"It Is Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams, Take the First Step, Rest Will Follow”- Abhilasha Jain

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1. Tell us about your background and your journey. 

I am born and brought up in India. I came to the US to do Masters in Computer Engineering hoping it would be my escape from the 9-5 life. I have always been into dance, whether it was performing in college annual fests or dancing in my room to loud music after school.

When I started Masters, more than the college library, I was excited to explore the dance scene in my college. In my very first year, I auditioned for a Hip Hop dance team and got in. I spent more time practising in the dance studio than in the lab working on assignments.

I remember sitting at my study table at midnight studying for my Computer Networks paper which was the next morning. As I was going through my notes, a voice within me asked “What am I doing here? Where will this degree take me? To another 9-5 desk job?”.

No, I couldn’t imagine doing that for the rest of my life. I asked myself “What makes you really happy?”. I realised it was “Dance”. I didn’t know how to pursue dance as a career. I didn’t even have formal training.

All I knew was that dance makes me happy and I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. That night, I made a decision. “I will pursue dance no matter how hard it gets”. Since then I have never looked back.

I created my YouTube channel the same year and now it has grown over 112k+ subscribers. I trained in different styles over the years and fell in love with Waacking the most. I teach Hip Hop, Bollywood and Waacking in the US. I have toured across India teaching dance workshops in multiple cities.

I have built a business which focuses on teaching dance online. My goal is to help people across the globe learn how to dance and fulfil their passion irrespective of where they live. I have also collaborated with other platforms which aim to help people through online learning worldwide.

Following my passion was no cakewalk. Many obstacles came my way, sometimes it was lack of support from peers and often it was self-inflicted doubt but the realization that dance is my calling, that dance gives purpose and meaning to my life, kept me going strong and steady on my path.

2. When did you first decide that you wanted to create content? How did you start? 

After I came to the US, I saw a lot of people pursuing unconventional careers, something I hadn’t seen back home. It was not a rat race towards becoming engineers and doctors. All my life I had loved dancing but never knew how it could be a career and hence never took any step in that direction.

During my first year at the university, a friend mentioned how people were making careers in art and music on YouTube. That got me curious. I started to look more into it. I did a lot of research on YouTube and what I found gave me hope.

After I had made my decision to pursue dance, I thought of starting a dance channel on YouTube. I saw that there were a few dancers making dance videos but there was hardly anyone teaching dance. I wanted my channel to be unique and provide a lot of value. 

That’s when ‘DanceWithAbby’ was born. In the summer, when all my batchmates were either doing internships or went to India to spend their vacation, I dedicated all my time in building the channel.

3. Where do you usually find inspiration to churn out content?  

Inspiration comes in many forms. It could be intentional or random. I may hear music I like on the radio and the musicality or the mood or the melody of the song may catch my attention.

I would start visualizing moves and patterns to the music. If what I see gets me excited, I might decide to make a video on it. Sometimes inspiration comes from watching other artists. How an artist interprets the music and how they dance to it might make me want to create to it too.

Many-a-times, my own emotions, what I am going through at that moment may lead me to create something unique. Once in a while, a beautiful or interesting location might stir ideas in my head on what could be created to match the mood of the place.

4. Who is your favourite creator and why?

I don’t have a favourite creator. But I watch MostlySane from time to time. I find her content very refreshing and relatable. She’s funny and genuine.

5. Is YouTube content creation a financially sustainable career?

Just like any social media platform, YouTube is a medium to showcase your talent and connect with your audience. Whether you can make it a financially sustainable career or not, it depends on the creator.

My advice is that one should never entirely be dependent on any social media platform for their financial sustenance. A platform may change rules which might hurt a creator if they depend on it for income. 

I would suggest building a business around your following. Having multiple sources of income and learning more than one skill is the key to sustainability in the long run.

6. What advice would you like to give to aspiring creators?

It is important to know ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing. It is sometimes easy to start but hard to keep going when things don’t work in your favour. If your ‘why’ is clear it will inspire you to continue to work on your craft and create content you love.

Be ready to work hard and have a lot of patience. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Use your uniqueness to your advantage. Sometimes one might feel that everything is already done and there is nothing new to create. You can use your unique personality to give an interesting twist to a subject you are interested in and share it with the world.

It is good to have a rough plan on where you want to take your following but at the same time be flexible to changes and open to new opportunities because, in the creative field, anything can happen.

Abhilasha JainYoutuber 

- Interviewed by Agatha Coutinho

- Edited by Shilpy Sharan

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