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“Understand Your Niche Before Leaping In” With Nicola Knobel of My Inner Creative

“I would say currently one of the key impacts I have had has been around advocating against copyright infringement. Quite often the other…


“I would say currently one of the key impacts I have had has been around advocating against copyright infringement. Quite often the other influencers in our niche don’t feel comfortable approaching people that have violated their copyright, and I step in on their behalf. I think its a hugely misunderstood area, and people often assume if they saw it on Pinterest on Instagram its a free for all. Its not. And I am a strong believer in making sure that the appropriate people are credited where credit is due. Art is Art and you would take a photo of an artists work because it was in a gallery and copy it at home right? BUT I also believe in inspiration, and where appropriate it can develop amazing innovations.”


I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicola from My Inner Creative, who grew her Instagram page The Art of Bujo towards 40k with almost 300 followed a day. Nicola is a mum, an Occupational health and safety manager and an influencer.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

Back when I was going to leave school, I was passionate about design and creation, but when looking for qualifications, my mum said to me — you need to get a “real job”. I started studying health sciences and in 2007 she took her life, and that made me acutely aware of the importance of mental health and wellbeing! So I listened to what she said and I went into regulation and occupational health and safety, and have worked hard to be successful in my career, working for private corporations, all the way through to consultancies and finally government. This whole time I was desperate for something to light my creative passion, so I would make fun newsletters for the places I worked, posters, creative ideas left and right! BUT always solidly focused on my “non creative career”. This year however I made the decision to do something for myself, with multiple degrees under my belt, I decided the time was right to study something creative, so started the Diploma in Creativity from the New Zealand institute of Creativity. I focused my energy on Instagram and building and understanding instagram! (While I was still managing a team of amazing individuals and keeping people safe!). I interviewed people, I researched, I learned and learnt some more and now, I have a fun Instagram page over at @theartofbujo where we share gorgeously curated journal pages from around the world, which grows at about 300–400 followers a day.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?

So this combines both sides of my life. I got an email to my work address, stating someone was concerned about their health because they were sitting to close to a printer, because……they had read on a blog post that sitting to close to a printer can cause cancer. I was fascinated that someone could believe the power of blogging and this really made me start paying more attention to what I personally put into my blogs and how it could influence people.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I would say currently one of the key impacts I have had has been around advocating against copyright infringement. Quite often the other influencers in our niche don’t feel comfortable approaching people that have violated their copyright, and I step in on their behalf. I think its a hugely misunderstood area, and people often assume if they saw it on Pinterest on Instagram its a free for all. Its not. And I am a strong believer in making sure that the appropriate people are credited where credit is due. Art is Art and you would take a photo of an artists work because it was in a gallery and copy it at home right? BUT I also believe in inspiration, and where appropriate it can develop amazing innovations.

If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?

Understand your niche, put a bit of research into it before leaping in. You need some sort of foundation in the understanding of the career line you are going into. I am pretty certain making the leap for some works, but for the risk adverse like me, do some research first.

Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful?

Absolutely. I am grateful to my mother who told me to get a “real job” because challenge is the home of innovation, without the outlet of creativity I had to devise my own ways to feel creative and without it I would never be in this position!

Can you share a story?

I can share many many stories! (Like I once gotten bitten by a Hippopotamus!) I think the most relevant one was… (and ill give a little context first!) The Instagram page I run, shares amazing journals from all over the world. I don’t charge for the shares, I systematically work through the rainbow and share 56 slots a week. When you have a more popular instagram account, often people just message and demand a shout out, or a feature, they can be quite pushy and rude and heck! Im just a person here, building my little empire. So I asked the followers I had, openly, what I should do. They said, charge them a fee to have the shout out, because they are being rude and if they are silly enough to pay, take it. So thats what I did. So one pareticlar afternoon, I got a demanding “feature my post” DM. I went to go look at their page, as I do before sending my generic “thanks for asking for a feature blah blah blah”spiel. On the page I found however they were taking pics off google and making them their own by slapping a really messy rudimentary @xxx over them. Ummmmm…. NO! So I went back and replied with my generic reply and also said, “hey look, you cant take stuff from google and claim its yours, its against instagrams copyright policies” Well — they launched into a full scale attack on me about how talentless I was and I was a drain on society and how could I say they stole it when they had drawn it themselves.

SO! The moral of the story here is Instagram isn’t real life, and if you are going to be an influencer make sure you have that embedded in your brain, you need to be sure that you have the capacity to seperate the insta world from real life.


So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now Im working on a couple of things which I am really excited about! At the start of July, I am launching a free workshop to help introduce beginners to the joys of journaling and why its important for your mental health and wellness. I am also looking at some products to help make journaling easier for people who are just starting out, and I am doing another series of interviews on the big names in Journaling.

What are your “Top Five Ideas About How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand” . (Please share a story or example for each.)

There are some great ideas out there! In my interviews that I did with flourishing instagrammers and influencers, I found there were a few commonalities and some really clever ideas top.

Sponsored posts are always the go to, but on instagram this is a tricky way when starting out to Monetise you own brands.

Idea 1: Write a book. Use what you are posting about, see what the pinch point is and write a “how to” book. Not only does the book bring in monetised sales, but you can then branch out to other influencers to promote your brand and book through affiliate marketing.

Idea 2: Another group of instagrammers started creating their own stickers and printables that followers could purchase. This meant that the followers could purchase the same items they had been lusting over or wishing for in their own space and make it look similar with little or no effort.

Idea 3: Create affiliate links and become a niche affiliate marketer. This is a really simple way to monetise your personal brand. After some time people start trusting your opinions and that what you have to say means something. So selling products you trust to gain some commission is a logical step.

Idea 4: Create a well presented well curated course in your niche with help for those that potentially also want to get into the niche. A number of artist now create 5 day challenges, or 2 week online courses to walk people though the basics of getting started.

Idea 5: Depending on your size and capacity you may want to consider selling branding merchandise. For me, I am looking at going a range of products that are tailored specifically to the needs to my newer followers, the ones just starting out. This will help get them excited and get them motivated to keep up the journal journey!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

You know! In New Zealand we are so isolated and we often don’t have the opportunity to meet or speak to amazing people. I would love to meet with Instagrams Copyright team. How cool would that be! But in reality I would love to meet with either Hal Elrod or Darren Rouse. That would be so much fun. I would just have ALL the questions! And the more questions the more you learn right! Actually there are so many people!

Originally published at medium.com

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