I have always loved meeting new and different kinds of people rather than working with instruments.Deepika Venkatachalam, Blogger and Influencer
Think Influencing as a side hustle is easy? Think again. Work is work, be it an Instagram Influencer and blogger or a lawyer. Fulfilling? Yes. Easy? No job is easy, though they seemingly are.
The key, therefore, is to find such a calling of your life – find out what makes you happy, and you would always look forward to working on it, even harder than the previous day. Where purpose and passion integrate themselves is a sweet spot that Deepika found. Meet Deepika Venkatachalam – A speech-language pathologist by profession and a content creator by passion. She is also a National Table Tennis player and was also a coach for the University of Sheffield. Deepika has a charismatic personality that speaks for her more than her words. The young aspiring blogger and speech therapist talks about her journey to stardom on Instagram and TikTok, how she manages social media, and about her new venture Saggito Speechie with Chennai Insider.
Chennai Insider: Tell us a little about yourself.
Deepika: I introduce myself as Deepika Venkatachalam – A speech language pathologist by profession and a content creator by passion. I am a National Table Tennis player and was also a coach for the University of Sheffield. I did my schooling in RBSQ school, Besant nagar till 10th grade, and SrISankaraVidyashramam for the 11th and 12th grades. Later, opted for the course ‘Bachelors of audiology and speech language Pathology’ In Madras ENT Research foundation and currently doing my masters in speech difficulties at the University of Sheffield,UK.
Chennai Insider: What inspired you to do a Masters in speech pathology?
Deepika: I wanted to do general medicine but being that playful kid earlier, I thought I cannot spend my whole life studying. So I wanted to do something else in the same medical line that does not require much effort as that of an MBBS degree. I know I had a misconception that only Doctors study all through their life, but I’m happy that I ended up choosing this which I think suits me the best. This course is still not known by a lot of people and the awareness is really low.
I’m blessed with a father who explores a lot and makes sure his daughter goes into the right place. So my dad introduced me to this course and made sure I’m also okay with it. My course has two departments-Audiology and Speech Language Pathology. While I was doing my UG, I gradually fell in love with the speech pathology for the scope of human interactions it has. I have always loved meeting new and different kinds of people rather than working with instruments.
Doing my Masters was a mandatory step for me to enhance my knowledge and I chose to do it abroad to have a complete different kind of exposure. UK, being my dream destination since childhood, didn’t upset me at all. Had the best of my time there, worked 3x harder but the Covid-19 has sent me to my home country and looks like I am not going back anytime soon. Now, making use of this time to get placed in my second dream destination, but right now not letting anyone know which country it is. (chuckles)
Chennai Insider: Tell us about your venture – Saggito Speechie. What do you do as a speech therapist, what is unique or interesting to you about the experience?
Deepika: This has been the most frequent question that’s asked to me. I always have a belief that Sagittarians are the ones who are crazy when it comes to exploring, just like how I am.
My blogging website was first named ‘sagittoviews.com’ since it has blogs about every platform I’ve tried to explore on. (Fashion,food,travel,books,mentalhealth and speech language pathology) So the only reason I named myself as SagittoSpeechie is that I’ve already named my website and I wanted it to be similar, for people to relate.
I render services for individuals with speech and language difficulties that include child language disorders, learning difficulties, stuttering, voice disorders, degenerative conditions, swallowing disorders, articulation disorders, and cognitive impairment. The thing that I most love about my work is that it keeps me engaged and interesting. Every day looks like a new day for me as I work with different kids and people with different difficulties and what could make me happier than to see a smile on a kid’s face or a mother’s face who was longing for her child to call her AMMA.
Also, due to a lack of awareness, some people are still misled and do not of the effectiveness of speech therapy. It takes a lot of time for us to even convince people to be regular for therapy, but all they expect is an immediate result which is not possible in this case.
Chennai Insider: When did you start blogging and content creation – what keeps you going as a fashion or lifestyle blogger alongside your work?
