Candy Washington is an accomplished actress, founder of the Billionaire Blogger society, and creative voice behind the popular LA lifestyle blog, Actress with Style which has recently launched its own clothing line.  Needless to say her insights on branding, self-worth, and improving your social presence were too hearty to fill only one blog post.  The following is a continuation of How to Build a Brand out of Your Passion.

It’s not a competition

Candy suggests you look to other influencers for inspiration rather than as competition.

Don’t be intimidated by numbers, Candy advises, “From one million followers to ten thousand followers, influence exists on every level.”

Focus on your level of engagement and the quality of your followers: those who comment and like and ask questions.

“Don’t think: ‘I’m less than her,’ says Candy. “Take what you can learn. Don’t copy, pick one or two strategies that you admire and put your own stamp on it.”

Consider hashtags, color schemes, and posting times. Check to see if they work with an agency.

“When you get to that level, it’s not by chance, it’s by strategy. It’s a business model.”

Take it one step further and reach out to the people you admire. Ask to pick meetup in person and pick their brain.

“That’s the name of the game,” Candy says. “Reach out. And remember we can all have a piece of the pie. There are millions of brands out there and an infinite amount of opportunity out there for you. You can tap into it.”

It’s time to redefine success and failure

You can break through by hard work and creating your own connections, Candy stresses.

“I think the key is redefinition. I think people really need to reassign what they view as success and what they view as failure. I used to think that success is when I’m winning my Oscar and on my yacht or only supporting myself acting. Then I got a reality check, got a gut check, and got a gratitude check. I decided that success is choosing to live a life that fulfills me.

By that same token:

“Redefine failure. For me, failure is just information. It’s not a no or a never. It’s find a different and better way.”

Great. Now it’s time to get started

Candy Washington grew up in Syracuse, New York before attending Georgetown University for philosophy and government, the pre-law track.

Then, with zero fashion or beauty connections, she made a fundamental shift: took an internship with Louis Vuitton’s public relations department, took up acting classes, and started a blog on the side.

“The acting was a great creative outlet,” she says “and I while I was writing for other publications and PR firms, my blog took off.”

Today acting is more than a creative outlet for Candy Washington. It’s her main M.O., her top priority, the ultimate outlet for visual storytelling.

She’s quickly amassed a list of credentials ranging from MTV and TBS to FUSE TV.  She’s performed on-air segments with Elaine Welteroth for Teen Vogue and hosted Hello! Disney Style LIVE on YouTube.

She’s worked with Chanel, Conde Nast, Teen Vogue, Hautelook, Urban Decay, Estee Lauder, Simply Stylist, Popsugar, Redken, Guess, and more — all the while staying true to that vision of her perfect day.

She also celebrates the little things: “I’ll take a ten minute nap, or treat myself to a cupcake, whatever it is just to say I’m successful today.”

If you’d like to learn more from Candy, check out the Billionaire Blogger Society, a “safe place — where if you want to post something you can post it or ask a question without feeling judged.”

Anyone can join Candy’s community which is home to a library of blogger resources and will connect you to a Facebook group which primarily serves as a forum for questions. It’s absolutely free.