They say women aren’t meant for startups and businesses, and it’s no less than a challenge for us. Everyone gives a frown when I say, I aspire to be a businesswoman. They laugh when I say, I’m already working on it. I’m Shibani Das, the Co-Founder and Creative Head of The Untold Tales, India’s fastest growing web storytelling platform of 2020. We started off in 2017, with no such plan of expanding it into something big. It was only meant to vent out our personal problems on Instagram. That’s where TUT got it’s name from. Eventually, my Co-Founder and I realised that we were growing into a reasonably larger community, with more and more people kept joining in. Today, we’re a community of more than 200K people and I feel humbled to lead my team as the first woman Co-Founder from our industry. We primarily connect readers and writers and bring them together. Writers from all parts of the world send in their stories to our submission portal. The stories are then carefully reviewed, curated, and packed into images by our team, before they go live on our feed.
The biggest challenge I faced was making people understand what I do. I won’t say, I’ve been successful in making everyone around me understand about it, but I’ve explained it to most of them. Most of the people think that I run an Instagram page and that it’s just a hobby. That was also the first reaction of my parents when they came to know about it. It was challenging to make them understand what I do and receive the validation from them. The digital world is very new to our parents’ generation and it was equally tough for them to relate with me. They were not very much into this idea of their daughter running a business, but eventually, things changed.
Over the time, we received a lot of recognition and love from all over the web and that’s really heartwarming. My parents were getting to know what I do. Although the fact that their daughter was working on a growing business, that they had little idea about, was bothering them, they still supported me. They still do ask me to appear for a government job exam or opt for a private job, but I know that they’re just a bit insecure about this alien thing of telling stories with brands. They understand me now and that’s what matters. Many of my friends still doubt the future of this company, but that has always worked as a motivation for me. Not everyone will praise you, and especially when you’re a woman, only a handful will come out to support you.
It has been a great experience so far, starting from scratch, with zero investments and operating a large community over an Android phone in the initial stages. I believe, I’ve not even achieved 1℅ of what I aspire to be. There are huge things that we are planning about TUT and a lot will be unveiled in the coming years. But, it’s tough to do something different, when no one would believe in you. In those times, you need to believe in yourself. Self-belief is something that every woman should practice. Let them say that you can’t do it, let them talk about whatever they want to, your achievements will speak for yourself.
If you’re a woman and you’re reading this, never settle down with whatever you have. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Believe in yourself from day one and keep patience. Dream bigger and work even harder without bothering about anything else. One day, another woman would be reading a similar article, and you would be the narrator.