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Interviews

Interview with Kapil Srivastava

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Kapil Srivastava, founder of Guitarmonk India. He is an international, multicultural musicologist, and a guitarist who is bridging the gap between nations through the universal language of music. Kapil coined the brand name “Guitarmonk” and pioneered a number of creative milestones under the same label. He runs India’s largest chain of guitar centres along with a publication and record-label. Seeing a need for community involvement as well as culture and heritage preservation, Kapil also established Guitarmonk Social, the CSR division that promotes awareness on various socio-health issues and involves charitable activities across India through promotion of music for health and leisure and culture enrichment. Guitarmonk learners are spread across 150 Indian cities and in more than 28 countries while Guitarmonk technical and production teams are rolled out in over 50 nations around the globe. 

Kapil also won notable awards and wrote for several publications including government magazines. Honoured by all three government ministries and several MNCs, Kapil also created music for Bollywood movie and collaborated with various celebrities including Grammy Winner Pt. VM Bhatt, Padam Bhushan Ustad Sultan Khan and many others etc. 

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I fell in love with guitar at first sight. When I was around 10 years old, I got exposed to a guitarist doing a live performance playing Bollywood tunes that really struck me. I got fascinated by the sweetness and uniqueness of this instrument. The desire of knowing more of  this mystery of creating sounds and learning this art paved the way which later on evolved into what and who I am today as Guitarmonk. 

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

It is very difficult to pick one or two but I can share with you the philosophy behind our name. When we formally launched the company in 2005, there were lots of unmatched brand names that came up, which were very attractive but not deep enough to represent who I was or who we really are. And then a very interesting thought came into my mind and that was the idea of the fusion of the guitar and a monk passionate about music. Hence, the name Guitarmonk came into fruition. It was the perfect representation and image for me and the company.

I have always visualized Guitarmonk as a character. A musical character, with a guitar in hand, the character with reason, passion and a mission. I see Guitarmonk as a talent with power to overcome difficulties in life, which today came out as a solution provider concept. Guitarmonk was more of a personality, a lifestyle or a life spirit than a mere firm or company name to me. In the heart of Guitarmonk is a merger of western and eastern world, cultures & genres, materialism and spirituality. As you can see, almost 15 years down the line, and we are still on track naturally to the same philosophy and spiritual path.  

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? 

This has been the funniest, so far.  We were the first music brand in India to have a franchise model in 2008. And we invested a lot of money and time in designing the project. It was a matter of both pride and honour to achieve this milestone and we’re excited to head for our first franchise event. It was the first biggest business exhibition that we conducted in a 5 star hotel for 2 days. It was also the most expensive event we did that cost us Rs. 1,00,000 a day. Previously, we used to conduct International and City book fairs for our publications, which were actually a lot easier and economical. As there was a lot at stake, so I carefully guided my team to make use of this event at all cost. We all have to be there in our suits and ties. We have to entertain every visitor (basically a non-musical investor). I even made sure that select staff will reach there on time with business plans and start entertaining the clients. It was a paid event and 2000 investors were expected in 2 days. We were expecting somewhere around 200 pax to visit our booth. And each one of them needs to be counselled & assisted effectively. The first day we had a marvellous battle and we captured 150 leads for both national and international. The second day, all my staff felt like army generals and they were completely overwhelmed as the crowd was huge and the booth was jam-packed. There was a long list of people on waiting area who were all eager to hear what we have to say. All entrance passes were with my staff and I was waiting outside the gate so they can escort me inside. The long waiting time was beginning to get on my nerves and I felt like breaking in through the gates, I believe I waited for 2 hours until one of them missed my presence and called me up. When I entered I had no time to question them simply because there was no time for it. The war was on. And I was up for the game. My learning with this is that we are the best person to take responsibility and accountability for ourselves instead of relying too much to others. 

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

As Guitarmonk, we wanted to build a concept and a model that would eliminate the limitation on this industry. It would set a new perspective and new way of looking into the guitar, music or arts. There are millions of Guitar Teacher, Guitar Institutes and Guitar Players in the world and most of them are struggling. This struggle is not only limited to Guitar but most of the art-forms be it fine arts or performing arts. There is not much we can do by being in such framework and boundaries. As music is regarded a lifestyle and only comes as a second priority, after our survival. It’s not a cup of tea for people with survival lifestyle. It is important that we extend our boundaries of functions and perception and break away from conservative approaches. At Guitarmonk, we no longer choose to be in the same rat-race cycle to survive. We are determined to move beyond the regular functions and to strengthen our capacity to be a successful platform rather than just be a platform seeker. We decided to build our enterprise and own our infrastructures and expand our boundaries. We created work for national awarded artists, celebrities and talents worldwide. Guitarmonk as a company have implemented several verticals to make that possible, to grow the perception of people of seeing us beyond the regular impression as an institute, teachers or guitar players to a concept and a cause that creates a difference in the lives of people in so many ways. 

