Los Angeles, CA


“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul – would you understand why that’s much harder?”- Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead 

I quit. I’m done. No mas.

I’m turning my back on the world of Influence. No photos please!

I started this blog and my Instagram 3 years ago. I’m done being an Influencer. It’s a dirty word in a dirty world. I won’t engage in the deceit required. I won’t buy likes, buy followers, post about products that I don’t care about … or work with brands that don’t care about my vision and message: to celebrate and empower women at Midlife & Beyond. It’s that journey that I want to take with like-minded women around the globe, arm-in-arm on a path to “Mastering Modern Midlife.”

Is this the end of my blog and social media? Nope. It’s a rejection of selling one’s soul. It’s an honest rebirth. I have no desire to influence anyone. My goal is to be a Cat-alyst: to be a force that sparks change within a woman, enabling her to stand in her true power and be exactly who she chooses to be. Real change. Lasting change. My intention is to empower women to have personal influence over themselves and their decisions. True beauty in a woman shines through her confidence, acceptance, and self-love.

I started this whole process to heal myself through creating. It morphed into a message and a community that’s healing others as well. I will not allow the current state of Influence to sully that. Was I a bit naive starting out? Sure. Not anymore.

The world of Influence looks vastly different than it did just 3 years ago. It’s twisted and changed before my very eyes and not in the direction I hoped. “Influencer” has become a four-letter word. The dirty tricks I’ve seen, the fraud I’ve personally witnessed and experienced … blows my mind. My intention was always to take the road less traveled, to carve a path that was different, a path of meaning and purpose … one that would leave a wake of lives transformed for the better.

What I’ve seen has opened my eyes to a dark world of influence that’s become a world that’s fake and phony. A world where women compete with women based upon inflated metrics, purchased likes, and robot followers. It’s a world I want no part of. Yet many Influencers and brands seem to think nothing of it! I recall a major national retailer inviting a number of Influencers for a major company event. (As a squeaky wheel about the above despite promoting the company regularly, they declined to invite me!) A cursory check of more than half of their follower graphs looked just like this actual one from one of the “stars” who attended:

Flatline growth for nearly a year and 40K followers appear overnight! These same Influencers get 500-1000 likes on their posts in under 15 minutes with almost no comments. Every post ends up with a starting spike in minutes and a finishing total that is nearly equal to every other post. I see Big-Time million plus follower influencers that I’ve been watching for years suddenly have thousands of more likes on posts from two years ago, overnight. If you so desire, you can bootstrap yourself to relevance! Fame can be an alluring succubus.

I’m prepared for blowback from this. Bring it. I could care less. The influencer world has become absolutely saturated with deceit and fraud. I’ve had dear friends call me and ask me to speak publicly about this very issue. They’re afraid to speak up. They’ve told me that it’s to the point they either have to leave this world of social media Influence altogether or join in the duplicity and deception. I’ve seen friends take that dark path, influencers I never thought would in a million years. I’ve seen young women Influencers sell their souls for a buck or free product. It makes me sad. Much of the Influencer world is a house of sand. I don’t want to play in the sandbox anymore.

Does this mean I’m done working with brands?

Not on your life! What it means is:

  • I’m done working with brands for the sake of “hawking a product.”
  • I’m done working with brands that want to hire me for “one-off” posts to sell their product to my audience with no regard for the quality of content or developing a relationship.
  • I’m done working with brands that see me as an Influencer rather than a Voice and a Creator with a message based business empowering women to make their own choices.
  • I’m done working with brands that don’t understand the value and wisdom, and the incredible “coolness factor” of a woman at Midlife & Beyond!
  • I’m done working with brands that do not understand or recognize the power and purpose of the women in the Forever Fierce Revolution!

So what in the hell does it mean? It means I’m consciously choosing to work with select brands who share a mutual and aligned purpose and passion. Those that value authentic, long term partnerships with a commonality to inspire and empower women is what matters. I have been blessed to have worked with many brands over the past few years whose intent resonates with my message …. brands who’ve become like family to me. Those are the brands I’ll continue to shout to the rooftops, the brands I’ll welcome to partner with any time. I’m grateful to these brands for believing in me and aligning with my values: Procter and Gamble and Always Discreet, ZzzQuil, Saranghae, Awe-Inspired, Strivectin, Madison Reed, Jaclyn Jones USA, Lily-Lark, Studio 10 Beauty, Amazon, Hintd, Pier Medical Aesthetics & Dr. Mest, Pacifica Hotels, Saor Perfume, Style Collective, and Rivahil Winery.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 57 years on this planet, it’s that honesty, authenticity and integrity matter. They can’t be bought. Authenticity has become a kitschy “buzz-word” rather than a life philosophy. The buck stops here.

