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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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Entrepreneurship

Interview with Raul Villacis – The Edge

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Raul Villacis from The Edge. Raul has started a global wave of male re-empowerment. As an entrepreneur and a man who believes in the power of family, Raul knows the difficulties men face as they try to find balance in being business leaders, family men and role models. He knows what it’s like to pursue balance while trying to find strategies to boost life to the next level. His determination and drive are fueled by an overwhelming desire to bring about tangible change. After years of research and personal experience, Raul has developed a unique and powerful approach to help individuals create balance, find purpose and infuse creativity into their lives. His highly successful professional development brand, “The Next Level Experience” focuses on helping entrepreneurs, CEOs and celebrities devise a system to regain the balance in their lives and create success in any economy. Raul is a highly successful entrepreneur with over fourteen years of business experience. As the CEO of minority-owned and operated, ARG Advisors, a real estate firm based in Connecticut and New York, he led the company to consistently market and sell over $100 million per year in distressed real estate. His acumen working with top financial institutions caused the Wall Street Journal to dub ARG as “One of the Nation’s Top Real Estate Firms”. Raul can relate to business owners and companies because of his own success keeping ARG strong and profitable through the financial meltdown. Raul has also co-authored books with Steve Forbes and Brian Tracy. He believes The EDGE stems from having the capacity to execute while others sit on the sidelines and wait. Learn how you can get the EDGE at www.TheNextLevelExperience.com

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Interviews

Interview with Anastasiia Dashynska

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Anastasiia Dashynska. (Two university degrees, A number of international certificates (including  PsychologyWorld, InternationalNLP), Scientific articles on coaching and psychology; the author of self-coaching diaries)

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

  1. Coaching services are becoming more and more popular in the last decade, and accordingly, coaching does not stand still as a direction. Now there are over 500 species. This is not to mention the number of people offering their services. At the same time, most of them are people thanks to a rather narrow arsenal of tools obtained by a coach in the learning process. However, most importantly, it works.
    It turns out that having the right tools everyone can be a coach. Therefore, I had an idea to offer people something they need to achieve results without resorting to the services of a coach.

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

The best job is to do what you love – in this case, this definition will be one of the most correct. Initially, I developed methods “for personal use”, depending on the problems, interesting and relevant to my loved ones. Accordingly, I rechecked each element, the logical connection of questions and their impact on the perception of customers or friends. They turned out to be effective, but the process took a long time. So, there was a situation when there was a choice between creating a method and direct consultation. And then, there was an interesting story-one of my client (and a friend part-time), learning that I cannot give her time, said, “Give mnesvoi records on the topic I need, and I’ll try to work myself.” Oddly enough, it turned out to be no less effective than the classic work in a bunch of coach-client.

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 is quite interesting: Since my audience speaks different languages, I came to a rather original decision – to lead one page, but in Russian and English at the same time. This is a very unusual decision, because to communicate and distribute attention to 2 so different key groups is a kind of challenge. But now I understand that this step was too desperate – English-speaking subscribers of the page regularly received notifications about new posts in Russian, the same happened with Russian-speaking. This made a fuss and did not give the expected results. That OK, I had to go on cardinal step – to remove this fan-page and open two new. Conclusion? Do not mix what is not comparable to each other.

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

There are no secrets and special stories here – just what I do really helps people, respectively, is in demand. But if in the case of coaching consultations requires a record, the agreed time and a considerable amount of money, when working with my self-coaching diaries, this process is simplified – a person just buy it and print. Then he can return to its use at the moment when he sees fit. Another important issue is the price – its purchase is much cheaper than a live coaching session. The last factor is very low competition. I monitor what is currently on the market of such services and I can say with confidence that today, I do not see competition. In addition, coaching services – is not only the business organization, but primarily a specialist, around which the business is built.

