5 Days Of Career Talk - Day 3: Women At Work

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 The Desi Wonder Woman 5 Comments

This whole week is '5 Days Of Career' on the blog where I'm sharing profiles of super relatable and confident working women, tips from HR pros, workwear inspiration and a whole lot more.

Continuing the Women At Work series with two more extremely real stories today. There will be two stories everyday (along with other posts!).

I haven't edited the answers the girls' sent me (except some punctuation/grammar/flow here and there) because I wanted to retain their voice and hopefully you can hear them speak through their words (I actually can!).

These women have solid work advice to offer, tips to share from their personal experience, and their own viewpoint on how to manage a career. You'll relate to some of the thoughts, you'll have a different perspective on some. I hope we can respect all points of view and I hope you'll join me in not just encouraging each of these women for where they are in life but also be able to get inspiration if you're feeling stuck.




I can't get over how beautifully Aurooba talks about passion and how it fits into the overall picture. Don't miss it.

Type of work:  I co-founded a web development studio called Wanderoak, and I not only help run the business but am the primary web developer of the company.
Work schedule: I work full time, although the hours are definitely flexible and I set my own schedule.
Family Situation: I live with my family and also am in a committed relationship.
How did you get into this line of work? And how long have you been doing this?
I've been dabbling with websites and such since I was 13 so it felt like a natural fit. As of right now, I've been doing this full time for just over two years. I started right out of university and the only other job I ever held before was a summer student with the Engineering department in my city.

Tips for someone looking to do the same? How does one get started on a technical business?
Honestly? In the beginning, you have to get out of your comfort zone and do stuff that feels sales-y. You have to tell your friends you're open for business and actively ask them to refer people to you. You can join Facebook groups where your clients might hang out (the Being Boss group on Facebook, for example) and make yourself insanely helpful to people who ask relevant questions. Eventually some of these people might become clients. It's really a 'how many people can you put your business in front of' game; the more people who know about you, the more likely it is that you'll get clients and boom, you're in business.

Tips for someone looking to start a career in general?
You have to find the sweet spot between what the world wants/needs and what you're good at. I started with what I was interested in and developed skills in it and dove in. It could be equally beneficial to look at what seems to be in demand, and build skills around that (if needed) and delve into that work.

The best advice I can give anyone is this: you don't have to figure out your 'passion' first. Passion is a result of curiosity and exploration. Do you think the founders of Uber were passionate about creating an alternate to taxis? But if you ask them now, I bet they'd tell you they are passionate about the work they do. Passion is not the end all be all. Don't worry too much about it. It can help - but it isn't necessary.


Do you think you can continue to do this in the long-term?
Oh definitely. I keep getting better at what I do, and our business keeps growing. It's an exciting time to be an entrepreneur, and the demand for web design and development isn't going to fade any time soon.

Was this a well-thoughtout career move for you?
I'd always wanted to run my own business, ever since I was in grade 8. After university, I felt like just getting a job would be ending up in the assembly line rat race everyone's in. I had been dabbling with web design more and more, so I figured I'd try freelancing. Once I saw that it was possible, I realized that this could be the perfect thing. I can work from home and set my own hours. Down the road this means I wouldn't have to make the drastic decision between having a great career and being a present mom, I could have both with some semblance of balance. 

The ability to design my life as intentionally as possible has become increasingly more valuable to me, and I'm grateful I found myself in a position to be able to do so.

You can check out Aurooba's website here.





Understanding of henna as a style statement unrestricted to special events only happened when I moved to Dubai. Seeing Sara and how incredible her reach is (she has 50k+ followers on Instagram!), I realized you just need to think about what you're good at and push yourself. Loved her story and advice.

Type of work: I'm a professional international Henna Artist.
Work schedule: This has been my full time job/ business for the last 6 years. However this past one year I've been on a break as I had a baby and wanted to dedicate the first year to her! I'll be back to my business and travels from Jan 2017 onwards!
Family Situation: So I've lived in Hong Kong all my life with my family. However since getting married and having a baby I've been living with my in-laws in a joint family for the last one year.

How did you get into this line of work? 
Henna has always been my passion; it's the one thing I absolutely love to do and have been doing all my life! So when I got the opportunity to turn this hobby of mine into a business, I quit my full-time job and decided to take the plunge! I officially turned it into my business 'Sara's Henna' in 2009 and have never looked back!  

What did you do before you got into the henna business?
Prior to running my business, I worked as an Events Coordinator for a publishing company in Hong Kong, along with working as a freelance art teacher in a private studio. The first time I introduced Henna in Hong Kong there was nobody else doing it. I saw the opportunity because there was great demand for it and decided to just go for it.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to do the same?
I always believe that work is no fun unless you're truly passionate about it! I don't believe in working just to earn a living... so my advice for all those looking to pursue their hobbies would be to just take the risk. Go for it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Tips for someone looking to start a career like yours - to convert a hobby into a business?
Find what you love and choose a line of work that truly challenges and motivates you. Don't second guess yourself and be prepared to put yourself out there. If you have a hobby, get social media savvy and start putting your work out there for people to see. I feel social media is the best way forward to get started especially if you're a budding entrepreneur - that is your life line :)

When I started off, it was all pretty haphazard, but slowly with the help of a lot of mentors it turned into a proper tax-paying registered business that required an official website, portfolios, marketing and the works! It takes time to evolve into a official career.

Do you think you can continue to do this in the long-term?
I definitely plan to! I'm not sure if there's a market for the kind of Henna Art I do in Pakistan because I feel there is a compartmentalized appreciation for this art form here, however I still plan on expanding my business into Pakistan. So far I have teams in Hong Kong, Middle East and a network of artists throughout the globe, so hope to put Pakistan on the Sara's Henna map too!

Do you have any tips for someone who's taken time off work and has a gap in their career history?
In my 6 years in this business, this last year was the first time I took a break and stepped back. At first I found it very daunting to go back because while I was away, a lot developed in the henna field. However, I'm teaching myself new techniques everyday and starting to get my social media back on track in order to attract business once again. I think the most important thing is to not let yourself get disheartened and to not compare yourself to others. There was a point not too long ago where I let myself get super depressed because I felt I was no longer good enough compared to all those great henna masters that I follow. However I soon talked myself out of it and just decided to get back to practicing my art everyday. Self motivation and determination is the key to entrepreneurship (or any other job).


You can check out Sara's website here and follow her on Instagram here.





If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like (and drop a comment if you really feel generous). I am so grateful to these girls for sharing this information so candidly and I'd love it if you'd give them a high-five (I really want them to feel appreciated #please).

See the entire 5 Days Of Career series so far, here.

5 comments :

  1. All these stories are so motivational. Love reading them.

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  2. Have been reading the entire series quietly so far. So impressed with the level of work and detail gone into this. Thank you for inspiring us everyday.

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  3. what I'm noticing in a lot of the self-employed girls is that they gave it a first shot which a lot of us are scared of or feel it will not happen! I really admire that spirit and it is really inspiring me!

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  4. So impressive !! Hats off to both girls .. 👌👌

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  5. SUCH out of the box careers Masha Allah and our visions are so myopic. great work sara and arouba!

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