My message is my mission and my mission is my message. I think the world can be a tough place. It was for me for a long time and I know it is for some of you. I know what it’s like to not believe in yourself and fall into despair. My intention is to help make the world a better place by enhancing a woman’s belief in herself. A Cat-alyst is who I am. Being a Cat-alyst is what I do.

What I know for sure (a wink to Oprah!) is true change can only come from within. Sure, you can have a temporary influence over someone’s buying habits, beliefs, or behaviors. That’s not what I want. I’m here to make an impact. I want my audience to know that I consciously choose the brands I work with. I want them to know that I won’t share any brand, product, or service unless it’s something I believe in wholeheartedly and/or use in my own life.

I intend to do my part to restore authenticity in the world of Influence. I’ll let you in on a secret. Four years ago all I had following me was a dog. I didn’t have a Tribe. So I created one. I had never been a leader and now I am humbled to be able to serve as one. The greatest task for any leader is to create other leaders. I see those leaders sprouting like a spring wildflower bloom in the Forever Fierce Revolution Group! I know I’m on to something!

Thanks to all of you that have supported me in my personal growth and continually provided me with wonderful and supportive feedback that has fortified my confidence to build on my message. Let’s “Master Modern Midlife” together! I know this post will cost me business and perhaps some friends. Too bad. My soul can’t be bought. Not for any price.

Like that old Sammie Davis, Jr. number …. well, “I Gotta Be Me.”

126 comments

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So far I’ve avoided doing sponsorships and collabs even though I get frequent requests because I put too much work into each of my posts to sell out for anything less than an extremely positive experience. Also, I don’t want to sponsor any products unless I truly believe in them. Thank you for speaking on this subject. You covered a lot of ground! I’d be interested in a second article with more detail.

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Thank you for sharing! I’m happy to continue the conversation. Is there anything specific you would like me to share?

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As a brand, I don’t understand how it’s beneficial to partner with “influencers” with lots of fake followers. It’s something we screen for, for sure. It’s best for the brand AND the blogger that the product is being authentically recommended and fits in naturally to the conversation that the blogger usually has with her followers. We’re just starting to explore how to best partner with midlife influencers (women, specifically). I’m curious what advice you might have about how best to approach the women we’re interested in working with?

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Hi, Thank you for reaching out. I’ve been very surprised at conversations with brands as some care and some don’t. There are so many ways to manipulate the system today. We worked with a national brand and we were both burned by a major influencer we hired to work with the brand. They took the step of changing their contracts at that point. I feel as though younger generations are learning cheating works. But it doesn’t. Not in the long run. As far as how to reach this audience and partner with Midlife influencers, that’s what we do. I’m also the CEO of ForeverFierceMedia.com. We are deeply connected to this demographic. We have done our research on why you would want to market to this demographic and how to market to this demographic. We have created campaigns from the ground up for national brands. We have worked with many influencers in this demographic as an agency as well. We would be happy to have a conversation and personally connect. My email is Catherine@catherinegraceo.com.

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Thanks for the reply, Catherine! Sounds like we are like minded in how we run our respective businesses vis a vis relationships and being in it for the long game. I’d love to connect and hear more about your experience and what your’e up to at Forever Fierce Media. Will send you an email shortly.

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Yes we are. Glad we had time to connect.

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AMEN!!!!! Thank you Catherine, I am right there with you.
As an over 60 woman with a cosmetic company that began because of my own bout with skin cancer, I have worked tirelessly and with integrity for over 15 years to create an honest- to- goodness line of healthy products. I do see some value with social media- it is the way of the world, but I personally have been unable to ‘sell’ myself to the devil with buying followers and influencers who care nothing about my story and my product line, but about the money. I have built Susan Posnick Cosmetics primarily by word of mouth really, and fortunately people speak highly of my products and share their experiences with others.
On a separate note, congratulations for all you have built over the last 3 years- it is very commendable and I know that you will continue to spread the word and help make the difference that is so needed in this overly busy, overly superficially socialized world we are living in.

