When Tanvi Shah left her corporate job at a Big Four accounting firm she knew she was taking a huge risk by giving up her monthly salary to become an influencer full-time.
“It was terrifying and I’m still very scared,” she told Insider. At first her parents didn’t understand the potential of social media. “It was a huge relief for them knowing that I have a foundation to fall back on and the worst case scenario is I can get another job.”
Shah said when she started posting regularly on social media she hadn’t considered it becoming her main source of income.
Then when the pandemic started she began putting more time into creating videos that offer career advice for social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
“I started to invest more time in increasing the quality of images and videos and in the process worked with lots of businesses,” she said.
“My following grew rapidly as I was talking about things that were not typically discussed like mental health when working in the corporate space and being South Asian.”
Shah content found an audience and within a year she considered how she could monetize her following.
Before Shah started creating higher-quality content she had 5,000 followers on Instagram, which then doubled to 10,000 early on in the pandemic. She now has more than 38,000 followers on Instagram and about 70,000 on TikTok.
The social media influencer says her earnings per post depends on how much work she gets a month or what brand she works with.
“The goal has been to match my salary of £3,000 ($3,600) a month. Fees for a post starts from £200 ($242) but sometimes a large brand will opt for a content package, such as an Instagram reel and a TikTok video. The biggest deal has been £1,500 ($1819) for one brand that wanted three pieces of content.”
Creating social media content started as a side hustle for Shah but within a year opportunities came knocking, from modeling jobs to radio presenting gigs. The London-born influencer then found she was struggling to manage her time being a content creator alongside her corporate job.
“I was waking up at 6am to edit videos and realized there was not as much job satisfaction in the corporate space and my passion shifted to social media, so I had to weigh up the decision,” Shah said.
“If I don’t try to do it full-time I never will. I wanted to give myself the freedom of time so I decided to resign from my Big Four job.”
Shah said that before giving up her corporate job, managing a side hustle felt like having a double life. She became aware that past managers were viewing her posts and that made her cautious. “It felt like I was Hannah Montana coming back from working and doing something completely opposite but I am multifaceted.”
In the finance world there was a clear career path and progression timeline for Shah. However, she felt it would take its toll on her mental health.
“When I am working for myself as a creator I can manage my mental health by setting boundaries,” she said. “If I decide for a week that I can’t work I won’t be out of pocket because of last month’s earnings.”
Having a background in accounting and consulting as well as knowing how to manage her money helped Shah when becoming self-employed.
“What people don’t see is all the work that goes on behind the scenes. I feel strongly about self-management and have at least five different apps and tools for scheduling and organizing,” she said.
“It helps that I know basic tax and accounting rules and a way to track profit and loss and expenses. I’m a finance girl and nerd so it was second nature to look at how much profit I was making.”