Tal Hacmon
January 16, 2022

Founder Spotlight - Nikola Sokolov, Founder of Influencers.Club

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Have you ever been frustrated by a creator's lack of response? Nikola and his team crafted a method with a unique twist that enabled them to achieve outstanding results. Identifying the opportunity, he founded Influencers.club, a platform that gives users access to highly targeted emails of creators and influencers.

Nikola shared his fascinating story with us, as well as where he sees the creator economy heading and whether fans paying exclusive content will reduce brand sponsorships.

Welcome, Nikola. Thanks for being with us today. 

It’s so great to be here.

Let's start with a few quick questions just for the warm-up. So, What do you think is the most interesting company in the Creator Economy?

That’s a really tough question for me. I think everyone, as a company, is best. I know that many companies have been created in the past two years, and everything is just fascinating to me. So, I can’t tell just one.

That's okay. What is your favorite social media platform?

Right now, it’s Instagram.

What do you think is better? Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, or TikTok?

I think TikTok. If just keeping it outside of the usual.

What is the most interesting company you work with within the Influencers Club?

Again, it’s tough to say. But if I have to choose one, then it's Willa. Because we've got some amazing feedback from creators using Willa, they're making a difference.

Amazing. Nikola, tell us what led you to the Creator Economy?

It's a funny story. We had a tool that was super easy to build, helping influencers promote themselves more easily. So that's what got us into the Creator Economy. Back then, it wasn't called a creator economy like it was only influencers. So that's how we got into it. It was back in 2017. 

So, do you truly believe that the Creator Economy is the next big thing? Where do you see it heading?

Yes, it is 100%. Here, I want to refer to the book called “Sapiens,” which is a great book, if anybody wants to read it. There the author talks about how back in the 1600s or 1800s, there were a few companies that employed almost the entire population. 
Then as we become advanced as human beings, businesses get, we're getting much smaller. And I think the eventual stage of the enterprises getting smaller is coming down to the individual that will function as a business. And honestly, the reason why that won't happen.

So basically, you have full faith in web 3 vision.

Yes, I do have faith in Web 3. 

Nice. Well, describe for us what it means to be a Creator in your eyes?

So it's a great question. With everything that is going on, the one thing we can't forget, as founders especially, is that creators are called creators because they create stuff. They're more on the creative side. 
So I think that as we're moving forward, and as they get more business, they start earning more and so on, we especially as founders, must not forget that these people need to continue being creative. Everything else needs to be handled by everyone else.
So I think that my definition of a Creator would be somebody creative enough to produce something unique in the world.

Great answer. So, describe a little bit about Influencers Club. What do you do?

At the Influencers Club, we help companies find the Perfect Creators, Customers, or Influencers. We are bringing what the b2b world has, which is great sales intelligence for the prospects these companies are after. So to use email as an acquisition channel to offer value to the creators. 
One way of doing that is having a real kind of very in-depth data to fit your ideal creator. So you can reach out to them and offer value, collaborate, whatever you want to do. So that's the idea behind the Influencers Club.

Nice. So, how did the idea come from?

So, to promote our tool, which I talked about a little bit earlier, we needed a way to do that because SEO is a long-term game. Ads are very expensive, especially for someone coming from Macedonia. It took investment to get something out of it. So we figured out why not use email as a channel? 
But we couldn't because no tool was letting us do that. So we decided to make our tool. Initially, we created the Influencers Club only to be used by us. But then I wrote a blog post on how we do what we do. So, many people started messaging me, and here we are now.
We've been working on this for a year and a half. We like to get in the weeds of the companies working with us. How is their outreach doing? What do they need? How would we help them down the road as well?

Tell us which Creators are right for the influencers club?

So we work with whatever brands favorite or their best fit Creators are.
We focus on the long tail end of creators because there are so many things going on. That helps certain niches and different kinds of verticals, and so on.

Nice. And let's get back to discussing the Creator Economy in general. Where do you see the biggest pain point for creators these days?