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Hi Susan, So lovely to hear from you. I know we are on the same page. I’m glad you popped up. We have been busy on our end making a lot of changes in the direction we are taking. We would love to chat and see how we can come together to help one another. I love what you’re doing and what you stand for. Let’s find time to connect.

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Well written and live the values and principles behind the message. Thanks for the courage to put yourself out there!

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Hi Mike, Thank you for coming over from Linked In. I greatly appreciate your support as this post took over a year to come to fruition. We put a great deal of thought and research into this post as the message of authenticity is so important.

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Dear Catherine; Welcome to your new life and new way of thinking… Have you thought of writing down your beliefs? They are so important for making wise choices and directing your life toward the outcome you desire. It may take awhile to make a list of the top 30. Do you have role a model? Or maybe a combination of role models? For example … the looks of Ingrid Bergman; the mind of Katharine Hepburn; the grace of Grace Kelly etc ?? I would love to see some of your beliefs and role models. I would share mine with you if you wanted . It really shows incite to your soul.and what the outcome of your life could be; and maybe someday share your beliefs (or some of your beliefs with your followers( someday to be an army!)?
Gary

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Thank you, Gary. I’ve been on a deeply spiritual path for over 25 years doing a great deal of self development. Yes, I’ve done a lot of work around my beliefs. I am in the process of creating an Avatar or Archetype for the woman I wish to reach. I love the role models you bring up. All of them. I also love Princess Diana, Helen Mirren, Oprah and Brene Brown. I’m slowly amassing an army that’s been all word of mouth so far. I’m overwhelmed by the incredible support of these women.

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Thank you so much for opening my eyes. I’m fairly new to all of this and taking small, slow steps. The reality to what goes on isn’t good. Have to stay true to yourself, I think that is key.
Well done for speaking out!!
Alison
x

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Hi Alison, There are some wonderful influencers out there. I simply made a decision to take a slightly different path. Everything I do is based upon a message and a mission to shine a beautiful and empowering light on older women. Welcome to the world of social media and blogging.

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Brilliant! More please. I’ve always struggled with the whole influencer thing and hate linking my thoughts to products – so won’t do it! Means revenue is slow but what the heck! Integrity is key I reckon. Go Catherine!

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Hi Rachel, thank you for your lovely feedback. I do feel there is a way to do both paths. I know I am. I can stay true to my values and integrity and work with the brands that I adore and use in my own life. I know I love learning from others about what really works to improve our lives. I love shouting those brands to the rooftops. It’s just being really selective. I’m not a salesperson. I simply love to share what I’ve learned works for me. I’ll definitely be sharing more and more and I appreciate you!

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What a powerful and inspiring post. The world of influence is hard and it is up to us to stay true to our mission. I know I stopped adding people on my Instagram because of this. I feel that authenticity and integrity are lacking. The one thing curious to me is there are apps now that can determine whether someone has a huge following or not. So unless they are living under a rock, don’t they know it’ll eventually surface? Anyway, I don’t know why people do what they do but thank you for writing this post and for staying true to yourself.

Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

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Thank you, Maureen. They are getting smarter with software but there are still ways to trick the system. That’s why I believe in long term partnerships. When you get to know someone, really get to know someone, you learn their values. You also begin to care about a brand like family over time. That’s what I love. I do wish our influencer model was more like the one in Australia where they encourage long term contracts and partnerships.

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I love this, Catherine. It’s such a good reminder to the rest of us that we don’t need to sell our souls either. It seems like morals, ethics, and values are becoming more scarce these days. Thanks for being the kind of leader that we are proud to follow!

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Thank you, Julie. I’ve seen this world change so dramatically in a short amount of time. I’ve always been very discerning about the brands I choose to work with. We have regular conversations with people asking us to post products I’ve never used before. We always refuse. I do believe people can feel when you’re being authentic.

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Beautiful and heartfelt! I’m so happy to read this! You represent what is right with women supporting and embracing each other! Thanks for writing this!

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Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate your support!

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We’ll said Catherine! Social Blade really opened my eyes and I was actually quite shocked and disappointed to see that some of the bloggers I’d followed for a long time had obviously bought followers. It’s just cheating, plain and simple and I don’t see the point of it. Brands will wise up and realise the ROI with influencers who buy followers is low and not worth their money, but unfortunately it tars all bloggers/influencers with the same brush, so we need to call it out and make a stand.

Emma xxx
http://www.style-splash.com

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It’s interesting as you wonder why retail is in such trouble. The influencer model is broken. There are many wonderful influencers I admire yet I see many learning that cheating works…until it doesn’t.

