you 2.0 - personal branding

In the present day world where peer-to-peer competition is nothing short of being cut-throat, it means a lot to stand out. Building a personal brand is not just about having presence on Social Media Channels. Its about how you influence others.

A personal brand is similar to a “Company Brand”. You need to be associated on an emotional level. More than just a name, you have to become an icon!Continue reading

entrepreneurship

Addressing a gathering about Entrepreneurship has always been a touchy point for me. Neither am I a successful entrepreneur (yet), nor a very experienced one. Still, whenever am invited by the student community to take a session on Entrepreneurship, I am always glad to share my bit of experience, my failures, my mistakes. Because as far as I have learned, you only get inspired from winning stories. You need failures to learn stuff.

I was recently invited to KMEA College of Engineering to take a session on Women Entrepreneurship as part of their IEEE WIE activity inauguration. I gave the topic a good thought and actually decided to let go of the “women” portion. No bias to anyone meant. But if you ask me, men, women, dolphins, aliens…. no matter who gets into entrepreneurship, the issues and hardships faced are the same.

I’d say Mothers are the best entrepreneurs. They multitask things perfectly like all entrepreneurs do and take the biggest of calculated risks – bringing up a child! So, women finding it more difficult to be entrepreneurs, I don’t agree to that statement.

Following is my presentation from the hour long session I took at the college – on myths and facts of entrepreneurship. I really hope I did justice.

 

Myths about entrepreneurship : 

  • Entrepreneurs are born. Not made – totally disagree. Its all attitude and hard work. Not just inborn talent.
  • College dropouts make better entrepreneurs – not always. Though it has to be agreed that college dropouts give it their all as they have nothing to go back to if they fail.
  • Idea + Prototype = Start a Company – you need market analysis, building a great team, marketing and a million other factors.
  • Its easy money – never is!
  • I need to be a techie – not all entrepreneurs are techies. Identify if you’re a techie (who does the work), manager (who can get the work done) or entrepreneur (who has the vision to build the product/service into something scalable).
  • I must invent something new – was Google the first search engine? Was Facebook the first Social Network? It’s all about doing the thing right, keeping in mind the users.
  • Entrepreneurs are gamblers – they are risk takers, yes. But only calculated risks, not blind ones.
  • You are your own boss – nope. You’re actually at the bottom of the food chain. Clients, Customers, Vendors, Landlord, even the freaking Income Tax department is your boss!
  • Unlimited vacation – pffft!
  • My best friend is my co-founder – never mix friendship and business. You’ll be screwed. And at times, screwed Big Time.

 

Facts about entrepreneurship :

  • Your first idea will be wrong
  • Your friends and family won’t understand what you do
  • You’ll be broke at times
  • Don’t build your company only on one vertical
  • CXO posts don’t matter a S#!t. You’ll be the freaking delivery boy!
  • Customers/clients will irritate you
  • Your personal life will suffer
  • You’ll work 100 hours a week (or maybe even more)
  • There will be no one to congratulate you
  • Finding a good team/staff will always be a challenge
  • Negativity will be showered upon you

And, the focal point of entrepreneurship – Only YOU are responsible. Whether you succeed or you fail. Only you are responsible.

job interview cartoon

First interviews can be scary. I know it. Been more than 3 years since I attended my first Job Interview and hilariously failed*.

Luckily, this time I was to be on the other side of the table – the interviewer.

On 19th Jan 2014, I had the opportunity to visit SCT Collge of Engineering Trivandrum, as the Consultant for Grey Technolabs‘ Placement Drive in the venue. I was requested to handle the analysis of the Group Discussion (GD) Round for the applicants and the HR Interview for the finalists.

Having conducted loads of interviews for my firm and for DayScholars Innovations, I can easily say am not a newbie in this, but all the same I ain’t an expert either. Let’s keep it medieval by saying I have my share of experience to be able to make justified decisions.

So, at the end of the day, with analysis of 57 applicants via GD and 23 one-to-one HR Round interviews under my belt, have to agree…. I was brain fried! I do not mean to undermine anyone or any individual’s talent, but the sheer ego and easy-go attitude of certain applicants just wrinkled my brain out.

Wrinkle my brain
 

And that’s exactly where I felt the need for this blog post to arise. One to one, I saw some of the common mistakes the students did while in the GD and/or in the interview. Some of it might seem pretty trivial. But if that’s all the importance you give to your job interview, God save you. No, it’s not the end of the world, but yes, it can be the reason you’re shown the door.

Certain points to keep in mind –

Group Discussion (GD)

  • Being proactive is good. But don’t let it be at the expense of absolutely shutting up others. Do not be domineering.
  • Never ever go for personal attacks on someone else, whose points you do not agree with.
  • Do not whisper with the person on your side. It’s a GD, not a Chinese Whisper game.
  • Stop staring so publicly at the girl sitting opposite to you. Yes, she maybe good looking. But then no, you’re not getting the job.
  • Control your anger even if someone pinpoints personal attacks on you. Their chances of advancing are history. Don’t let yours go down the drain too.

keep-calm-and-control-anger-2

  • Do not behave like Manmohan Singh and sit quietly. You won’t be given the nod of approval.
  • Speak up only if you have a valid point to share. Don’t just say “I agree with my friend over here…” and iterate the exact same thing he/she said.
  • If you’re the first person to speak up, make sure you start off with the strongest of points. Bonus marks to you.
  • If you have absolutely no idea about the topic, wait till quite a few points have been shared. Then based on them and the power of your intelligence, come out with a point that makes sense. Do not utter blunder. The people evaluating you are smart.
  • Don’t just stare at the face of the moderator. Look square into the eyes of each and every person sitting there, while talking.

