Every day, I woke up and told myself, “I really should be creating my first Instagram reel.” 

I had heard how amazing they were for organic growth; my colleagues were all gaining thousands of followers.

And every day, I would procrastinate. 

It felt so overwhelming and so outside my comfort zone, so I always said, “Tomorrow.” 

Eventually, I got over myself and published my very first Instagram reel…and I loved it!

It was so simple; we popped outside and filmed five tips to take better photos for IG. 

(You can see my first ever Instagram reel here if you want to!)

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make my first IG reel once I got out of my own way. I wanted to share 21 tips to help you make your first Instagram reel. 

Tip #1: You just need to get your first one out there.

That was the biggest lesson I learned after waiting so long to publish my first reel. It was so simple, and I wish I had started so much sooner.

They say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second-best time is today.

I’d love it if you could learn from my mistake and create your first one soon…why not today?

Tip #2: Don’t pay attention to the views.

It will probably be slow at first (that’s really normal).

I just checked, and it’s been about 24 hours since I published my first IG reel, and it currently has 4,500 views. I have about 20,000 followers, so, doing the math, 22.5% of my followers saw the reel. (This isn’t an exact science, obviously, and doesn’t consider new people.)

Really, the point is that you can’t control the views or force people to watch it, so don’t even worry about it.

Tip #3: Start consuming lots of reels to do research.

Fun facts about me: I absolutely hate consuming content on social media. I would much rather read or go for walks or seriously do anything than watch stuff on social media.

Not even kidding; if I didn’t have to have social media for my business, I’d be one of those people that never use it. But I did a lot of research on what makes a good reel work, and so that means I’ve been watching a lot of reels.

It’s important to watch them critically, breaking down and reverse-engineering why some do better than others. This will make your content creation better.

Tip #4: You won’t know everything right away, and that’s okay.

There is so much I do not know right now about creating Instagram reels. And, maybe you feel the same? Cool.

Just release the expectation that you need to know everything right away because you won’t.

It’s much better to just start creating content and learning what works in the trenches, so to speak.

Tip #5: Your first ones will probably be dumb, and that’s fine.

I am so sure I will later watch my first Instagram reel and cringe. Just like I watched my first Facebook live six years ago and cringed.

Just like I watched my first Youtube video and really cringed. It’s normal. It’s part of the evolution process; you get better the more you do it.

So don’t even worry that much about your first one; just get it done.

Tip #6: Be humble and patient with yourself.

Along those lines, be humble. I’m a newb in the field of Instagram reels right now, and I’m okay with that.

There is no place for ego if you are trying to learn something new.

Just be patient and give yourself the grace to figure out this new thing you’re doing. You probably won’t be good at this at first, if you’re anything like me.

But we have to start somewhere.

Tip #7: Commit to learning what you need to learn.

Now that I have taken the leap and published my first reel, I’m all in.

The initial resistance has been overcome, and it now becomes a process of beating my last reel’s performance.

I’ve been watching stuff on Youtube about how to make my IG reels get more views, and it’s been really insightful.

Once you decide to go in on something, go all the way.

Tip #8: Trust the experts around you.

As a business expert myself, it’s been new for me to sit and learn for others. This is good for my ego. I don’t know everything, and I need to trust others around me.

This could be my team members who are way more familiar with Instagram or random people sharing helpful reel hacks.

If there are experts in your world helping give you pointers on your Instagram reels, trust them!

Tip #9: Loosen your need to be comfortable all the time.

It was 100% outside of my comfort zone to go out in my courtyard and film my first Instagram reel.

People would pass by, and I was just like, “EEEEEK.” Super uncomfortable, and I felt weird.

But honestly, I think we are all a little too stuck in our comfort zone.

It’s good to be uncomfortable.

Growth only happens when you’re in the scary zone, and I love that.

Tip #10: Acknowledge that other people know more about things than you.

You can still be an expert at what you’re good at, but it’s also super healthy to have inner peace around not knowing everything.

I found I was a much more receptive listener when I accepted that I was a novice at this whole Instagram reel thing (which is difficult for me because I generally consider myself an expert at organic social media marketing).

