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!
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!
How Steve Jobs Convinced Tim Cook To Work For Apple
Timothy Donald Cook, also known as Tim Cook, is the Chief Executive Officer of Apple. Cook is a well known American business executive and an engineer. Tim is behind the company which runs the most profitable business in America. Last year, Apple brought in more than $ 48 billion in net income.
Steve Jobs, the co founder of Apple, introduced Tim Cook to the company. In an interview with Bloomberg, Tim was quoted saying working for Steve Jobs was “liberating.” He added, if he had a “really big” idea, he would just simply bring it to Steve Jobs, if Jobs liked it he would just say “OK” and let Tim work on it.
“It was like a total revelation for me that a company could run like this, because I was used to these layers and bureaucracies and studies the sort of paralysis that companies could get into and Apple was totally different,” said Cook.
Tim Cook celebrates his seventh anniversary as Apple’s CEO after being with Apple for 14 years. He took over the company in 2011 after the passing of Steve Jobs. Jobs died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 56.
Steve Jobs’ desire to move into the consumer space for Apple and his lack of interest in growing financially convinced Cook to join Apple. In his first interview in 1998 for the position, Cook wanted to join Apple within five minutes of meeting Steve Jobs. Cook was so mesmerized with Jobs charm and the way he ran the company, he resigned from his job at Compaq the next day, he did not look back from Apple ever since.
Cook adapted the role as the CEO seamlessly, he calls the job “his oxygen.” He built a reputation as a demanding boss, he holds marathon meetings, questions everything and is constantly emailing employees.
Talking about how Cook’s Apple is going to be different he said, “I love museums, but I don’t want to live in one. Steve taught us to not focus on the past. Be future focused.”
How To Structure Your Priorities
At work, everything is at a high priority, how do you then structure your list of priorities with everything you need to accomplish. Knowing how to structure your priorities, is a key skill to have. To hit deadlines, you need to follow these steps and make your life easier, for you and your colleagues.
Write a to do list
Even though, you know everything you need to get done, it is best if you jot down everything with the deadline date. Do not worry about the order, just brain dump, small tasks as well as big tasks on to the list. From walking the dogs to finishing up a work related document that is due in two hours.
Identify what is urgent
After writing everything down, look at the things needed to be done the quickest, the work, if not done as soon as possible can have negative consequences. That work related document which is now due in an hour and fifty minutes.
Look at the leftover tasks, and identify tasks adding the most value to the company upon completion. You should be able to recognize what tasks provide you or your organisation with the most value. If there is cooking food on your list, it would be helpful to do that before embarking to do everything else on an empty stomach.
Rearrange the tasks
After identifying the work needed to be done first and the work garnering the most value when completed. It is time to rearrange the tasks requiring the most effort. The easiest way to do this is by employing a prioritisation method by Brian Tracy. It focuses on your feelings towards the task.
In the words of Mark Twain, if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing it is probably the worst thing going to happen to you all day long. With this ideology in mind, get the worst task done first.
- Things you do not want to do and you do not need to do.
- Things you do not want to do but actually, need to do.
- Things you want to do and actually need to do.
- Things you want to do and do not need to do.
Remember you only have twenty four hours in a day, make sure you do not bite off more than you can chew.
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