Interview

  • You might be nervous as hell. Everyone is. But ensure you’re not shivering uncontrollably when sitting across the table with the interviewer.
  • Make sure your phone is switched off or not with you at the moment. 5 min of not Whatsapp’ing your GF/BF isn’t going to cost you the relation. But your phone ringing or even worse, you messaging during the interview, is something you should be sent to jail for.
  • Do not consider the people at the interview panel as fools. Unless you’re CEO of a Million Dollar company who’s attending the interview just to have fun, don’t blabber out tell-tales or lies. No matter how good a liar you might be, at some point of time, you’ll be caught.

job interview cartoon

  • Be conscious of your body language – that means, no slacking on the chair, no nervous tapping of your feet and no playing with the cap of your pen.
  • Maintain eye-contact with the interviewer you’re talking to. Displays confidence.
  • The interviewer is there to analyse whether you’re the right person for the job. They’re not there to listen to your sorry story and feel sympathetic to you. Don’t get emotional and plead that “I need this job”. You’ll just be ensuring your exit from the opportunity for the vacancy.
  • For heaven’s sake, don’t ask the interviewer whether he/she’s committed/married 😐

Every single point I have mentioned here, is from that single day of experience. There were also a whole bunch of students who thoroughly impressed me. Yes, I understand students might not have experience attending interviews. But most of the mistakes mentioned above are just due to pure lack of common sense. It’s not rocket science.

Though there were moments when I actually thought learning Rocket Science would be easier than digging up Common Sense from an empty hole.

 

 

*P.S. For those loving people who have doubts on whether I have any right to write this article after failing my first Job Interview, I passed the GD, Aptitude and HR Interview for the first one. Failed for the technical interview. For the second Job Interview, cleared 3 rounds of HR Interview, 1 round of Technical Interview, 1 round of Psychological Test and 1 round of Language Test. In the end decided not to accept the Job Offer. A week later, started IZE Creative.

 

-Vijay S Paul

Image Courtesy : imgur.comkeepcalm-o-matic.co.ukglasbergen.com

new year resolution change acrtoon

Well, first blog post for 2014. Took me just 5 days. Better than last year I suppose where I took almost 18 days to come up with the first one. New year resolution you ask? Bollocks I say.

It’s just the 5th of Jan and I already must have read about 20 Facebook updates and a kazillion tweets about people ranting or publicizing about their new year resolutions. PEOPLE! If those are seriously your New Year Resolutions, then keep it to yourself. Don’t go about publicizing them. You do it, good for you. You don’t do it, no one gives a rat’s eye.

why should we take new year resolutions

Am not saying New Year Resolutions are bad. If you can take it and stick to them, awesome. But why in the world would you need a excuse to do something better and give it a name? What in the world were you doing the rest of the 364 days? Watching Twilight: Breaking Dawn in loop? Blech.

Does this mean that you get the idea of doing something better in the month of March and you make it the New Year Resolution for 2015? You wait until you can assign a tag to it? My condolences to your brain fella.

Ever since I can remember, I have never taken a single New Year Resolution. I rather decide upon goals. They have much more clarity and unlike New Year Resolutions, don’t need the 1st of January to initiate. Decide and then let your actions steer your path ahead.

new year resolution change acrtoon

Secondly, Resolutions are more about “if’s”. If I become slimmer, I’ll get a girlfriend. If I write a blog post everyday, I’ll become famous. Let’s be truthful to ourselves here. Resolutions are based more upon what others expect from us. Not what you really want to do. Because if you did, then you would have started it off on June 30th itself without having waited for another half a year.

As the year goes ahead, keep your goals on the forefront, not your resolutions. Goals are always about today. It’s about what you do each day that would help you attain your goals with furthermore clarity and lucidity. On the other hand, resolutions are too vague. Lack clarity and purpose. If you haven’t done much with your resolutions in the initial few months, you always have the next 1st of Jan to bear the pressure again. And the next.

So f*** it! F*** your New Year Resolutions goodbye. Instead focus on your goals. Quit bouncing around and wallow in the immoderate hollow of your New Year Resolutions. This way, next year you wouldn’t need another list of Resolutions. You’ll just need stronger and more powerful goals. You’ll be able to look back and bask in the glory of having attained something better than petty resolutions. You’d have bettered yourself. And in the end, that’s the only Midas touch you’ll ever need.

Rock the year ahead mate.

P.S. My New Year Resolution? This! 😛

new year resolution cartoon

how to start a social media agency

I have been running a Social Media Marketing/Content Marketing Agency for about 2 years now. Wouldn’t boast that all’s been good; have had my heavenly highs and my deepest lows. Stepping into a completely new field just because I fell in love with it might sound preposterous to some. But well, that’s how certain things are supposed to align up.

In retrospect, I can point out at least a million things about starting up a Social Media Agency, which, if I had known 2 years back, would definitely have helped me and my firm be in a much more enjoyable position than it is now. But, just as a good stuffed crust Pepperoni Pizza with double dose of cheese takes its time to be made up, all good things come in time. And with experience.

Hence, when I was invited to an Engineering College to handle a session on “How To Start A Social Media Agency”, I had already made up my mind on what would be the first things I would like to share. Also, I was told most of the students had plans of starting a Social Media Agency while -in/after college. This made it all the more clear to me on what I had to share.

My presentation from the talk is as –

For the loads of veteran digital marketers out there, and for the doyens of Social Media, I whole-heartedly welcome you to put in your suggestions on whether I have missed out on any part in the above presentation.