Mindfulness + Social Media Growth w/ Daniel Toni Jais – Ep. 23

Daniel is a German model, photographer, and content creator who has seamlessly grown his personal brand to over 450K on Instagram and 800K on TikTok in less than a year. He is passionate about mindfulness, meditation, fitness, and creative expression. Listen in to our conversation about staying inspired during the lockdown, growth on social media, and the mindset you need to create a successful personal brand.

In this episode we cover Daniel’s presence on social media (2:20), his life before social media (9:38), how he stays inspired during lockdown (13:37), and advice that he has for those trying to follow their dreams (23:59). 

Check out his Instagram, TikTok, and tune into his weekly Mindful Conversations!
✧ Follow Daniel on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danieltonijais
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Audio Transcript

The Wanderlover Podcast was created with a mission to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Danielle Hu, business mentor, content creator, and founder of the Wanderlover. Tune in every week for episodes about travel online business, social media, and mindset that will inspire you to take massive action towards living the life of your dreams. Happy Monday, everyone. This week on the podcast, we have special guests, Daniel, Toni Jais. Daniel is a German model, photographer, and content creator who has seamlessly grown his personal brand to over 450,000 followers on Instagram and 800,000 on Tik ToK in less than a year.

He is passionate about mindfulness, meditation, fitness, and creative expression. And we have such an amazing conversation for you guys this week. Let’s get started. Toni is from Munich. Welcome to the show, Daniel. Hey guys. Hey Danielle. Good to be here. Yeah, it’s lovely. Reconnecting with old friends. Daniel and I met in Bali a few years ago. Was it like 20, 20, 19 or 2018? I think it was 2019. Yeah, like November, 2019, something like that.

(1m 35s):
Yeah. When we were all able to travel and Daniel an amazing content creator you’re in Munich right now, right? Yes. I’m a unique, I’m actually based close to Munich. It’s called Lansburgh. I’m like, it’s a small city and that’s also where I just opened my studio and yeah. Pretty happy to be at home, to be honest for sure. I miss traveling, but it’s also good to spend some time at home For sure. And I’ve been following along your many, many projects. Daniel has so many interests and I love how he just seamlessly blends every aspect of his lifestyle into your brand. So can you give the audience a little background on what you’re currently working on and what you do?

(2m 21s):
Yeah, actually like at the moment we’re doing a lot of content for Instagram and Tik Tok. So I think the main shift since COVID was that we create a lot more video content. Yeah. Also has to do, because I started Tik Tok for sure. In the beginning of 2020, I guess. Yeah. And there hasn’t been for sure, real, real Scot launched on Instagram as well. And we all know that it’s very important. If you want to grow an Instagram, that you also post a lot more video content. So that’s what we’re into right now. So it takes a lot of time for sure.

(3m 0s):
I also opened the photography studio as I told you in the beginning and yeah. So that’s what I’m currently working on. A lot of Instagram stuff, a lot of collaborations with brands in Germany and yeah, it’s also interesting to create content at home because, you know, like for example, in 2019 I was traveling 180 days a year, which was a lot. And we were like creating content all around the world, but yeah, it’s just different, you know, and it’s also very interesting to see how content changes and also how different I approach different projects when I worked from home.

(3m 41s):
For sure. And you’ve done such a great job being creative, despite, you know, the lockdown and really tuning into other aspects of who you are and your brand. I know that you are super into meditation and mindfulness and fitness, right. So you’ve really incorporated that into your Instagram and Tik Tok as well. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. It’s really important for myself to be like the most authentic. I know it’s always tricky that, but yeah, it’s just, it really is like that. Like I want to really want to be myself on, on social media as well. And that’s also when we created mindful conversations, a space where my friends Kieron Tomino and Kevin and I, we bring people together to have a mindful conversation every Friday at six 30 European time, which is a lot of fun.

(4m 35s):
And we’re constantly growing this, this mindful space without judgment and stuff. And yeah, that’s like one of my art projects at the moment. That’s so cool. So you’re live on zoom every week. And you mentioned that one of the members is a brain coach from Nike. Exactly. Like Kieron, he’s a brain coach from the UK, from London. And like, he’s like, it’s amazing. You should listen to him once. Yeah. I’m definitely going to tune in, is it males only or is it open to everyone? No, it’s, it’s open for everyone. So there’s no separation or anything. Yeah. Oh, I love that. And I love how you are bringing together a group internationally.

