Life

Meet the women who turned their hobbies into successful careers thanks to TikTok

Here’s how the video sharing app kickstarted three new careers.

How three women turned their hobbies into full-time jobs thanks to TikTok
The TikTok app How three women turned their hobbies into full-time jobs thanks to TikTok (Alamy Stock Photo)

TikTok has taken over social media since first becoming popular in 2020 – the video sharing app now has 1.1 billion users across the globe, making it the fifth most used app in the world.

Since launching in 2016, people have gained millions of followers on TikTok, even making it their full-time job.

Nikita Desai, Nicola Swann and Zubda Malik are three women have been able to turn their hobbies into successful careers by sharing their passions online.

Desai, 35, from London, now educates her viewers online about the traditional origins of yoga, first getting into the gentle exercise after suffering a skydiving injury in 2014, where she injured her lumbar spine.

(Cecilia Cristolovean/PA) (Cecilia Cristolovean-Csiky)

She said: “Upon landing, I felt the impact of the injury straight away. A few friends recommended yoga but, although I had been brought up with it from a young age, I’d never practised it on a physical level.”

Using YouTube videos, Desai started practising and found it helped to subside the symptoms of her injury.

Three years later, she became a certified yoga teacher, and in 2020, she started sharing her love of yoga on TikTok through her account, nikyyoga.

She added: “I started speaking up about the roots of yoga and where yoga originates from, because I found so many people weren’t educated on where it’s from, and a lot of people thought it was created in the West. They didn’t know it originated in India so I started talking about decolonising it, making it more accessible, more inclusive and diverse.”

Desai’s educational videos have seen her gain over 134,000 followers on TikTok and has turned it into full-time work with viewers booking tickets to her workshops.

For Nicola Swann, 49, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, her love of pottery began when she received a diagnosis of cancer.

Having taken part in a pottery course prior to her illness, Swann credits the hobby as being part of her recovery as she set up a studio and worked at the wheel to build her strength back up.

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She said: “I was mainly just really honing my skills. It was during lockdown and I just used the time to spend in the studio.”

It was during this time that Swann began uploading clips of her pottery skills to TikTok, and says the positive feedback she received has completely changed her business.

She started selling her creations to friends and family but, thanks to the video app, she finds that she has had to completely change the way she works to “keep up with the demand”.

Swann’s account, Made With Mud Pottery now has 62,000 followers, and one of her most popular items is the Digni-TEA Mug, a mug with two handles to give disabled people a drinking-aid alternative to a sippy cup.

She says that the comments she has received from people who have purchased the Digni-TEA Mug have been “overwhelming”, adding: “It’s very heartfelt. A woman told me that it had changed her husband’s life and it’s wild to think that a mug can do that.”

Meanwhile, Zubda Malik, 34, who lives in west London, found that sharing her passion of cooking online kickstarted a new career.

The mum-of-three is a full-time housewife turned content creator and says that her kids proudly tell their friends at school about their mum’s TikTok videos.

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Malik first started sharing photos of her dishes on Instagram before moving to TikTok in 2021 and creating Kitchen Diaries by Zubda, where she began posting recipes and cooking videos, earning her over half a million followers.

She has always enjoyed cooking for her friends and family but has been blown away by the response to her recipes by online viewers and now makes money through sponsored content.

Malik said: “Last April, I became a full-time content creator, before it was just a hobby that eventually started growing. My family are really supportive and they feel very proud. My kids are very proud of me too.”