Everybody has a story to tell, and I help make yours unforgettable. – Ramya Sriram.
While a good measure of the millennials keeps wondering if their life choices are right, one young entrepreneur took charge of her professional journey and found her passion. Meet the 29 year old founder of The Tap, Ramya Sriram. Ms. Sriram enjoys expressing life through comics, using visual vocabulary to break language barriers. This simple and enjoyable hobby led Ramya into starting up her own business.
However, becoming an entrepreneur was not her first career choice. Like every child, Ramya, was very sure about what she wanted to do in her life. The only problem was her career choice seemed to change every few weeks! When she was 15, Ramya started coaching for medical school. Two years later, she dropped that idea altogether and joined the Vellore Institute of Technology, to pursue engineering instead.
Just like the majority of engineers feel in India, after graduating from VIT, Ramya believed a MBA was the next logical step. However, after joining a reputed Business school, Ramya realized Management was not her cup of tea. A few days into her course, she decided to quit and join a publishing house instead. At the new job, Ramya spent her days editing, nights writing and drawing, for the next five straight years.
During our conversation with Ramya Sriram, she shared about her journey from working in a publishing house, to the leap into entrepreneurship and setting up her own company.
1. While you made the move from MBA to publishing, who was your inspiration and why?
I never really wanted to do an MBA. I was quite confused when I started the course itself, though I had voluntarily studied for the entrance exam! What bothered me was that I might be stuck in a field that I might not enjoy. A week into the MBA, I knew that the course wasn’t right for me, and I needed to first find what kind of career I “fit” into. It wasn’t inspiration as much as it was resistance really. The major issue with the MBA was the time. Two entire years seemed an enormous amount of time to spend on something I wasn’t convinced about. When I got a job in a publishing house, my decision was made.
2. What would you tell other potential entrepreneurs who still are unable to make that final jump?
I can only speak from my own experience of running a very tiny outfit as a freelancer/self-employed person.
I would say that if the circumstances are favorable, then just take the plunge. Don’t let fear hold you back. I get so many mails from people who are really unhappy in their jobs. Life is too short to feel trapped. If there are people financially dependent on you, or if your circumstances are such that you can’t quit your job without some planning, then I suggest taking up small steps towards what you want to do. Even a couple of hours a week can make a big difference. I think the great thing about having a 9 to 6 job is that it gives you some leeway to freely experiment outside of it, since your bread and butter isn’t dependent on the experiments.
Before taking the plunge, it helps immensely to expose yourself to a variety of audiences and get feedback/advice from mentors. And when you really want to do something, you will.
Ramya’s path, from making the move from engineering, to MBA, to working in a publishing house, to finally starting her own company, Ramya has written about her journey in a Linkedin post. She states, “You can’t always find your passion within you, you have to get out there and look for it. Make things happen. Unless you try a whole variety of things, you might never know what truly brings you joy or satisfaction. As Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
And so, The Tap was born! The Tap has now become “a storehouse for stories that originate from my wandering mind and pondering pencil.” What started off as a hobby brought in her first customer via Facebook when a friend asked her to run a comic strip for his magazine. Since then, Ramya has worked on a variety of projects that involve ideation and content creation.
3. What was the hardest part about deciding to start The Tap?
I have to admit that it wasn’t very hard, mostly because I knew what I wanted to do, and had a lot of support from my family. I had started The Tap as something on the side, along with a full-time job. By the time I decided to work solely on The Tap, I had a general idea of what kind of time, energy and effort it would involve.
I think I have to emphasize that I never really looked at The Tap as a big commercial venture or something that I wanted to grow into a big company. I wanted to focus on learning and doing good work for good clients. During the initial few months I was a little alarmed whether I could actually make it work. But there was only one way to find out.
4. What were some of the first milestones and major challenges of The Tap?
The first milestone was my first (very unexpected) commission. I was doodling for fun, and putting up my work on Facebook, when I received a request to create a custom comic. I was very surprised and happy, and that was what prompted me to start taking up paid work. Another huge milestone was Comic Con, in Bangalore. I went with some T-shirts, bags, pillow covers and coasters, and was thrilled with the response. Having your audience in flesh and blood in front of you makes such a huge difference, after an online following. The biggest thrills have come in the form of mails from readers online — lots of folks have sent me their own stick drawings — people aged 7 to 70!