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Love this article Catherine! I refuse to buy followers or likes. That is fraud plain & simple. Thank you for your voice & courage!
Love Kim
@midlifestyletips

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Thank you Kim. I’ve known you since day one and always admired your sincere engagement and authentic presence.

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It takes fortitude to follow through with your core values. I applaud you!!

I think it’s very important to do things the way you want to do them and be true to yourself, your own goals, and your own ideals. – Elisabeth Moss

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I love that quote, Vicky. Thank you for sharing.

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Well said Catherine! As one who’s grown at a snails pace and is refusing to represent products “just because”, this hits home. As one example, I roll my eyes daily at “influencers” hawking so called “reviewed” products for multiple skincare products in only a weeks time because I see it as a sham because how can you honestly test that many new skin treatments at the same time. In my mind, they only do themselves a discredit. Way to stay true!

Hugs,
Paula
http://www.dimplesonmywhat.com

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I always talk about the turtle and the hare analogy. I’m definitely a turtle. I spent hours and hours each day growing my IG. It’s not the same today. I spend most of my time on FB now as I know I’m making an impact there. I’ve always been discerning about what I share. I love working with skincare brands. There are several I share as I use more than one brand on a regular basis. I receive a lot of free products and always let the brands know that I have to try the product and have enough time to have an authentic experience. I will only share the product if I love it. I appreciate your candor, integrity and authenticity, sister.

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Well said Catherine and, from across the pond, I do agree, things they are a changing for sure. You are so right. I have never worked with a brand I don’t believe in and who doesn’t match my beliefs and philosophy: am 100% authentic and am happy to say no to 80% of the brand collaborations offered.. So my “influence” has been slow but steady. I don’t like the name “influencer” at all and don’t call myself one if I can possibly help it, preferring “a blogger for the Over 50s, 60s and beyond with a passion for slow fashion and health above all.” Let’s continue to build our tribes with total integrity and honesty. There is no other way. Welcome to our brave, new world with love and hugs. Suzi

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We are definitely on the same page. I have never shared a product or brand I hadn’t authentically experienced and loved. My intention going forward is to create more ongoing partnerships with brands. Many brands don’t understand that they’ll be far more successful over time by creating real, meaningful partnerships than one off posts. I’ve never liked the term influencer. I also feel it’s a title that needs to be earned.

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And this, my friend is why I love you! I have been so disappointed by a number of influencers who promote products that it is clear they aren’t passionate about and who appear to be promoting certain products purely for the money. I refuse to promote a product that I can’t get behind 100%. My credibility and reputation are much more important to me. Trust and integrity is far more important than short term gain. 😘

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I love working with brands that I authentically love. I’ll shout them to the rooftops. I’ve always been discerning about that. I’m taking it a step further by encouraging real, meaningful partnerships. One off posts aren’t effective. Partnerships are. In this way, we develop a real rapport with both the brands and our audience.

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Hallelujah! Catherine, I’m so glad to see you come to this realization. I’ve held to this philosophy from day one. I get offers in my email almost DAILY from companies wanting to “collaborate” by sending me product for posts. NO THANK YOU! I choose wisely who I will work with based on the value their brand will bring to my audience. I also choose to limit the number of brands I’ll work with so that I may give the best of me. Over committing myself is a sure recipe for mediocre representation. No, I have a standard that I hold myself to, and when I operate from my internal moral compass, I’m able to uphold that standard and not compromise or sell my soul for what others define as success. You will NEVER see me promoting anything I don’t love or use myself FOR REAL.

Peace of mind is far more valuable than the number of followers, likes or brands associated with my social accounts. I have a whopping ONE sponsor!!! And you now what? At this time in my life, that’s really all I care to deal with. As I begin to rebuild my life, I can only think of one other type of sponsor that I’d like to work with. Until they come along, I’ll be happy with where I am now. When the time is right, it will happen organically..

I’m glad you’ve decided to choose authenticity. Be careful who and what you say yes to. Take that for what you feel it’s worth. Much love! Now go rock your PEACE!!!

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Hi sister! You know how I was inspired by your I Quit post. I’ve always been cautious and discerning when it comes to sharing brands. I’ll work with any brand I truly love and use in my own life. I believe in walking the talk. I want to encourage brands to form meaningful partnerships rather than one off posts. I love the partnership you have created. It’s authentic and powerful. It’s the best way to create ongoing relationships with both my audience and the brand. I’ll be a fan of yours for life sister!