It’s okay to not know everything. The good news is there are lots of experts who can help!

Tip #11: The first one is the hardest.

As soon as I published the first reel, it was like the dam broke, and I instantly banged out four more Instagram reels.

It felt a lot more natural and easier each time I made one.

So just know that you will overcome the most resistance with your first reel, and then everything will seem easier after that.

Just get that first one done!

Tip #12: Commit to a content routine, even if it’s only one a week at first.

Once you create the first one, you will probably have tons of ideas for others.

If you’re anything like me, you will find it super helpful to create some kind of simple schedule to help keep you on track.

Even if it’s as simple as one reel a week, that’s a really good way to start.

(By the way, Instagram recommends doing three reels a week and three regular in-feed posts per week.)

Tip #13: Try a bunch of different things at first.

At this stage, everything is new, and you don’t really know what’s going to resonate with your audience.

Currently, I am trying a bunch of different things so I can see what’s working and what my audience what’s more of.

Try a bunch of different styles, trends, themes, and note the engagement on each.

Tip #14: Implement one new little hack each time.

I’ve been learning so many cool Instagram reel hacks, and I’m tempted to implement them all at once. But I know that’s not the right move for me right now.

I know that slow and steady wins the race. So, instead, I committed to implementing just one cool hack each time.

If I make three reels a week for 52 weeks, my reels will be 156% better next year, and I won’t be overwhelmed as I make them.

Tip #15: Don’t overthink this.

I really wish someone had told me to stop overthinking because it probably would have helped me get out of my own way.

So, since you’re reading this, here is official permission to stop overthinking this.


Okay, so now you know to stop overthinking this. 🙂

Tip #16: Collect reel ideas that seem easy for you to create.

I have a little list of all the IG reels I want to make.

This helps me stay inspired and ensures that I don’t get stuck thinking about what to do when I do sit down to film a reel.

As you see reels you like pop up in your feed (see Tip #3), save the ones you like and want to recreate.

Tip #17: Practice a few times (& relax as you film it).

I am the least coordinated person ever, so I need to practice. Plus, if I don’t intentionally relax, my jitters make it so much worse.

It’s cool to practice a few times.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll nail it the third time around.

As always, remember that done is better than perfect. So practice a couple of tons to iron out the wrinkles but don’t go overboard with it.

Tip #18: Remember why you’re doing it.

Right now, everyone is raving about the organic reach of Instagram reels.

Think about it from Instagram’s perspective; it’s a relatively new feature they are trying to push as heavily as possible.

In addition, Instagram reels are competing heavily with TikTok right now.

Do it for that juicy organic reach, my friend.

Tip #19: Get help if you need it.

At first, I was struggling a little bit with getting started so I asked a couple of friends for ideas.

It took a lot of pressure off my shoulders to come up with something myself; I just followed their ideas.

Find someone you know who’s really good at reels and ask for their suggestions!! It’s not a bad thing to ask for help!!

Tip #20: Set yourself a reward once you publish it.

It’s fun to create little rewards for doing new things.

I treated myself to a night of Hulu and takeout as my reward for publishing my first Instagram reel.

If I’ve learned anything over the last eight years of entrepreneurship, it’s that you’ve to celebrate the little wins (publishing your first reel) just like the big wins (making $1M in 2020.)

This is how you stay motivated and enthusiastic about your work.

Tip #21: Have fun, truly.

This whole process will be so much easier if you detach all expectations from this experiment.

Just relax & have fun as you create your first Instagram reel.

After creating my first Instagram reel, I learned that this is so much simpler than I thought it was, so I decided to have fun with it!

Hopefully, you found this helpful!

If you want to see more of my IG reels (or see how many followers I have now), you can check my Instagram out here: @maria.wendt.

Written by

Maria Wendt

Maria Wendt is a highly sought-after business coach who specializes in helping ambitious female entrepreneurs get clients online.

Published and interviewed in many different places, including Forbes & Business Insider, she mentors her community of 150,000+ business owners, teaching them exactly how to build a profitable online business.