Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
Shireen Ajmal has worked on a variety of projects and is managing her startup “Papers n Pencils” side by side. Papers n Pencil is an Online Learning Platform.
Everyone has a story behind their success in life, and the same applies to Shireen. We at Fempreneur had the pleasure of hearing more about her inspirational journey.
So keep reading.
Shireen, we’d love to know a bit about you and your academic background.
Well, I belong to a religious, educated family, based in the village of Longwall where I got my education. After completing my studies, I did some online courses as I wanted to explore my interests. This helped me polish my skills, as well.
How did you initiate Papers n Pencils?
I was not allowed to work with males. That’s why I came up with the idea to grow myself and support other fellow female entrepreneurs/service providers who were in the same boat, looking for moral & financial support. I wanted to support them all by providing a platform, where they could publish/market/advertise their services/products/talents. Besides, Papers n Pencils offers free/Paid certified courses & sessions to educate such ladies. Additionally, we provide quality content management services at subsidized rates to help them grow their businesses.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I always wanted to be a self-empowered woman but due to a lack of resources, I was unable to pursue my dream. When I became active in the digital world, I met many inspiring women who were doing fabulous work and this motivated me to become an entrepreneur.
What were some of the challenges you faced at the beginning?
The biggest challenge was convincing my husband to let me do something in my life. I belong to an educated family but my in-laws are not well-educated. Because of the conservative environment, it took me 12 years to convince my husband to support me in pursuing my dreams. I still don’t have a proper support system, to help me manage my personal and professional lives but I’m still managing.
Is there anything that makes you proud? Please share.
My routine is pretty hectic as I am a mother of 3 kids. I, single-handedly, manage all my house chores, look after my kids and help them in their studies. Despite all, I am managing my startup Papers n Pencils. Managing everything together makes me very proud as I still remember the time when shaping my dream of becoming a self-empowered woman seemed impossible.
Consistency is the key to success. Tell us why women are not consistent with their Freelancing careers.
Women are not consistent with their Freelancing careers because of multiple factors including family restrictions, lack of a peaceful environment at home, responsibilities, etc. Additionally, a lack of patience is another most important factor because nothing happens overnight. So, I think this is the main thing that everyone needs to understand.
Could you please share some tips to motivate women on their entrepreneurial journey?
Here I’m sharing tips that work well for me!
• Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
• Never quit learning.
• Stay away from such people who do nothing
• Don’t be too egoistic after achieving success.
• Don’t forget who helped you in your career.
• Set a timetable for yourself and convert it into sticky notes, place here & there in your home that will remind you why you started & what you have to do.
You have worked on several areas, what do you enjoy the most?
I have been involved with a diverse range of projects and I have managed some on my own, but when I am working with a ‘team’, I enjoy those projects and ‘teamwork’ the most.
What is the scope of Freelance Education in Pakistan?
In Pakistan, there’s a huge scope of Freelance Education as we can see rapid growth of freelancing work opportunities these days. The majority of people are learning new skills with the help of YouTube video tutorials, they do pay and unpaid certified courses from different online learning platforms, and whatnot. Also, self-learning plays a vital role in this regard as many people are self-learners and they love to learn at their own pace. Therefore, freelancing and focused education in this particular field has a bright future.
What advice would you like to give to women out there?
Don’t lose hope too early. Have patience and learn to survive in any situation. Keep yourself busy with productive work to keep yourself stress-free. Don’t find shortcuts to success.