Tanvi: Calling myself an influencer is, like, what does that even mean? Because you can influence your family and friends off social media. Whereas obviously, not everyone is a creator…
Akta: Tanvi is an influencer, YouTuber and, TikTok creator. She started focusing on her Instagram page during the pandemic and has been building her personal brand ever since.Hey, everyone, I’m Akta. And in today's episode of Creators on Air, I spoke to my good friend Tanvi about being an influencer, what makes an authentic personal brand, and how she's building different streams of income and opportunities.
Tanvi: It's human nature to judge people. And I think, especially on a platform like Instagram, which is predominantly photo-based, or it was for a really long time. Like, it's so hard to get across your personality, so it can look like you are just posting, like, very superficial things or, like, aesthetic pictures.
And from that, people can instantly make judgments, like, “oh, there's nothing more, much more to her.” Or, “she's very, um, like selfish” or “she's, like, basically just focus on looks.” But I think people don't take the time to get to know influencers, and what they're about, and what they stand for. And lots of influencers do stand for a lot more than just, like, taking nice pictures.
And I think once you got to know me and realize that, like, there is a lot that can be changed by people's perceptions of influences.
Akta: So what do you think your platform is about? And like, what do you wish more people knew about you?
Tanvi: I think people just wish that I knew that I was just a genuine, nice person, just like everyone else.
Like, I don't think of myself any differently just because I'm an influencer. I think I have to give myself that title for work reasons and business purposes, but like, I'm literally just like every other person. And this is the one thing that people say when they meet me, they're like, “you're actually really nice.”
And like, “you're actually really, like, funny.” And it's like, I just wish people knew that. Like, I dunno why you thought otherwise.
02:02Akta: Yeah, I could definitely vouch for that because Tanvi and I met through Instagram and we quickly came really good friends, which is nice surprise. It was amazing. Um, but you call yourself an influencer, but is there a reason that you don't call yourself a creator instead? Like, is there a difference between the two terms or not?
Tanvi: I think I now use the term, like, interchangeably. Um, I think there is a difference in that I believe that everyone is an influencer in their own way. Like, I really do believe everyone influences everyone, whether it's online or offline. So I also think that like calling myself an influencer is like, what does that even mean? Because you can influence your family and friends off social media. Um, whereas obviously, not everyone is a creator. I think that is a role in itself by you are actively creating content, and you're curating a feed or videos or pictures or whatever it is to give a message.
But I think the terms now I use 'em interchangeably because like the way influences are viewed, and the role of influences now is so different to like 10 years ago. I would say like five to 10 years ago, influencers were just given products or services, and you literally just create an ad, and you promote it. Whereas I think now influencers need to have a voice and stand up for so much more than just what they're selling, or at least the good ones or the people that succeed, I think, do that. And in that sense, influencers are constantly creating content. They're creating concepts, they're creating campaigns. Like, so that's why I think now there isn't a huge difference between the two, and I like to use them both interchangeably.
Akta: And I see you creating all the time when we're together. Like it's actually insane. How do you make sure that you're being consistent with what you're creating in a way that it represents what you want your brand to be about?
Tanvi: I think I'm quite fortunate that my brand is me. So my brand is Tanvi, and it's a very relationship-based, community-built brand. It's very much like “this is who I am, and this is what I do.” So when I create content, it's really easy for me because it’s just an everyday part of my life. The only times I have to actually think, “okay, today I need to like sit down and create something,” is whether it's like a branded campaign or like a YouTube video.
But even then, I try and intertwine my values and my kind of ethics of what Tanvi stands for into all of that. So for me, it's become second nature. Like when we went on holiday, every little thing is like, oh, like just capturing the moments and creating content is a part of my life and everything of what I do every day anyway. So it's easy for me to create content.
Akta: And you’re earning money from creating content as well. How do you balance it too, so that you are being authentic with the content you're creating but then also being able to earn a living from that? Like, do you feel pressured to take on brand deals?
Tanvi: So I've been fortunate. I don't feel pressured to because, obviously, up till very recently, I was working a full-time job in corporate. Um, so I never felt the financial pressure of “I need the money.” Um, so that was a blessing because I could really be selective, um, and pick and choose who I want to work with. I think it is a really fine balance between just constantly pushing out ads and your page becoming literally just a sponsored feed post, um, and actually having authentic content, and it takes time to create both.
So I kind of like to have 80% just like organic, authentic content things I wanna talk about. And 20% actually sponsored. But at the same time, I think even the sponsored stuff, I wanna make sure it's authentic to things I would actually use or the way I create the ad is a way I would say it anyway or something that I stand for even before I was being paid to say it. And I think that is how you get the perfect balance between the two.
Akta: Definitely. I think that's a really good way to do it. And are you comfortable being transparent with things like numbers? So like sharing, like what was your highest earning month, for example, or your lowest earning Like, is it quite consistent, or is it completely up and down?
