Tal Hacmon
January 16, 2022

Creator spotlight - Srikar Karra

How this creator grew his audience to 15 million followers in just two years

Today on the “Creation Station”, we sat down with one of TikTok's rising stars, Srikar Karra. Srikar helps brands scale on social media and has more than 15 million followers on his network. Right now, NFT is his main focus. We will discuss his project further in the interview. It going to be an interesting conversation, so let's begin, and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more incredible stories in the creator economy.  

Srikar, how are you? 

I'm good, Tal. Thank you for having me on the show. I'm super excited to be here. I can't wait to share stories about content creation and my project with everybody. 

So Srikar, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sure. So, I got into content creation about two years ago. My friend and I made a bet that I wouldn't blow up on TikTok because that's when TikTok first started, and I had to prove him wrong. So I started creating content every day on TikTok just for fun.
And within just two weeks of posting content, I started realizing that I gained so many followers on TikTok, and I thought to myself, this is so crazy. Ever since then, I just wanted to keep creating content and see where it will take me.
So, I kept making content on TikTok, and then, after some time, I started blowing up, and I started getting hundreds of thousands of followers.
And now I'm sitting at millions of followers across my pages. Content creation has always been unbelievable. It has always been a huge part of who I am, and that's why I wanted to talk about it. But that's where I am right now. I'm working on many different projects, leading to content creation. So that's what I'm doing right now.

Beautiful! You said it all started as a bet. So how could a bet make you reach a following of 15 million followers?

Yeah, Looking back at it, I'm super shocked too. I think about how I started all the time, and I'm like, wow.
It was such a small thing that I started with just a bet. It has taken me so far in terms of my career, like what I love to do, and honestly, it shocked me a lot. It just shows you the power of starting something.
Just a small bet can take you so far. So, I'm really glad I did take up that bet.

What does your content talk about? What kind of content do you share?

I have a bunch of different pages across TikTok. Most of my content revolves around stories. So it can be different stories that I'm sure many of you guys see on TikTok.
It's like funny stories, conspiracy theories, horror stories, basically anything that captures people's attention. So that's what I usually do.

Cool. Let's talk about your beginning on social media. What made you decide to pursue it? 

It ties down to that I always wanted to get into entrepreneurship. The huge thing was that I realized this isn't really for me, especially once I went to college.
I did finish college, though. I graduated early, so that was good. I always wanted to do something on my own. I wanted to build out something, and I saw social media. I saw the trends that were taking off. Everybody was getting into it and then I realized there are millions of people who consume content every single day.
So what if I am one of those people who put out the content, and that's when I started. I pursued it much more and posted every day, just seeing where it would take me. I am not going to lie. It did change my life in many ways. I am glad I can do this because it gives me a lot of free time, which I have always wanted to have when I was older.


Nice. So, once you started getting into it, did you develop any methodology for your content?

Yeah, I think there's a lot of things I realized along the way; as I started posting content more and more, there were small tricks and tips that, from research, I realized, and then also just from hands-on learning that I was able to realize, so in some of the methodologies I realized Tik Tok is very short-form content.
You want to make sure you capture the audience quickly because if the audience doesn't like your content, they're just going to scroll through it, and they won't even give it a second thought. So that's what I thought about when I was creating content.
One thing that I would recommend for anyone who wants to be a content creator is to reverse engineer your content.
Try to think about it from the audience's perspective instead of just a creator. So when you're scrolling through this content, is this something that would be engaging for you to look through.
So, if the answer is yes, you're probably already ahead of most people because many people try to create content that they think is cool for themselves.
Still, they don't think about it in terms of the other person's perspective. So I make sure to do that through every video. I always get feedback from my brother and my friends.
Then, as time went on before I uploaded, I did that initially. I realized how to make content and what works, what doesn't, and now, I don't do it as much. But that's one tip I would give to many people is to make sure that your content is good beforehand with many people before you upload it.

Srikar, do you believe it can work for any creator or any business?

I think so. I think any business, any creator, can create content and make it work. It depends on what type of content you're creating. Not everybody in this world is super fun, and that's okay because everyone has their style.
Not everyone can be as funny as you, Tal. So I think it just depends on what you think you're good at. So obviously find your strong points. And once again, even if you think you don't have anything that you're particularly good at. For me, I never knew that I could become a storyteller on TikTok.
I was never known as a storyteller with my friends. But as I started doing it, I just became better at it, and it worked, and now, it's taken me so far.

So, if we summarize this topic, what would be three things you believe are the must for every starting creator or business aspiring to succeed in the digital space?