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I am not a blogger but visit several blogs. You have written such a wonderful post on the sad state of many blogs I used to enjoy. I am tired of all the hawking and sales pitches. A few companies are “gifting “ very expensive items to certain bloggers who then expect their readers to pay for things they got for free.

I look forward to being inspired by your wonderful blog and just want to mention that I learned about yours through Jodie Filogomo and her incredible blog Jtouchofstyle.

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I love love love Jodie. She is the epitome of authenticity and integrity. I’m grateful for the wonderful products I receive. I’m honest with every single brand that I have to try their product and have an authentic experience before I will share it. I only share the products I truly love and use in my own life. Going forward, I hope to encourage brands to become true partners in long term relationships where we develop a real partnership. I feel this is in the best interests of both the brand and my audience. In this way, we begin to really get to know each other and form a caring friendship.

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I love love love this.
Thank you so much!
You are so right and I support everything you said.
I have been very reluctant to try brands merely because an influencer promotes them because I am somewhat cynical and fear that they are being paid to promote the product.
Thank you for your honesty and integrity Catherine.
You are a breath of fresh air!

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Thank you for your support. I’ve always been authentic about the brands I work with yet I desire to create real relationships and partnerships which not all brands do. I care about my audience and they are there for the message and the mission. That’s what matters to me. Not making a buck. That’s important certainly but making an impact is more important.

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Thank you, Sandi. I’ve been talking about writing this post for over a year. I so appreciate you and your support. It’s been an interesting and eye opening journey for sure.

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Thank you sister. I appreciate you!!!

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Cheers! I stand with you 100%! Wonderful article.

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I know you do sister!

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Thank you sister. I know you do!

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Omgosh…this resonates with me so much!
Your integrity and authenticity are truly inspiring, Catherine!
Owning a fairly new brand/service for women over 50 and representing that brand on all social media platforms has been both a learning experience and a challenge. Our growth has been slow, but 100% organic!
We have made a concerted effort to seek out, engage and support our followers in their endeavors, thus becoming more a community. We felt right at home in the Forever Fierce group (where women can be themselves!) because we are not just a brand, we are 3 women over 50 that stand behind this brand.
As a brand we don’t post our product in the group unless we are invited to do so- instead we ask how can we support your effort and a better member of this community.
Some months our boxes hit the mark and sometimes they don’t. It is with great care we choose our vendors and their products for our boxes- feedback is vital to our growth and we invite our subscribers ( Women Over 50) by email to give us an honest review of the box.
We also choose Influencers for our boxes every month. We do this to provide original and valuable content for our demographic to our blog. We send them a free box, and do an interview with them/about them for our blog. We don’t ask them to share to their social media or review the products….we only ask what their favorite item of the 5-10 products in the box is , for the interview.
If they choose to share it, that’s great, but they are in no way obligated to make any posts. We were advised to draw up a contract to send to influencers who received free products, but we felt it would serve us better to only have those that truly valued our products share them.
Prior to our launch- we sent out many free boxes to midlife influencers in exchange for sharing with their followers to get the word out, but soon realized after being bombarded with requests for free boxes in exchange for a social posts promoting the box that this was not an honest approach.
Sorry for the lengthy reply, but your mission is so aligned with ours that it inspired me!
Sisters in Arms,
Dawn, Angel & Darlene

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Thank you, Dawn for your amazing support and aligned mission. I feel the way you choose to work with influencers is far more authentic. There is a new company that approached me and sent me a product to test without anything in return except honest feedback. Funny, as I ended up becoming an ongoing customer because I was so impressed with the product combined with the authenticity and personal care. It shows, sister. It shows!

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I feel the same way my bold friend! Thank you for having the courage to say enough! I feel, and have felt the same way for quite some time! ❤️ to you our fierce leader!
xx
Suzanne
http://www.AskSuzanneBell.com

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Thank you sister and thank you for sharing today’s post. I know it was “ballsy” but I’ve been talking about writing it for over a year. This past year opened my eyes much wider to what’s real and what’s not. I’ve always chosen the brands I work with carefully. Now, it’s about alignment of message and creating real, ongoing collaborative partnerships that highlight our wonderful demographic. I appreciate you!

