September 4, 2020
When I started DYT, never once did I think that what I’ll love most is talking to such diverse creators.
I’ve spoken to a creator who converted 2000 followers into 100,000 in 8 months. All organically. I’ve chatted with a creator who quit her day job and become an entrepreneur. I’ve conversed with a creator who candidly uses her platform to talk about pregnancy, PP depression, and being a mother.
For my latest Formal Gossip episode, I sat down with Harman Sidhu. One of the rare postpartum fitness influencers in India. I highly recommend all budding creators to read this post (or listen to it). Harman is a font of information.
Of beginnings and journeys:
Harman’s creator journey began three years back. She didn’t start with the goal to be an influencer. She began because, as a new mom, she was desperately looking for inspiration to lose weight.
When she failed to find a single Indian woman in the niche, she cribbed about it to her husband. It was his words that set her down the path:
“If you can’t be one, why do you expect someone else to be one. Why don’t you become the one who helps?”
So, she started sharing pictures of her weight loss journey on Instagram. As a private person, it took her weeks to digest all the things that come with a public profile.
When women started DMing her, a realization struck. The inspiration she had been looking for to shed weight came from the platform itself. The accountability from her followers was all the motivation she needed.
On brands and collaborations:
Harman was entirely new to the world of content creation. Barter collaborations, she understood.
When agencies approached her, she was at sea – baffled about how much she should charge, how much will it take to create content, and how much effort it would require.
She learnt it all on-the-go and through experience.
“And somewhere down the line, I turned from a mummy putting her journey out there to a content creator.”
On platforms and socials:
Harman is the first Formal Gossip guest to wax rhapsodic about TikTok. She switched to the platform long back and as per her:
“I learned way more on that platform than I did from Instagram. “
She does have a YouTube channel, but she never focused on it because she was in the process of getting her TikTok account monetized.
With the app now banned in India, she is working on expanding her reach on YouTube through the Fit Tak channel.
On experimenting with content-type:
Harman is a savvy creator. She knew, to up her game, she had to branch out to videos. They give more engagement and retain more attention.
To that end, she hired people who could edit her videos while she focused on fitness.
She accepts that she become too dependent on them, and coordinating the entire team made her feel lost. So, she bought her own gear and learnt to do it on her own.
“From editing to shooting to pictures, I do everything. It’s been a gradual journey with a lot of repentance at times, but you learn!”
On outsourcing editing:
Harman’s advice is clear.
If you have sufficient work, then it makes more sense to source out editing. Why? Because creating and editing are two different jobs. When you do both, it consumes a lot of time. Outsourcing editing will allow you to focus more on creation.
But if you’re starting, you can’t rely on others. You don’t have the luxury to wait on others. Sometimes brand timelines just don’t allow it. So, learn how to edit. It is crucial, and it’ll give you more confidence.
On the debate of renting vs owning:
The ban On TikTok sparked the biggest debate in the creator world. Is it better to own your space (like a website) or to rent one (like on socials)?
Harman’s take is simple – do what gives you happiness and acknowledgement. She did think of starting a website, but the idea didn’t pan out because for her communicating and interacting with her followers was essential—something a website doesn’t offer as much.
On the pressure of getting likes, shares, & comments:
They say ignorance is bliss and Harman is proof of it. She began creating content for the sake of content. She didn’t even know the importance of metrics, and, as a result, her life had zero stress.
It was when brands started asking for her metrics, and she shifted to a business profile that the real pressure began. She understood that a brand was investing in her, and so were her followers. It meant her content had to be good and had to be loved.
That said, once her job is done. It is done. And a creator’s job is not to give more sales to a brand. It is to get the brand out there and introduce it to people who follow you or look up to you.
When a creator understands this concept, they’ll stop stressing about metrics.
“I feel some pressure is good. But if it is beyond a certain point and disturbing your normal life, then it is bad.”
On children becoming creators:
As a mother and a creator, Harman accepts that there is nothing wrong with children becoming creators. With two caveats – that it is created under supervision, and the child understands the difference between real and reel.
On the way forward:
Harman is not thinking of expanding into her own product line like so many other creators. Her plate is already full.
Neither is she exploring new platforms. She did try TikTok substitutes, but she apologetically says that they were pathetic. She does hope TikTok comes back.
“The user experience was so bad that I didn’t even feel like uploading a video. Unless I see an app with quality like Instagram, I don’t see myself jumping into another platform.”
Her advice to budding creators:
Harman offers three golden rules to new creators. Focus on creating a good content base and a relationship with your community. Don’t run after brands – branded work doesn’t make you an extraordinary creator.
And finally, you have to be you. When your personality shines, brands will come to you!
My take on the session:
Somewhere during the session, the fitness enthusiast correctly says that everyone is a creator – irrespective of what they do. At some point, each one of us would like to show the world our #thng.
Yet, there is so little information for new creators to fall back on. More than there used to be, but a lot of work still needs to be done.
Cover Picture Courtesy: Harman Sidhu