(5m 19s):
Is it in English? Yeah. It’s, it’s an English. And yet, as you said, like bringing people together from all around the world, you know, I think that’s the conversations that we need in the future. Like really meaningful conversations and, you know, instead of turning on the TV for, for an hour, just tuning into a mindful conversation, you know, having really cool conversations, speaking to each other about really important things, such as meditation, such as, you know, mental health and such and yeah, it’s, it’s just an amazing space. And people from all around the world joined from America, from the UK, from India, from Australia. I love That.

(5m 60s):
And one thing I’m curious about just to pick your brain, because you are such an expert for Tik Tok and reels, do you download your Tik Toks as videos and then post them onto reels? Or do you create them like separately within Instagram? Both ways. So I never create a video in Instagram to be honest because I don’t like the interface over there, but like most of my videos I cut on the phone and InShot, and then post on both farms. But sometimes I also download them on Tik Tok cut it into a Tik Tok and just download it with a live photo and then crop it.

(6m 40s):
So you don’t see any logo. Okay. That’s interesting. Yeah. I actually found this app called Save Tok, and it saves your Tik Tok without the watermark. Yeah. And I learned about InShot from Caio. Like I watched one shot that was like, I know, I know. Yeah. He’s such an inspiration as well, but it was, yeah. I love all the creative energy and just sharing for him. You know, I think he’s also in lockdown, but he’s been like putting out so many tutorials and they’re all incredible.

(7m 23s):
Yeah. He’s also very consistent with this work, especially in pictures. And that’s also, I think why he grew a lot there. Yeah. Consistency. And we were talking about this before, too. Like I admire your consistency. You started Tik Tok like last year and you just never stopped and every day is just something different and it touches upon, you know, fashion, lifestyle mindfulness, and it’s all done at home, which is awesome. Yeah. Yeah. It’s super interesting. I personally think that tick-tock is a really, really cool platform, which allows also small creators to grow their social following really, really fast.

(8m 8s):
And what I like most about the farm is that it, you know, like really has an eye on the content and not just the numbers. Yeah. That’s like, so the algorithm is really smart. Do you consume a lot of content on Tik TOK? Or do you say that you would create more than you consume? I would say I also consume a lot of content. I think the algorithm right on really understands what I want to see. So I have an eye on, you know, like for example, financial things, I have an eye on photography and videography stuff and yeah, other, the algorithm is really smart. As I said before, also show those me all the stuff that I want to see.

(8m 52s):
So I really liked the app. It’s very creative. It’s also inspires me every day, I think, to, to try new things. And it’s, it’s more than I would say on Instagram. And I love how you are always trying new things. And I feel like as an entrepreneur, that’s one of the key values that you must have. And I know for you specifically, like you went from being a professional soccer player to starting modeling, and now you’re into photography and growing into mindfulness. Can you just give a bit of background on your life before this journey and how you’ve constantly tried new things and realized what you love doing?

(9m 39s):
So think like first and foremost, I’ve been a soccer player for a really long time and yeah, it’s, it’s always been my dream to be a professional soccer player. And I think kind of, I really made it, you know, but at some point I realized that I also want to study. And that’s when I started studying photography design here in Munich and focused on different things. Things, because I usually had only had one thing on my head and it was soccer, but know there was a point when I opened my eyes look, left, look right. And I saw different things and it was like modeling. It was photography and also my influence and such.

(10m 21s):
And I think, yeah, it’s really important to really try new things. And it’s also, I’m coming back to tick-tock for example, like I was afraid of starting it, you know, like many people told me don’t do it and we’ll be, you know, weird and such, but I was just, okay, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna give it a try. And like really worked out for myself. I grew almost 800 K followers during one year, which also helped me to grow an Instagram in the end. And, you know, also learn from that to, to work with my videography skills, for example. And it’s, it’s always important to move on and try new things. And that’s, that’s what I see with a lot of people.

