From the Instagram account getting hacked to rebuilding the community to starting The Awaara Musaafir Show, the journey of Awaara Musaafir aka Jayesh Gangan
A cool soul, a curious human being, a traveller at heart and an avid reader, that’s Awaara Musaafir for you. The man behind the Instagram blog, Jayesh Gangan aka the Awaara Musaafir is a person who loves to explore new things, meet new people, find new places, taste new food and the like. “I am a free soul at heart,” elates Awaara saying “I can’t sit at a desk from 9-5, that’s not just me, I am not saying there’s anything wrong with 9-5, I mean.. the whole world is working systematically because of people who are doing 9-5 job, it’s just not for me, I can’t sit at one place, stay at one place for more than a few days, I get bored when I have to follow a routine, I need my freedom, I need that experience of being on a constant move, like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani?”
The quest for freedom is what Awaara Musaafir is all about
Telling about Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Jayesh said it’s one of his favorite films. “Ranbir Kapoor’s character is basically me, minus all the cheesy stuff that he does. Tamasha yet again is my favorite film because Ranbir Kapoor’s character was me when I was doing a desk job, I needed my freedom. I am also a really curious person, I need to know why everything happens as it happens.. and that’s exactly what took me deep into the spiritual world, I just wanted some answers from the universe to satiate my curiosity.”
We asked Jayesh about his journey of developing the Awara Musafir Community, here’s what he said
Jayesh Gangan: Awaara Musaafir is something that I had not planned from the start, I think its something that the universe wanted to happen to me. When I started off as a travel photographer I had no clue someday Awaara Musaafir will become my brand identity, I mean.. it was just an Instagram handle 7 years back.. not anymore though.
I started my journey way back, 7 years back, when I was in 12th standard I guess, I wanted to get into photography because all my friends were doing that but the biggest obstacle was that I didn’t have a DSLR back then, I & a friend of mine started a Facebook page where we uploaded pictures that we clicked with our phones, this was the time when 8 megapixels was also considered royalty in smartphones, phones weren’t as smart as they are today, lol, but anyway, that’s how the journey started, that Facebook page reached 25K plus followers then came the era of Instagram.. the infamous days when Instagram was JUST a photo-sharing app mainly designed for creative people.
I hopped onto the app, although I was a bit late to join very quickly I got recognised in the photography community because back then very few people clicked pictures using mobile phones, then after a year of photography on Instagram I finally brought a DSLR, Canon 700D, which became my best friend, I still use the same camera for all my personal hobby photography when a client isn’t involved, I experimented a lot with the DSLR and quickly learnt all the technicalities, till this time I was mainly doing street photography, then a family trip happened to Himachal Pradesh where the travel bug bit me, I instantly became a mountain lover, I started going solo to various places & capturing pictures, with time as my skills improved, my pictures also improved & people started recognising me now, brands started recognising me & I started doing a lot of paid work for brands, which also includes work with Egypt Tourism through AIESEC India.
Everything was going good when a tragedy happened one morning I got up, opened my Instagram but it said to log in, this was really weird because I never logged out of my app, when I put in my login details it said no such account found, error logging in, I tried for an hour to log in but nothing happened, I asked my friends to check my profile once, they searched for @awaara_musaafir but no such profile popped up… someone had hacked into my profile & deleted it! I had a community of close to 9K followers when that profile got deleted. This was probably the worst phase of my life probably, although 3 days later I started a new profile with the same name, everyone in the community helped me build back by giving me shoutouts.
There were so many people who helped me out that if I started writing all the names it would probably take 20-25 pages. I can’t thank the whole creative community of Instagram who helped me build back. I again built a community of close to 9k followers between which 2-3 of my pictures went viral across the globe, and then when everything was going good, pandemic happened & I couldn’t travel anymore now so started a new phase of Awaara Musaafir, obviously I couldn’t sit idle so I started talking a lot about self-help, motivation, two terms which I really hate btw, I like to describe my content as just something which I am discovering on a daily basis, I read a lot of books, like A LOT!