Sure. I want to touch upon what I just talked about. It's finding a niche that works, which is a combination of things. If you have any strength immediately, then that's good to pursue something there. Once again, as I said, if you don't have anything, find something very engaging for people.
It can be facts, storytelling, all of these things that we did honestly in humanity over the last hundreds of years; everyone was a storyteller back then. It's a form of entertainment. So, it's something that works. So I think just finding a niche that works well is one of the main parts.
Once you find what you want to do, make sure you stick to it. And that's where I think success has helped me because I could stick to that content every day. 
It’s not like that I am posting stories one day, and then random facts another day, and then my blog one day. No, I don't think that's how it works. 
I think you should have the topic that audiences want to come to basically. Then once you're big enough and you have elements of your life out there, you can transit and do more blogging style.
Once people know you like how Logan Paul did or David Doebrick did, they all started with vine, and then they moved on and did things. So that's a possible thing to do, but I think when you're first starting, people don't know who you are, or at least for most people, don't know who everyone is.
So you want to start with one topic, make sure you consistently stick to it every day. And finally, the third point that I want to make is not to give up because many people give up very early. They see five posts, no traction, they give up. It took me over hundreds of videos to get to where I am, honestly, thousands of videos.
I didn't give up every single day. I just posted content over and over again, and finally, something started blowing up. So make sure you stick to it.

As we are talking about not giving up. So, what kept you motivated?

Yeah, I think one of the biggest motivations was this inner desire to work for myself.
Like I said before, it's always been a part of me. I think especially going to college and school and realizing. This is all okay. Like I get through my schoolwork, but at the end of the day, it's not my calling. It's not my passion.
I don't enjoy it that much. Even though the video, when you don't have traction, sometimes sucks. It's like when you only get one view on a video, you're like, man, I put in all that effort, but at the end of the day, it's okay because I like creating content. So, once you see the results, it's like even more hooking. It just feels so good to be able to see results and then who knows where it can take you. 

Exactly! So Srikar, let's move on to monetization. You grew up, and your accounts started posting many videos, cool stories, and storytelling videos. When did you start making money out of your channel?

I think it took a little bit of time. When I first started, I just wanted to make sure that, like coming back to the bet, I just wanted to blow up on TikTok just because I wanted to prove my friend wrong.
But after that happened, that's when I realized, hey, maybe there's more to this than just a bet. I can do so much more with this account than just proving to my friend, you know, so I started researching TikTok. I started seeing what I could do with the potential of TikTok, and that's when I started understanding this whole thing with the creator economy and monetization strategies.
I would do research every day and talk to many other creators. I was able to get in touch with them. As soon as my account started blowing up, I had other people come to me as well. I like watching YouTube videos and talking to people. I realized that this account could make money for me.
That was the point when I started running some ads, just testing ads on my account to see how things were going. I wanted to make this a passive income source or provide for me while doing what I love. So I started running affiliate ads on my account.
I started getting into affiliates because it was very easy to do. I can post somebody else's link and generate money off of it, and I think one of the greatest things about having a social media profile like this is that there's a lot of engagement and viewers that come to your page every single day.
So thousands of people see these links that I'm putting in my bio, which TikTok allows you to do. Hundreds of people, if not thousands of people, are clicking on it every single week. So if I'm able to integrate that link and have it similar to the content I'm putting, then people who come to the link will click it.
Let’s suppose it's something that they love. In that case, they're going to purchase it or download the app that I'm promoting all these different things that I'm promoting. Every time someone does that, then straight money goes to my account.

That's good. You said you started with affiliate marketing. So, let's talk about monetization strategies. So would you recommend other creators start with affiliate marketing and links or pursue brand deals?

Yeah, I did some brand deals early on. I figured out that affiliate works much better with my content.
Now, this might be a lot. Some creators might be like, what. Brand deals or upfront money, and who doesn't like that, right? Like when brands give you 500 to your face, it's nice because you're getting the money for sure. But I realized that the delayed gratification of affiliate links is much more powerful, at least for my content.
So I would encourage all creators to try out both and see what works best for you. After I realized that affiliates could bring in way more money, I stopped doing brand deals altogether just because you can get a lot more traction through affiliate marketing if you do it right.
Just because it's the cost per click or download, and theoretically, you can get tens of hundreds of thousands if you do it well.

Yeah, impressive! So once your affiliate marketing started to succeed, you gave up a little on brand deals, Right?

It would take far fewer. In addition, I did not want to promote scammy brands. So I went with my following. 

So with affiliate marketing, you can choose the brands and deals you want to promote. I guess it was a better fit for your account and content.

Yeah exactly. That’s why I chose to do that.

Our next topic would be your project on NFT, which is one of the biggest buzzwords around the world these days. So, let’s talk about NFT, and in what ways do you think NFTs are good or bad for a creator economy?

