Emma Studies on being Australia's top studygrammer and creating content as a side hustle to pay her way through uni

Instagram: @emmastudiess
  • Emma Studies in an Australian studygrammer who creates content of her hyper-organised, colourful stationary and organisation systems.
  • Emma has more than half a million followers across Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Tumblr and also runs an active Facebook group with more than 5,500 members.
  • As part of Business Insider Australia’s Under The Influence series, Emma spoke about how she turned her hobby into a community and lifeline to get her through her studies.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Emma Studies is an influencer who’s never shown her face and doesn’t pose for pictures. Instead of her looks, fashion or charisma, she’s built an audience of hundreds of thousands of people who are mesmerised by her organisation skills.

Emma is Australia’s top studygrammer, a term for content creators who post videos and pictures to motivate their audience to study or be more productive.

After starting out with a personal Tumblr, Emma, who asked to go by her first name, now inspires her legions of fans with her awe-inspiring stationary selection, planners and office set ups.

Emma spoke to Business Insider Australia for the Under The Influence series, which interviews Australia’s top online content makers about their content, career, how they make money and what sets them apart from other creators.

How would you describe your work in a sentence?

It’s an unorganised mess of me trying to help other people get organised. I want any space I’ve created online to feel like a community to be real about student life, staying on top of things and helping each other.

Tell us about your audience: how big is it, who and where are they?

On Instagram, it is my largest audience with around 350,000 followers. Tumblr has approximately 170,000. Pinterest sits at about 80,000, Youtube at 21,000. A Facebook group I created has around 5,500 members and Twitter is around 2,000 followers.

The majority are students, ranging from middle school to grad school. Though, I have had messages from followers on both sides of that. Some are only young already taking an interest in their studies, others are parents wanting tips for their children. The largest geographies are the USA, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and the United Kingdom/Ireland.

Before you started creating content professionally, what did you do?

I started in 2014 whilst I was still in high school. Last year I graduated with a Communications degree from the University of Technology, Sydney. The course content focused heavily on communications across all digital environments, the experience of users and the internet culture which exists today. The degree coincided well with what I was pursuing additionally. That I am very fortunate for, I was one of those people who struggled to pick the direction I wanted to take my tertiary education.

When did you first decide to go pro?

“Going pro” definitely wasn’t on my mind when I first typed in ’emmastudies’ to the Tumblr URL box. All I wanted to do was combine the blogging that I’d loved doing for several years prior with the biggest thing in my life at the time which was the Higher School Certificate.

I thought there were bound to be other people who enjoyed stationery, organisation and study like I did and that could be a way to find them. It has been so exciting to grow along with the community and have this platform that I can only attribute to those who have resonated with what I’m doing.

What’s your average day like?

Every day starts with a cup of tea, I don’t think that would ever change. Once that is out the way, I’ll head into my office and begin checking messages and notifications. I usually check my planner to see what I’m working on, what’s coming up and if there are any pressing priorities. The days will differ between creating new content for my shop or working on custom orders. Others I’ll be trying to create content for the different platforms I’m on. Even several years later, it’s a struggle to find a work-life balance because I enjoy what I do that I’ll just keep going.

You don’t have to say exactly but ballpark: how much do you earn and where does that money come from?

I feel incredibly fortunate that my online presence has afforded me a comfortable earning so far. It’s allowed me to finish my degree, take those unpaid internships every communication student has to [take], and have the odd treat. A good portion of the money goes back into funding and giving me the flexibility to spend time doing something I enjoy.

My Etsy store generates the most revenue for me. I also receive income from ads across each platform and via donations. Sponsorships aren’t a massive focus for me at this time as I prefer to generate money from my own work in a sense.

Have you ever had a bad experience working with a brand or partner?

Not yet, and hopefully not ever. The experiences I’ve had with one helping hand have worked really well. Trying to maintain clear communication, goals and boundaries around something so personal to me was critical. For the most part, I have since kept my efforts relatively independent. My biggest struggle is trying to push myself with new commitments and failing to see the downsides of saying “yes”. But, I can only stay mad at myself for so long!

There are a million creators out there, but you’re one of the best. What separates you from the rest?

I’m yet to figure that out! Setting up one of the first few blogs dedicated to studying allowed me to grow as one of the larger voices but it’s been the interaction with my followers that’s sustained it. Being able to create an online space where talking about your studies, the struggles of maintaining good grades and the chance to vent or ask questions has been pivotal. It’s always been the intent to be approachable with my online presence.

I love being a content creator but have always been driven towards a large communal space, where I’m personally less of the focus and it’s more about what I can provide.

What other Aussie creators are doing work that you like?

I’ve always enjoyed the works of Jo Thornely, Olivia King and Eleanor Pendleton. Streamers like Jenz, Bajo, Raammo, and Stephtacular have become more of a staple in my free time too. If he counts from across the ditch, I really admire what David Farrier writes and directs.

What do you think you’ll be doing in 5 years?

Hopefully still something with all of this. More study in areas like User Experience or Interface design are on my radar, so that would be something fun under my belt. It’s been fun for the last five years, I hope it can be for the next.

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