A lot of people — influencers — make far more money on Instagram than they spend by charging a fee for sponsored posts. They most often have followings of 500,000 or more, and are found in all industries including fashion, wellness, motherhood and travel. (Nanoinfluencers, who have much smaller followings, sometimes do the same in exchange for free stuff.) Folks interested in becoming an influencer may view their spending on social media spending as essential — the quintessential “gotta spend money to make money” logic. But that’s a slippery slope, cautions Farnoosh Torabi, financial education ambassador for Chase Slate. “People rationalize it and say, ‘I’m doing this because it’s going to help me make money one day,’ but in the long run that’s not a great business plan, if that’s your whole plan,” Torabi says.

Even if your posts are all expertly shot and curated, it’s no guaranteed you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from the herd, given the glut of participants in the influencer space. “We try to impress people by staying on top of the latest trends, and then we wind up all living this cookie cutter life, when what we really want is to stand out,” says Rachel Cruze, author of “Love Your Life, Not Theirs” and host of The Rachel Cruze Show. “When we’re authentic and when we’re our true selves, that’s when we can impress people without going into debt. Then we can actually achieve the goal we were working toward in the first place.”