On this Teachers’ Day, we want to shine a spotlight on educators who are changing the game when it comes to imparting knowledge, but not in the old traditional way. One such trailblazer is Shreya Jaiswal, known as “The Unconventional CA” on Instagram. Her unique approach to teaching financial knowledge in a fun and engaging manner has captivated audiences worldwide.
Today, Social Nation had the golden opportunity to sit down with Shreya and delve into her remarkable journey. In this exclusive interview, we uncover the secrets behind her unconventional teaching style and learn about the challenges and triumphs she has encountered along the way. Join us as we present fascinating excerpts from our conversation with this inspiring educator who is redefining how we perceive financial education.
To start with the most important question, Shreya Jaiswal, you’ve successfully fulfilled the dreams of parents worldwide by becoming a Chartered Accountant. So, how did content creation happen for you?
It was because content creation was my dream; this happened solely because of COVID. I started my journey post-COVID. I remember it was the second lockdown, and I’m someone who hates doctors. Until things are extremely critical, I avoid doctors until the last minute. So when I was in a farmhouse during the lockdown, working from there, suddenly the Wi-Fi connection went down. By default, the work was affected, and to pass the time, I went on Instagram. Soon after, on my explore page, I saw a doctor’s video where he was sharing health tips. That became the reason I visited his page, and I ended up endlessly scrolling through his feed. Then it suddenly clicked that a doctor was saying things, and I, who hate doctors personally, was completely in awe of his content. That’s when I realized, why not create CA content? We do have equivalent knowledge about finance, and finance is something that everyone should know by default.
So, I wanted everyone to understand the basics of finance, and what better way to share this knowledge than through social media as a medium? That’s how my journey started. Trust me, before starting, I never knew that people make content on edutainment and infotainment, so I was under the illusion that I would be the first one to start this. But later, my bubble world slowly popped when I started seeing others (comparatively much bigger than I was). But then I was sure that I wouldn’t let that bring me down, and I continued, and today, here we are.
How do you maintain the balance between being a CA and a content creator? Both of these are equally time-consuming and require a lot of effort to keep a balance.
To be honest, there is no such thing as balance. When I was working in the firm, I couldn’t even describe how hectic it used to be. One good decision I made was to have my office just 1 km away from my house, so that was a smart move. Now, to explain my routine: I used to wake up at 7, and after having my coffee, I would immediately start with scriptwriting and shooting. This would go on until 10 or 10:30. As soon as I got this part done, I would rush to the office and be there until 9 or 9:30. By the time I would reach home and see the clips that needed to be edited, I would then sometimes regret my decision to create content because I would be so exhausted. But then, I have no idea how, but every morning when I woke up, I still had the thrill and excitement, and the inner me would scream, ‘No, man, this is fun, and I can’t stop doing what I love.
So, as you mentioned, you realized early on that there was a lot of competition, and many people were already doing well in this field. What was the idea behind all these unconventional ideas that you put in your feed, such as doing characters and role plays? Where did that inspiration come from?
I just love being the ‘unconventional me,’ and this description fits me perfectly. If you scroll to the end of my feed, you’ll find videos of me just staring into the camera and teaching like a teacher. Shooting was surely a challenge, especially with the time duration limit of reels. However, I took some time to think about myself and tried to understand the purpose behind why I was doing it. CA and the topics they cover are considered boring by everyone, but I wanted to show the fun side of it. I didn’t want to just provide information; I wanted to display my dance, act, and showcase my style. My social media currently aligns with my personality, and I also find myself extremely funny, so I ended up doing what I did.
You are also a co-founder of the FINTroop organization. So, could you tell me how that happened?
Belonging to the creator economy, I did realize that you need someone to manage everything. This can’t be a one-person task, so it opens up a plethora of opportunities for you. In the genre of finance, there were hardly one or two players, and the things they were offering didn’t excite me. I mean, if you see creators in other genres or celebrities, they are offered many opportunities. So, that kept bugging me, and I wanted to do more for my genre. I wanted people to look up to me and think, ‘ki bhai isne toh kill kar diya.’ I wasn’t getting that from the already existing agencies, so I knew that I either had to find this agency or maybe create it myself.
