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Don Benjamin On His Humble Beginnings As A Content Creator And Balancing Different Roles


Don Benjamin: Net Influencer Interviews Don Benjamin

From joining Instagram to score free clothes, Don Benjamin has come a long way. Today, he’s a successful content creator, social media influencer, model, film producer, and more. He grants us an interview and gives us insight into his journey, struggles, and plans for the future.

Who is Don Benjamin?

Don Benjamin wears different hats. He’s a social media influencer and content creator with almost 2 million followers each on Instagram and TikTok and over 200,000 on YouTube. He’s also a model, actor, rapper, and film producer. He appeared in America’s Next Top Model Cycle 20.

How Don Got into Content Creation

Don found out about Instagram around 2011 and was told by a friend that it’s an excellent platform for getting free clothes. During this time, Don was broke and loved the idea of getting free clothes, so he gave in to his friend’s invitation. 

He recalls, “I went on the app, and I just started taking selfies. They started gaining some attraction, and then I went on America’s Next Top Model in 2013. And when I went on the show, I think I had amassed maybe close to 100,000 followers, which back then was having like a million plus followers. Everybody else on the show might have had like a thousand followers.”

Don’s stint in ANTM was the start of his career as a content creator. After appearing on the show, he got into a group of people doing Vines, where he also met his now wife, Liane. Don adds, “It was her, our friends DeStorm Power and King Bach, doing Vine videos. And I had just come off of the TV show, and they’re like, ‘Yo, we need a model to be in our vines,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m down.'”

From there, Don started hopping into these comedy sketches, and luckily, he was able to keep it rolling. As Don appeared in more and more Vines, he worked on figuring out how to how a social media platform alongside his existing film and TV projects.

How America’s Next Top Model Impacted Don’s Career as a Content Creator

Joining America’s Next Top Model opened a lot of doors for Don, especially since that season was one of the most viewed. The season also brought in male models for the first time, which is groundbreaking for the franchise. 

“Beyond doing comedy sketches and modeling for different brands, I just try to take advantage of all aspects. I have people coming in to follow my page from TV, I had comedy sketches that went viral and got 30, 40, and 50 million views, and billboards all around the world. I think all of these things just clicked right at the perfect time for me,” Don shares.

Because of ANTM, Don could do so many things and meet followers who knew him from different platforms — in the TV show, online comedy sketches or have heard his music. 

How Don Grows and Engage With His Audience

Don admits that growing followers and keeping them engaged are more challenging than before. This caused him to change his approach — from focusing too much on getting new followers to paying more attention to his creativity and doing projects that make him happy. 

But for the most part, Don tapped into the family space since he had his daughter and got married. He shares, “I enjoy creating content with my wife and kid. And so, for me, that’s what I focus on. We’ve been focused more on TikTok than Instagram lately. I feel like a lot of the younger generation is more engaged on TikTok, and it’s a little bit funner.”

“You can do fun content on Instagram, but I feel it’s a bit older crowd. So, you must balance what content you’re creating for different platforms,” Don adds. 

Since the audience differs in Instagram and TikTok, Don aims to make content that can live on both platforms. Because most of the time, content that engages well on Instagram, doesn’t do so much on TikTok, and vice versa. 

Don also considers viral trends when making content because that’s where social media is right now. He constantly thinks of how to add his own twist on anything that’s trending, given that trends also differ in every platform. 

Additionally, one thing that Don wants people to understand is that being an influencer is their job. And as much as he’s blessed to have fun doing what he does, he still has to work from time to time, which can eventually get mentally draining. He has to constantly develop creative ideas and think about what people want to see and watch. 

“So, you must ensure that your piece is in mind and you’re doing things you genuinely enjoy. If it catches, it catches. But if not, at least you’re enjoying shooting content,” Don says.

Don’s Process in Creating Reels with His Family

Don and his family schedule a couple of days to shoot content for reels. But there are also instances when they’re just around the house, and an idea hits. They’ll decide to shoot it quickly, especially if it involves their daughter. 

Don says, “We have so many ideas [for content]. It’s real stuff that we’re dealing with, like we’re not getting any sleep or all these random things, and then we’re like, ‘We need to make this a sketch because I’m sure there are other people who could relate to what we’re going through.”

How Don and his family create reels isn’t a complicated process — it’s actually pretty straightforward. Don is just thankful that they can complete these videos quickly. 

How Don Balances Time Between His Family and Business

With all the things Don has on his plate, he balances everything by sticking to a schedule. He sets certain days of the week to take care of business and then other days for his family. 

Don explains, “We definitely take Thursday to Sunday to focus on family time and knock out all the business stuff we have early in the week. So that we at least have a few days towards the week to focus on our family, get some rest, and whatever we need for mental peace.”


When she has me change the blowout diapers! 😣😂 @wearethebenjamins

♬ original sound – Sully

For Don, following a weekly schedule doesn’t only help him and his family get things done — it’s also for their mental peace, as social media can be mentally draining. He adds, “It can take a toll on you if you’re just soaking it up 24/7, soaking up other people’s lives and comments of what people think about your life and what you’re doing.”

