A long time since I penned down a post on this blog.

I have many insights into work, entrepreneurship and marketing but I find it difficult to post it, somehow.

I take year end reviews seriously, so I am pushing myself to write this post,

The Year 2014-2015 was a thrill ride when I look back at it. And a very hard one at that. In Jan 2014 I setup an office for DigiWhirl, my digital marketing company. Managed an offline team for the first time.

Offline Team Management: is different from virtual one. In virtual work setups – deliverables are central and socializing takes a back seat. I did socialize and set up some HR engagement aspects when I had a virtual team but honestly it is all a lot lighter than when you are offline. In the office all the time there is some level of socializing going on and every personal hit to any team member affects everyone as the setup is small. So as usual had a whole bunch of mad experiences with my team.

Drawn one conclusion: Setting up a team in my line of work is as difficult whether virtual or offline.

Finance Management: is the other big challenge I faced with an office. I now had overheads! The virtual setup was significantly lighter on the pocket. One of my clients at this time seriously delayed my invoice payments – the usual story, this made the setup tougher. Every month as we reach the end, it was not clear where the salaries are coming from. But they got managed pretty much every time. And I ended up making a credit card goof up – I didn’t pay a big debt on time and all of a sudden I had a huge burden on my head. So overall managing all these finance challenges were quite scary.

Realized the need for a much stronger financial model for my company

Business Development: I am not naturally a sales person. Naturally I am a very quiet and observant kid. But by 2014 I had realized that if the company was to survive I had to be able to do awesome pitches. So 2014 was the year when I pitched – a lot. I don’t have numbers, in hindsight I should have noted them down. But well, by the time 2015 dawned, I was happy with my pitches. Significant progress in this aspect. And this was one of the biggest wins in my social-professional life. Because a natural sales style is not just necessary in the world but it can truly change how much I impact the world. It opens up so many more possibilities for me, just because I can communicate well with people. Yes, I said ‘communicate well’ because it is how I do sales. I just work out a strong proposition and then communicate it well to people.

Note: I have heard of a Hindu saying, that when an apprentice is learning, she learns the method as the teacher is doing. It is only after she find her own way of doing it that she has truly learnt the art.

So I am happy because I found my sales style…. I was really bad at it earlier because I kept following other peoples suggestions – and I kept thinking that I had to make everything sound better, I need to lie and all such stuff. But I realized that I can’t go against my natural grain. So over time I found my natural style and it kept me at peace with myself and showed great results. Because people are actually looking for genuine services – and they don’t trust the sleazy sales anyway. 🙂

End deliverable & Value to the Client: This is one where I felt lost at DigiWhirl. Because I always felt that social media needs to be an internal core function of the company. It cannot be outsourced to an agency. Even though at DigiWhirl, I always made our activities as much an extension of the company as possible. Also, these outsourced activities to the clients tend to be similar and much shallower than I would like.

So this above concern coupled with team management challenges and finance tensions, I decided to shift my focus away from this setup for a while. So I winded down my office in June 2015. We handed over all the current projects at the company smoothly. And it was all done in a positive note with all clients and I am very happy about this too.

In fact one of my clients – SwitchMe – I have joined them as marketing head. I would be dedicating my majority time here. Have joined since Oct 2015 and looking to explore a lot more in marketing, team building and also working across departments to ensure results.

Lastly I must mention that my setup was a part of J-Combinator who I featured earlier on my blog. And a lot of learning and interesting experience working along with other startups – Pricebaba, ProjectHeena and SwitchMe.

Thanks to @Annkur for all his help with recruitment and @himanshuchanda, @adityamishra and everyone else at J-Combinator for other random stuffs.

Oh, and another interesting opportunity that came my way in 2015 was a teaching assignment. I took social media for the Journalism batch in XIC. This was a novel experience. Have quite a few blog posts to write on this experience. 🙂