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not get “burn out”?

Playing good guitar and getting financially stable via guitar are two different things; they are not two sides of the one coin. They are not by-product of each other. They are different facets. You definitely need to be a good guitarist to maintain a good career but not vice versa. It doesn’t mean your career is going to be stable and good if you are a good guitarist alone.  If you want to make money and grow financially, you need to understand the market, the demographic opportunities. You also need to have a career and life coach or mentor apart from a technical adviser in music. A sound body and a sound mind is also your key towards success not just in career but in life in general.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person whom you are grateful to especially those who helped get you to where you are now? Can you share a story?

There is not just one person because every person I met both in person and professionally has helped shaped my lifeline. They inspired me, motivated me directly and indirectly to be where I am today. For example – My first teacher exposed me to his own live performances and I was like his intern or apprentice. I was not paid but it was a great exposure. My second teacher guided me about recording studios and the list goes on. My computer friends inspired me to learn computers and programming. I developed my first website on my own and edited the html coding. My business gurus showed me the ropes on how to have fun, freedom and power in being an entrepreneur. I got the opportunity to market, manage and lead the team. I am grateful to each and everyone who has become part of my journey.  

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

I have a different philosophy. I have learned that if we are doing well even without the intention of spreading goodness, we will still receive lots of good things in return. I believe that what goes around comes around. It’s a perspective. I never intended to spread goodness and yet a lot of people still mail us, saying they feel inspired and grateful for our presence and they appreciate the work we do. Success has the capability to inspire others but every human being also owe themselves the responsibility to be successful . Being Indian, with a spiritual upbringing and heritage, I am inclined on raising self-consciousness and achieving spiritual growth. 

Do you have a favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how it is relevant to your life? 

I wrote one quote that says, “If I can let a terrorist hold a guitar instead of a weapon, we will win the war. Music or any art is a way to include beauty, emotions and gratefulness in one’s life. We can transfer these values to our surroundings by sharing and teaching them. Art is not just a popularity contest; it is indispensable to personality growth, peace of mind and way to ameliorate life.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each. 

If I can turn back the time, I would really appreciate if someone will give me the following tips:

  1. The best investment that you can make is in yourself; invest for self-growth and development and everything else will follow.
  2. Compensate your time and efforts invested in the business by giving yourself a salary.
  3. Make your health a priority. Sometimes we sacrifice our health to gain wealth only to later on spend our wealth to regain good health. Our health is our asset and an investment so we can run the business with a sound mind and body.
  4. Find gurus and mentors to guide you with your business plan and strategy as well as to help empower you as you grow emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially
  5. Take time out to enjoy your personal life. Do not forget that you still have a life outside the company premises.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We can apply music in our lives in so many creative ways. More than entertainment, music is a great tool for healing depression and relieving stress. It can be a formal engagement for school-age kids and adults in corporate via employee engagement. Also, a great mental training for restless minds, a good vehicle for emotional ventilation, and brings endless fun and joy to our daily lives. We can inspire, empower and communicate many things through music. It is also an effective marketing tool. At Guitarmonk, we use music in all different ways. Besides entertainment and education, we are applying music not just commercially but socially and therapeutically too. 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can connect with me through facebook.com/kapilguitarist and visit our website www.guitarmonk.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

16-Year-Old Tucker Leary Makes People Famous On Instagram With His 5 Million Follower Network

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Tucker Leary from Boston owns a 5 million follower network of pages on Instagram, manages rap artists social media, and is most known for “making people famous.” I had the pleasure to interview him, here’s how it went:

When did you decide to start building a 5 million follower network?

Tucker: I always wanted to make money doing something I loved, so I started  an Instagram page of football highlights at 11 years old. Since then, I have been able to grow one of my accounts to 409,000 real active followers in 5 days. I’ve grown @thutmose rap carrier to where it is now, along with helping many others start an Instagram Carrer. Another big accomplishment is when I did over $40k in a month drop shipping.

That’s amazing Tucker. What have you done to differentiate yourself from everyone else in your field?

Tucker: One thing I do is see where people’s weak spots are, then I take advantage of it. For example, I use physiological methods like certain color ways on my posts, certain amount of words, certain hidden images etc. When I capitalize on these, it disadvantages others in my field and makes me one of the top dogs.

What would would you say to someone looking to jump into entrepreneurship?

Tucker: The one piece of advice I would give someone would be that nothing in this world that is worth working for happens overnight! I started Instagram when I was 11 years old, and it’s taken 5 years for me to build my 5mil network. Now that I’m here I look back and see all the times I almost quit, but just kept grinding.

