Everyday I'm hustlin'
Zainab Faizal has always known what she wanted and chased after it. It took a little trial and error and a whole lot of self-discovery, but she’s unlocked her passion for content creation and has no plans on hitting ‘pause’. Read on for how it all began and the important lessons she’s learned along the way.
Zainab always enjoyed writing even when she was reading for her degree in Psychology. “I was always obsessed with learning more about psychology and even changed schools so I could pursue it. But I always loved writing,” she recounts. So when a job opened up for a freelance journalist at the Daily Mirror, when she was 18-years-old, she jumped at the chance, got an interview and landed the job. “It felt like I’d made it and it was great seeing my name in print!”
Right around this time, Zainab got her first phone. Like any 18-year-old, she got onto Instagram. She didn’t understand the concept of how Instagram revolved around the number of ‘likes’ a post gets. “I was new to the platform, so I was still getting used to how it worked—the ‘likes’ always gave me the impression that it was only about that since everyone wanted as many as possible.” But, with Instagram being the phenomenon it is, Zainab soon began sharing little tidbits of her life and any events she went to through her new job.
Her following began to grow, with more people curious to know what else she sees and does on the regular. At this point, Zainab began working on food review videos for the Daily Mirror. That’s when people truly started noticing her. Realizing there was potential for content creation and blogging on a larger scale, she quit her job and decided to try it out on her own.
It was tough at the onset because no one understood the idea of blogging. “People preferred traditional media when it came to marketing their products. They didn’t quite get that you could use micro-influencers within the country to promote certain things to a niche audience,” she explains. But after working for free for a while, things started picking up. Currently, a lot of millennials are entering the field as content creators. “This creates healthy competition online and it also shows that there is room for the market to develop in Sri Lanka,” she says.
Sharing a significant chunk of your life online is not without its challenges. From dealing with trolls to aunties raising their eyebrows at your antics, it’s an entirely different ball game. People catch a glimpse into Zainab’s life through her posts and stories, and while it’s really cool, it’s also pretty darn stressful. “So many young girls look up to you and one tiny slip can derail everything you’ve built, bringing it to a crashing halt,” she reflects. So, if you’re looking to get into the scene, remember that it’s a fairly public lifestyle. Be mindful about what you post, where you go and who you’re seen with—everything matters. “At the same time, don’t create a fake online personality. Be true to yourself. Finding this balance is hard, but worth it in the end. After all, you don’t want to wake up one day, hating the person you are online.”
Zainab’s next challenge is establishing herself both in Sri Lanka and in the UK. Working within the influencer sphere overseas, Zainab learned that it’s not about how many followers you have—it’s all about the quality of your content. “Whether you have a million followers or 2,000, as an influencer you’re treated equally. The companies understand that someone with a million followers, for example, could easily create bad, half-hearted posts. And, someone with considerably fewer followers can put in far more effort, curating their content targeting a loyal base of 200 who are more likely to engage and buy their product or service.”
So, if you’re starting out, don’t be hard-pressed about making money from the get-go, just let your passion guide you. “It may be years before you’re able to make money. Instead, enjoy the content you create and use your IG feed or blog as a space you feel the happiest.”
Video and photo editing are always fun to do, but it takes time to find something that works for you. The best way to keep your feed looking consistent is to fix on a set look and feel. When she first started out, Zainab would slap on an Instagram filter and upload. With time she moved to the app, VSCO, using the filter A4 for a retro vibe. “If you scroll down to some of my older posts, you’ll notice that my photos look vintage!”
Then, she discovered Lightroom. While it’s a tad difficult to manoeuvre, she eventually figured out what type of preset that would fit her style. “Pre-made presets may not work, because they’re created for a specific mood and skin tone. So I developed mine over the past five months. Now I finally settled on one with orange hues!” shares Zainab. Take the time to understand the process of editing based on your photos and create something that fits your aesthetic.
She’s grown her followers, curated her content and made them eye-catching af. But, she isn’t stopping there! With hopes to start investing in equipment, Zainab plans to try her hand at YouTube. “I’m still camera shy! I always record something and then delete everything! But, I want to start working on style videos and daily vlogs.”
Follow Zainab on Instagram!
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more inspo, grab a copy of our latest magazine or subscribe online.
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more inspo, grab a copy of our latest magazine or subscribe online
Your email address will not be published.
You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>