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

If there is a huge competition in coaching, this is a self-coaching area that is not yet clear enough. But I’m sure there will be many more authors. I think it is worth paying attention to the fact that with the cooperation of the coach with the client, one can control the course of the conversation, feel the state and humor of the person and undermine it. In self-coaching, there is no such possibility and we must assume that usually the client does not understand the psychology and standard tools, therefore, all the achievements should be max simple and at the same time, effective enough for everyone, and for zmogl himself to find the answer he is looking for.

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

There are number of common stereotypes; one of them comes down to the fact that a person must act according to a certain given scenario: born, learned, then he must work according to the profession he has received and do what he has learned. It does not matter if he chose this path himself and whether it was true (my diary was just dedicated to this “false goals” so, about the same scenario was assumed for me. Therefore, given the fact that I am a journalist by my first education, I was predicted to have a career in this field. Not all my developments have arisen out of nowhere. All of us are dependent on the environment one way or another. In my case, I can say that those who were around me treated the project rather skeptically or simply indifferent. Only one friend of mine believed in – actually, a rather problematic person, on whom, were “tested” new tools in the first place. In addition, he, understanding that “it works,” showed interest and fully helped.  Now, trying to answer on this question, I cannot say unequivocally that more helped those who supported and gave faith or those who were indifferent and thereby aroused excitement and a desire to show something. In any case, I am grateful for both.

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

Understanding yourself is very helpful. Any psychologist will tell you this. The paradox is that people actually do it very rarely (most often when an urgent need arises). Why?

Usually there is no time for this or no apparent need, so many go around for their problems or agree to much less than they deserve. Another problem is that not everyone is willing to share their goals, plans or feelings with someone else. Therefore, self-coaching is the most obvious solution. Namely, the self-coaching diaries that I create become the tool that helps to find answers with ease. So, the search for answers becomes available for everyone. Moreover, my practice shows that people sometimes look for such unexpected solutions that it completely changes their lives. In turn changes in each individual at least a little, but can change the world around.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

«No one can understand you better than you». By acting as a personal coach, I concluded that most people sincerely believe that someone else can solve their internal problems. They come to specialists hopefully that they will find answers and solutions instead of them. However, it is apparently that outside help cannot be as effective as the conclusions reached by self. In addition, the most important answers are hidden in the man; only he has to find the time and energy to talk to himself “heart to heart”. Only for this, you need the right tools on which I focused my attention.

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.

  1. People need simplicity.

I have a number of scientific articles that analyze certain psychological problems in detail from a scientific point of view. All this is quite understandable for specialists, but a person who has not encountered psychology is unlikely to be able to understand all the details. Accordingly, it is not necessary to show many nuances, you just need to create a “track” that leads to the result step by step. In my case, these are chains of consecutive questions, which are simple and intuitive; everyone gets to the depths of his subconscious and finds the necessary answers in response to them

  1. Do not take on too much.

Initially, it seems that the organization of the process will be simple – there are a number of understandable actions that you just need to regularly perform. However, the more actively the project develops, the more tasks appear, and all this needs to be kept on memo.

  1. The more tasks, the more detailed the organization is.

In continuation of the previous topic, it becomes a question of organization. It is almost impossible to keep a large amount of parts in mind and it takes a lot of energy, so there is a need to separate tasks into subtasks and systematize them. By the way, when I faced this problem myself, I created a self-coaching diary…

  1. Separation of duties

Even if you are superman, you will not be able to do everything. In addition, to find the right people at the last moment is very difficult, so you should think about it in advance and find like-minded people.

  1. The subtleties of the language

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

It seems to me that what I am doing now is precisely that movement.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.facebook.com/Anastasiia.Dashynska/

https://dashynska.online/en/main

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

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Entrepreneurship

Interview With Tal Maimon The CEO That’s Disrupting The Luxury Rental Business In L.A.

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I had the pleasure of interviewing 33-year-old Tal Maimon, CEO of Maimon Luxury Rentals and Concierge services. He currently lives in Los Angeles taking over the luxury rental business. I wanted to learn more about this business and the lessons he had for entrepreneurs who might be interested as well. Here’s what he had to say:

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you give us a look into your background story and how you got started in the Luxury Rental Business?

