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Interviews

Interview with Sudheer Kiran Co-Founder of Digital Vow

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Sudheer Kiran, co-founder of a digital marketing agency Digital Vow, which offers digital marketing services to small and medium-sized enterprises. He also founded a volunteer-driven charity “WeHelpThePoor.Org” based out of Bangalore, India.

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

I love being an entrepreneur because I love helping companies to grow their businesses. I started blogging at the age of 20. When I was studying my Engineering, I used to gather books and information and upload into my blog to help people who needs more information about the topics they’re reading in Engineering. After my engineering graduation I started my career as a software engineer but couldn’t stay there because of I am so fond of blogging and digital marketing stuff. After few months I resigned to my software job and joined in another company as an SEO analyst. From that moment I never looked back and never regretted my decision. In fact, that was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I have worked over 8 years in digital marketing in various positions with different companies. My entrepreneurial spirit drove me to start my own company “Digital Vow” to really solve the problems that companies are facing in the age of digital transformation.


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

All my previous employers love me for the knowledge I have and the results I have delivered while working with them. Few months back I have received a call from one of my previous employers and expressed his interest to acquire my company. First, I told him that we are not interested and asked him what is the reason for the proposal? We want to scale the organization by increasing the sales and marketing performance, but it’s not happening with the current digital marketing team, he said. Then I smiled and said let’s work together, the reason I started my company is to help the other companies. We agreed to work together after few meetings, and my previous employer became one of our first 10 clients.


Can you share a story about the mistakes you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I started my company and I got our first client within a month. I was happy and hoped we’ll get few more. So, we hired 10 employees to work on the current project and for the future projects. But it was not so easy to get projects so quickly and it was taking more time than expected. As a startup it was a huge burden to manage a team without enough projects in hand. We got few more projects in the next quarter and it was all good again. I have learned that as a startup we shouldn’t have hired more people than needed. Our over excitements may hurt the entire business itself.


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

Most of the digital companies promise the number of submissions and the amount of traffic, etc. There is really lack of the trusted digital marketing companies who promises results. Our company motto is to help the companies to generate more revenue through digital channels. We co-create digital strategies with our clients and deliver results.

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

Experience in digital marketing industry only helps to understand the problems so quickly. But, don’t just carry your experience baggage while creating solutions for your clients. We have seen drastic changes in this industry, so keep updated yourself with the trends and create solutions for today and the future. Because of our experience we easily get carried away and don’t look at the problems from other angles. This is something every experienced digital marketing expert need to keep in mind that we are not working for ourselves, we are working to solve the customers’ problems.

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

Everything I know today is learned from the people around me and from the people I got inspired. I always welcome challenges in my job, so I was always given the responsibilities more than my experience. And, I always loved it because when I get challenged, I read, learn, and do so much. So, I looked for help to understand my new responsibilities and found an amazing person Mr. Nel Patel. I used to read each post on his blog and watch his videos to educate myself. Later, I started reading more blogs, joined digital marketing and inbound marketing communities to get updated myself and to help my fellow digital marketing people.


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

I always believe success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. When I was a kid, I used to feel so bad when I see a hungry child because of the extreme poverty and wanted to do something for them. Now I have my daily bread and I can feed some more. Recently I founded a volunteer-driven charity “WeHelpThePoor.Org” based out of Bangalore, India. My friends, colleagues, and neighbours are joining me to help the poor and feed the hungry child. What I learned from this is people are generally kind and willing to help others if you can convince them that together we can change the world.


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. Thinking money solves everything: It’s true that startps struggle for funds. But just money doesn’t solve everything, but your team does. Take care of your team and they will take care of your business.
  2. Handling money incorrectly: Getting profits is only one side of the coin for your success, but handling that money is very crucial for the future of your company.
  3. Scaling too quickly: This is one my biggest mistake in my entire life. Never get too excited by the early projects. Scaling too quickly could make you bankrupt. 
  4. Underestimating how long sales take: As I mentioned earlier, over excited by the first few projects, I hired more people than needed by hoping we can get more sales in the same month. But it didn’t happen and that makes the situation a little worse than expected.
  5. Having too much outside influence: As a stratup founder I was very keen to get an advice from others. At some point, these advices led me to forget the actual reason I started the company and started focusing on something else. A good advice is always good, but never forget the motto that why you started the company.

