Six years ago, I quit my nine-to-five to become a full-time content creator. I did this in pursuit of a career that would allow me the flexibility to have a leisurely breakfast, pursue fulfilling experiences without applying for a holiday, and ultimately remove the voice in my head that had become programmed to say “Okay sure!” to different instructions. (Homework? Tests? Performance Appraisals? Monday meetings? – “Okay sure!”)
One thing though, writing a piece on a day in my life would have been much easier back then.
Over the last six years, working as a content creator for my blog GirlGottaEat, as the lead strategist for my content creation company Hot Beverage (it provides marketing and content creation services for different brands in the food industry) and being the primary contributor to my food discovery website called Hungry In Karachi (www.hungryinkarachi.com), none of my days looks the same.
In fact, I have actively worked to not have a routine.
The only exception: breakfast. I can pause anything for a good breakfast.
A usual day starts with me thinking about a breakfast recipe that I want to try out that day. Usually, it’s something I had been thinking about the night before, or sometimes the recipe is inspired by the ingredients I recently bought from an umpteenth trip to Fresh Basket. These days I’m liking the combination of caramelised onions with fluffy scrambled eggs on toasted sourdough. Breakfast (that I make a point to not rush) takes about an hour.
My day then can go in four different directions. One, I have to step out for a shoot that mostly takes place at a restaurant and involves photographing or filming a food item that is being put together; two, I have to edit something I shot earlier and upload to either my blog or Hot Beverage clients’ social media; three, I have decided to stay at home, reading and making lists, because I have probably had busy shooting and editing days earlier; or four, I meet a current or a potential client to discuss content trends, upcoming campaigns or taste-testing food. I can’t say which day I enjoy the most, except that it is the fact that I get to live all four one after the other knowing full well that I have the liberty to choose.
When at a shoot, my favourite thing to do is to pore over a restaurant’s menu and find that one food item buried under a stack of different categories, but I know that when photographed or filmed the right way, will generate a lot of curiosity and ‘talkability’. It’s fun when no one else can see it.
“But our main product is not this!” Sure, but people don’t crave food in categories of side-lines and main courses. They just crave what they crave and a social media presence should really speak to that without judgement.
Creating food content (internet speak for food photography and food videos) over the past several years has given me a direct insight into which food items, when filmed or talked about in a certain way, do well in terms of sales and social media engagement – and this is exactly why while running GirlGottaEat as a platform, I started Hot Beverage.
I realised most food content done for brands seemed completely detached. Drone footage of buildings, under-the-table shots of chairs, doors opening, fires blazing, cutlery smacked on the table – but where was the food? As someone who is quite often hungry and consumes content as much as food, I know potential customers keenly look at how something is made and the values it is made from. Ambience, directions, and the architecture of the restaurant come after.
With this belief, I started strategising content not only for my blog but for different restaurants and brands that were looking to amplify their business via social media marketing. Over time, I built a clientele that I genuinely love working with.
However, one aspect of my overall portfolio was still missing – the ‘searchable food guides and menus.’ It was at that point that Hungry In Karachi came about.
Talking frequently to GirlGottaEat’s followers, I realised that a lot of people were looking for ‘the best of’ something – from apple pie and club sandwiches to biryani and cheesecake, and there was no way to get that information easily, especially from someone who has personally tried and surveyed the available options in the city. I knew I frequently tried a lot of food for work, for myself, and for content, and as I had all this information parked inside my head, I decided to lay it out on a website. This fairly new website gets almost 5,000 organic visitors every month – which I hope is only the beginning.
After I’m done with work, which roughly takes three to four hours every day, I either plan to meet up with friends, spend time with my mom or share memes with my brother. My mom and I have very different food preferences and we usually end up talking about the nutritional values of pumpkin seeds or mangoes.
We love having coconut water and going for walks together before sunset (gotta get that sun exposure). Back home, I usually order pizza or KFC and watch YouTube videos of people trying to make cinnamon rolls – a recipe I’m currently trying to master.
A large part of trying to regain control of my life after deviating from a set structure was to incorporate things like sleeping without the anxiety of an alarm going off, spending time enjoying my breakfast, trying out new food places without waiting for the weekend, spending time with mom – not as an afterthought but intentionally on a shared activity we both enjoy doing, going for a walk mid-day, having the freedom to make an impromptu coffee plan with friends – all the things which the ‘hustle culture’ refused to make room for, but I knew brought me happiness.
And so, here we are. A day in the life of me that makes room for all this and then sleep for 10 hours. Shall we end on that?
Riffat Rashid is a full-time content creator for digital food content platforms – GirlGottaEat and Hungry In Karachi. She also runs Hot Beverage, a marketing and content creation company. email@example.com