Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

I make content because I think this is the best way for me to be happy: Vishnu Kaushal

The comedy content creator talks about his journey, his process of work, his milestones and a lot more

Samidha Jain
Published: Nov 13, 2023 01:21:30 PM IST
Updated: Nov 13, 2023 01:39:28 PM IST

I make content because I think this is the best way for me to be happy: Vishnu KaushalVishnu Kaushal is popular among the youth for his funny portrayal of teacher-student conversations, banter between cousins, and more.

Vishnu Kaushal is one of the favourites among the Gen Z when it comes to comic content on Instagram. When he started off on his content creation journey, Kaushal had only a few thousand followers on YouTube and Instagram. Today, he has 2.3 million followers on Instagram, and is popular among the youth for his funny portrayal of teacher-student conversations, banter between cousins, and Bollywood vs reality videos, among others. 

Apart from content creation, in the past couple of years, Kaushal has featured in an online TV series called Feels Like Home, and has started his own clothing brand called Peach By Vishnu, owing to his love for design. In conversation with Forbes India, the 25-year-old talks about how he started off his content creation journey, his thoughts on the growing competition, brand collaboration, favourite fan moments and more.  

Q. How and when did you start your journey?  
I started around 2014-15, while I was still in high school, studying 10-12 hours a day, and making content was a fun break. As a kid too, I always enjoyed recording myself enacting funny characters. My cousins and I would make funny videos. We didn’t have a good camera back then, but that didn’t stop us. But, at the time, we didn't post them anywhere. After high school and hours of study, my friends and I decided that we should do something fun. We thought that we'd either start a YouTube channel or a music band. Then, we thought we aren’t talented enough to start a music band, so we made a YouTube channel. That was how it began. Eventually, my friends went on to do their own thing, outside of content creation, but I enjoyed being in front of the camera, and talking to people, so I continued with it. I made a lot of YouTube videos, did podcasts, did a host of things for five years but I didn’t have a huge audience then. I started making proper Instagram short form content in 2019. And my content on Instagram blew up in early 2020, when the pandemic hit.

See: Full Digital Stars 2023 list

Q. How was it convincing your parents that you want to pursue content creation as a profession?  
I make content because I think this is the best way for me to be happy. I did not know if I would do this for a living. I didn't even know how much I would make making videos for a living. I did it for fun. For me, it was a good break from the everyday things. Through this, I got a job with MensXP. After that I started monetising my own videos too, so it transitioned very easily. My parents saw that I have some talent so they understood. 

Also read: Aakanksha Monga: Breaking the taboo of solo travel for Indian women

Q. Do you prefer Instagram or YouTube as a platform for your content?  
I prefer Instagram because that's how I earn my living. But I love YouTube because that's how I started making videos. I think that YouTube is where one can effectively express using long-form content, and that's one form of storytelling that I'm yet to crack. It's just something that I enjoy the most. I think making blogs and telling stories in long form is much more fulfilling, artistically.   

Q. What is your process of creating content?  
Since we creators start earning early, there can be a perception that we must be very professional. But ultimately we're just 18, 19, 20 year olds who got a camera and got famous, and do this because we love doing this.  

I think it is very hard for me to make a schedule for creating content because you can’t foresee what your mood will be on a certain day. You can't be just funny when you're not feeling funny or when you're just feeling sad, or if it's a gloomy day. At the end of the day, it's just artistic expression. No matter what kind of content you're making, you're putting something out there which is creative, and it has to come from some place of honesty. It's hard to schedule something like this for me.

Also read: Ankush Bahuguna: The creator carving a niche in beauty

Q. What are your thoughts on competition in the field? What do you think makes your content stand out?  
I don't think of competition that way. I feel like it is a huge cake and there is enough for everyone. One person can follow multiple people and there will always be enough. I think the competition mentality comes from a place of scarcity when you feel like there's not enough for me. But if you're genuinely doing your thing, enjoying it, and people are liking it, then that’s enough. I don't think you really have to worry about competition. Just do your thing, people are going to acknowledge you.

Q. Can you speak a little about your brand collaborations, and what is the process of choosing which brands you want to associate with?  
It's fairly simple. I only collaborate with brands whose products I use myself or something that has no red flags around it. I don't work with betting apps or alcohol brands. I just know for a fact that I will not promote those. Other than that, I choose based on my own ethics.

Q. The creator economy is not the most sustainable one, so how do you ensure that you keep the money coming in?  
Practically speaking, I don’t think my content is going to survive for decades. It is very difficult for even most brands to do that. I think I need to be open to learning new things, new skills, and new ways to express myself. With the money I have made so far in content creation, I have invested in my own business—designing clothes—something I love and enjoy. I think that creating a brand can be a great source of income for the long run.  

But, at the same time, if we talk specifically about content creation, you need to learn and be okay with the fact that at points your engagement goes down and you need to understand that it doesn't define your work and you need to keep finding new ways to express yourself. 
 
Also read: Vani Murthy: Building a sustainable, low-waste army

Q. What are some of the milestones that you think you've achieved so far?  
One of the biggest milestones for me is that I paid off a really huge family debt which took a lot of pressure off the whole family. Second, I had never got an award for anything in my life, and I got one for my work, which felt like a big deal because my mother was very happy that I finally got an award. Then, I had never thought I'd do a movie or a TV show, and I did one and also got to be a small part of a film, which was great.  

Q. Are there any anecdotes about your fans that really touched your heart?  
There's this one time I was sitting in a cafe and a girl came up to me and told me that she has been watching my videos for very long, and she shared about her mental health and how my comedy videos helped her through a very tough time. Her story made me go back to a time when I was at rock bottom and I would just see videos of my favourite creators, and that would make me smile. It felt great that the girl shared something so personal with me and that I could help her unknowingly. I have had a few of those encounters and I think they really ground me and help me connect with what I'm doing.