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This Young Entrepreneur Believes In Making Stories Special

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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!

 

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Fun Facts About Netflix

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Gone are those days when you would have to spend your pocket money on buying DVDs to watch your favourite films.  This is the 21st century and in this age of technology, whether it is for watching a popular film or your favourite web shows, you know where to reach—Netflix, of course!  With new films, documentaries and shows being added on a daily basis, Netflix is the most popular streaming platform in the world. Today, we bring you some interesting facts about Netflix which may surprise you.

 

Fun facts about Netflix

 

1) Though Netflix started renting out DVDs only from 1998, it was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph.  This makes Netflix a year older than Google.

2) Netflix was originally called Kibble.  Kibble was the name of Netflix’s co founder Marc Randolph’s dog.  This name was to remind everyone, “No matter how good the advertising, it’s not a success if the dogs don’t eat the dog food.”

3) House of Cards was not the first original content produced by Netflix.  Netflix made a test video called Example Show in 2010.  In this 11 minute long test video, you can find pretty inane content like an actor moonwalking with a laptop and reciting a monologue from Julius Caesar.  You can still watch it on Netflix.

4) As of October 2018, Netflix accounts for 15 % of the world’s web traffic and approximately 36.5 % of North America’s web traffic.  If Netflix did not compress its videos, this number would have been three times higher. YouTube, which is also a streaming platform, accounts for 11.4 % percent of the web traffic. 

5) In 2013, Netflix hosted an award show of its own and aptly titled it “The Flixies.”  It allowed users to vote for their favourite films and shows under various categories.

6) Orange Is The New Black, 13 Reasons Why, The Crown, House Of Cards and Stranger Things are some of the most watched Netflix original series.

7) Netflix is available in more than 190 countries, from Australia and Europe to most parts of Asia.  However, it is most popular in the U.S. 

8) As of January 2019, Netflix has around 139 million paying subscribers.  More than 58 millions of these subscribers are U.S. based.

9) In 2014, a glitch caused the summaries of various titles to merge, creating completely hilarious and ridiculous summaries.  One summary which appeared to combine the Power Rangers installments with Inglourious Basterds read, “The Samurai Rangers get stuck in the Megazord’s cockpit on Christmas Even when it breaks down. Can the Rangers get out and assassinate Adolf Hitler?” 

10) Netflix was instrumental in coining the word “binge watch,” when it started to release its series’ episodes all at once.

 

Which of these facts about Netflix surprised you the most? Comment and let us know. 

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Reasons You Need A Mentor To Succeed As An Entrepreneur

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Behind every successful entrepreneur, there is a mentor.  Be it Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Richard Branson, they are all where they are because of a mentor who backed and supported them on their journey to success.  As an entrepreneur, you will have to take several decisions on a daily basis and if you do not have an experienced person to help you take those decisions, then you might end up making mistakes.  These mistakes can sometimes lead to your business failing altogether. So, if you are a newbie trying to start a business, keep reading to understand the importance of a mentor.

 

Who is an ideal mentor?

Now, before you set out to find a mentor, you should understand who an ideal mentor is.  Not everyone who gives you advice is a good mentor.

Good mentors never take their role for granted.  They feel responsible for their mentee. That being said, good mentors do not give you as much advice as a coach, sometimes they let you make your own mistakes and learn from them.

You must remember, people who have never tasted success of their own cannot guide you on your road to success.  As an aspiring entrepreneur, your ideal mentor should be someone who has an established business of their own and can yet take some time off their busy schedule to help you build yours.  You will be surprised to know, Steve Jobs, while running the tech giant Apple Inc., mentored Mark Zuckerberg and helped him build Facebook.

 

Reasons you need a mentor

 

1) You can learn from their experience

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

No matter how educated you are, nothing can beat experience.  Mentors have already gone through the journey before you and their experience can help you navigate through all the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.  Apart from this, you can also learn from your mentor’s mistakes and this can make life much easier for you.

 

2) You can get access to your mentor’s network

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Over the years, your mentor must have built a strong professional network and when they choose to mentor you, they give you access to their network.  This makes it much easier to find investors, market your business and also establish a customer base. Without a mentor, building a professional network is a hard task.

 

3) Mentors can double up as investors

Mentors sometimes tend to invest in their mentee’s business if they find it scalable.  Steve Jobs’ mentor, Mike Markkula, was also an early investor in Apple Inc. This, to an extent, can save you from the hardships of finding potential investors.

