Nikunj Lotia, popularly known as Nick from BeYouNick, started his YouTube career by making prank videos during his college days. Coming from a humble background, Nikunj had to do odd jobs to make ends meet and pursue his higher education. As he switched jobs from a cyber-cafe to a bartender - earning Rs. 350 a day, and then at a call centre, what remained consistent was his dedication towards content creation.
Today, BeYouNick is one of the leading names in the YouTube comedy scenario in India. Popular for out-of-the-box content loaded with rib-tickling twists, Nikunj now has over 8.5 million subscribers across digital platforms.
Nick, who was the only Indian digital creator to represent India at VidCon US 2019, has collaborated with Bollywood stars like Madhuri Dixit, Vidya Balan, Arjun Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Rajkumar Rao, Nargis Fakhri and Ayushmann Khurrana .
In conversation with The Free Press Journal's Simran Khan, Nikunj Lotia aka BeYouNick talked about his journey from Dombivli to LA.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
How did you come up with BeYouNick? Tell us what went behind the first video you ever uploaded on YouTube?
My first video was not on BeYouNick it was on my older channel, which was pretentiously called “Not so funny.” And, it wended up exactly as it’s name. So, when I was wanting to give it another shot, I decided to go with the ever green advice in this field of being yourself because all of us are unique. So it’s a reminder to Be You Nick.
Who inspired you to pursue a career in content creation?
I saw some international creators and was fascinated by them being able to put their interest in a video form and people appreciating it. My content isn’t quite inspired by anyone but I did initially see a fair bit of the first Gen Indian YouTubers.
When did you find out that comedy was your calling?
Way early! In school I guess. When you are blessed with the boy next door looks you resort to being funny to blend in. So I was the class clown and I guess I went pro at it.
What was your family's reaction to the idea of you becoming a digital content creator?
I was making content while being a bartender. I am not sure if my family was ever worried about becoming a content creator... Can’t say that about bartending though!
How difficult was it to chase your goals while also trying to make ends meet? Did you ever feel like giving up on creating content?
In hindsight it was not difficult. It was absolutely worth it. If the grind didn’t exist, may be the pleasure of seeing ideas turn real won’t be as exciting. So I learnt a lot in that phase, especially on getting things done.
The giving up thought did creep in, may be once or twice. But after the first time, I started making videos that I wanted to make. So, I was and still am enjoying that process. I make content I’d like to see and so keeping at it was easy.
What would you suggest to aspiring content creators who do not have enough funds?
I worked at a call centre just till the time I had the bare minimum money to be able to shoot a video. It’s way easier today. Most of us have a phone, which can shoot quite decently. So, don’t worry about the funds, worry about the content you will enjoy making and push that video out!
How different is it to record content in LA than Dombivali?
It’s easier to be honest. You don’t get mobbed there so that’s a nice advantage. People don’t mind you shooting yourself as long as you respect their privacy. Locations are easy to scout. And, of-course the weather and the creator community there is mighty conducive for taking some good shots!
What has been the most special moment of your career so far?
There are far too many of them to be able to single out one or two! Having Monaco biscuit at Monaco, while being invited there as the only Indian creator for the World Influencer Awards, was special. Gifting my car to one of my oldest fans was special. The latest vlog which is a spin off on the evergreen Pehla Nasha song was special.
What’s next for Beyounick?
There’s a lot of passion projects lined up. Some not in the content space as well. So expect some great content, some fun stuff!