The major challenge was being able to understand what the scope of The Tap was — there were so many things I wanted to do — make merchandise, take up commissions, work with social enterprises, create custom products, collaborate with other artists/writers AND continue to write. I finally decided to pick a couple of things every year.
5. What’s the next step for The Tap?
I would like to focus on social issues. I did a series with CRY India last year, and I’m hoping to work with more NGOs this year, so that people not only read the comic but there is some follow-up action. I would like to create stories that will drive people into taking positive, effective steps — though I’m not sure that can be achieved easily.
Here’s a comic I did on the International Day of the Girl Child last year.
6. What would your message be to other aspiring and confused entrepreneurs?
Well, I think the confusion is good, because it can be a great motivator. I think my advice would be to just do something which makes you wake up every day feeling excited and energetic (sic.) We are our own demons sometimes, so clearing your path of self doubt would be a good step in figuring out your next steps.
Like Ramya said, the future is all yours to grab with just a little bit of luck, a dose of courage and a whole lot of determination! We wish Ramya Sriram all the very best for her future with more projects, more milestones, more drawings and more stories!
Conrad Hilton’s Lessons For A Successful Life
When Conrad Hilton passed away at the grand old age of 91 in 1979, he left behind him a legacy built over six decades. When he started his own business in the year 1919, little did he know that he was going to be known as the Best Innkeeper in the World. With more than 500 hotels spread across 6 continents in the world, Conrad proved that no matter how many lemons life throws at you, you can always make lemonade. From fighting in the First World War, to coming to terms with the loss of his father and family business at the same time, Conrad Hilton has taught us how to live the successful life by following these principles:
1. Find and own your talent
According to Conrad Hilton, everyone is good at one particular thing. He was good at making money and making things look better than they were. While he may not have had a successful stint at becoming a banker (his life long ambition,) he definitely had a fruitful career when it came to being a hotelier. His talent lay in identifying things which weren’t working and in turning them into gold. Despite facing challenges in terms of financing the deals, he realised his talent and made sure he used it to the best of his abilities! The lesson here? Find what you are good at and no matter what, you will always succeed.
2. No empty space is a waste
When Conrad bought the Mobley Hotel (his first ever hotel,) he realised a lot could be done to change the way the downtrodden place looked. A lesson he learnt from his father, Conrad realised that in order to create something beautiful, one had to look beyond what met the eye. The first hotel Hilton owned, fit around 40 rooms and when he had a sudden spurt of inspiration, he converted the dining room and fit in another 20 beds into the space. Talk about a stroke of genius! The lesson here? Always go with your gut.
3. Don’t be obsessed with the material world
Conrad’s family was never a wealthy one. He saw the first signs of wealth when his father sold a gold mine to the tune of $ 110,000 (now worth $ 3 million!) However, saving was not a part of their life formula. This taught him never to be obsessed with the material aspects of life. The lesson here? The more you learn to enjoy the finer moments of life, the more you start letting go and the more you truly start to live.
4. Never cling to the past
One of Conrad Hilton’s major obsession was to become a barrister. However, life had other plans for him. He kept pushing forward through all the adversities. No matter where life takes you, learn from the lessons of the past. Further, if Conrad’s father had kept mulling over how the family lost their fortune, they would have never really gone beyond the fact that they had to start from scratch all over again. The lesson here? Keep looking at how to get better and life will fall into place.
5. Always have an idol
One of the most important lessons Conrad learnt early on in life was to never look down on people. Only look down at people when you have to pick them up. Further, Conrad says to always learn from people, no matter what their position or what they do for a living. If Conrad hadn’t been the person he was, a bellboy wouldn’t have loaned him $ 300 when Conrad was going through a bad time! The lesson here? Everyone is an asset. Everyone has something to offer. Keep learning and growing.
6. Stop the worrying
Nothing good ever comes from worrying. According to Conrad, “Worrying has never solved anything yet. Prayer, thought, action – yes. Just worrying, no!” During the 1930s, when the Great Depression was happening, Conrad thought his business was going to sink. However, it was through sheer grit and determination that the man fought back and hit back hard! The lesson here? Everything happens for a reason. While you may blame the circumstances for your failures, don’t let them affect the rest of your life.