I started talking about books & whatever I was learning from it, reels also came in which helped in this because now you could create bite-sized content, I lost 1000 followers in this switch because people followed me before this for my photography, probably they weren’t interested in this new content, one day it just hit me that man I like to hear stories from people so why not start a podcast, I anyway wanted to explore the world of YouTube, hence started
The Awaara Musaafir Show, a photographer had turned into a full-time video creator, once the podcast started I built a team around me which right now consists of 6 people including me, I have always done whatever I have done for my community, which is like my family, I don’t actually like to use terms like followers because I feel all of the people who follow me are like my family, I try to share whatever I have learnt with them & I try to have conversations with them regularly to know their opinions about my content. What started off as a stand-alone photographer’s journey has turned into a full-fledged brand, a start-up that has now 6 people working day and night to build & grow this brand & help as many people as possible with positive, insightful & intense content!
Awaara Musaafir has started the Podcast, The Awara Musafir Show and we are absolutely loving it
Jayesh told us that The Awaara Musaafir Show started to basically satiate his own hunger to hear stories of people, mostly artists but over time “I realised there are people who are enjoying listening to this conversation as much as me, so I thought let’s build this podcast & grow it as much as possible.” He said that when he started the podcast, he had zero conversational skills, “sure I could talk to random people on streets & engage with them for photography purposes but to interview someone needed a whole different level on conversational skills, I brought books that could teach me how to talk & I started watching youtube videos, this really helped me, you can see the difference between my first ever podcast episode & the recent most episode, there’s like a ‘zameen aasmaan’ ka fark in the way I talk & present myself in front of the camera”.
Awaara emphasises the importance of developing social communities on different platforms
Look, every big content creator will tell you never lay all your eggs in one basket & somewhere that’s right. I will tell you why there were creators who got really big on Tik Tok, their content be it cringe or not they had the numbers, 95% of those creators made one simple mistake, they never diversified. They never ventured out of Tik Tok. And when Tik Tok got banned in India and so many creators lost their earning stream in one night, in fact if I am not wrong a Tik Tok creator also committed suicide!
So, that is why always diversify. Lay your eggs in multiple baskets, but at the same time, I would also advise that always have 2 platforms that will be your major goals. I will give you my process, make three lists, call it umm maybe A-List, B List & C List, your A list is your top priority, B list little lesser priority & C list is basically something that you would do one in a while, in my A list currently I have Instagram & YouTube because I think my content will work the most on these two platforms, so 90% of my efforts go into these two platforms, my B list has Clubhouse & Twitter, whatever I learn from my A list content that is from all the podcasts that I do. I talk about those on Clubhouse & tweet out my thoughts on Twitter, my C list consists of Facebook & Linkedin, where I majorly just promote my A list content, nothing else. So what I mean to say is that Lay your eggs in multiple baskets & work smart instead of hard. As a content creator, you need to be smart about how you create & distribute your content!
Awaara Musaafir’s advice to the young creators
Jayesh Gangan: My advice is very simple, focus on quantity rather than quality when you start out, once you get a hang of the whole process and get a little bit of recognition then go for quality rather than quantity. Be flexible and adapt to the changes, social media platforms are changing really fast, be adaptive or else you will be forgotten pretty soon. Don’t get affected by numbers a lot. I have been creating content for the last 7 years & I have learnt that if you pay extra attention to the numbers game, you will give up eventually & giving up is not an option in the content creation industry, those who look at content creation as a startup rather than just something that needs to be done on social media, and looks to build a long term game, will eventually win.
Consider this, 100 people start their content creation journey today, 20 people will quit in 10 days because they lost interest, 30 people will quit in 20 days because they didn’t get enough likes or followers, 30 more will quit due to unseen circumstances like maybe they couldn’t manage work-life balance or family issues, now just 20 remain, you all can become friends, create content together, promote each other, play the game long term and win together! Also, build a team, no one wins a long term game single-handedly, even sports like Tennis & Golf which predominantly have just one face at the forefront require the support of a good team that works in the background, build a good team, trust me you will be unstoppable if you have a team.