05:46Tanvi: Um, it's so volatile. That is the first thing I would say. Like, it is very hard to predict, like how much I'm gonna make on a monthly basis. Um, I would say March was a really good month for me because I had so many different streams of income.
And that's the great thing about being a creator—is that you know you are not just being paid for sponsorships. You can be paid to host events. You can be paid to like—I have a BBC show on the radio. So I had so many different streams in March that I ended up making about 6,000 pounds just from social media in one month.
And it just goes to show that—the potential to have it as a full-time career and the potential to really make the most of it; opportunities is there. And that was me doing it in my spare time, on top of my full-time job.
Akta: That’s incredible. And I actually find you so interesting because I feel like a lot of influencers build a business around them. So they grow their platform and then build a business. But I feel like you are really interesting because you've used your platform to create new opportunities for yourself. Like, like you said, hosting events, doing a radio show. What made you decide to take on those kinds of opportunities?
06:56Tanvi: I think, and I only know this in hindsight, but what I did really well was not focusing on the business side of it at first. Like it was a very organic thing I was doing—I just wanted to help people. I wanted to educate people on how I got into my career. I wanted to inspire, like, younger girls to feel like they can speak out about, like, discrimination or colorism.
And because I built all of that so organically and with no other reason than just to, like, educate, and inspire. It was then that people wanted me to be the brand ambassador or the face of their brand or to host the concept because I stood for so much more than just being a presenter or just being an influencer.
Um, and of course, like, when someone comes up to you and says, “we want you to host a concept for 6,000 people,” or “we want you to be on the BBC Asian network,” like of, even though they're not things that I ever aspire to be or thought I could ever do, like, of course, I'm gonna jump at those opportunities.
That's the way I've always been like from a child; I always say yes to everything. Um, and it's like a case of, if I say yes and I don't like it, at least I've tried it, and I've done it once. But fortunately for me, all of this stuff that I've been taking on, I've been loving and realizing I'm actually really good at it.
So yeah, I just—I say yes to everything and give everything a good go.
Akta: Is that difficult, though? Because like you said, up until recently, you're working full time, and yet you're saying yes to everything. How did you stay on top of everything?
Tanvi: Obviously, like, I can't say yes to every single thing, to the point where I'm just not sleeping. But I think I'm very good at like trying to balance multiple things at once.
And I'll admit that some people are better at it than others. I'm really organized. Like, my to-do lists, my timetables, my calendars are immaculate. And I think like in order to be on top of all of that stuff that you have to be. So yeah, my organizational skills are really good. And I'm also good at knowing when it's too much.
Like I've kind of got capacity—like monitor in my head where I know where I'm like reaching full capacity. And it's at that point that I will just kind of shut off to other opportunities temporarily. Um, I think my brain's always ticking, and I'm always having conversations in the background, but I just know in terms of subject, like subject to my time and my energy, how much I can do.
Um, but like I said, I think I'm just blessed that I am someone that can take on a lot and manage a lot at once. Um, but it's really important for me to also be better at like saying no because sometimes I do spread myself a bit too thin sometimes.
Akta: I think you definitely do. I don’t know how you manage it all. What advice would you give to creators who want to take more opportunities but aren't as good at organizing their time? Like, what productivity tips do you have for them, for example?
Tanvi: So I think the first thing would be, is start small. So only take on maybe one or two things. And just see practice, kind of get into a good habit of balancing things alongside, you know, maintaining a social life, like staying in touch with family, like important things.
Um, and once you get used to taking on maybe one more thing or maybe two more things, then slowly build it up. You get into a really good habit once you stay on top of organization. And if you're not a good organization, I think focus on that first before you start taking things on. So just basic things like having a consistent calendar and like actually checking it every day or having a really simple to-do list on your phone every day. Like they're very simple things, but I think it takes time for them to become second nature to people.
Um, and then I'd also say, yeah, Write everything down and write everything into like an Excel spreadsheet, or if it's your notes on your apple phone. So that you've got it in front of you and you can actually visualize. “This is what I need to do today. This is what I need to do in the next month.” These are the timelines of, like, when things are due. And you can see like, it's, it'll become more obvious of “I've taken on too much for that week.” Or “I've got a gap here. Let me try to utilize that.” Um, so I like to be very visual and also just, like, utilize apps and technology that we have. Like we're really lucky to have.
Akta: Definitely. I would be so intrigued to see your calendar.
Tanvi: Yeah. I think the last—Well, do you know what? The last couple of weeks has really given me an insight into what it would be like to be a full-time creator. Um, today is actually my last day, um, in the corporate world because I've officially resigned. And I thought, you know, having two weeks off actual work like I took annual leave just to test it out would be like, my calendar would be free. I'd have so much time. But actually, when I have this space, I ended up being busier than I was working full time. Cuz I had so much more time to do things that I enjoy. So I was like networking more, going to events more, meeting people. Um, so yeah, my calendar was literally like six things a day.
