We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.
This week, we spoke with Simran Kaur, the co-host and founder of the popular Girls That Invest podcast and online community.
Girls That Invest is a podcast run by Kaur and her co-host Sonya Gupthan. The duo discusses tips for investing, saving, running a business, and more. Kaur and Gupthan also run popular Girls That Invest Instagram and TikTok accounts, as well as a Facebook Group—which have a combined following of over 308,000 followers. The pair also launched an investing masterclass last year, which Kaur says earned them over $150,000 within four days of launching.
In 2016, Kaur got her start on social media when she founded The Indian Feminist, an Instagram community with over 300,000 followers. She founded the Girls That Invest Facebook page around the same time, and she later launched an Instagram account that currently has over 180,000 followers. Kaur later recruited Gupthan as a co-host on the Girls That Invest podcast, which launched in August 2020. Kaur is also a writer, speaker, and the author of a book titled Girls That Invest: Your Guide to Financial Independence through Shares and Stocks.
In an interview with Passionfruit, Kaur described the evolution of her content, finding the right people to collaborate with, the success of her online course, her tips for other aspiring content creators, and more.
When did you first start your content creation journey?
I first started my content creation journey when I was still at the start of my university career. I began by looking at how I could use my voice to speak about information that was really important to me.
I first started out with the Indian Feminist. It was an Instagram account where I was able to share my views and have conversations about the issues that South Asian women faced. To do that, I had to create content that would spark conversation, so perhaps hot takes or sharing unpopular opinions through the form of Instagram posts, tweets, and eventually, video.
It was through there that I learned that I could reach a lot of people very quickly. I still recall being so shocked that one single post had reached over 1 million people. It really sparked my interest in the idea that you could create real change in the world by introducing new ideas or concepts in facilitating discussion online.
How has your content evolved since then? If so, why?
Since then (like 6 or 7 years ago) my content has evolved in the way that I’ve realized what people really love; and that is often content that shares opinions, views, and more importantly your own story.
I think there’s a lot of great content online but if you really want to stand out you have to be vulnerable. I’ve shared information about how much we make, our money mistakes, and lessons.
I’ve also found that with Girls That Invest in particular there was no news site that was breaking down investing education or investing news in a way that was bite sized, and so now a lot of our content is also news headlines.
Of course, the introduction of video has been quite a huge change in the content scene, it means that you really have to put out a lot more vulnerability into the world as compared to a static post. This means content creators that can show authenticity have really thrived with the new wave of video.
Why did you team up with your co-host Sonya?
When I first started Girls That Invest as an Instagram account and Facebook group, I was looking at ways to start talking to people. I wasn’t sure if that was going to be a YouTube channel or a podcast, but after a conversation I had with my best friend, where I opened up my money story and she opened up hers, I realized that we would be a great fit for having a podcast together where we shared our money history and encouraged others to do the same within their own communities.
I had been looking far and wide for a good podcast host, and I still recall the “aha” moment when I realized the best host was sitting right in front of me; my best friend Sonya of over 20 years.
Do you have any tips for other creators and entrepreneurs who are looking for the right person to partner with?
I think you’ve gotta determine first and foremost how your partnership is going to work, and in our case, it was very clear from the beginning what our roles were within the brand.
You also have to decide from the beginning where the brand or the idea lays in terms of your commitment. You don’t want to be surprised later down the track when you realize for one of you, it’s a huge priority to grow the brand whereas for the other person it’s more of a fun side hobby.
I think one of the misconceptions that come across is that this happened quickly, but I don’t think people see the 80 hour weeks that we pulled for over a year and a half before we got to the stage where we could offer our first ever paid product.
Everything I had been doing for Girls That Invest was for free, making sure that people were able to get great value in a way that was accessible. We wanted them to realize whether they liked us as teachers or not, and help them form a relationship with the brand to see if we were a good fit in their life.
From there, once that brand trust was created, it was not an uphill battle to offer our first product with high quality content. Even though we didn’t have any reviews for the first course because we had established such a strong community, it was great to see over 500 students sign up within four days.
Over time, how has your course changed? Is your audience’s needs shifting, and how are you addressing those changes?
Every single cohort gets an updated course video as the climate of the investing landscape changes. We realize that our community really appreciates not feeling like they get regurgitated content, but instead, something that feels more bespoke to them.
We also take feedback after every single module or chapter and make improvements for the next week so that people feel like they’re seeing improvements in real time as well. [For example, adding] closed caption videos or adding more examples into slides.
How did you decide what platform to sell your course on?
It was really important for me to use a reputable easy-to-use and highly secure course platform, as the platform that we run our course on also reflects our brand itself.
It was therefore a no-brainer for us to use Thinkific as it met all our requirements, but more importantly, had a great customer support team for a first time course creator like myself. They also make it easy for my team to ask questions, and if any student queries come up, Thinkific already has great resources that we can direct them to.
What are some of the mistakes you think creators make when selling online courses?
The biggest mistake we see with creators selling courses is that they don’t nurture the community long enough before offering products. The course space can often leave audiences wondering who is authentic and who is not, and so the best way to separate yourself is to constantly provide a lot of free value every single day. If you put out great value into the universe and it reaches the right people, they will naturally want to support you and your brand by taking their learning to the next level through your course.
What about in podcasting? What mistakes do you see other creators make?
Podcasting is a long game, but I think one of the biggest mistakes—including one that we made ourselves—was not using the right technology. You don’t need the best microphone in the world, but it pays to use a strong contender and work with high quality editors instead of trying to do it yourself.
Another huge mistake that we see is people not niching down strong enough. In a sea of podcasts, you want to stand out. For example, there were plenty of money podcasts available when we began, but none that really spoke about investing specifically.
What are your favorite podcasting tools?
The best investment I’ve made with podcasting was hiring out the editing so that I could focus on creating good content. We personally use the Shure SM7B microphones which cost a pretty penny, but we first started out with Blue Yeti microphones. We still upload on Anchor, which is a free hosting software that gets this onto the likes of Spotify and Apple Podcasts. In saying that, I think it’s all about getting started, as opposed to getting started once you have the best gear.
Thank you, Simran, for chatting with us!
Have you successfully launched an online community? Email [email protected] for a chance to get featured in an upcoming newsletter.