I earned $100K as a TikToker for the first time last year. Here are 3 strategies I wish I'd used earlier in my career.


I was not born wanting to 
be an influencer, but I had a passion for photography and video content. After leaving college, I started a business photographing concerts, singers, and rappers, and in 2019, I started posting my work on TikTok. April 2021 was a major turning point in my career, as my remix of a popular song was used in Kim Kardashian's video debut on the platform. Now, I have over 58,400 followers on TikTok and almost 10,000 followers on Instagram. I've been fortunate enough to collaborate with major brands such as Samsung, Adobe, Brooklinen, and the NFL. Last year, I earned a total of $100,000 from brand sponsorships, TikTok's creator fund, and my photography and video production business. Looking back, there are three things I wish I had known earlier in my career that other creators should look out for. Firstly, pivot from using popular trends to creating a recognizable brand. In my first year as a creator, I was not sure what would help me attract followers, so I followed trends that other influencers were doing. Now, I focus more on storytelling and engaging with my community than trying to attract new followers. My content has evolved to focus more on my experience as a South Asian in this space and I always answer questions and read comments to see what my followers want to see more of.

I've found that engaging with my audience is more valuable to companies than the number of followers I have, which is why micro-influencers like me have been so successful. If I had realized this sooner, I could have achieved my income goals more quickly. Additionally, I wish I had been more proactive in reaching out to brands instead of waiting for them to contact me. Creating a media kit helped me build the confidence to start pitching myself, which led to partnerships with big-name companies like Samsung and Adobe. 

I think many immigrants have imposter syndrome when it comes to negotiating with brands, but I eventually learned to push back on offers and ask for what I deserve. I also learned that it's important to turn down opportunities that don't fit my niche, even if the money is good. I want to stay true to what my platform represents, which is photography, filmography, South Asian representation, and being a creator in New York City. It's important to focus on long-term value, even if the short-term gains look appealing.

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