I think NFTs are really powerful. Again, it was not a bet, Tal. I did it because I loved it. I am trying to transition from TikTok. I stopped Tiktok, but I wanted to get into different fields. So, I heard of this thing called NFTs. I did a lot of research, and that's when I realized many creators have been getting into NFTs.
I think they are very powerful. In fact, I believe that the metaverse is the future. This whole digitalization of everything will happen one day, and NFTs are like the trading tokens for that. So I think that creators have a lot of leverage nowadays. They have a huge following.
They have an audience, and a lot of them make money. They're doing what they want on their own. I think NFTs are the next step to that. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, he talks about this self-actualization, which is beyond everything. So, I believe that stepping into the metaverse is like an unlimited possibility for everybody.
Owning an NFT is like this digital collectible. I know it seems like a picture, but if you do your research into NFTs. It will be fascinating. I'm not an expert or anything, but from what I have listened to and researched about them I think they are very powerful. I think every creator who's getting into them now is an early adopter, and they're playing it smart.
At least that's what I believe.

So, Shrikar, will you tell us a little bit about the project so the readers can understand that it's not just a picture. How do you put NFT in your projects?

Sure! Our project is called Metavarsity. So it's the metaverse university. We have some big names behind our project, which I can't reveal yet. At least not on live reveal. It's a secret to get into the project. We're building a community of people.
Sort of side hustlers. Like what I've been doing TikTok creation or YouTube creators, affiliate marketers, people who trade NFTs Crypto. We're putting them all together and creating this community around that. Our first step has been making this discord for the Metavarsity and that's where we have everybody together. 
Then soon, our goal is to create different platforms for side hustlers to get together, such as a web3 website where people would log in with an NFT wallet. So if you guys don't know when you purchase an NFT, you have it on your specific wallet, and only you own that.
So if you own our NFT from Metavarsity, you would be able to log into this website and have access to courses and training that are all specific for side hustlers. We also want to build many more things down the road, such as seminars, private parties, and live events, all related to side hustling, making this like a university for people who don't want to take the traditional schooling route.
People want to get into content creation and make that their full time. So it struck well with me because I've always been a side hustler at heart.
So I wanted to offer that opportunity to a lot of people. So if you're wondering why an NFT? Well, it's because when you have this NFT, it's showing that you are the holder.
As I said, NFTs are unique in the sense that when somebody owns an NFT, it's only yours and nobody else's. You would be part of this exclusive community of people who are side hustlers. We wanted to offer that opportunity through that NFT.
Our entities are going to be 3D monkeys. So in the Metavarsity monkeys, the art looks good as well and I think it's just a real benefit to be a part of such a wonderful community.

That's fascinating. So, you are saying that when people will buy one of your NFTs, they will get access to the lessons you made for side hustlers.

Yeah. Right.

When people buy access to your lessons, why would they still need to hold the NFT?

Well, I think that another cool part of NFTs is that they have this value for them. So that's where we tied it back into side hustling because we're showing you, Hey, if you're a side hustler, then get into this exclusive community.
If you want to become a side hustler, we're also offering you this opportunity. And another cool opportunity is that by owning the center, you can also make money.
So what's cool is that when you get it in this NFT, you're investing in the project itself. Once we piece together everything, our main focus is on the community and projects that revolve around the community.
Typically have their NFTs, just shoot up in price. No one knows for sure if that will happen or not. Still, we're doing our very best to make sure that we integrate all parts of the project with the community, with the fully doxed team, and everybody knows their names.
Except for the big people we're bringing in later on with the art, we have our 3D artists making sure everything looks good. So basically, we want to have the people own these NFTs and then use that as a side hustle, too. Maybe if you mint the NFT at a certain price much higher, then that's a return on your investment as well.
So that's just another cool part about NFTs. There are also a lot of other utilities that come with it. So it's just an overall good investment to make, not financial advice, though.

So, Would you recommend other creators to enter the NFT field?

Yes, I think so.

Our next subject is a day in your life as a content creator, and now with another project coming. So, what does your typical day look like?

Sure. My day changed drastically because I had college all of last semester. I just spent not that much time, but I think especially now, I've had a lot of free time to do everything I've wanted to do.
My goal was always to get out of college as fast as possible and build these hustles that I'm working on, just because I love them and I think there's a lot of potential in them.
So typically, I wake up in the morning. I'm not a super early riser, about maybe nine-ish around nine o'clock, and then in the very beginning, when I wake up, I've always had this habit of what my dad taught me is to do yoga and meditation.
So I think that's a key part, and I think it's very powerful. That's also like a huge tip. I know it's a little unrelated, but it led to a lot of the success that I've been having recently and many more to go.
So, that has helped me clear my head, get my thoughts together, and figure out what I want to do throughout the day. Then, later on, when I come to create content I don't schedule blocks to do that, but it usually happens in the morning. I just finished off all my content creation.
It doesn't take much time at all. I know there are people for whom content creation is huge and for some people, it is. It takes a lot of time when it's long-form, but for me, for short-form content, I would say maybe around an hour through all my accounts, and that's pretty much it for everything.
A lot of my day now has been working on this NFT project. I am just getting the community together, managing the discussion. Having the artist’s work on the art just managing the team, having team calls, and making sure that we're engaging with the community. It takes up a good amount of time.
So, as I love going to the gym every day, I make sure to do my work every day.

