Our audience is keen to learn from the stories of entrepreneurs. Tell us in detail about yourself and the business you run.
I’m Shruthi aka Dolly, Founder of my Social Media Family Chilly Studio that I created in 2015. I’m also a Freelance Video Editor and a YouTuber based out of Bangalore, India. I hold a master’s degree in HR from Mount Carmel Institute of Management.
I’m a digital content creator. I share my travel stories, food reviews and styling tips on casual and comfortable clothing across multiple social media platforms. I feel extremely blessed and lucky to have successfully turned my passion into my business. I’m proud to say that I have a loving and loyal social media family that grows every single day.
In detail, tell us about your journey behind creating this valuable brand. I’ve been a travel enthusiast right from my childhood. Having traveled extensively all my life, travel has turned into my passion. I created an Instagram account and a YouTube channel to share my travel stories with the world in 2015. I observed that my audience was also interested in food and fashion which motivated me to create content related to food and fashion.
I absolutely had no intentions of monetizing my content until I observed that my social media family was growing in number and I started receiving brand collaborations. That’s when I recognized the opportunity of turning my passion into my business. I immediately started working hard towards establishing my brand. It was a roller coaster journey with a lot of ups and downs but I’m totally enjoying every bit of it.
What challenges did you face while creating your brand? What are the challenges you go through on an everyday basis?
I did not expect my passion to turn into my business and thereby I wasn’t ready for what it entailed. Every single thing was a struggle at the beginning - right from not knowing how much to quote for my first brand collaboration, to meeting brand expectations, to receiving my first paycheque, and to not knowing how to monetize my content. I got through every single day by figuring things out by myself. Nobody in the industry was ready to help or guide me or reveal tips and tricks of the industry. It was a huge learning process.
Even today, every single day is so challenging - whether it’s got to do with finding the right brand collaboration or negotiating deals or receiving payments or coming up with new ideas or dealing with hate or finding a good photographer or meeting deadlines or managing family time in between all of this – nothing comes on a platter!
Any fundings etc received till now?
I started with zero investment. Three months down my journey, I borrowed money from my family to buy a MacBook and other props and gear to edit videos for my channel and my clients. I was able to return this money in 6 months and for the next two years of my journey, I kept investing back a part of my earnings into my brand. Since then my journey has only been an upward graph.
Did any of your dreams come true after you started your social media journey?
I’ve always looked up to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and adored her work ever since she won the Miss World title. It was my childhood dream to meet her one day and this came true in 2018 when I was invited to an event organized by Longines. I got to interact with her one-on-one. It was truly a magical moment.
Tell us something we don't know about the content creators’ work?
Nobody sees the hustle behind the beautiful and glamorous pictures on social media. We, as content creators, choose to show only the positive side of our work or life. It’s often perceived by people that content creators get free products, get invited to fancy events or get paid a massive sum of money for brand campaigns. But at the same time, they also need to know that there’s so much of hard work that goes into creating quality and consistent content and building a niche audience right from the beginning and that it’s an on-going process that will never end at any stage. Nobody can sustain for long with free products; you eventually need to set up a valuable and trustworthy business.
Let me share a small example just to put things into perspective. It sometimes takes me half a day just to create an Instagram picture post (this excludes the shoot time). It starts with choosing a topic, then choosing the right picture amongst several shots, editing the picture using multiple apps/software, creating a description that’s informative and at the same time keeps my audience engaged, researching about the trending and appropriate hashtags that can be used and finally putting everything together and publishing it at the right time of the day.
To conclude, it’s a very challenging, time-consuming and sometimes a stressful job that requires a lot of patience. But the best part is I thoroughly enjoy working every single day and it’s very rewarding and motivating when my audience appreciates my work.
What advice would you like to give to someone who has a dream of creating something of his own and make a living through it?
Don’t be afraid to take that first step, don’t stop yourself from exploring your dream life just because someone is going to judge you. Focus on what you’re really passionate about, be positive and set small goals. Dream, Explore, Create, Believe and hustle till you get there....