Then, in a conversation with Dot Media’s founder, we shared how we both had the same thoughts about what should be happening. Soon after, we decided to work towards this agency – “FINTroop” and open more options for people in the finance sector.
Now that we know you have multiple things on your plate, could you let us know how you manage and plan your day?
So before sleeping, I have this big fat diary, and I end up making long lists of things, and the list never ends. I mean, my diary has a schedule lined up for the next 4 days as well. So, noting down is the first step to planning. Mostly, I have one week of activities planned, and I’m always running out of time. So, I always prioritize what needs to be done, even if I have to sacrifice my sleep for it. I do it, but I get my stuff done.
Shreya Jaiswal, how has public speaking affected you? Going to different platforms and speaking, how has it helped you personally and professionally? Have you learned it from somewhere, or is it something you are blessed with?
So, I do get nervous. In today’s life, even though you know you can buy everything – likes, followers, subscribers, and now even a blue tick – I believe one thing that you can never buy is genuine love and support. This is the only recognition of my work. So, when you are on stage speaking, and hundreds of people are silently listening to you, seeing all that makes me realize that the work I’ve been doing for the past two years is spot on right? It has helped me personally, and when people later come and meet me, appreciating my work gives me a definite personal and professional high. So personally, public speaking is something everyone should try, no matter what field you are in!
We talked about a lot of your highs; let’s shed some light on a few of your lows. What were the challenges that you’ve faced in your life?
Haha, you won’t believe it, but just today, I had one of those lows in my life, I had a full-on crying session before coming here. So, talking about my lows, it has been a thing in both of my fields. In CA, I’ve seen a lot when I couldn’t clear my exams, and it’s natural to take multiple attempts. It’s also natural that my mom was worried about it. On the day of the result when I told her I couldn’t clear it, she came up with a sentence to which I didn’t have any reply, “Sab puch rahe the aaj Shreya ka result aane wala hai, kya bolungi un sab ko.” At that point, I was shattered. So that was the first low point of my life. It wasn’t a failure, but it was not being accepted by my mom, and it happened eventually over time, making me feel, “Shreya, yeh kya kar diya yaar.” But since then, it has been a very strengthening journey.
Then there are lows where I take my time, and calm myself down, if I have to cry, I cry. If I have to get angry, I get angry. I mean, they are emotions, and they need to come out. As cliche as this may sound, you need to either sleep over your failure or work hard and get better.
Can you share your future plans with us? What lies ahead, and what can we look forward to?
I can’t say it aloud for now, but if I have to give a hint, it’s related to TIB. That’s all you get for now. One month of patience, and it will be out. But the future is really promising. This TIB project, which I think you and the audience are definitely going to love, is on the horizon. Life is moving so fast, and creativity has reached new heights. Every day, we are working on something new. I feel that in the next 3 months, we can have another interview, and we will have different things to share and talk about.
When you started making videos, was it difficult to talk to the camera and record videos initially? Did it feel weird, or was it natural to you?
I always had a love for acting, but pursuing acting as a career comes with a lot of competition and abundant talent and when it comes to opportunities, they are limited. After I cleared my CA exams, I spoke to my parents about pursuing acting. While they had some resistance, they eventually agreed. I made a commitment to them to let me try it for a year, and if it didn’t work out, I would return to CA. They agreed to this after many disagreements.
This conversation took place in November 2019 and unfortunately the next month, COVID-19 hit, Considering the unstable situation, I for obvious reasons couldn’t even think about pursuing acting because even people with stable careers were facing uncertainty. So, I just spent a lot of time practicing my skills during this period, and that practice helped me become comfortable in front of the camera. Therefore, content creation didn’t feel so difficult for me.
The real challenge I can say that I faced was having to take on multiple roles, being the camera person, actor, director, producer, spot dada, makeup artist, and even hairstylist on top of everything. I played all these roles in one, and I believe that one of the biggest challenges is to switch from one character to the next and manage all these responsibilities simultaneously.
As we wrap up this Teachers’ Day celebration, remember that teaching is all about sparking excitement and making learning an amazing journey. Shreya Jaiswal, The Unconventional CA, shows us that when you teach with love and creativity, there are no limits. Cheers to all the teachers brightening our lives, and a big shoutout to Shreya for doing it in the coolest way possible. Happy Teachers’ Day!