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Yay, dear sister, we’re closing in. I love the process you went through. I see a similar learning curve on my end, different stories but similar answers. If we want true change we can’t compromise and become media slaves… I’m still the rebel I was in the beginning, nearly three years ago, who didn’t care about the need to be “liked” and named it the way she felt. Women warned me not to be a rebel; “women don’t get that rebelling thing.” I became tame and tamer over the months and took my self back for likes… But then there came #metoo and #enoughisenough. I had been right on, not with everybody but with women who want change. I won’t be the angry rebel from my beginnings but a fierce women saying YES to truth and freedom AND NO to lies and limitations. Thank you Catherine for your “no more.”

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You know me, sister. Yes, I’m “sweet” and pink and all but I’m also not afraid to speak up and tell it like it is to help do my little part to affect change. I think it’s time. Time for a sea change. A sea change to what truly matters. We can rebel from a place of strength. I’ve had plenty of anger. Anger does evoke emotion. But we have to act from a space when the anger is cleared away. In this way, we can speak from our heart. Anger doesn’t exist in the heart.

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There is nothing more I can add to it! We need you in the Netherlands though😁😁😁😁

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I would love that!!!

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I am very proud of you and the position that you have decided to take! I absolutely agree with you and every point you made in your blog post. My experiences since beginning my journey caused me to step back and ask myself why I was blogging and what I was and am willing to do to be successful at it.
I decided then that I do not desire to sell who I am and what I stand for in this journey! I want to enjoy it and cultivate the relationship I have with ladies who genuinely want fashion and lifestyle advice! I want to help them to be the best they can be and to believe in themselves! To truly enjoy this part of life to the fullest!
Once I made those choices, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders! It did not matter that some of the other bloggers or influencers were acquiring massive numbers of followers or likes and brand opportunities! I am not competing with them.
I knew that my mission was where my focus needed to stay as I try to make a difference in my little universe!!
You are a fabulous and talented lady! Thank you for your vision and the mission that you work so passionately and diligently towards! YOU are making a difference, and that truly tops everything else! 🌸 Much love to you, my friend! 🌸

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Thank you, sister. I had a call from one of the bigger bloggers today in this space and she was so happy I finally did this. We’ve been talking about it for years as we both wanted to quit many times. I think people are hungry to get back to things that matter. Caring about one another matters. Having a purpose matters. Standing for something matters. I appreciate you!

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YES! Beautifully said. I’ve experienced these things happen on a consumer level and on a brand level and it needs to change. Thank you for being that change!

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We have had so many calls together about this very issue. It’s time, isn’t it? Time we began caring, truly caring, about what matters. I look forward to doing our part together in this mission!

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Amen, Catherine! I couldn’t agree with you more. I admire what you stand for….empowering women, helping us believe in ourselves again…or for the first time, helping us find our voice, and being a model of dignity and authenticity! I feel so incredibly blessed to have found this amazing community of women, and I’m thrilled to be blooming again!
xoxo, Lisa

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Thank you, Lisa! I know you do and I’m so grateful to have you in the tribe. It’s a wonderful one, isn’t it sister?

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Yes!!!!!! yes to ALL of this!! This is so well articulated Catherine. I’m still pretty new and inexperienced in this whole blog/biz, but I already see what you mean. And it is incredibly frustrating to write authenticly and to really develop a relationship with your followers only to have brands judge by numbers only………..and then warn everyone about buying likes and follows. Ridiculous- the whole lot. I do believe (hope) that 2019 will see a turn toward authenticity and transparency.
Thanks so much for being such a strong and well versed voice out there chica! Smokin hot photo as always. #goalz
~Melissa xx

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Melissa, just call me Sassy Suzy! Just stifle a woman’s voice for decades, and look what happens! I can’t play the numbers game. Some brands get it and others keep their head in the sand. That’s their choice. You wonder why retail is crumbling when it’s built on a house of sand.

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Bravo Cathy, well said.👏👏👏❤️

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Thank you sister!!!

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I totally get it! I feel the same and have observed influencers who have done and still do these tactics. I’m no angel. I dabbled in a few of them a couple years back. Come to find out just a waste of money. I still believe in the power of influencers but on an honest level. I see some Brands starting to realize this. Hopefully we’ll see change by the end of this year. I like to use inspiration in place of influencing. xx, Maria
http://savvynista.com

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I don’t think anyone is an angel in this world. It’s hard to be. I started out with a unique mission and purpose. Initially, I loved being on Instagram. Then I watched it go to hell. The stories I could tell are pretty shocking. I’m not interested in naming and shaming or judging. I’m only interested in showing there’s a better way, a way that can affect change. You wonder why retail is suffering? The influencer model is broken and needs a house cleaning.

