Influencer Interview – Vidya Sury
As a part of our #Influencerspeaks series, we bring you some interesting insights into Influencer Marketing. This week at Influencer, we interviewed Vidya Sury from Blog. Vidya’s journey as a mother fills your heart with love and gratitude. Through her blog, she strives to touch hearts and make a difference in the lives of her readers. Here’s what she had to share about her journey:
1. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your Blog?
I live in Bangalore, with my husband. We have one son, who is now in college and studying on campus. After more than a decade in sales/marketing/training, I retired from my corporate career at 33 when I met my soulmate and decided to focus on family. I now enjoy the best of both the worlds: working from home & doing what I love, indulging in my hobbies, and of course, being there for my family.
I love to write and started Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles in 2003, when Google acquired Blogger. This July will be its fourteenth anniversary. I currently have seven blogs of my own where I share stories about all the things I enjoy in life. Via my blogs and published contributions across the web, I write to collect smiles and donate to charities. I enjoy helping people.
2. What did you do before Blogging? Who inspired you to share your stories?
Until 2003 when I started my first blog, I was part of the corporate world for more than a decade. I worked in a number of industries, including advertising, office automation, industrial components, pharmaceuticals, and transportation, across sales, marketing, training and exports/imports. I decided to take a break when I got married but soon after, when I realised I was expecting a baby, I decided to explore opportunities to work from home. A change in priorities and a passion for writing inspired me to start working as a freelance trainer initially, followed by writing, and I am now living my dream as a writer, blogger, and editor.
I write content for clients, blog for businesses, and edit manuscripts for publishers/authors. I find inspiration in everything and everyone. I have always enjoyed writing and did not confine myself to a particular niche, but over the years I have focused on parenting, mindful living, conversations, coffee, books, food, music, health, DIY, travel, photography and, of course, showing my diabetes who’s the boss.
3. What distinguishes your Blog from other Parenting Blogs?
What an interesting question. I think this would be best answered by my readers! While I regularly write for parenting sites and also have a major parenting category on my blog, I enjoy sharing personal stories and experiences, with perhaps, a takeaway or action point. I like to think I have something for the entire family! Most of all, I strive to ensure that people feel hugged when they visit my blog.
4. Since your work involves being with your kids, what are the advantages and the drawbacks of involving your kids in your profession?
My son is now 19 and away at college, but I started working from home when he was six. I was always amazed at how co-operative he was about my needing quiet time to work and was quite happy to play alongside. Of course, I had to come up with several ways to keep him busy. I smile to think of how he started his own blog at the age of eight, and even recall how one of his posts was receiving 3000 hits a day since it was festival time and he had written about that particular one.
I think he understood what I was doing and it helped that we had a timetable we followed. I’d even take his “help” in doing things around the house and he was quite happy about that. The biggest advantage was being there for him when he was at home, having flexible work hours that helped adjust to his schedule since he had started school and being able to plan impromptu outings, thanks to being my own boss.
The disadvantage? My wish for a 28 hour day has not been fulfilled! Sometimes I had to stay up very late to meet a work deadline because I didn’t want to miss doing something with him. And of course, he provided enough fodder for some of my posts 🙂
5. Motherhood is full of challenges. What are the challenges you face on a daily basis?
Today, with my son away at college, I only remember the wonderful memories and laughter. Those times he drove me crazy just seem like a warm hug. Of course, as a Mother, no matter how old he is, I guess I’ll never get over worrying whether he ate on time, got to class on time, and fret over a million little things for as long as I live.
During his growing years, I was rather blessed because he always responded to loving talk. I never breathed down his neck to make him study or do his homework. He was/is self-motivated and I often find myself telling him to relax. I was a rather laid-back parent and in some sense, that helped. I did not have the usual worries of him eating properly, etc. Very early, I learned that he was the sort of person who is receptive to reasoning and logic. So my parenting style has always been “love and logic”. Not saying I don’t feel like tearing my hair sometimes–you can see I’ve lost enough–but overall, it has been a wonderful journey so far. I prefer to see my challenges as opportunities to connect and believe that there is nothing that good communication cannot solve. But yes–time-management was and continues to be my biggest challenge. I am very fortunate that my husband is a very hands-on father.
