TikTok food creator Nasim Lahbichi had it all: he lived through the COVID-19 pandemic hurdles, faced the community's hatred and negotiated with brands about pricing for ads. Here's his story from Eater.com about what he has learned so far being a member of the creator community:

As a beginner prepare for free content only

Lahbichi, with almost 500,000 followers on TikTok, says he used to work for free "for six to eight months" before he started making money from his hobby. Yet, even this time interval isn't enough for brands that will mostly try to trick you to advertise their products for free.

This is an issue in the industry — brands will reach out assuming exposure or free product is worthy payment for a video that takes me an entire week to create, not to mention that I’m paying for the film equipment and the lighting.

He says he doesn't even bother to respond to messages asking for a free ad as it's "disrespectful to a creator who puts so much time and effort and mental energy into their work."

Choose your side

Lahbichi personally prefers to call himself a creator as —according to his own words — at the end of the day he is a creator. He doesn't feel to call his content an influential one because there's a "negative connotation with that category of creators."

When I think "influencer," I think of YouTubers who care more about followership, analytics, and sponsorships. There’s a lack of empathy associated with many influencers.

He admits that he might be influencing other people in terms of food, but he likes to think that he builds community and creates a space for people to learn.

Social media doesn't care about your feelings

Newbie creators should be ready for apathy projected from social media. Lahbichi, who went through a "rough time" over an important relationship ending, says he still has to deal with a lot of hate projected from people over their "insecurities, their own self-hate, their own lack of self-worth."

It’s not kind, and it’s definitely not warranted.

Lahbichi says he has accepted that he can't be his best self when he's tired or when he's not respected. He also revelaed that at least to him burnout is easy because "you’re constantly feeling the need to reinvent yourself."

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