Nischa Shah was an investment banker for a decade, before becoming a full-time content creator.

Nischa Shah

Personal finance YouTuber Nischa Shah quit her six-figure investment banking job to become a full-time content creator — and it was a gamble that paid off.

After working in banking for a decade, Shah became an associate director at Crédit Agricole in 2022, earning well over £200,000 ($256,000). However, the London-based banker was not satisfied with her career, she told CNBC Make It in an interview.

“It was about nine years into the corporate journey where I had this revelation that this isn’t fulfilling me, it’s not really challenging me, and it’s not intellectually stimulating,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to help other people whilst getting paid for it and what I was doing in banking was helping corporations, sovereign governments.”

She eventually reached a “rock bottom phase” about two-and-a-half years ago and decided to use a Law of Attraction planner — which involves manifesting goals and dreams — to reassess her life.

“I was thinking I want to change the course of my life,” she said. “This Law of Attraction planner had prompts or questions like ‘What would you do if money was not an issue?'”

Shah knew she had a passion for personal finance and making complex information accessible to everyone. She once helped her parents avoid a tax bill of around £14,000 when they were selling their home because their accountant had missed some key information.

“Just having a knowledge in personal finance can have such a huge impact on the money that’s going into your pocket,” she added.

Shah started dabbling with making YouTube videos about personal finance and self-development in December 2021 — and now has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube.

This success led her to quit her investment banking job in January — despite the fact she was due to receive a six-figure bonus two months later.

It was worth the risk. Shah is now earning over $1 million by monetizing her YouTube videos, selling courses and products, doing corporate talks, and partnering with brands.

“I’m making a lot more than I was in banking,” she said. “As a result of not chasing money anymore and just chasing what I’m good at, my passion, and what I really enjoy, it’s managed to surpass everything that I had before.”

Shah walked CNBC Make It through how she grew her YouTube channel and prepared to quit her investment banking job.

‘It took 11 months to get to 1,000 subscribers’

Shah’s videos cover topics ranging from “Money Habits Keeping You Poor” and “7 Passive Income Ideas,” to “How to invest your first $1000, and her videos receive anything between 100,000 to 9 million views. 

Loyal subscribers will be familiar with Shah’s no-nonsense approach, straightforward advice, and black turtleneck. But back in 2021, Shah’s YouTube account was merely a side hustle that she wasn’t taking very seriously.

“In June 2022, that all changed. Shah decided to start posting twice a week, every week, and finally, in September, one video — a day in her life as an investment banker — resonated. She gained 50,000 subscribers in one month and earned £3,000.

“So it took me 11 months to get to 1,000 subscribers, and then two months to get to 100,000 which was crazy,” Shah said. “It’s just literally the power of compounding in a nutshell, not knowing when that lucky break is going to be.”

Shah says her audience includes many young adults, women and people who may not have had access to financial education.

“When I talk to the camera, I think of it as I’m just talking to me when I was 22-years-old or 23-years-old,” she said.

“There are many people younger in their careers who are at a point where they have started making money, but they just want to get better with it. They just want to know ‘What do I do with my savings? How do I grow wealth? How do I set myself up so I can quit a job that I don’t like?'”

Shah saw an opportunity to become a trusted figure on the subject due to her banking experience and accountancy qualifications, especially as misleading financial content runs rampant on social media.

“There’s incorrect advice being given on TikTok and Instagram, and it’s sad because giving the wrong advice on shampoo or lip gloss will cost someone like £7, but giving the wrong advice about finance could cost someone their life savings.”

Use your day job to fund your side hustle

A day job that provides a stable income can help accelerate the success of your side hustle, Shah says.

“If you don’t come from a family which is well-to-do, it’s really important to have a steady income coming in … but also having a job where you can learn from without consequences,” she explained.

Setting up a business is a learning curve, according to Shah, and if there’s no backup income, the consequences — like losing all of your savings — could be dire.

“If you’ve got income coming in from your day job, but you’re also building a business on the side, you’re working from a place of creativity, rather than from a place of ‘I need to make sure I pay the bills and I need to make sure I make ends meet’,” she said

“That makes you operate from a place of stress, which I think has a huge impact on whether you’re able to succeed in the entrepreneurial world.”

When Shah first started making YouTube videos, she used her investment banking income to invest in a £1,000 camera.

“I would advise, for as long as possible, to continue exploring side hustles or side businesses alongside a day job. It gives you security. It gives you freedom or creativity. It helps you build an emergency fund and it gives you extra cash that you can then plug into your side businesses to help it succeed,” she said.

Shah built up an emergency fund to support her for at least nine months after she quit her job. “It doesn’t need to cover my fancy holidays. It doesn’t need to cover any clothes or bags or anything like that. It just needs to cover my living expenses.”

She acknowledged that if she waited to quit only after she’d made a lot of money from YouTube, it would have taken much longer to make the jump.

“It was really important that I just went all in, and I had my emergency fund as a buffer, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I thought: ‘I’m at a crossroads. I’ve done what I known for the last nine years and that hasn’t made me happy … so now is the point for me to take my life in my own hands and just go for it.'”

Shah’s salary was verified by CNBC Make It via her contract and a tax form, but the exact figure will not be disclosed for privacy reasons. Her YouTube earnings from May 2023 to May 2024 were also verified by CNBC Make It via bank statements.

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