Former Greenwood teacher turns to Instagram to make a living

Ashley Bell/@TallBlondeBell

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WTHR) — A former Greenwood high school teacher is one of Indiana's rising Instagram stars.

"The whole realm is called influencer marketing. I'm called an influencer," 29-year-old Ashley Bell said.

From teaching business to creating her own

Bell says her prime audience on her Instagram account is between 20 to 40 years old. The Johnson County resident left her job as a high school business teacher because she found a way to make money on Instagram.

"I started getting this spark, I want to create something," Bell said. "That's when I decided to start blogging. Now, I'm a full-time lifestyle and fashion blogger."

Ashley Bell/@tallblondebell
Ashley Bell/@TallBlondeBell

Bell loves finding affordable fashion and sharing pictures with her 102,000 Instagram followers.

"I promote and share different brands that I love," Bell said. "I'm 5'11". I really like to find clothes for tall women."

"I can get paid to post on my feed or on my stories. I work through a company called Reward Style. It's an affiliate platform. I can get commission on any link clicked on my blog," Bell said.

The former college track athlete also enjoys talking about fitness on Instagram.

"I actually write my own workouts and I post them on my blog,"Bell said. "I would love down the road to do something more with that."

Family affair

Bell is traveling, taking pictures and becoming very successful. The man taking most of her pictures is Bell's husband.

"I guess you would call me an Instagram husband or Instagram boyfriend," Mike Bell said. "I've really gotten over how stupid I look doing it."

Ashley Bell/@TallBlondeBell
Ashley Bell/@TallBlondeBell

Mike overcame his insecurity of taking photos in public and now provides his wife stunning pictures.

"My husband has been amazing through this whole thing," Ashley said. "If there's anyone who deserves the recognition, it's him. He has learned photography — not just iPhone photography. He went to New York Fashion Week and took all my photos. He's learned videography."

Bell said she spends a portion of each day communicating, negotiating and pitching different brands.

"I'll spend part of my day planning out my content the rest of the week. I will edit hundreds of photos. I'll go out and take photos. I will put outfits together," said Bell.

Mike said his wife puts in 60 to 70 hours a week working on social media.

"She's a workhorse. She's working all the time," Mike said. "For her, it's not working. She's just doing what she loves to do."

It's a lifestyle

Ashley aims for two Instagram posts a day.

"I can't just take a photo of what I'm wearing every day. Because in real life, half the time I'm wearing pajamas because I'm working from home," Ashley said. "I just try to be as real as I can. In my feed, I'm dressed up nice. But, in my stories, I'm not afraid to post what I wake up in the morning or after a workout if I'm a sweaty. I want my Instagram to be my story of my life."

Ashley Bell/@TallBlondeBell
Ashley Bell/@TallBlondeBell

Ashley's Instagram story features her love of clothing, fitness and her dog, Denver.

"He's my little running buddy," she said. "One of my biggest things that my audience wants to see if watching him run on the treadmill. So, we'll put him on the treadmill. He'll run to music. I've actually had brands that say, I want to work with you but you have to put Denver in the post."

"I want my Instagram to be my story of my life. I want girls to feel like they can relate to what I'm going through. Do life with me."

Ashley Bell

Ashley said Indiana is becoming a prime location for blogging.

"California and New York can be oversaturated with blogging. But Indiana, there's such a great group of girls and a great community here that I'm honestly friends outside of blogging."

"I always tell people who want to start blogging: Just do it for fun because there has to be a passion there because if you're going to be doing it 24-7, you have to like it," Ashley said.

Her advice for increasing an Instagram audience is simple.

"My biggest advice is to find your niche and don't compare yourself to other bloggers or influencers. Stay in your lane," Ashley said. "Be confident in who you are. There is no secret sauce or strategy to become successful. Because you're the secret sauce."

Eventually, Ashley wants to expand her brand into different areas.

"I would also love to do more travel blogging and sharing different places around the world," said Bell. "Not something elaborate trip, but something the everyday woman or family from Indiana can go do."