Tal: At age 23 I completed my service in the Israeli Navy and decided to move to united states. I worked as a waiter for the first year and slowly began to set my sights on a position that was more financially stable. After that I worked in construction to gradually build my knowledge on how to build a home, from cost of materials and goods to financing. I really enjoyed my work however, I had always felt that my interest’s were in real-estate. During my work in construction I took the opportunity to invest in a solar company which I am currently a partner at. By this time in my life I was also a nightclub owner and partner in a production company.

The lessons I have learned during this process have played a huge role in my success. The people I have met along the way have been so inspirational and have really shown me that with dedication and hard work anything is possible.

It’s sort of full circle for me that I’ve ended up where I am today. Growing up my father was in real estate and I remember him always pushing us to pursue a career in real estate as well. In 2017 I decided to take the initiative and combine all the connections I have made over the years with clients, realtors and homeowners and provide a luxury service for high end clientele. By 2018 it was apparent that I needed to expand my business since the demand for this specific kind of luxury services was high. I got in touch with every homeowner I knew and slowly started to expand my listings. It’s been a fast growth but that’s not to say that hard work hasn’t been done. On the contrary I have spent countless hours going over details and contracts with both home owners and the clients to insure all parties are satisfied. Every job, lesson and hardship I have had has fully prepared me for the position I currently have. I really enjoy what I do and that to me is a blessing in itself.

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

Tal: Once I had an individual contact me regarding a birthday for their 75 year old grandmother. They had given me the list of the attendees and what I assumed was the correct number of guests. It sounded like a great gathering with friends and loved ones. We also had a mutual friend so to me it sounded like a great deal and I agreed not to take a big deposit. I knew that both the homeowners and the clients would be happy with the services that I was providing. 

So, I went ahead and verified the booking and received the payment and all was well. Little to my knowledge the house I had just rented out was being used for a party of 100+ people who were parked all over, blocking homes and driveways, and creating an overall disturbance, not to mention breaching a contract they had signed. Needless to say I was left to deal with the aftermath of police officers, tow trucks, not to mention all the damage that was done. That day I learned a very important lesson. To protect myself, homeowners and clients because at the end of the day, this business works best with long term relationships and commitments.

What inspired you to go after the luxury renting Industry?

Tal: I wasn’t born into a luxurious life style but growing up I always knew that I wanted to have more. It just so happened that my father’s advice along with my connections gave me a perfect platform to launch Maimons Group.

What has been the biggest challenge and, on the flip side, the biggest reward of starting the Maimons Group?

Tal: The biggest challenge was transitioning from nightlife to luxury services. Of course, it’s a completely different clientele and of course, we all know how much doubt there is with starting a new business. But I truly believe that if you aim for perfection and set high standards for your own performance, then you will succeed

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? What lesson did you learn from them?

Tal: Adrian, who has been my friend for over 10 years was the one who introduced me to this market and really showed me the ins and out of what it takes to have a successful rental company business. It is because of him that I used my connections in the city and applied it to this business. An I am immensely thankful for him. It’s a blessing to be around people who support you and help you to reach your end goals.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Tal: The best advice would have to be the one my father gave me. I remember his words vividly.

“Pick your partners wisely, everything is good when its good and everything is bad when is bad. to get in to partnership or a relationship is easy, to finish them is where it gets hard and ugly.”

What were the biggest entrepreneurship lessons you learned from your experience with Maimons Group?

  1. The biggest lesson for me has been to deal with homeowners and clients directly. This way you’re minimizing misunderstandings and you’re also building a connection that will essentially bring you returning clients.
  2. Always make sure to have the payment and deposit before the client checks in. In this way you’re protecting the homeowners and yourself. So many people in this city bypass this very basic step and end up with damaged property and extended stays that will never be paid for. My goal has always been to protect the homeowner and provide a nice experience for the client.

What’s the best way for our readers to find you?

 

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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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