Deepika: I love to explore different things and that’s how my passion for blogging and influencing started 3 years back.
I believe an influencer is not a person who just promotes makeup and fashion content, but also someone who can influence regarding positivity, love, happiness, mental health essentials, and voice out against social issues.
I knew what I was wanted to do but was blank on how to do it. I badly wanted a set of audiences to listen to me and nothing clicked through IG. At that point, TIK TOK (termed musically by then) was a savior for me. It gave me a quick reach.
I was blessed with a friend named SugiVijay who constantly motivated and supported me to post content every day managing the obstacles and also gave me good ideas. In a year, there were 600k people in TikTok and 100k on Instagram.
Chennai Insider: Any memorable experience as a blogger?
Deepika: Every day is a new memorable day for me. Of course, meeting the big shots and being invited to reputed channels makes me happy but in my opinion, time is the most precious thing we can ever give to someone and my followers do it in excess. A single message takes 1 second of their time and they spend their time for me with long write-ups, letters, fan pages, and edits that have always made me feel blessed and valued every single day. I take screenshots, re-share and that’s the only thing I could do for such lovely unconditional people. I name them my family, I mean it and each one of them gives me the inner happiness which I cherish every night.
Chennai Insider: Behind the Scenes, take us behind your typical day on social media? How much time do you spend in engaging with followers?
Deepika: I make sure I am consistent with my feed. So, every weekend, I schedule my posts for the whole week. If it’s a series or any brand collaboration, I spend a whole day (Sunday) to shoot all pictures and videos that can be used for the whole week. This way, I need not stress every day on giving content. The post will be ready every evening and I will prepare only the caption for it half an hour before I post. My sister helps me with editing the caption to make it relate to the best. Other than this, I take an hour to engage with my followers alone, check all their messages and reply to as many as possible. Another hour to just go through the feed, and to support my fellow bloggers and content creators.
Chennai Insider: What motivates you and keeps you going?
Deepika: I always try to put a smile on someone’s face and I hope the journey as a blogger/influencer is also making me do it for random people which I’m absolutely loving.
As a social media influencer, I know I must be responsible and make sure not to misguide my followers in any way. Each day, I try my best to influence at least one person in a positive way. And when people let me know that they have started to write because of me or if a girl with dark skin is being much more confident looking at me, what else could make me happy? That’s what drives me to keep going and gives me the motivation to balance both my profession and passion.
Chennai Insider: What have been some of the highs and lows of your journey and how are you treading through difficult times?
Deepika: I’m getting a lot of opportunities lately enabling me to work on my ultimate goal. I’m confident in the path I’m walking in and throwing positivity to each girl out there, but still being in a public eye puts me into a lot of unnecessary trolls and negativity which has torn me apart sometimes. More than the work I do, I’ve always been trolled for my dark skin and my character -makes no sense but still, people term me by different names. I’ve always wondered how could someone have so many guts to put another person down without even knowing them personally. Even though all these break my heart, at the end of the day, my mom is always there for me to tap me up. The only thing she expects is my happiness and she does all that she can to make me feel motivated. I believe by course of time, I can influence those kinds of people too by kindness and positivity proving my all-time favorite slogan ‘ANBE SIVAM’ (love is God)
I aspire to learn at least a single thing new every dayShe never ceases to inspire, does she?
Chennai Insider: Any words of encouragement to aspiring speech therapists and content creators?
Deepika: Haha! In fact I’m one of them. I always use the term ‘aspiring blogger/influencer’ and ‘aspiring speech therapist’ whenever I get in touch with someone. People ask me why and I always have this answer- I aspire to learn at least a single thing new every day and I think I do it. So the one thing I would like to tell all my aspiring fellow content creators and speech therapists is not to lose hope. We will eventually start learning by mistakes and if you are genuine by heart, only the best thing will happen to us. Let’s come out of our comfort zone, do whatever makes us happy, and live without regrets!
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