(11m 3s):
They get stuck in one thing that they do. And that’s also when they get stuck in life kind of, I guess. Yeah. And especially with different platforms, different ideas, I feel like in life everyone’s constantly changing, right? Like changes the only constant. So being able to try new things and have fun with it, which is what I feel like you do so effortlessly. It’s also really awesome to hear that you were afraid of starting to talk at one point, because now if you go onto your profile on Tik Tok, it’s like, you are an expert and it looks like you’ve been doing this for so long, but you had to start from somewhere to right.

(11m 43s):
And that’ll those people telling you not to do it. And I feel like a lot of people are experiencing that right now. Yeah, no, absolutely. I was really afraid to start like, like as I said before, like so many people told me don’t do, it will be awkward. It’s just for kids and things like that. But I had one friend and she she’s working at, Solando like one of the biggest fashion resellers here in Germany, on Europe as well. And she was like, go give it a try. And I was like, okay, I’m going to do it. And then I had like couple of videos online, which were like, okay, from the views. But then at one video, which really blew up and I created, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it was like what I wear for.

(12m 27s):
And I was like, what to wear for summer, for winter. And I started a hype around this and so many people did it and that’s when I grew the most. And I think, yeah, it was, it’s just amazing to challenge yourself, always with new things and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of the game and yeah, it was just for myself. I’m really happy that I started tick-tock because it also helps me now to create better real, which is important when it’s. Yeah. And I love how you are always creating new things. Like even with what I wear for that was so innovative. Like you started, you started a trend.

(13m 7s):
Yeah. And for Tik Tok for Instagram, this whole creative community, I personally believe like collaboration and creativity over competition always. Right? Like if you try to compete against other people who are at yourself and if you try to copy other people, you’re never going to reap what is yours? So how do you stay creative? It’s it’s, it’s actually, to be honest, it’s not easy during COVID, especially, but for myself, what helps me the most is hanging with creative people.

(13m 49s):
Like right now, I’m at my friend’s place here in Munich. And you know, we were talking about photography. We talking about magazines for like having a look on pictures. And I think that’s what keeps me inspired the most. Like having a look on things that I see every day. Like I have a lot of fashion books, for example, from photographers that I’d go through every day and yeah, just seeing things. And, and also for example, for tick-tock or Instagram content, like we’ll just consume it myself and see what other peoples do. And in the end, like there’s this one idea coming to my head, which is a different, because I’ve sewn in so many different things, you know, Like use bits and pieces of everything that inspires you.

(14m 34s):
And ultimately it turns into something that’s yours. I feel like in this day and age of coronavirus and locked down, you know, like if you’re surrounded, if your environment is just watching TV and having really dark walls even, and no books that such an impact on your wellbeing. And it sounds like the environment you’re in, even though it’s in lockdown, you’re taking and surrounding yourself with things that make you feel good. Absolutely. Yeah. And it’s also, I think it’s also, and that’s something we talked about in mindful conversations last week. It’s always such a choice. It’s your choice to get up and do something good for yourself, for example, or it’s your choice.

(15m 17s):
You get up during COVID and you just think, Oh, my life is shit. And you know, I’m stuck here, but you can, it’s a choice. Right? You can, you can always create something beautiful wherever you are, whatever you do. Like there’s a choice. I love that. Yeah. And it’s a choice to have those thoughts too, which I think is really powerful. Exactly. It’s it’s all in us right now with everyone it’s already in us. We just have to explore it. Have you tried clubhouse? Are you on? Yeah, I tried it. I tried it. We did some sessions also like with one friend he’s also German.

(15m 59s):
We did like kind of mindful conversations in German there. Yes. It’s pretty interesting. But still like, I’m not a hundred percent sure with the platform yet because I see some, some things that might be bad for the platform, like talking about its growth, Do you care to share or Yeah. It’s like, for example, you know, that you can save the sessions for example, which I think is like a reason why I wouldn’t do it constantly because I think you always have this FOMO effect, right?

