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The digital medium has thrown up opportunities for innumerable women to share their voices online. Here’s to more success!
With many women turning their creative efforts online, a common question that arises is, how does one stand out in the crowd and establish a following? How does one become a successful digital entrepreneur, whether it is as an Instagram influencer or blogger or even selling products online?
The Orange Flower event held recently at Bangalore (on 3rd December, Sunday) to celebrate ourselves – this community of digital superstars – had stellar speakers from the digital medium sharing their insights on this and other topics.
After an eminent panel of journalists discussed the challenges of harassment and trolling women face online, it was the turn of Anju Maudgal Kadam, Archana Doshi and Jane De Suza to share their secrets of turning Creativity into a Career.
Anju Maudgal Kadam, the Founder of WebTV, and a film-maker, is popularly known as the brain behind the #100sareepact that brought sarees back into our daily lives. Archana Doshi is the entrepreneur behind the highly popular food website, Archana’s Kitchen, while Jane De Suza, Author of The Spy Who Lost Her Head is considered one of the funniest writers in India today.
The panel examined how women’s writing in spaces like food, fashion, parenting or personal narratives, which used to be considered ‘light’ now hot topics on the digital medium. Indeed, for many writers, there is always a nagging fear that it’s not worth sharing their ‘personal’ thoughts about family, kids, or other such issues out loud in public.
Archana Doshi narrated how she chose happiness over such fears, having begun her career in the tech space. She said, “I started Archana’s Kitchen when my kids were very young. I wanted to be financially independent and cooking was something I loved to do. Initially, I did get mocked for selling home-made food to others. Finally I had to make a choice on what made me happy and stick to it.”
Jane also started writing her blog during her motherhood break, when she chose to stay at home. She adds that when she chose to close one door (to a full-time job), many other doors of opportunities were opened for her. Penning down her everyday ‘craziness’ with parenting gave her a medium to vent out her feelings. Her blog audience grew as readers women could identify with her views, and loved the humour in her writing, and soon, she was on her way to writing a book.
Anju also shed light upon the minor and major hiccups faced by women working in the digital medium. For Jane, the meagre income in the beginning was hard to come to terms with, as was the lonely process of writing. For Archana, it was the learning about the audience that took time and effort. She talks of how initially, there was no interaction on her blogs, and few likes; as time passed, she realised that it’s not about what you want to tell people but it’s about helping people by giving them what they need. While it was a 24×7 job for her to handle the startup and her then very young kids, what helped her stay to the course was her passion towards the work.
Jane added that Indian women tend to feel guilty for being not perfect in all their roles. She considers that it’s okay to take time to be who you are, and find out what you want to do.
Anju summed up the discussion effectively with a note on how patience is needed for all good things to happen. She advised all women who want to succeed online, to start small in their own circle of friends. She added that it is up to each of us to to set the rules and goals for our personal brands.
The key is to stay honest and be yourself, rather than trying to imitate others. Jane too agreed that the digital medium has created writers, artists, and journalists out of everyone. Though it is tempting to tread the successful and popular paths, finding your own voice and being unique has its own rewards.
That note of encouragement indeed left us all feeling like digital superstars in our own right!
If you would like to meet up with your fellow bloggers, instagrammers, You-tubers and digital entrepreneurs, don’t forget that this week, we have the Orange Flower event in Chennai as well the Orange Flower Digital Summit & Awards 2017 coming up in Mumbai. Register if you haven’t already, and get ready for a vibrant evening!