Conrad Hilton lived an inspiring life. Through all the ups and all the downs, the man became famous enough to build an entire industry. Today, the signature white swans on the beds, the mints on the pillows and the bellboys in crisp uniforms are all synonymous with the Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. Leaving behind a legacy, Conrad Hilton proved, no matter what, you can do what you truly want.
Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read In 2019
The year is 2019 and if you are an growing entrepreneur, then certain books just have to be on your reading list. With competition being at an all time high this year, here are some books which will help you find the motivation to keep being the best version of yourself as an entrepreneur.
1. The Execution Factor: The One Skill That Drives Success by Kim Perell
Kim Perell, an extremely successful entrepreneur, creator and angel investor, believes, to become successful in life, one doesn’t need a high IQ, but needs to have the ability to differentiate between success and failure. Using this principle, Perell wrote the critically acclaimed book, The Execution Factor: The One Skill That Drives Success, outlining the 5 basic traits successful people have and how they use these traits to turn their dreams into reality.
2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
Perhaps one of the most relevant books for entrepreneurs, The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen talks about how to make the most of any situation at hand. A classic of sorts, this book also talks about how the beginning seeds of innovation are sown and how you can grow to the top from the grassroots. The Innovator’s Dilemma has to be on your reading list for this year!
3. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
Even leaders need guidance from time to time and if you feel stuck in a rut with no proper direction for the people in your company, then the EntreLeadership is the perfect book for you. With a step by step guide on how to help your business progress, while at the same time guiding people about how to lead better, EntreLeadership is every entrepreneur’s comfort book.
4. Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality In Business by Danny Meyer
Setting The Table by Danny Meyer is based on the simple theme of being able to serve your customers better if you know them better. While you may not be setting up restaurants like aspiring hoteliers or laying the tables like chefs at a five star, this book has everything entrepreneurs just starting out need to read. From talking about how to partner with like minded people to knowing where to look at for investments, Setting The Table is the one book which just has to be on your list.
5. Good to Great by Jim Collins
You have reached the heights of success with your already blooming business? That is a question Jim Collins answers in his book, Good To Great. Collins not only defines, but also identifies the reasons as to why some companies soar to unparalleled heights of success while others fail to take off despite putting in the required amount of work. Studying all the recent data about how different companies have performed over the years, Good To Great maps the journey of companies which moved from nothing to something.
If you’re looking at understanding what went wrong and need motivation on how to grow to the next level, then you absolutely have to read these books. Comment and let us know if you think we missed out on any other great books like these!
7 Books That Could Change Your Life
A book always opens up the doors to new possibilities and ideas. You just need to be open to new suggestions. The right books will make you invincible, by providing you with gems you can not find anywhere else. Here we have a list of books which will change your life, only if you let them.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is about preaching the message, we are all are inherently creative. Big Magic is a motivational and inspirational read, it makes the reader want to create something spectacular.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
“You are the masterpiece of your own life. You are the Michelangelo of your own life.” This is the message this book conveys. If you are ever in a slump pick this up, it is a light and easy read, The Secret will leave you with a new energy and a new perspective on life.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Charles Duhigg takes us on a journey with this book, he includes real life examples and success stories. Duhigg employs scientific discoveries to provide us with a logical explanation about why we do, what we do in life and how to change it.
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
The author of this book Gary Vaynerchuk writes “Are you going to be part of the revolution? My hope is that Crushing It! will be the inspiration and strategy for you to understand how it’s not only possible, but practical to do the same.” It is a self help book for entrepreneurs to build their businesses.
Startupland:How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business By Mikkel Svane
Startup Land is a realistic account of how three guys dove into the startup industry. They documented their struggles and successes in this book. The story effortlessly conveys the message you just need to be you to succeed at your passion.
Four Thousand Days: My Journey from Prison to Business Success By Duane Jackson
An entertaining an inspiring story of a young man, who turned his life over after being arrested for possession of drugs. The author tells his story about building and selling his business and how he became a millionaire.
A New York Times bestseller, Rework, is a business book, that is unlike the rest. Rework does not give you the same old advice, it provides you with realistic, better, faster and easier ways to succeed in your business.
Have you read any of these books? If so let us know how you liked it in the comments below!
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