5 Feb 2016, 10:23 — 9 min read
Most people lose heart and become defeated in the face of adversity. But there are a few who rise like the phoenix amidst trials and use their struggle to inspire others. Priya Florence Shah is one such intrepid woman entrepreneur. At a time when it was easy for her to lose hope, she instead applied her talent for writing, to become a beacon of hope for others.
Priya is a prolific writer, an avid blogger and passionate about women’s empowerment. She believes that her way of engaging with the world and bringing about a positive change is by writing about issues. Priya is the publisher of several online magazines, the most popular being Naaree.com which aims to empower women to soar beyond their limitations & lead a more fulfilled life. She has authored numerous books on health, lifestyle, social media and women’s issues and has also been listed as one of the top Social Media Experts to follow in India.
Priya saw a huge opportunity in blogging and social media marketing when the Internet had just forayed into India. She has leveraged her knowledge of the digital medium and writing skills to provide digital media content services to startups, SMEs and large corporations through her company Blog Brandz.
GlobalLinker (GL) spoke to Priya about her passion to assist businesses and make the world a better place through her writings.
GL: Tell us what you do and how you started.
Priya: My company, Blog Brandz, provides social media and blogging services for SMEs and even large corporations. We specialise in social media management, blogging and content writing to boost our clients’ visibility and online branding. I graduated in Journalism in 1996. In 2001, I launched my own website on environmental issues as the internet had just made its foray into India then.
Later in 2003, the blogging phenomenon started catching on and people began to write blogs. That’s when I got into blogging. From there I started learning SEO, digital marketing, and social media marketing. It’s been a great journey.
GL: You saw this opportunity in social media fairly early. What drew you towards social media & what opportunity did you see?
Priya: I realised that publishing was going to change drastically. People were increasingly going online for information rather than relying on traditional media. There was a decline in newspaper readership. Today, we are seeing the demise of mainstream media. I saw this as an opportunity, not only to publish my own blog, but also help other people publish their blogs and manage their social media strategy. So I started offering these services to clients.
I cater to a wide range of clients - some are Fortune 500 companies, others are startups, SMEs, restaurants and even resorts. We are looking to expand our range of clients all the time.
GL: In your opinion, how different is social media from traditional media?
Priya: The two are poles apart! Traditional media is not a conversation – it’s the media talking to the crowd. It’s a one way conversation. Social media is a two way conversation; people are interacting with your brand. You’re not the only one talking. Social media is all about people responding to you; people sharing your information and people engaging with your content.
GL: What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work?
Priya: Coming up with interesting content is always a challenge. It takes effort to find engaging and relevant content and share it on social media forums. We are in the business of creating content for our clients and the challenge is to write engaging blogs that draw traffic.
Moreover, social media is evolving all the time so keeping up with all these changes is another challenge we face. Also, in my business, scaling up is a challenge. At some time you need to scale up and take on more people and clients.
GL: How do you keep yourself updated in the ever-changing social media scenario?
Priya: I have done several online courses to upgrade my skills. I believe that today it’s all about having relevant skills rather than mere degrees. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, but you have learnt how to create mobile apps, then you can start creating mobile apps for people.
It’s not about what you have done in the past; rather it’s all about the skills you have. I have acquired and honed my social media skills; I keep myself updated and subscribe to numerous newsletters to be aware of the latest trends. Everyday something changes in the online marketing and social media world and I find this constant change exciting and stimulating.
GL: You identify with women’s issues & write about it extensively. Please share with us this facet of your profession.
Priya: Women’s issues are very close to my heart. It is what I started doing in 2006, because I felt strongly about women empowerment. At the time I was going through my own personal issues since my husband had just passed away. I was newly widowed and I really felt the need to empower myself. I realised that on many levels, I was not empowered.
We, Indian women, tend to depend on our husbands for everything, from our finances to handling other daily affairs. We frankly should not be so dependent on anyone. We have to learn to manage our own affairs.
Every woman should be capable of having a career or starting a business from home or have some way to support herself, in case something untoward happens. I feel strongly that women should be able to take care of themselves – no matter what.
That’s the reason I started Naaree.com, because I started writing about these issues. My way of engaging with the world and changing the world is by writing about things. So I started blogging and now I have other writers who also contribute. It’s become more of an online magazine than a blog now. I have also written several books that aim at empowering women. Being a mother, I am also passionate about parenting issues and have another blog called LovingYourChild.com.
GL: How do you handle competition in your field?
Priya: I believe that competition is a good thing. If there are a lot of people offering certain services, it’s an indication that there is a demand for these services. I believe that there is enough business for everyone, so there is no need to compete with people. All you have to do is to do good work, make your clients happy and they will refer you to others.
In my field, it is important to promote yourself. It’s important to take a stand on issues and be visible to people. I would be suspicious of a social media expert who doesn’t have any visibility himself. If you can’t promote yourself then how can you promote your client’s product or service?
GL: What is your Big Business Dream?
Priya: My passion is to use my talent to help people. I am not looking at creating a large company or making it multinational. I am looking to do the best for my clients in my own way. Over a period of time I expect to grow my business, but I am doing it organically. It’s a startup that is bootstrapped, so I am not looking for finance or people to invest in it.
I am basically looking to do good work for my clients and in the process grow my business. I have been fortunate to have some loyal clients and my business has grown through referrals.
GL: What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Priya: My message, especially to aspiring women entrepreneurs is ‘start your business right now’. Don’t wait thinking, ‘I have got a job, I will start something in the future’. Start while you have a job. Do a little bit on the side. Grow your business while you have a job. Later on you can quit the job when your business is doing well. I wouldn’t advice quitting a job and looking for funds. My advice is to first have a viable business proposition, research your market well and then start your business. If you have a dream, make it happen.
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Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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