A Tale of an Instagram Influencer Educating and Counseling IELTS Aspirants

Instagram Influencer!

What flashes through your mind is an image of a person wearing fashionable outfits with #ootd or some exotic location or a picture of cuisine that looks like a perfect shot taken from a movie- scroll down a little and you will find hundreds of likes, comments, and shares.  That’s when you realize what it takes to become an Instagram Influencer.

However, the tale that we are going to share today at Captain’s Tale is a bit different, because when you will visit this Insta profile, you are going to find educational content that helps people in realizing their IELTS dreams.

Yes, you read that right. Brought up in Ahmedabad in a middle-class family, this is the tale of Manil Agarwal, who never intended to become an Instagram Influencer but today has leveraged the platform to counsel those interested in overseas education and guide for IELTS.

“Instagram has helped me build a massive family that I love to interact with and guide when they need me to!”, says Manil, who excelled at swimming and badminton and had studied in UK, and found his success at Instagram as a mentor, counselor, and friend to over 120K followers.

“My experience of preparing to go study abroad was useful in starting my own IELTS academy and overseas education counseling services. Plus, the impetus laid on learning English right from childhood gave me the confidence to teach others English too.”, shares Manil who comes from a family where education held the first spot, even when his parents had strong sports background. 

About Manil: Born in the city of Bikaner in Rajasthan and brought up in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Manil
studied in Delhi and UK and have lived and worked in Mumbai, Goa, Nottingham, NCR and Dharamsala. His stay in Dharamsala was probably the most important of all things he has done in life. It helped him rediscover himself, find some degree of stability and meet his lovely wife and his amazing daughter, who he calls ‘my Chanda’.

Taking A Different Approach

When asked how did it occur to him to use Instagram, a social media channel majorly used for showcasing creative niches, as an educational platform, he gave us an idea of how a particular feature can be used in multiple ways and what all is required is to recognize and leverage it.

 “Indians have always loved to learn but not in the traditional manner of rote learning, even though it has been forced upon us forever. Instagram is a platform that allows teaching using visuals that are always easier to recall, and I had a feeling that I will be able to teach well. Will I be successful and gain a following? To this question, I did not have an answer. I was honestly lucky that it all worked out. I definitely cannot claim that I grew to these numbers so quickly because we had a grand plan that played out exactly as we scripted it.”

True, success cannot be guaranteed. It comes with a mixture of consistent efforts, willpower to sustain even during adverse times, and a pinch of luck to convert your actions into desirable results. Sharing his journey, Manil also told us that how he moved to Instagram from YouTube, where he constantly faced some issues due to changing algorithms, and that the first few months at Instagram were a real struggle.

“I never intended to be an Instagram influencer. My aim was to be big on YouTube but the constant change in algorithms on YouTube irritated me to no extent and eventually I decided to move my trade elsewhere. Abhay, a colleague of mine, recommended that Instagram be explored as we will find the audience on it. The initial months were weak but then 1 reel of mine went viral along with general acceptance from followers.”

The viral reel helped Manil reach over 100,000 mark in a short time and since then it is the only way forward. The key lesson to learn from his journey is to change the path and not the goal if things are not working in your favor. There is always a way to achieve the desired destination.

The Lessons Learnt

However, being an influencer is not an easy task. Even though the role has gained the credibility of a full-time profession, being an influencer comes with its pros and cons. Manil too agrees to that while you gain a virtual family and popularity, the cons cannot be overlooked. One mistake that he would like others not to repeat is living to impress.

“Never live to impress. This unfortunately is one thing that I do not follow well. I have been recently working hard to fix this in me and have had mixed success. But that fact that I spent most of my teenage and early youth trying to live a life that impressed others, I was left far behind what I set out to do. From the age of about 15 to 28, I was stuck in a place where I had complete disdain for my life because I had lost a track of my own identity and was heavily disillusioned with life, all because I was busy trying to be a man that society would admire. I had experiences at school and home that made me such, but I am now working hard to let go of that mindset.”

But is it possible in the age where FOMO and other social media anxieties persist? Well, listen to what the influencer has to say to this:

“…one needs to be careful and mindful. Use the tools on your smartphone to keep an eye on the hours spent on an app. If you are unable to stop then seek help. There is always help. And always remember that the influencer is only showing you that looks good on camera.”

What Lies Ahead?

Does it mean, he wishes to switch his career? Thankfully not at all! While he would love to be either an off-spin bowler, helicopter pilot, or farmer, moving on to another profession is not what Manil is looking for now. Rather, there are expansion plans!

“Yes, there are expansion plans. The first is to roll out overseas education counseling services to everyone following me. Currently, it has been selective and on occasion. I now have a team ready, and we aim to announce the launch shortly. I also am looking to offer psychometric tests to school students for career selection, but that may be a few months away.”

Captain’s Tale wishes you all the success Manil!

I am a content strategist and writer, and like to post on business, technology, people, places, money---and food!

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