Nice! Srikar, you said that content creation takes you about an hour. Can you give us a short brief about the process of creating content?

It's all done on my phone. I don't use any external tools much. I just take out my phone. Most of it is TikTok because that's where my main platform is. So I create all the videos on TikTok on my multiple accounts. I manage around five or six accounts with my younger brother. So right now, we just create content there.
I do it all through the green screen effect on TikTok, which they offer because many of my stories are done through the green screen, and I'm able to put pictures in the background for that. So I do that and then I just record the video as it goes. Once I'm done, I upload it, and I move on to the next video.
Mostly, I do that for about an hour, finishing out all my videos for the day. I typically create about one or two videos per account. I draft one, and then I post one, so I can draft and post that one later on in the day.

Sounds very easy, Srikar So, how do you get the ideas for the content?

For the ideas, I'm not going to lie. A lot of it has been like, as I've been making videos over time, I've been getting better at creating some stories in my head, honestly. Sometimes I make up some stories. I don't know if my viewers would love that, but they like the stories, so I don't think it matters where I get them from.
But they typically know when it's a story that I made up versus when it's like a real factual story because I make sure to make that distinction in my videos. And it's pretty obvious when it is a factual story. I do a little bit of research.
I may do it online or on YouTube. I watch another video, and I give credit. So that's typically how I get my stories, and I piece together the information, take some pictures from the internet, and that's pretty much it just put them together.

Got it. So, does it add another hour for your content creation process or less?

No, it's just one hour total with everything.

Yeah. I'm impressed, Srikar. So, as we are about to finish a couple of last questions. Let's speak about the future of the Creator economy. How do you see the future of the creator economy, and what do you think your future in this field will be?

Like I said before with the example I gave with Maslow's hierarchy, self-actualization is what everyone's trying to get to. I think being a creator is like the self-actualization of jobs. Ultimately, you're giving content to people and putting it out there. So you're sharing your own story to the world, and you're able to make money off of that.
And I think that's something that our ancestors would be so shocked to hear that they can just tell stories and that's it, that's their living. And I think that's crazy.
So as I began to realize that, hey, this is just a passion of everybody's. Everyone loves just talking and telling stories. And now I'm able to make this into my job.
Sometimes, I can't even process that. So I think just because of that fact, people are getting so towards social media and all of this is that we are going up upwards. I think becoming a social media influencer or somebody who just creates content is like the peak of, I don't, just producing like being in a job. I think it is the future. 
I think a lot more people are becoming content creators, and they're starting to realize that there's so much power to this, so definitely a good field to get into.
It is so cool. If you're a dancer or anything, it's just expressing yourself and making money off it.  
So for me, it's all about building. At first, when I first started, I thought about doing entrepreneurship, the money part of me. I think for a lot of people, it sounds very appealing. Still, soon I started realizing that the process is what makes it fun. As I started creating content and I worked on projects doing all this stuff, it puts a smile on my face to do all of this.
I just want to keep doing it. I want to keep building projects. I think the beauty of it is that I'm building more things. There are people out there that are getting impacted in a very good way and that goes for anybody, like when you're building. I like thinking about the impacts on other people, especially those who are less fortunate.
So being able to build out projects like this helps side hustlers, maybe raise some money, and then go out and just help other people who don't have the resources to do anything like this is what just keeps me going.

Beautiful. So, for those who are reading and aspiring creators, tell us what advice would you give yourself? If you just started, what would you be optimizing for?

Sure. I think the biggest advice I would give myself is to just start. A lot of people watch videos. You watch motivation, you watch things on how to do it, but when it comes to it, including myself, there was a time when I just didn't start in a way, I do regret it, 
But then I realized that starting is the key to everything. As you build momentum it takes time, obviously, you start to see results, and then not only results, but you start to feel that inner satisfaction of doing something. Otherwise, we can all just sit there and watch Netflix all day.
But I think when you start working on a project and things that you love, like in your inner heart that you want to do, as you keep doing it you start to realize that It's not about the destination. It's about the journey. So that's what I realized. So I just started. 

Srikar, that was our last question. It was great interviewing you. Good luck with your NFT project. I look forward to hearing about it soon. I appreciate you being with us today.

So readers, today we had the pleasure of talking to Srikar and knowing a bit about his routine work as a TikToker and most importantly his upcoming project about NFTs. Srikar is sure to announce something amazing and huge soon. 

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