6. Which are the other Parenting Blogs you follow and would recommend to your readers?
There are so many great parenting blogs out there! Three that I enjoy and have been following for several years are: Aha! Parenting by Dr Laura Markham whose posts are full of excellent tips, Hand in Hand Parenting–a community blog, and Parenting Ideas by Michael Grose.
7. What would you consider to be your biggest achievement in your journey so far as a Blogger?
I may have won awards as a blogger, but my biggest achievement would be this: making a difference in the lives of children in the welfare homes I support by contributing my blogging income to them. I had a tough childhood and my Mother and I were often broke and couldn’t afford things we needed. I know how she struggled to make ends meet. The day I got my first job, I resolved that one day I would donate a major part of my earnings to improve the lives of children. Today, it gives me a deep sense of fulfilment that I am able to do so.
8. What do you enjoy the most about being a Mother?
When my son was born, I felt as though I was reborn. When he was growing up, I’ve often wished time would stand still—he was such a delightful baby, always laughing. When he began school, I was charmed by how everyone loved him, his gentle courtesy and his bright attitude. Today, he’s in college and there’s not a single day I don’t miss him. Moms are like that, but I enjoy the fact that we are close and share a wonderful relationship. We love to argue with each other. When I am upset, he manages to dissect the situation and show me the light. Just two days ago, while cooking lunch, I playfully asked him, “Do you ever wish I was different”. And he answered, “No. Never. In fact, if you are not my Mother, I’d prefer not to be born”. You can bet that I cried all over the roti I was rolling out! What I enjoy most about being a mother is constantly discovering the unconditional love I am capable of. I firmly believe that my son taught me to be a good mother.
9. Can you please tell us a little bit about your recent collaborations with brands and some interesting work in the pipeline?
I enjoy collaborating with brands whose services/products are a good fit for my blogs. I consider myself fortunate to work with PR firms and Influencer agencies that have a good understanding of what my blog is about and invite me for campaigns I enjoy. I am happy to say that I have a steady stream of work that keeps me busy, both on my blog and my social media channels.
10. As a full-time blogger, what are the challenges you face?
The age-old challenge of time management–but in a happy way. Too much to do and not enough time to do it, so I have fun juggling my priorities. Some days I enjoy the privilege of just taking a break and then get back to my to-do list, refreshed. I love what I do.
11. If you had to share 3 tips with your fellow Bloggers who are just starting out in the Parenting space, what would it be?
It is a wonderful world out there and blogging is a great way to share one’s experiences with the world. Writing itself is very therapeutic. Be authentic. Let your own voice be strong and audible. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Interact with others in the community, because it keeps you sane and healthy and shows you that you’re not alone. Remember, however, that life always comes first and spending time with your kids and family should be your priority. Of course, we know that the best way to start is to have a self-hosted domain name, particularly for those wishing to work with brands.
12. Apart from your child, who would you like to thank for being a part of your journey so far as a Blogger?
My family and friends, who have always encouraged me in everything I do. My neighbours, who are always curious about what bloggers really do. It is refreshing to discuss blogging with non-bloggers. My community, for the interaction and friendships. I’m always excited to receive emails from people from all walks of life, telling me how much they enjoyed a particular post, or writing to me to discuss a topic I’ve written about. The connection is incredible.
13. Finally, what are your thoughts about Influencer.in? Would you prefer engaging with the brands directly or associate with platforms like ours?
I’ve enjoyed working with Influencer.in so far. *smile* Everyone I’ve interacted with has been absolutely courteous, sends clear briefs about campaigns, and makes payments on time, as promised. This truly sets them apart from most others in the industry. I would like to engage with brands directly, but I admit that it is definitely more convenient to associate with platforms like yours as it saves me time and stress. It feels good to know that you have my best interests in view.