Well, whenever I talk to any Creator Economy companies, I realize that there's so much opportunity in the entire space. It's unbelievable. I feel like these people have done amazingly well in the past years to get to where they are now, but they need help. 
With ever-increasing content, they need help with finance and collaboration with other creators. They should get out of the channels they're working on right now, and they should create the creator community, and so forth. 
So they need help, in my mind, all over the place to get to the next stage.  

So you believe there are many opportunities for businesses to rise and get into the Creator Economy?

Well, this is very biased. But for me, it's the opportunities in this world. In the coming 5-10 years, there would be a Creator economy and then crypto.  
This will not be a popular opinion right now, but I feel like the entire industry is in a very early stage right now as there are many things to be done.
Imagine that these are the two major sectors growing fast right now. They'll merge one day. That's the idea of crypto as a web 3 technology, empowering the individual.

Absolutely! Nikola, as you know, a couple of weeks ago, Instagram announced that they're going to insert subscriptions for the exclusive content in the app. So, What do you think Creators will focus more on their following rather than Brand Deals?

I think they need to focus on their followers versus the brand deals. This is how they get success. I think it's only going to help accelerate the industry faster. 
Everything going on, especially with these platforms, is a good thing. Keep in mind that we, as an industry, forced them to focus on the creators that were more than happy to just earn out of what they were doing on the platforms.
Because in the end, Instagram, or YouTube or Facebook, were the beneficiaries of what these people were creating right now. These platforms know that the creators are becoming more important and probably will become even more important than the platform itself.

I agree with you 100%. So, Will Creators make more money through exclusive content and subscriptions or brand deals? What is your opinion?

Well, it depends on the creators. I think, in general, they will make more money, not from just the exclusive content. Still, it could be anything else related to content. For example, it could be courses or anything really like that their fans would pay for such as events and so many other things going on. 
But there will still be a niche of creators that will earn more from the brand deals, and that's fine. Diversifying is great.

Would the Creators' shift to exclusive content affect the Influencers Club's future? 

No, not really. I think that nobody in this space will be hurt. As I said, it will only accelerate the demand and the industry. 
I think that's the point of capitalism. Like they create something of value. Now it's on the Creator Economy companies to create something even more valuable in the end. So, those who create the best value will win, and it should win. So I think that it won't hurt anyone. It will just accelerate and create more interesting products in the space.

Nice. A few days back, Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook's video focus would be more on short-form video. Do you believe that short-form video is the best format for creators these days?

Well, I think TikTok is proof of that. So it's not up to me to say yes or no, I think, given that TikTok is growing like crazy. 
As far as Facebook is concerned, they've gotten fewer active users for the first time in 18 years. That's crazy to think about. So it's interesting to see how Mark Zuckerberg handles the pressure that he's feeling right now.

Okay, let's go back to the creators. What advice would you give people who want to become creators these days?

The first thing that popped to mind was just doing it. 
Well, I'm 29 right now, and there was the time when  I grew up. It was a little embarrassing for me to think about exposing myself to the public. For example, it was running a podcast recording video. It was odd at that time, but now it's not. 
Now people want to be YouTubers. So that's, we live in an era where it's super easy, and it doesn't cost anything if you want to give it a try. So I'm not saying that you will need to be a creator or everyone should be a creator. But if you want to be a creator, it doesn't cost anything to try. 
All you need is just your smartphone and start with this. Then see what happens.

Cool. So, What's your vision for the Influencers Club? And where do you see the company going?

So I don't like to think about what will happen 10 years ahead, as it might not be good for founders. But I feel like, as the industry changes so much, our focus is to connect the creators with creative economy companies that can bring value to them.
So, how we're gonna do that 10 years from now might be a lot different than what I'm telling you right now. But our major focus as a company is how do we get more Creators and how do we make better tools, how to transition to web 3 projects, and then figure out our value there. 

What advice would you give existing craters? What should they focus on?

It's tough to give general advice to everyone. But I would say just put 80% of the focus on what you are working on and then use the rest 20% of the time to try new stuff. That’s what I want to do in my life, with my company and everything else. 
Just focus on what you are working but do not forget that you also need to try new stuff because there's always something that you're not looking at right now, which might bring you to the next level.

Great. Advice. Nikola, Thank you so much for your time. It was a pleasure. 

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