All4Women Entrepreneurs is a monthly feature where we put the spotlight on amazing female entrepreneurs starting businesses in South Africa. This month we spoke to Shanèy Vijendranath (who started her blog and content business) to find out how she did it.
- Entrepreneur: Shanèy Vijendranath
- Company name: You, Baby and I, and MomSays
- Industry: Content creation
- Year started: 2014
- Websites: youbabyandi.com and momsays.co.za
Everyone is on social media these days, but not everyone understands how all the time spent online could actually be considered billable hours. Lifestyle blogger Shanèy Vijendranath. discovered the business of blogging fortuitously after starting her blog ‘You, Baby and I’.
Five years on, Shanèy is an entrepreneur; an award-winning blogger and esteemed lifestyle influencer who makes her living doing what she loves. In fact, this year she made it onto Forbes’ ’30 under 30′ list – a list of African game-changers who are doing great things.
Why Shanèy became a ‘mommy blogger’
At the age of 21, Shanèy was happily married and a proud mother. She wanted to share her excitement with like-minded young moms, but the friends she had were neither married nor mothers. Blogging was a way for her to make new friends without having to leave her baby.
“Becoming a mother was a very lonely experience for me in some ways. I needed friends I could talk to about this new and exciting journey I was on, but I didn’t have any. I turned to the internet and thought I could keep a digital diary. My diary evolved into an interactive space with comments from other mothers sharing the experience and giving advice. I found my tribe, and at the time I had no idea it could become a business,” explains Shanèy.
Turning a blog into a business
Without the backing of formal tertiary education, Shanèy has used her business savvy and eagerness to learn to propel her blog to success. She says that as a blogger, interaction with your readers is the secret to success. And the secret to engaging and interacting with your readers is quality content.
“When your content is good and your readers can relate to you, they will interact with you without you even asking them to. Businesses will invest in sponsored content and advertisers will approach you. You can set your own rates and get the money you ask for, all based on the quality of your content,” Shanèy says.
Growth is inevitable
As her blog grew in followers and started making an impact, Shanèy realised she had to change her style and start taking her blogging more seriously. “I cringe when I think about how I used to write. My style was very conversational. I was reaching so many more people than I had expected with my blog, I knew then that I had to change how I write.” Although the style of writing on Shanèy’s blog has changed, her tone is still very much open and conversational, which draws readers and advertisers alike.
After building an audience of young moms purely on good quality relatable content, Shanèy says that advertising and sponsored content opportunities came naturally. As did recognition for the work she was doing in a growing niche market.
‘MomSays’ is born
Identifying opportunities is one of Shanèy’s many strengths, and her next business venture addresses a problem many moms have encountered. “There are so many lists of children’s products and reviews online, but they’re mostly international. There was no list of tried and tested products for a South African market,” she says.
Shanèy had identified an opportunity, and with help from her husband (who is an entrepreneur in his own right), started MomSays,it’s a data analytics start-up sharing the honest opinions of South African moms on products that are available in our own stores.
There is no limit to what Shanèy can do
The digital world is fast-paced and expansive. Opportunities that were unthinkable ten years ago seem obvious today – and may be outdated in a few years.
Shanèy says that moving with the times is the best way to survive the digital age. By staying on top of developments in the media and digital world, she is confident that she will continue to connect and communicate with communities of women around the world
Read more of the stories in our All4Women Entrepreneurs series:
- The Lazy Makoti’s guide to finding your spot in the market
- 3 things small business owners should look for in an employee
- How Liz Senior built a 65-franchise business from her backyard
- 5 things to consider when turning your small business into a franchise
- How Ubuntu Baba’s Shannon McLaughlin took on big business and won
- 5 secrets to becoming a successful mom-preneur from Ubuntu Baba’s founder
- How Mbali Nwoko started farming without funding
- Mbali Nwoko busts 3 myths about starting a farming business