Aamir Hussain

How My Research Page Gained 19,000+ Followers On Instagram

How My Research Page Gained 19,000+ Followers On Instagram

Welcome! Tell us who you are and a quick overview of your business.

My name Is Aamir Hussain, I am currently a post-doctoral researcher and content creator. My brand is in scientific communication, in particular sharing tips, advice and strategies to help students strive during their PhD years.

My business model is predicated on providing further resources in the form of video courses, tutorials, and exclusive community Q&A.

Partly separate from this I have been building a content creation agency to help fund me whilst I am a part-time creator, something I hope to also scale up as a revenue stream.

How did you come up with your concept?

I had a tormentful PhD, so many barriers and things stacked up against me. I had no stipend (was not paid to do my PhD), and my supervisors became research inactive just to name a few. So when I reached the finish line I realised two things.

1) I want to make sure as many PhD students around the world do not go through what I went through

2) Through my ordeal I learnt a lot of strategies that helped me throughout my journey that I want to share with the world to help those researchers out there

So I already knew I love talking and enjoy speaking so I decided to package that into videos and allow people to watch.

How did you actually launch? How were those early days?

I launched an Instagram page (prior it was just a few videos on YouTube) in August 2019 but took it seriously at the start of 2021. The early days were tough as I had no idea about how social media works properly. All I knew was I like talking and I have ideas, tips and useful advice I want to share.

So I did what many do now: follow the best in the field and learn what they do and how they do it. That is how I essentially learnt to create content over time. I made so many pieces of content before I started to get the hang of it. I still remember my first piece of content was actually on LinkedIn many years ago and it was a 10-minute video!

So it has been a case of time and effort for a long time to get fairly good at producing useful and engaging content on Instagram and now YouTube.

What strategies have you used to attract customers or followers?

I think the biggest attraction has been my carousel posts on Instagram. Most of my followers haven’t come from reels which is the usual common source. The “packed with value” carousels have been the key reason my Instagram page has grown. I do believe it’s because it’s information researchers want but can’t easily find, it’s quick to save and doesn’t take long to read.

A combination of good content design and great value has been the winning combination for me. I keep a simple and consistent design with helps with familiarity, I think this is also quite key.

What has been your biggest hurdle? How have you dealt with it?

I think my biggest hurdle has been myself. I am on course to potentially go down this creator life full time, completely leaving my academic roles within the university and that is quite scary.

Although I know many people suffer from imposter syndrome, for me, it’s been self-doubt. Can I do this as a full-time thing? Can my platform grow so it's self-sustainable? Can the content creation agency I run separately help support me?

But I have recently realised the only way I will truly know is if I keep pushing and learn from the best around me.

What were you doing before this?

So I have only just declared myself self-employed and hired an accountant to look after my taxes and expenses.

I was previously in post-doctoral positions. Classic scientist, in the lab, grinding away but undervalued as many are, poorly respected and grossly underpaid. Throughout my research career, it has been a constant case of stress, underpays and mistreatment. This includes my entire PhD, my first post-doc and my second one. But it is my second one that tips the scale.

The endpoint was my professor was harassing me and attempted to blackmail me if I did not comply with a demand I already met 4 months ago (when my contract had finished) and I realised then I cannot keep running on this hamster wheel this hard for this long and essentially go backwards. I knew I needed a change even if it was short-term.

What are your competitive advantages?

I feel I have a big advantage in being a content creator with a PhD. You see many medics, nurses, and pharmacists in the content creation game but not many big actual scientists especially UK based.

Along with that, running an agency where I have built up key skills in videography, video editing, YouTube Channel management, product photography and social media management has been key advantages that have made my YouTube channel and Instagram page stand out.

Finally, the network I have gratefully built has been hugely influential in my accelerated learning and growth as a creatorprenuer.

Where are you today and what are you most excited about in the future?

In terms of ResearchTribe (the researched based digital products platform), I released my first digital product early this year and I received some good feedback. Now I have been working on big releases towards the end of Q2 mainly 2 video courses and the launch of the ResearchTribe community (hosted by podia hopefully)

For the AamirMedia content creation agency, I have acquired 4 consistent clients I now video edit for which has been incredible. I hope to now double down on this and secure more consistent clients to help scale this so it can fund me and hopefully the expenses of ResearchTribe.

What are your three top tips for others looking to follow in your footsteps?

  1. Learn from people who inspire you — if you want to be a content creator what really helped me is learning how the people I actually watch do what they do. This will massively accelerate your growth into a full-fledged creator
  2. You will always have negativity — No matter what field you embark on or what career path you choose people will always complain or have something to say. No matter how successful you are people will have things to say and the more you do it the more people will come out of the woodwork to pull you down. So focus on what YOU enjoy, what mission you feel you have and focus on that
  3. A quote I wrote in my PhD that I want to share here is “we all have a potential that far exceeds what our minds can imagine, what we lack is the belief that we have it and the desire to utilise it”. I was actually born with speech and listening difficulties but now thankfully I am talking every day and sharing tons of videos. There was no magic drug but clearly, I had the potential to do it as I am now. The only reason I unlocked it was that I believed in myself when no others would dare.

What platforms/tools do you use behind the scenes?

  • Adobe Creative Cloud — in particular, Lightroom to help me edit all my thumbnails and carousel front images.
  • Envato Elements — for all my stock footage for b roll in my YouTube videos and short-form videos.
  • Artlist.io and Epidemic Sound — for all my background tracks.
  • Flaticon — for all the images you see on my carousels and YouTube videos.

What resources have helped you the most?

At the start, Ali Abdaal’s SkillShare course on how to edit YouTube videos via Final Cut Pro really broke a plateau for me and helped me enter a different level of actual professional video editing. After that my biggest resource has been conversations with people. Those little nuggets you find in a 20-minute conversation can be huge.

So I believe my biggest unfair advantage has been the network I have been grateful enough to be in that has helped me in so many different ways to do what I do now.

Where can people find out more?

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