(16m 41s):
Like all the time you see a cool talk coming up and you don’t have time. And especially after COVID imagine people going to work to get work again, they won’t be able to join us. I don’t know, during the day, like they will be going to the club again. They will go into restaurants again. Like they won’t be like only be online all the time. So I’m like not a hundred percent sure also that they excluded Android users. For example, the big mistake, in my opinion, because you know, they all already created this crazy form effect with only the two invites and such, but also excluding like Android users.

(17m 24s):
I don’t know. It’s not a clever decision in my opinion, at least. Yeah. Oh, that’s so interesting. I definitely understand the FOMO effect. There’ll be times when I get pinged. Oh, you should join this. And I’m like, it sounds so cool, but I literally can’t right Now imagine like COVID is over and all the people are working again. Like there’s so many people that having a nine to five job. I mean, it’s not that everyone is self-employed and handle his work times, right? Yeah. Definitely. It’s such a blessing in Covid at least like being able to connect. And I think that’s what, like every social media platform, I’m just so grateful for because even without like podcasting or zoom, you know, we wouldn’t be having this.

(18m 8s):
And it’s just crazy how the world is so connected and you can find people that are into the same similar interests from Germany, from Australia. Like I don’t want to yeah. That’s how too many bad things about it because it’s also very good. Like it’s just my personal opinion. That’s like talking about its growth in the future. I think they made some mistakes, but it’s again, it’s just the personal view, Right? Yeah. And you are totally entitled to that. I’m very, I’m also open to your opinion and other opinions as well, especially as the app itself is so new. So when I first downloaded it, I actually didn’t do anything with it for a few weeks and I turned all notifications off.

(18m 54s):
I was like, I can live without this. And so my opinions on it are constantly changing as well. I also see it probably being big for companies in the future. Like I imagine like having an option for companies to sell tickets for that box, that would be interesting for the platform. Oh, that’s so cool. Yeah. I never even thought of that. Yeah. I think that could be like really, really powerful for companies in the future, but yeah. I don’t know how open up houses and let’s just see how it develops. I mean, it’s also interesting to see how different it works in the U S to Jeremy, for example, or you know, like different parts of the world.

(19m 36s):
Like I think the content in the U S is re way more developed already than in Germany. Those are always a little bit faster than here in Germany. Right. A little more innovative. And I guess it’s just location because it was developed here in America. So we have more time with like beta testing and just getting users on board beforehand before we launch. But that’s really cool. I wonder if your, are your conversations all in German? Like, do you see the talks from America on your interface? I’m able to see them like, because you have this option to go through like different languages, but yeah.

(20m 18s):
Like the content that is shown to me is mostly German. Oh, okay. Yeah. I see some conversations in other languages and I’m like, I don’t even speak Japanese screen. So do you think like with other apps or with entrepreneurship in general, do you feel like Germany is one step behind? Have you noticed other differences on other? I think, yeah. Kind of like, I think especially DVS when it comes to social media is always a little bit forward for sure. This has to do because most of the apps come from America.

(21m 1s):
Right. But yeah, it’s also, I think German people are more conservative, conservative. Yep. Yeah. Conservative. And that’s also why it takes more time to, for example, for tick-tock to grow here. Like we have, I think right now we’re having 4 million users on tick-tock in Germany, something like that, which is quite good. But I see, I see Tik Tok being way more big than it is right now in the future. Oh wow.

(21m 41s):
Leaving the platform. I think Instagram and Tik Tok, you know, it won’t be a battle. It will be like coexisting kind of, I can see that too. And I actually think 4 million isn’t that many like for Germany, I think it’s quite good. Like having 4 million active users, active users there on Instagram, but yeah. I mean tick-tock is still pretty young as a platform. So I think as soon as they will get like more older people on the platform, this will be really interesting. Yeah. And it’s also how you like, so if there’s 4 million active users, now you were probably like one of the first, like 100,000 people in Germany.

(22m 27s):
Cause you, you hopped on so early, whereas like in, on the America growth trend, when you joined, it was basically when other people were, and I can only imagine, like, if you are already at the forefront of the America growth trend, you must be so ahead in Germany. For sure. There’s always people in Germany that are really innovative, but yeah. I don’t know. In general, I would say like the German is more conservative than like if I take like most of the people from Germany. Yeah. Is that a, a stereotype?