What have been the biggest lessons you learned over the last 5 years?

Tucker: To keep my head down and stay in my own lane, not let others opinions differ how you do you, take risks.

After learning that what is your personal definition of success?

Tucker: My definition of success would be able to live freely with no money struggles, and to make sure my mom never has to worry about anything financially.

What is one thing you wished you knew when you started?

Tucker: I wish I knew that the internet isn’t always good to you. For example, when I started Instagram 3 days after my birthday. I had an amazon gift card, an iTunes gift card and some Starbucks gift cards. I used those instead of PayPal to buy shutouts and I got scammed on every deal.

What do you think has been that best advice you have ever received?

Tucker: Don’t listen to what others say about you.

What do you think has been the biggest challenge? 

Tucker: The biggest challenge was when I got sim hacked. The hacker took all my Instagram accounts, my money in my bank etc.

Tucker: My biggest reward was when I did my first $10,000 account deal when I was 14.

What was the most interesting story that’s happened to you?

Tucker: The most interesting thing to happen to me is when I was out to dinner with my brother one night. There was this guy in our community known as the “god”. He was the best of the best, had all the connections, and had a huge Instagram account etc. I had seen a picture of him a long time ago and was standing in line to get a seat. This guy walks in and it was him, the “god”. After that I introduced myself, and we got lunch the next day. A couple months later I was visiting his apartment in LA.

What are two thing you wish someone told you when you first started?

Tucker: Two things I wish someone told me when I started is that success doesn’t happen overnight, and that your network is your net worth.

Is there anyone that inspires you? 

Tucker: Two people that very much inspire is me include my business partner (Cristian) @cristian on Instagram and my good friend (Dylan) @trippin on Instagram. Cristian has helped me gain multiple connections, and brought me into the real business world out in Los Angles CA,. Dylan has helped me learn the ins and outs of how to really gain an account to its max, how to run a successful page and how to talk to real business men and women.

Tucker: One person who really helped me to get to where I am is Shane Howard, @showoff on Instagram.

A lesson I learned from them is to take risks, without risks there is no reward and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Awesome story and advice! What’s the best way for someone to reach out to you?

Tucker: The best way for someone to reach me is by Instagram dm, my Instagram is @Tuckerrs

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Interviews

How Digital Marketer Anthony Ocasio Helps Brands Successfully Get Digital Exposure

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Anthony Ocasio (@rsvpant) is a self-taught successful E-Commerce business owner & Digital Marketer who has launched, & assisted with automating multiple online businesses. During Anthony’s time working with various marketing agencies he has had the opportunity to help brands like Mercedes Benz, Toyota, WWE, Crunch Gyms & many more reach new heights with their Online Digital presence through marketing.

Since establishing his own SMMA while receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from The University of Tampa Anthony has been able to transform his own life by living on his own terms, and being able to reach people all over who are looking for core knowledge. He’s worked side by side with small businesses in creating a source of revenue through E-Com, and has helped with expanding their Digital Footprint. Anthony has been recognized, and published in Newspapers like The Minaret, and NFTE for his outstanding online business achievements.

Besides working with Small Businesses owners Anthony has worked alongside Fitness Coaches, Realtors, Musicians, and Independent Entrepreneurs who wanted to increase exposure digitally, and continue to build their personal brand. 

His goal is to help as many entrepreneurs through his 1-On-1 coaching, and mentorships. Anthony’s goal is for everyone to realize that financial freedom is possible, and E-Commerce, and Digital Marketing can definitely be an outlet to achieve just that. I had the opportunity to interview Anthony. Here’s what He had to say: 

Hey Anthony! Could you tell us a little more about your background story?

Anthony Ocasio: I grew up in Brooklyn New York with my mom, and two brothers. During my childhood I always had an entrepreneurial spirit which let me to find multiple ways on generating income. During elementary school I use to sell lead pencils, erasers, and supplies to my friends, and other classmates. Generated about $10-15 a week, which for me at the time felt like a lot of money. That continued as I entered middle, school & college. Throughout high school I traveled across New York with the Peer Leader Program helping other students prepare for college, and develop their business ideas. Through that program I received the “Peer Leader of the Year” Award.

My first business plan competition was also in high school, but took place at Columbia University. It was through a great program called Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). I did not win, however I was a semi-finalist, and subsequently still received funding for my clothing idea shortly after. In college I started my first SMMA which was acquired, and I later resigned to pursue Ecommerce full time, which led me to create an Ecommerce / Digital Marketing Development Agency called “The Ecom Way”.

What have been your major accomplishments?

Anthony Ocasio: Besides being the first sibling in my family to graduate college. It’s definitely running successful businesses, and ultimately helping 100’s of people see potential, and growth within their own business.

What differentiates you from everyone else in your field?