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Hi Maria,
I felt it important to clarify something. I’m a journalist at heart. I saw something in the influencer world that didn’t seem right awhile ago and I wanted to investigate. I was watching influencers growing their followings practically overnight and decided to enter a giveaway so I can see it for myself. What I saw was so disturbing and fraudulent that I went to the NY Times and spoke with a reporter and told him everything. From that point on, I was on a personal mission to do what I could to be as authentic and transparent as possible in everything I do. I’ve been waiting over a year to write this post. I appreciate your honesty and authenticity. You have a beautiful message and mission.

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Your IG post got my attention so I popped over to the blog. I think it’s sad when number of followers and likes are given equivalence to substance and worth. I’m fairly naive about the underbelly of the influencer world. I read a lot of complaints about algorithms and other factors people feel are holding them back. I started my Instagram journey a little over a year ago with the goal of gaining x many followers in a year. I only achieved half that number and was frustrated, disappointed and felt unworthy. Then I realized I’d gotten caught up in the shallowness of chasing numbers without thinking through what I wanted my little corner of social media to be. It still feels disappointing when a post doean’t get the response I’d hoped, but I ask myself ‘what would I change about my photo or measage’ and if the answer is ‘nothing’ then I’ve done my best and stayed true to myself. I was excited to me invited to joint an affiliate program but so far I’ve resisted participation out of fear of seeming inauthentic. I need to really look at my goals and whether or not it makes sense for me to move forward in that direction. I appreciate your leadership for woman of midlife and the connections I’ve named through your efforts. Your message today causes me to reevaualte some of my ‘follows’ and whether I’m being fully authentic. I’ve got some changes to make this afternoon. Thank you. 😘

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Thank you, sister. That was the idea. To get attention and begin a dialogue. It’s easy to get sucked in by all the insanity in the influencer world. I’ve learned a lot. I was terribly naive and had my eyes blown wide open. I appreciate you. I do believe there is a better way, a way that helps all of us.

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Well said and standing up for what you believe and stand for is key in everyone’s life.
Keep it up!

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Thank you Heike!!!

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Fabulous! This is EXACTLY how I feel! Good for you Catherine…I cant be bought either. No. Matter. What.

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Thank you so much, Ronda and welcome to the tribe sister!!!

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You inspire me with every word, every photo, every message. I gave up all that influencer business long ago! I am who I am…always authentic and real. No secrets. You see what you get. Some may not like my ways, but they are my ways and they serve me well in living my most abundant life. I will not change that for anyone and I will stand proud in the woman I am. Thank you for reminding me of my power and for inspiring me always. Love you, sister!

Shelbee
http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

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I find you wonderfully refreshing sister…a breath of fresh air!!!

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Inspiring! I applaud you 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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Right back at you!!!

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Thank you, sister!

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Thank you so much!

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We need to collectively speak out and stand together on this. Well done for putting yourself out there. It’s a small step for big change.

I honestly think at this age we feel strong enough and comfortable enough in our skins to be able to call out the bollocks as we call it here in the UK.

I admire you. Preach it, sister!! xo

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Thank you and yes, guilty as charged. I tend to preach a tad, sister!

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Yes, we do sister. You know I will continue to preach. There will always be lovers and haters. I’m standing up for the every woman and what truly matters.

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You know I believe we do, sister. I do hope to come to the UK and get some sisters together. I would love to meet you!

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Good for you, sista! I admire your authentic self, your representation and honesty. I admire you as a beautiful leader and hope I gain leadership skills like yours.

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You know me, sweet Rosie. Preach!

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Brilliant! Thank you for these words that speak my feelings.

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I’m so grateful for you sister. You have always been an inspiration to me. You have authenticity in your genes.

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Yes, I agree integrity doesn’t seem to mean much to this generation of “Famous Now”! To work the way you have over the past 3 years from less than zero to where you are today is completely unappetizing to the majority and that is not just in this realm it cuts across all sectors in America. Your #1 fan and fellow 22, Andrew

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Hello my number one fan and fellow 22. I don’t know any other way than being me and speaking up and out. Funny, as you’ve been popping into my mind lately. We are overdue for a visit!