(23m 10s):
I kind of kind of, I guess, yeah. Yeah. I think, and I hope it’s changing in the future. So I see younger generations being way more open-minded, you know, but especially when it comes to older people in this country, I think we’re still pretty conservative yet. Hmm. I can see that. So if you were to talk to the young listeners on this show, because you are always at the forefront of every curve, you’re always trying new things. And I know that you’ve had your share of struggles. So what advice can you give to someone struggling with following their dreams and who wants to be where you are today?

(23m 59s):
Oh, I think there’s many things that I can share. So number one point be consistent. It’s really important. Especially if you do business, it’s important to do this constantly, but also on the other hand, and I talked about you about this with you before. It’s also something that I struggle with. Like I’m really consistent with things, but sometimes, you know, you just need to slow down and be inconsistent as well to see the consistency. I don’t know if that makes sense, but I think it’s also powerful to see, always see the other side of something, you know, like the good and the bad, the fast and the slow. It’s always two parts, which is really interesting to me to see.

(24m 43s):
And also that I had to learn, you know, to allow myself to be inconsistent sometimes. And that doesn’t mean that consistency is important. As I said before, it’s really important. But this inconsistency is also very interesting to see. So even if you like, you know, you take some breaks and you’ll allow yourself to go back into that flow, but you never lose that flow. Exactly. Yeah. It’s also like, it shows me how important consistency is in the end. Like being inconsistent. Sometimes I love that you have to have that balance. Like you can’t have one without the other.

(25m 23s):
Right. Exactly. Exactly. And you can, you can display this on everything in life. So yeah. And it’s also like, don’t be afraid to failure, you know, like you will probably make so many mistakes and it’s only fine because life chose your path. Kind of like, I’m like, sorry, if I’m talking too spiritual, some people don’t apologize. That’s just my, my beliefs. I think our life will lead us to a beautiful place. Anyways, we just have to be on the flow and trust life, you know, and also have, have your eyes open because there are so many opportunities every day.

(26m 7s):
Take them, give it a try. Don’t be afraid. And yeah, trust life. I think it goes back to what you were saying before, about how everything is already inside of you finding what inspires you surrounding yourself and just looking inwards instead of, you know, like listening to this podcast episode and being uninspired, hearing words from you, because they’re comparing yourself to you where instead being inspired by how you were able to bring everything that you’ve created today from inside of you, like from modeling from all of your interests and you’ve built it into something beautiful.

(26m 49s):
So anyone listening to this, you have the power to do so as well. Yeah. Also coming back to it that it’s your choice, right? It’s always your choice. I’m getting like chills. Like I feel inspired in flow from this conversation. So Is there anything else that you would like the audience to know? I’m totally going to link your socials and the mindfulness conversations, but anything else you’re running and just want to share No, nothing special. Just like enjoy life. I think that’s the most powerful thing that I can say here.

(27m 32s):
Yeah. I totally agree. And I’ve definitely enjoyed this conversation as well. One thing I love to just end with, with all my international guests is to teach something inspirational in your native language. So in German, because I just love the sound of different languages. Is there any phrase that comes to mind that you can teach the audience? That’s funny that’s I really have to think about it. It has been there. Okay. I like inspirational. I think I’m going to teach you guys something like really, really easy and it’s not even German.

(28m 13s):
It’s a variant. So I’m from a varia Munich. Okay. If you like, say cheers in America, we would say like, you know, you know, the October 1st, right. You know, it’s post Isn’t that German because I learned that at Oktoberfest, but I thought it was German. Not Bavarian. Yeah. I mean, it’s very, unlike people considered to be German boots, you know, like we be variants. We love ourselves. So we would always say, it’s kind of a very, You guys are saying cheers, but that’s actually the very, Yes.

(29m 2s):
Awesome. Thank you so much for all of your wisdom experience and just energy in this episode. I, yeah, I got so much from it and I’m sure the listeners will love it. And it was so nice for you connecting with you. Oh, good. So good to be here. Thank you so much. It was fun. Yay. Thank you so much for being on the show. Daniel!


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