Anthony Ocasio: I prefer taking the 1-On-1 approach to working with entrepreneurs, and business owners. I don’t mass distribute materials like courses etc; instead I work, and understand the unique needs that everyone has. With my diverse background, I’m fortunate to not just be skilled / experienced in one area, but multiple as it pertains to running, operating, and essential building a “brand.” That allows me to not only reach more people, but help with different components to running a successful business.

What would you say to someone who came to you for advice about taking ‘the leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship?

Anthony Ocasio: Don’t be afraid to take risk, and to fail. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned came from my failures.

What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you’ve learned?

Be patient, but understand when to take action!

What is the best way for someone to reach you if they are interested in working with you?

Anthony Ocasio: They can reach out to me from my website www.theecomway.com , send me a DM on Instagram @RsvpAnt, or simply shoot me an email at [email protected]

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Entrepreneurship

How Matt Hamilton Cultivated High Performance Skills That Put Him In The Position To Capitalize In This Billion Dollar Industry

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  • Matt Hamilton went from college dropout with a 1.8 GPA, to being the Founder & CEO of Revenue Forge – A full service marketing and branding agency built for the modern day. I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt. Here’s what he had to say!

Hey Matt! I’m interested more in your background story and how you got to where you are today. Could you give us a look into your background story?

Matt Hamilton: Growing up, school wasn’t a choice for me. It was mandatory. I was always reminded by my friends, peers, coaches, parents of the cliche “Go to school, get good grades, play sports, train for the scholarships, and then get your degree so you can get a well paying job.” This never sat well with me. I never really knew what I wanted to do, but that was just about the last thing I was interested in. Interestingly enough though, that’s exactly what I did.

I quickly found out that the education system was not the platform that would teach me the proper principles of high success. I looked around and compared the habits of college students and teachers against the habits of those who had already attained high performance and success, and (not) to my surprise, I found massive differences. College is sort of like pre-school for adults. No matter how similar to the real world it may be, it’s just not the real world.

What did you decided to do after realizing that? 

Matt Hamilton: As you may be able to tell already, I think very differently than a lot of people. Instead of going out every night, I stayed in my dorm room to work on business projects and network with celebrity influencers online. The work I was doing pushed me to cultivate high performance skills, and put me in a position to build key relationships. In a few months time, I realized if I didn’t go after my passions, I’ll be stuck at a desk job paying bills for the rest of my life. So I left.

After leaving what was your vision for the future?

Matt Hamilton: My vision consisted of working full time on my business, and massively changing the lives of my clients. There was one problem. When I got home, I had no clients. Zero. I went from making money and progress in my dorm room, to living back at my parents house with zero clients. I fell into bad habits, bad routines, and left room for complacency in my work. I was shocked by the raw reality of the real marketplace. This is not what I wanted, but it is what I expected. I took the safety net out from under myself. I gave myself no other option. I wanted the real, raw, non simulated experience of being punched in the mouth, and having no choice but to work my ass off to get the results I wanted. I was jolted awake by the stark reality that if I continue to allow my surroundings to dictate my actions, I would never achieve any of the goals I set for myself.

What did you decide to do once you realized this?

Matt Hamilton: I did everything to get new clients. I went to local business alliances, Networking groups, I did walk-ins, cold emails, cold calls, free work, work through referrals, and just about any other way you can think of. I just worked. That’s it. Sure enough, I started noticing that something was happening. Suddenly I had people reaching out to ME. I started gaining momentum.

I didn’t get complacent this time. No. This pushed me to go harder. And then harder still. Quite possibly the best feeling about being in this business is seeing the look of sheer joy on any of my clients faces when we’re able to really deliver for them. That’s why I do it. The impact it has on their business is worth way more to me than any sort of monetary value I can receive.

I will continue to grow and scale my agency to a National powerhouse, and hopefully impact others on the way. I want other people to understand that we only have one life. Only one. If you don’t ever take the risk to chase your dreams, the probability of you living out that dream goes down to basically 0. So don’t be afraid. What’s the worst that can happen?

You have an amazing story. What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you’ve learned?

  1. Persistence. Even when things get real dark, or there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities for you to capitalize on, its extremely important to stay persistent in those times of
  2. Uncertainty. The persistence and faith that you show in times of uncertainty are similar to the correct answer on a multiple choice test. When you’re tested, the answer is to keep going. No matter what.

What would you say to someone who came to you for advice about taking the “leap of faith’ into entrepreneurship?

Matt Hamilton: If it’s something you want to do, take the jump. Don’t think about it, because the “what if’s” will paralyze you. Realize that the only voice you need to listen to is the one in your own head. And when you do, don’t quit on yourself – ever.

What is the best way for someone to reach you if they are interested in working with you?

Connect with me on instagram @officialmatthamilton

 

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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