How Don Approaches Brand Partnerships and Collaborations

“I usually work with brands that are organic to my lifestyle; brands that typically make sense with my lifestyle, like Adidas or Guess, I’m genuinely a fan of these brands,” Don has this to say when asked how he chooses brands to work with. 

A lot of brands approach Don for partnerships and collaborations, but there are also times when he’s the one reaching out to brands. He’ll pitch in to collab and offer content for them. 

Once Don and the brand come to an agreement, the brand sends a brief of what they’re looking for or the creative direction they want for the content. Don explains, “I’ll create options, get them to the brand, we land on the best idea, and then get that thing shot.”

Don loves making brand partnerships and working with brands. He started out on Instagram, working for brands solely to get free clothes, and now he’s earning from these brand collaborations. He states, “After I learned that there was financial gain, it was when I really started going hard.”

Don also appreciates brands that recognize the changes in their audience’s preferred channels in watching ads. He explains, “People aren’t watching TV commercials anymore. If you’re watching a show, you’re mostly streaming it. You’re not really watching too much daytime cable, so the commercials aren’t getting as many eyes as they used to.”

“And so they [brands] realize that people are looking at us, influencers, to get their information. And so, if they can partner with us, we can genuinely promote their products,” Don states. 

Don observed that consumers are being constantly pushed into different brands due to the number of influencers today. There are too many so-called influencers and micro-influencers telling customers to buy products that customers don’t know what to engage in. 

Don doesn’t and won’t do the same. Instead, he chooses to work with brands that are organic and brands that he truly supports. He states, “If I’m giving it to my followers, I want them to know that it’s something that I’m genuinely interested in, as well.”

Favorite Collab

Don has worked with many brands, but the campaign he did with Guess was his favorite. And there’s actually a back story behind Don’s love for Guess.

“I always tell people how I applied for a job at Guess way back before I had anything going but got denied. Then I went to America’s Next Top Model, and the winner of the show won a campaign with Guess. I didn’t win, so I got denied by Guess again,” Don shares. 

“When I finally got my campaign, it was so triumphant for me because I had wanted to work with them in so many ways for so many years and never got that chance. And when I finally did and saw my billboard all over the world, it was just crazy for me.”

How Don Integrates His Music and Content Creation Career

Don believes in and relies on the power of scheduling. If he shoots content Monday through Wednesday, he’ll have some open days at the end of the week and spend time in the studio. When it comes to his acting career, he’s working on making scripts and taking meetings.

Having passion also helps Don juggle different responsibilities. He says, “If you have the passion for doing multiple things, you just have to schedule it out and then balance what the priority is. Some months, I’m focused on content creation or acting that I don’t get a chance to be in the studio. And then there are slower months where I can lock in the studio, set a few days in the month to knock out 5 or 10 10 songs.”

Don’s Philanthropic Initiatives

Don grew up watching his mother deal with physical abuse in relationships, which is why he considers working with Peace Over Violence a big thing. He shares, “I donated $100,000, and for me, that was big because I’ve witnessed firsthand women dealing with domestic violence.”

He also supports charities for the homeless because he himself experienced the same before. 

According to Don, being in these life situations helped him have more empathy for people because he understands what they’re going through. He tries to utilize the resources and opportunities he has to help whenever he can. 

“I think that’s really what it’s about — trying to help as much as you can. I know sometimes we get so caught up in our lives because everybody’s dealing with their own things that we’re so focused on trying to fix what we’re dealing with. But you find that when you do help others, it kind of helps heal some voids within you, as well. At least, that’s how I feel,” Don says. 

What’s Next for Don

Dan recently produced a movie titled North of the 10 that came out last year on Amazon Prime. Right now, he’s working on another film, which he’ll produce and star in. He can’t give the title yet, but it’s a war horror film and filming will start next month. Don plans to release the film towards the end of the year. 

Something Don’s Followers Might Not Know About Him

Don shares as much information about his life as possible on social media. He adds, “I’m really transparent with my followers with whatever is going through in my life. I don’t try to keep things held back, so if it’s something in my life, I’m going to share it with the world.”

But one thing his followers don’t know is his upcoming film. So, anyone reading this article — good news! You just gained access to an exclusive! 

Don’s Advice to New Content Creators on Instagram

Don recommends new or aspiring content creators to stick to doing one thing on Instagram instead of trying to do so many things. He explains, “If you look at a lot of people that grow on Instagram, they’re doing one thing, so people know what they’re getting when coming to their channel.”

Don proceeds by citing his friend, Adam W., as an example. He’s a comedian, and all he does is do comedy sketches on his page. Don says, “He just knocks out comedy sketches, and people know what they’re getting when they go to his page. And so, they’re more prone to follow because they know the content they’re getting from him, what to expect consistently.”

Following trends, like adding trending music to your background or using hashtags, helps get eyes on your content, but long term, sticking to one lane drives better outcomes. 

For creators who want to follow in Don’s footsteps and wear different hats at the same time, expect that growing your online following will take more time. In some cases, you might not even grow as much. But having goals and knowing what you want early definitely helps. 

Don advises, “Don’t just go on Instagram posting pictures of your kids, your family, or yourself randomly, without having any points behind it. Only people that can really do that are celebrities or people who have already gained a following. But if you’re still trying to gain a following, nobody cares about those things. You must first get people to want to care about you enough to be engaged.”

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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