Akta: That is incredible. I just dunno how you do it all, honestly. And you are really outgoing when it comes to things like networking and things like that. How important do you think that is for being a creator or being an influencer and being able to get opportunities like hosting your own radio show, for example?
Tanvi: It's like incredibly important. Networking is one of the most important things I could say as a creator. Because the thing is, with influencing, content creation, you're on your own, you know. You don't have an entire business under you where someone's telling you what to do or giving you work. You need to literally go out and find that work for yourself. You need to create those opportunities for yourself. And if you're not going out there and speaking to people and networking, those opportunities aren't just gonna fall at your feet. So networking is so important to speak to the right people. Even if you're not going to networking events, you know, being like, “I need to get a job out of this,” that person might know someone elsewhere, or that person might come back to you in a year's time with something that works for you.
So yeah. Getting your name out there and building a brand for yourself, what you offer, and building those relationships that can be long-term clients when it comes to content creation is so important.
Akta: Definitely. And what advice do you have for someone who wants to network but doesn't know where to start? I mean, you are quite an expert. You're very natural at doing all of that. How can somebody kind of follow your shoes in that?
Tanvi: I think social media is a great place to start because you can network from the space and the comfort of your own home. Like you just need to drop someone at DM or message 'em. Just tell them like how great you think that they're doing or that you agree with what they've said, or even challenge something that they've said.
Um, and I think those are ways that you can actually organically make connections and meet like-minded people. And gradually from that, you know, you can meet them in person, or you can meet a group of people and gradually go to networking events together. Um, there's so much out there in terms of networking. You just need to find it and research and be proactive with it. But it literally starts with a simple method, which is exactly like how we met. Yeah, definitely through like a simple DM on Instagram, and anyone can do that.
Akta: Exactly. I love that. Um, so final question is, like you said, it's your last day. Congratulations.
Tanvi: Thank you.
Akta: What's next for you now that you're going full-time creator?
Tanvi: Do you know what? For once in my whole life, like, literally since being four, I don't have a plan.
13:40Akta: Since being four?
Tanvi: Literally since being four! Um, and while that is really terrifying for me, it's really exciting because I now have the freedom of time. And that is something I didn't have when being glued to a nine-to-six when it definitely wasn't a nine-to-six.
Um, so I actually, when I'm going away tomorrow, I'm going to have a break and just reset and think about what it is I really wanna do long term. I already have some amazing opportunities in the pipeline, which is great that I've got things to come back to. I'm definitely gonna be focusing on furthering my career in radio and presenting, but also as an influencer and creator, like reaching out to bigger and better brands. And just continuing to build that, that space for myself. And hopefully, the end goal is to combine something that uses my skills in finance and social media and create something amazing. Ultimately.
Akta: That's gonna be so exciting. I can't wait to see what you do. Finally. I'm gonna end with rapid fire. So these are questions that we have not sent you.
Tanvi: I'm scared.
Akta: And you can answer as quickly as you can. But just try and answer with like a simple line. It doesn't have to be really long, although you’re already talkative. So I feel like—
Tanvi: I know, you have to shut me up.
Akta: What's the best thing about being an influencer slash creator?
Tanvi: the people and the opportunities. Like, things that I would've dreamed of as a kid I've now met and got to do.
Akta: What’s your favorite productivity tool?
Tanvi: Apple notes. The iPhone app. It's literally so simple. Anyone can use it but get stuff done.
Akta: And you do really interesting things like pinning your notes—
Tanvi: There's so much you can do with the Notes app. I'm not gonna lie.
Akta: Yeah. I need to research into that. Um, what gives you the most inspiration in life?
Tanvi: I think the women I surround myself with. Like people like you and my friend who are doing such amazing things. It's like so inspiring to see every day keeps me going.
Akta: Oh, thanks. You’re inspiring me too. Um, what's one thing that helps you with your creator work-life balance?
15:38Tanvi: Setting boundaries. Um, knowing when my limit is and being able to say no. and making sure I am making time for my loved ones and my friends around me. That keeps everything in balance.
Akta: Amazing. And what's one piece of advice that you'd give to other creators?
Tanvi: Keep going, just don't give up. It's such a volatile and like up and down journey. There are so many variables and uncertainties. But if you are doing it for the right reasons and you understand why you are doing it, if you keep going, I feel like there's a space for everyone, and everyone can succeed.
Akta: I love that. Thank you so much, Tanvi. This was amazing. It was so good to talk to you on a kind of more professional level, I guess.
Tanvi: I know! Thanks for having me. It was so fun.
Akta: It's amazing that Tanvi has been able to go full-time as an Instagram creator and influencer with just under 40,000 followers. You can find her on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, where she's building a wholesome community for South Asian women.
Thanks so much for listening in on our conversation, and be sure to follow us @GetPassionfroot on Twitter for all things Creator Economy. Stay passionate, and I'll see you in the next one.