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Haha…as a newbie I was wondering how some women got 800 likes in a minute and very few comments😂 Thanks for enlightening me…I feel better. I love what you have created with the fiercecon & over 50 empowerment. Influencing feels like Hollywood to me..a lot of smoke & mirrors and pay to play. In The end….you have created a great support and network group. I believe following the Golden Rule always wins in the end😊

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It’s an eye opening world for sure sister, isn’t it. Oh the golden rule is a refreshing one.

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Authenticity is in your brand DNA Catherine. It’s so refreshing. I follow you and your revolution because of that. Thanks for the example of great leadership.

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I appreciate you so much. Thank you, Kristin.

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Bravio!!!! 💖💕💗 This! Thank you for taking a stand! 🤗

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I appreciate you. I was so happy to receive your email!

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Blast it sister! 💪

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You know me, Bam!!!

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Authenticity cannot be faked! Integrity cannot be bought! I stand with you, Catherine! I’ve never been in your shoes, having to make these decisions, but I wouldn’t do it either. That kind of duplicity is soul-sucking! Carry on, my dear!

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No, it can’t sister. I appreciate you and I will carry on!

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#LoveWins

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Yes it does!

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Bravo!!! You just wrote every single word and thought I’ve been feeling about social media. Thank you for reassuring me I’m not alone in my thinking. Can I just hug you right now😘❤️❤️

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I look forward to our call next week sister. You have always been a breath of fresh air. And, yes you may! By the way, Shauna is going to be speaker this year at FierceCon. I hope you’ll join us!

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Such a great post Catherine! Bravo for staying true to who you are and what you believe! Authenticity will always come out on top no matter!!

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I adore you sister. You are absolutely authentic and such a breath of fresh air!

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Fabulous! I’ve worked with a number of influencers, and the ones who really love my product are the ones whose natural enthusiasm makes the greatest difference to my brand. I can’t tell you how much your support has meant to me, and I’m honored to have Lily-Lark listed under the brands you align with! xo

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I’ll work with you any day sister. You are a gem. Here’s to women helping women!

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Brava! Thank you for taking a stand and reminding everyone that numbers don’t tell the whole story. I think a lot of us are hungry for something genuine and trustworthy. The corporate culture isn’t the culture I choose to cultivate. I love your sass and willingness to be the change! ❤️

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Bravo…very impactful piece for sure! I totally get it and have made wthe same commitment to my audience. I don’t know how these other influencers sleep at night promoting products and businesses that are not authentic. Good for you for getting this important info out there!

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Thank you sister. Cathy and I have had so many conversations around this topic. We’ve both been ready to leave many times. Rather than leave, I’ll continue to do my part to restore some well needed authenticity.

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Thank you sister. Sass…yes that’s me. Nothing like silencing a woman for decades. Look what happens!

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Yes, I totally agree with you.
It must be about integrity and empowerment.
I somehow never cared for the “Influencer” term.
I prefer to instead “INSPIRE” because influence can also be negative.
xoxogg

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I like that. You do continue to inspire. So glad you’re back!

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I am with you 110 percent!!! I’m fairly new to the Instagram world and I already see what you are saying to be true!! I do not believe in having fake followers just for numbers! I started my page in hopes of making a positive change in women’s lives… women empowering women- sparking hope for those who are searching, brightening someone’s day, and spreading the word of ageless beauty! I hope to meet you someday soon Catherine ~ I feel our journeys are on the same path!!💕

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I’m so glad you do Michelle. I have to just be me. I feel it’s time for a sea change!

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YES! I Love it❤️

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Thank you sister. Your support means the world. Any news???

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Well said! It is getting a little ridiculous with these huge numbers certain accounts are getting over night. The more we educate the public on how to spot these mis-leading Influencers the better. At the end of the day great content and valuable information wins.

Keep up the good fight Catherine!!!

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Let’s talk next week. Time we came together. I adore you!

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Oh wow! I feel the same way! Such a well written post! Bravo!

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You are so sweet sister. Now, Dr. Catherine prescribes R and R. And a little ginger tea!!! Big XO

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Catherine -Fantastic post. You are an inspiration!!
Keep up the amazing work, we are with you every step of the way……👏👏👏

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I appreciate you!

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Shield Maiden. You know I love it! And you. <3

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You did unleash a Phoenix, sweet sister, didn’t you????

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AMEN!
XOXO
Jodie
http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

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AMEN, AMEN!!!

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