 

4) Your mentor can be a great support system

Entrepreneurship is a lonely and tiring process.  Here, the chances of failure are higher than the chances of success.  When things don’t seem to be going the right way, your mentor can provide a shoulder upon which to cry.  If you ever feel like giving up, your mentor can help you rekindle your confidence and can urge you to try once again.  Research shows entrepreneurs who have a mentor are less likely to give up.

 

5) You will always know the truth

A good mentor is also your first critic.  When you perform well, they should be the first to applaud for you and when you miss you mark, they must be the first to criticise you.  Even if it hurts, they should always tell you the truth.

 

Your odds of success in life and in business can be amplified by having the right mentors.  According to an executive coach survey, 80 % of successful entrepreneurs said they received mentorship in some form or the other.  From giving valuable lessons and moral guidance, to timely advice, a good mentor can take you to heights you never thought you could achieve on your own.

Do you have a good mentor in your life? Comment below and let us know.

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Four Books About Finance Every Young Entrepreneur Should Read

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“You’ve got to tell your money what to do or it will leave.” — Dave Ramsey

Well, we could not agree more.  Entrepreneurship is not just about having a lot of money, it is about knowing how to manage that money well.

Money management is one skill without which it is almost impossible to succeed as an entrepreneur.  This, however, is very hard to master, especially if you are a beginner. Luckily, in today’s world, there are some really good books targeted at helping beginners understand how money works.

Therefore, if you are a new entrepreneur or aspiring to be one, here is a list of finance books you should read.

 

1) MONEY Master The Game: 7 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom

“What matters is that you master money and it doesn’t master you. Then you are free to live life on your own terms.”

Tony Robbins.

Written by entrepreneur, philanthropist Tony Robbins, MONEY Master The Game: 7 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom walks you through simple steps you can take to master your money game.  This book deals with the most important topic of money management—investment.  For beginners who just started investing, the book provides a lot of information about the highs and lows of investing.

Based on one on one interviews with various financial experts, this book gives you a complete blueprint to become financially independent.  If you have just started as an entrepreneur or investor, this book is totally for you.

 

2) The Millionaire FastLane: Crack The Code To Wealth And Live Rich For A Lifetime

“Go to school, get a good job, save 10% of your paycheck, buy a used car, cancel the movie channels, quit drinking expensive Starbucks mocha lattes, save and penny pinch your life away, trust your life savings to the stock market, and one day, when you are oh, say, 65 years old, you can retire rich,”—is this how you plan to lead your life?  Well then you are definitely on the ‘slowlane.’  

The slowlane might seem to be a risk free method to get rich, but by the time you reach, there you might be in a wheelchair.

Through The Millionaire FastLane: Crack The Code To Wealth And Live Rich For A Lifetime, author M.J. DeMarco introduces you to a new way of getting rich—The Fastlane.  Using various examples, this book teaches you how you can use various market strategies to your favour, find your wealth accelerator and make millions while you are still young, so that you can enjoy it now.

 

3) The Intelligent Investor

“People who invest make money for themselves; people who speculate make money for their brokers.”

Benjamin Graham.

Written by one of the greatest investment advisors of the 20th century, Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor has been inspiring investors since 1949.

This book is basically the stock market Bible and teaches you every possible thing about investment.  The author succeeded in putting the hardest concepts of investment into simple terms, making it easier for beginners to understand.

Over the years, The Intelligent Investor has been revised into various editions to incorporate today’s market scenario.  Warren Buffet himself described it as the best book about investment ever written.

Have you read this book yet?

 

4) The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous And Broke

“Build a great career for yourself rather than settling for a job that does nothing for you but pay the bills”

Suze Orman.

Written by TV star and financial expert Suze Orman, The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous And Broke is targeted at teaching millenials the basics of the financial world.  This book is a fantastic piece of work which can help the younger generation to cope with various financial problems like student loans and the job market.  Over the course of ten chapters, this book could take you from being broke to a secure financial position. If you are a millenial looking to learn some basics of Finance, then you should definitely get your hands on  The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous and Broke.

 

Books are invaluable sources of knowledge.  For every problem you face in life, there is a book out there to help you get over it.  If managing finances has been your problem, then the above list of books can help you manage them better.

Which of these books are you planning to read first? Comment below and let us know.

 

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