One on One: Shehzeen Rehman

Published: December 26, 2018
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Shehzeen Rehman, the girl behind the famous ‘Desi Wonder Woman’ blog is a Computer Science grad who decided to quit her full-time corporate job and took up blogging full-time. In a short span of time she has successfully managed to capture a huge audience because of her honesty, wit and impeccable writing skills. She also bagged the “Best Blogger Award” in Dubai last year. We got in touch with Shahzeen all the way in Australia to find out her real-life wonder women, tips on what makes a blog successful and so much more!

Who are your real-life desi wonder women?

Just anyone with a heart that has lots of compassion. Kindness is a rare currency these days and anyone who has it, is a hero in my books.

Was it difficult to switch from a full-time corporate job to a home-based job? Any advice for someone who wants to do the same?

On a macro level, it wasn’t difficult because I was pretty okay with scheduling myself and establishing an office-like environment at home so I didn’t really run into issues on how to manage things. But for the more technical bits, like not having a steady income or having to source work versus having it just being given to you as part of a workplan in a typical office, those things did require patience and lots of determination in the beginning. I think you have to be ready for potentially earning less and maybe even nothing at all initially. I had saved up a lot through my corporate job, so I relied on that to manage my responsibilities with my own family back home, until I could start earning from this new career. You have to believe in what you’re doing and want to do it – I think creative work has to be grounded in part strategy and part passion. If your only drive is to make money, you’ll fall off the train soon. You do start earning pretty well after a bit but you have to stay consistent and you have to keep going.

What is the biggest misconception about blogging?

That you don’t do much and can make easy money. There are so many people who message me asking how to do it so they can ‘time pass’ at home. There might be those few exceptions who can make it work like that, but for the most part, if it’s a full-time blogger whose primary job and source of income is that very blog, and he/she produces high-quality content pretty much every day, then it’s just as occupying and hard as any other work. There’s no easy two-hour package that you can sign up for and create sustainable income. And I say this while having done both. In fact, with your own work, you have to consciously make yourself stop because it’s your thing, and you just want to keep going. Blogging is an untraditional medium of employment and I think it’s going to be a while before it gets the value and respect like other jobs.

What has been the most challenging project you have worked on?

Not really challenging as such but hectic in how much had to be done in just two days. A travel partner had once flown me out from Dubai to Pakistan to do a travel project and I had to spend a weekend in a city and document my experience. Between taking a gazillion pictures, shooting tonnes of content for video, moving between locations, and then actually enjoying the place for an authentic experience, the two days were jampacked with activity. Thankfully, I had my husband Nabeel with me, our partners were amazing and the place was absolutely beautiful so while it was lots of work, it was one of the most memorable and fun trips I’ve ever taken.

Describe a typical day in your life.

Pretty much different everyday but on a typical work day, I start work around 8 am with a hot cup of chai, make a tiny to-do list with items that I can do thoughtfully – these are usually a combination of personal pieces that I want to write and tasks for brand collaborations. I write blog posts, shoot images for a campaign or just my own feed, sign contracts for future projects, do my invoices and accounts, check emails, do meetings via conference call or in person, write brand proposals and lastly, very mindfully read followers comments and messages.

Define your signature style.

Casual, random, nonconforming.

What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers?

Be consistent, research and figure out things yourself.  Don’t wait for someone to come coach you, be the hero of your blogging career not a victim. Write from the heart and do what works best for you. There’s no one formula so don’t copy what’s working for someone else. Be you, enjoy the process.

How do you unwind after a stressful day or week?

Some garam chai, my couch, conversations with my husband, Whatsapp chats with friends and family and a random movie on TV in the background or whatever book I’m reading those days.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My father, no doubt. He was self-made, fearless, progressive and fiercely loyal. He inspires me every day even 11 years after his passing.

Top three skills to possess for running a successful blog?

Authenticity, because your own voice will always stand out versus what’s ‘trending’. Self-valuation, because you should know what your work is worth. Don’t settle for just ‘freebies’ once you’re well-established (even though they aren’t really freebies, they are a part of your compensation package). You need to get paid for what you produce, and just not be okay with free product. Humility, because you need to keep your feet on the ground, no matter how much love or fame you get (and it can get excessive, so you have to take care of your mind and heart).

Three things you always carry in your bag?

Simplifying life is like my oxygen. I don’t carry much at all; just my phone, wallet and keys (and sometimes a lipstick).

What’s next for Desi Wonder Woman?

I want my blog to always have a heart and never get too big for its boots. That’s all I ever line up for myself. Projects come and go, I don’t have those goals. Just honest conversations, clean sources of income, a group of kind people and we’re set for what’s next.

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