Tanmay Bhat’s journey with money and advice for rising stars in the creator economy

Tanmay Bhat shares his experience and learnings from his journey with money and some much-needed advice for new-age creators as they tap the wealth in the creator economy.

Social media maverick Tanmay Bhat has an estimated net worth of $8.8 million-$12.44 million. While his actual net worth is unclear, it still makes one curious about his journey with money – one worth diving into and deconstructing for new-age creators to learn from, and it’s something YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma did during an unfiltered conversation with the creator at YourStory’s Creators Inc conference.

“I made a lot of financial mistakes in my life. [Instead of raising funds] I invested my own money in building the company. My main motivation [was] to make content and content ke chakkar mai paise ka baat kerna in itself was a win for me. Now there are a lot of finance creators, but maybe months ago, there were far fewer and it was like, paise ki baat hi kaun kerta hai (who talks about money),” he said.

Here are some key takeaways and learnings from Tanmay Bhat’s own journey with money.

It’s okay to chase money

In a country like India, many of us are taught to grow up detesting money, believes Tanmay, who says this is particularly true in less affluent homes. Money, in fact, is regarded as the root cause of all evil. But this needs to change, he opines.

“It's okay to be money minded. Being money minded is a bad phrase in India, but it's ok to chase financial freedom. I used to frown on people who raise money for their content startups. And now I look back and think that (attitude) was stupid,” he says.

Money buys you freedom

We have heard this repeated often enough – that “money doesn't buy you happiness.” 

But Tanmay counters this, saying that while money may not buy you happiness, it, in fact, has the power to turn any unhappy situation into a “comfortable” one, thanks to the financial freedom afforded by it. 

“I think the older people get, the more they value this freedom. Sometimes it's too late before you find out how valuable (financial) freedom is.”

Get creative with your money games

According to Tanmay, people could do well to go beyond their preconceived notions about the steps they should take in order to become wealthy. Unfortunately, most are unable to think outside the box and get by with a restricted view of how they can achieve success and financial freedom.

But not Tanmay. His thought process includes pertinent questions that challenge the status quo and any predefined ways of gaining wealth. 

Why can't a comedian be as wealthy as an entrepreneur? Why can't there be a billion dollar community founder? The more followers you have, the more you can charge brands, this is the route that everybody is taught, but why do you have to be more famous to make more money? These are but a few of the questions that Tanmay finds himself asking.

“After a period of time, at least, I have realised that these (predefined) scripts can be broken and there are ways for you to make money if you are creative about it. The more you play money games, the more creative you get with it and the quicker you can buy freedom. I think a lot of creators miss that,” he adds.

Talk about money

Creators seldom talk about money. And yet, Tanmay is among a select few who do, for which he has faced criticism and a fair bit of trolling. 

“But I think there's no other way to do it except for being brutally open and honest about it. People don't ask for other people's advice on money. They feel shame, which is not good. Now I actively want to meet other more successful folks and I'm very blunt. Kaise hote hain yaar, mai kaise kama sakta hun itna (How does this work? How can I earn as much?) and I'm not ashamed of voicing that out because people are doing it,” he says.

Make the audience ‘rich’ with you

Humko lagta hai ki hum aise karenge to janta bhaag jayegi, pasand nahi karegi mujhe (We think people will not follow us if we do things a certain way), but the real way to do it is, to see how you can involve them in your journey. And if you can make people who follow you also richer then it's a a positive sum game and Ankur Warikoo has done that, amazingly,” he says.

Tanmay believes that creators should therefore be open to experimenting with multiple revenue streams. 

Hum creator economy ki baat karte hain, but ye fundamental cheez pehle fix karna hai (we talk about creator economy but this fundamental thing needs to be fixed) which is that the creators should first be okay with the idea of wanting to have many revenue streams,” he said.

There is always a route to wealth

It's a common battle to choose between doing what you love to do and where you can earn money. But Tanmay has a different opinion.

“Most people think that making money is anti-thetic to what we truly want to do. It's not true. Mr Beans ko dekh lo (see Mr Beans). He will become a unicorn creator. Dhoondh liya na tareeka usne kuch to. Usko maze to aa rahe honge. Aisa to nahi ki bore ho raha hai (He has found his way. He loves what he do). [So] whether you are a creator, journalist or chef, there is a route to wealth. You just have to grind on and think about what is it.”

Catch YourStory's Creators Inc conference here.

For more on other key initiatives as part of the conference, visit our Creators Inc. website here.

Recognising the burgeoning creator ecosystem and the new wave of entrepreneurship that comes with it, YourStory is celebrating the works of both established and emerging influencers in an initiative aimed at identifying, celebrating and accelerating the journey of digital creators who make extraordinary, unique and engaging content. We've partnered with Trell to bring you the Top 100 Creators challenge, which you can apply for here.

Edited by Tenzin Pema


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