put as much thought into it. Sometimes it can be hard trying to find a location to shoot at or feel inspired, so it definitely pushes me to think outside the box and has pushed me to grow as an artist in general.
KF: What inspires you and sparks that creativity?
JB: Man, I think so many different things! I really love looking at nature, driving past places, and just constantly exploring, being on the go. I love consuming all forms of media. Music sometimes inspires me. Seeing other people’s content online – like Pinterest – can spark creativity. I like to have creative sessions. I don’t like to like force too many ideas, but when I just notice myself rolling out ideas, I like to sit down and then I go on a rampage of just listing off a ton of different ideas. Sometimes it starts with an alphabet, sometimes it starts with a location or a concept. It varies from time to time, but then I piece everything else together.
KF: What inspired you to start your podcast Behind the Feed?
JB: I remember when I first started off there weren’t a ton of resources on, you know, what the heck I was doing! It was very much just a trial and error process. I have really loved being open with my audience; I don’t try to hide anything that I’m doing. I like to show all the behind-the-scenes and also the finished product, so I thought it would be cool to step into more of an educational space and explain my career for people who are wanting to do the same thing. I think it applies to people who want to be influencers, but also for brands, or even if you just want to start your own e-commerce business. I mean, everything is online anymore! You can utilize social media in so many different ways. So that was kind of my goal with the podcast. I’m just going to pull back the curtain on what goes on behind-the-scenes – or behind the feed, you could say – of Instagram and all social media.
KF: What is something that you think everyone should know about behind-the-scenes of social media?
JB: I think the number one thing people should know is that there’s so much more work than just what you see when you see the finished photo. A lot of people think this career is so easy and that you can just snap a photo, post it, and you’re done. That is not the case. Social media influencers and content creators are most of time their own photographer, editor, stylist, own manager, finance person – really, you’re doing it all. It’s definitely a multifaceted career. It is a lot of work and it’s definitely a full time gig for sure.
KF: The podcast also talks about how to increase your confidence, reach your goals, and other things like that. What motivates and empowers you to get stuff done?
JB: I constantly have a list of my big dreams and aspirations. I like to take these big goals and then break them down into small little steps because I think it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. like to very much stay on my online and like remind myself. This is what I’ve been going for and here’s something small that I can do this week or today or this month. That is going to give me one step closer and those goals are forever changing I mean life throws different things at you, but it’s really cool to kind of track that and watch it unfold. But the biggest thing is just believing in yourself and believing in your abilities and not letting it money other people inspire you, but not make you feel bad that you’re not, you’re not there yet because everyone’s in their own lane everyone’s doing their own thing.
KF: What’s something you wish you knew whenever you first began content creating?
JB: Something I wish I knew when I first started definitely was that it’s okay to make mistakes. You’re going to make tons of mistakes. Also, it’s okay to say no. I think at the beginning, especially working with brands, I was just saying yes to anything possible. As I’ve defined my niche, a little bit more of my style, I now see certain brands aren’t going to be as good of a fit. You want to stay as authentic to your brand and your personality as possible.
KF: I’m assuming you spend a lot of time on social media. How do you balance work and life when your work is social media?
JB: Oh my gosh, this is the never-ending issue here, because my life bleeds into my business. Whenever I’m on my phone for business purposes I try to only do what I’m getting done on social media and then have that be it. I like to have other time, maybe at the end the night when I’m just kind of casually scrolling, I try to avoid getting into these never-ending loops of looking through social media during my work day when I’m trying to get work done. It definitely is a challenge. It’s so hard to know where to draw the line, but I think creating more hours for myself and outlining each day definitely helped me to balance both of those.
KF: What is one of your favorite opportunities that you’ve had since becoming a content creator?
JB: One of the coolest opportunities I was able to have, I was actually able to go to New York and walk in bridal Fashion Week. I also got to work with that company on multiple collaborations for my wedding, so it was really cool to see that be able to integrate into my actual life. Also, being able to travel and meet new people and do new things – It’s really neat. I’ve been on some pretty cool trips like hotel openings and all different kinds of fun stuff, but that’s definitely been one of the best ones.
KF: Can you share some tips from your TikTok about posing?
JB: I love a good like mid-stride pose or any wide-stance pose from a low angle. I love to shoot on wide-angle lenses, so I feel like that always is a really cool shot. I also love playing with my arms and my hands, throwing my hands up in the air, doing lots of movement, hair flips. I feel like it creates an interesting composition; it’s different than just your static and basic pose. I always try to move as much as possible and change it up every single time.
KF: What are some of the goals that you have for the future with your platform?
JB: I would love to launch my own Instagram photography and content creation course, as I’ve kind of stepped into the educational space with the podcast. One of the biggest questions that I get asked all the time is still about content creation, and there’s only so much that you can share when you’re talking on a podcast. I am currently working on developing this, but I’m hoping to be able to launch this product at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Also continuing to grow, expand, and evolve. If you scroll through my feed for the past few years, so much has changed, but it’s really cool to flow with the journey. I’d also like to take on more travel opportunities and see the world a little bit more.