Why I find Starting Up so scary?

After years of contemplation, working with start-ups and reading about entrepreneurship, I have finally decided to take the plunge. And yes, it is scary. At a time when I am on the wrong-side of thirty, I have doubts whether it is a good decision to risk it all? Am I doing the right thing?

These are the five biggest questions that haunt me:

What about the pay check that comes every month?

The assurance that a fixed amount of money will come to my account at the end of the month is a great thing. It makes you forget everything. All the disagreements you have had with your manager, all the office politics you had to face, the traffic jams you had to course through to be in office on time, the sleepless nights you had spent thinking about how to do that assignment better while your partner happily snored away to glory beside you.

MoneyTrue, money cannot buy everything but most of the things that you want, you can only have if you have money in your wallet. Starting up would mean skipping all those vacations, visits to the Zaras and Chemistrys and most importantly skipping on checking out the latest restaurant that has opened up in the city.

What will people say?

It is very easy to say that I don’t care what people think about me but it is very difficult to actually practise it. God made us social animals. The friends we have, the colleagues we work with, the family, the extended family, they all matter. To me they definitely do. I do not want to be looked at as a loser. I always want to be a rock star in their eyes.

RockstarWhen I announced that I have put in my papers, the first question that came from them was if I had found a better job with a fatter pay check? When my answer was a ‘No’, the next question was so you are planning to start a family and have kids and all? Still a ‘No’.

When I said that I am starting up with my husband, all I got were looks and glances which were not very assuring. Only a few said “Wow! that’s great and let me know if I could be of any help.”

To those few I really owe a lot. To others, hopefully I could become that rock star again!

What will my maid think?

I know it may sound a bit funny but yes this is one of my biggest fears. My domestic help comes every morning at 7:30 am to do the dishes and cleaning, etc. She is used to seeing me make breakfast and get ready for work. Now with me having nowhere to go, what will she think! Won’t she go around telling everybody in the building that both husband and wife do not go for work? They sit at home all day. Won’t she think that will we be even able to pay her salary?

Maid[To avoid this, I have decided that I would wake up at the same time, make breakfast and get ready in the same way I used to do, till the time she has finished her work and left the house. If nothing else, it would at least help me stick to my routine and give some kind of semblance to a professional life now that I will be working from home.]

There’s a hell lot of things that I still don’t know!

Firstly, both of us are pretty bad with numbers. To add to it we are unfamiliar with the legal aspects of running a business. When it comes to Indian tax laws, it is like we were residing somewhere in Pluto till now. When the first of our clients deducted 10% from our bill under TDS, we were like “What the hell! Why did he not pay full?”


It took a 10 min telephonic counselling from my dad to understand that this was actually the legal thing to do. Also, in the course of our conversation, I got to know that we should have charged the client Service Tax. Yes, this and many other goof ups we did on our very first billing.

But hopefully we will learn things soon. When it is your baby, you cannot really say I won’t do the potty cleaning. You have no other option but to do it.

Will it work out?

My husband and I are like two opposite poles with different working styles. While I prefer working in the morning, he prefers working till late in the night. He cannot work without music and I cannot concentrate when there is music. He is more of the ideator-types while I am more of the executor- types. Starting up with him would mean adding one more item to the list of 9999 things we disagree upon.


However, thankfully to our respite there are a few things that are common between us. We both want to do awesome work and can go to extremes to do it. We take pride in our creations…he in his designs and I in my writings. We may not be the best but we definitely want to be the best.

For the time being, we are relying on the belief that these common factors will see us through.

The decision to start up is great but scary. Did you have doubts in your mind too? What were the questions you faced and how did you find answers to them?


What’s common between Chilli Paneer and Banking?

All successful content marketing campaigns have one thing in common- the power of a good story. So when DBS, a Singapore-based bank felt the need to build more awareness in India, it took a slightly unconventional route.

Through Ken and Asha, DBS chose to tell its story by blending together themes of dreams, love, relationship, happiness and how banking plays a pivotal yet silent role in helping us fulfill our dreams. An online film unveiled in 4-parts is at the core of the campaign. Each part ends at a point where the audience is left wanting for more – ‘So what happens next?’

The extensive storytelling campaign is supported by a dedicated website and an active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. To build on further engagement, the campaign is also supported by social media contests.

So without further ado, here are the 3 episodes of the Chilli Paneer love story (the 4th episode is yet to be released):

Now over to you. Do you think the DBS Chilli Paneer campaign works?

Let’s keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

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Content strategy: Define your goal and how to get there

Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you have identified your buyer and have gained an insight into her needs, it’s time to define your content strategy. Simply put, content strategy is knowing what you want and defining the path to get there.

Content strategy can be broadly split into 3 steps:

  1. Goal definition
  2. Putting together a plan to attain that goal &
  3. A measurement & feedback loop

In the goal definition stage, identify what exactly you want to achieve through your content marketing efforts. Goals could be to create more awareness about your product, get more subscribers to your blog, generate new leads, increase loyalty and so on. It could be all of them too. But whatever it is define it.

Once you have identified you goal, next is planning on how you want to achieve it. If it is about creating more awareness for your product, one tactic would be to guest blog on relevant blogs where your target audience hangs out. If it is to generate new leads, you may consider adding a lead generation form to your content piece.

Once you have identified your goal and have a basic plan in place to achieve it, ensure that you have a feedback mechanism in place i.e a system through which you can measure your performance. This will help you figure out if your plan is actually working or not and whether you need to fine tune things here and there.

Remember “if you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.”

Bouquets and brickbats are both welcomed. Add them in the comment section below🙂

Understand the needs of the buyer: sales cycle & content mapping

A lead goes through 3 stages in the sales cycle before becoming a buyer:

The Buyer's Journey Hubspot

Image source: Hubspot

  • Awareness stage: The person has become aware of a problem or opportunity.
  • Consideration stage: She has identified her problem and is evaluating options to find a solution to it.
  • Decision stage: She has zeroed in on a solution strategy.

In each of these stages her content needs are different.


Image source: Hubspot

In the awareness stage, people are looking for information about the problem in general. Content for this stage should focus on thought leadership and educating the person on the problem.

In the evaluation (consideration) stage, people are comparing options to solve their problem. Content for this stage should focus on how your product is different and how it will help solve the problem.

In the decision stage, they are well-informed and ready to take action. Content for this stage should focus on positive action from the lead- trial downloads, demos, discount coupons and so on.

The more your content matches with the requirement of your buyers, higher is its success rate.

Identify who you are writing for: buyer persona and content marketing

Image Source: Dilbert.com

The first step towards successful content marketing is to identify who you are writing for…your buyers. This will help you figure out the kind of stories you need to create, the tone and style of your content, your content distribution strategy, etc.

4 important questions your buyer persona should cover:

  • What are the daily tasks she is involved with?
  • What are her likes and dislikes?
  • What are her pain points?
  • Where does she figure in the buying process; is she an influencer, buyer or user?

Caveat: Don’t create buyer personas based on how ‘you’ think your buyers are. Get to know them actually. Social media, one-on-one interviews, surveys, offline meetups, web analytics are some of the ways by which you can get to know your buyers better.

Remember, creation of buyer personas is an on-going process. The more you understand your buyers, higher will be the success of your content marketing efforts.


Coca-Cola Content 2020

3 key ideas in the video:

  1. Shift in marketing strategy from ‘Creative Excellence’ to ‘Content Excellence’
  2. Coca-Cola follows a 70/20/10 model for their content development and marketing strategy:
  • 70 percent of their investment will be “low risk” content–content that doesn’t take as much time, but, as Coca-Cola says “is their bread and butter.”
  • 20 percent of content will be innovative and engaging and will target more specific demographics. Essentially, this is moderate risk content.
  • Then, 10 percent is their “high risk” content consisting of new ideas, new ways of connecting, new ways of engagement.

3. Don’t just replicate content, but always keep it fresh, engaging, and new.