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. 

I spend 10% of my income on charity. I never ask anyone to do the same because I don’t know what problems they are going through, or some people are already helping people more than I do. But I always say that just feed one hungry child or spend some time with an orphan and see the smile on their face. Believe me you will filled with happiness and satisfaction of your life and you never want to lose that happiness.


How can our readers follow you on social media?

Here are my social media profiles:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sudheer_kiran

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SudheerKiranOfficial

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

It’s a pleasure! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.

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

An Interview with Brooke Mason; A Pioneer for Women in the Creative Industry

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Australian-born Brooke Mason is so much more than just a photographer. Unafraid and not intimidated by change and breaking the rules, she is everything the creative industry aspires to be. Brooke prides herself on running a creative agency with a single mission: to help women succeed. Already this year, Brooke Mason Creative became a Certified Woman Owned Business.

Since being in Los Angeles, Brooke has immersed herself in the entertainment world and has photographer known artists and actors for magazines like Glamor, InStyle, and Angeleno.

We sit down with Brooke to find out a little more about how she got to where she is today, what inspires her, and what she wants to do in the future.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

I was inspired by wanting to capture my environment, the way I saw things as an artist. I started at a very young age, so at the time, it wasn’t deep thoughts of a career. In fact, my parents are professional business people and being an artist was not a career path that they supported. It was just a passion that I never gave up on and the point I was making money and didn’t need to do other things, I realised, “Hey, this is my career!”.

How did you transition from being a photographer to owning a creative agency?

As a photographer I wasn’t just capturing images. I was hired to art direct, manage projects, castings and aligning with brands. It was 15 years of background that lead to this, however I did study communication at University.

My most memorable work experience was with one of the largest advertising agencies in Sydney, Australia. I was in awe of the complexities of how it ran. I naturally hung out with the creative department more than any other, however my 15 years years of directing on set as a photographer has given me the confidence to work as a team, art direct and have a project come to life. That’s the most exciting part of my job, seeing a seed of an idea come to fruition.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Dedication! A lot of this is probably a natural inclination and I find people asking me if I’m scared about not having a regular paycheck or knowing how much is going to come in. Yes, it can be daunting, however, you have to be a risk taker and most entrepreneurs thrive on that. I like the pressure it brings, I thrive on the deadline and after some time you learn to overcome your own self doubts, fears and strive for your best. There is nothing else like it. I will say, I do work much longer hours and days than most of my friends who aren’t, but the reward for me is much higher.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey so far?

There are two main challenges that I faced in the past and continue to face from time to time.

One – not knowing when the phone will ring. You can be sailing high on a bunch of jobs

and then all of a sudden it’s quiet. It’s really hard not to have a freak-out.

Two – being a younger female is a male driven business world. As much as I’d like to say this doesn’t exist anymore and as fortunate as I am to live in such an open minded town, this is still very relevant and we as women are still not seen as; intelligent, capable and successful to our male peers.

What is your ultimate goal?

I believe in striving and moving forward with continual growth. I don’t have an ultimate goal,

but I am looking forward to growing my team and bringing in bigger projects for 2019. I already feel blessed with so much we have done this past year.

What motivates you in business?

I’m motivated by creating beautiful masterpieces, even if that’s just a stunning website, it’s awesome!

What are you most passionate about?

When it comes to life; Art, aesthetics and beauty. When it’s my work; I love to see people happy, pleasing our clients is my number one driving factor.

Do you have a secret to your success?

Focusing on being the best at what you do and being honest with yourself – if it’s not your

forte, being okay with finding someone else for that task. There is no ego in my business, we all collaborate and if there’s a better idea we run with that. “Ego’s” gets in peoples way, it stiffens your creativity, your success and your opportunities.

What are your proudest achievements?

It’s always one you haven’t had yet!

What differentiates you from your business peers?

Everyone has their unique talents and I adore some of the other creative agencies who do similar work to us. I guess the main difference I see is my background is heavily in art directing and visual curation so we are heavily focused on branding and the end result. We are small, so clients get to talk with all of us and we are all very engaged in every project that happens.

Do you have a motto that you stand by?

Being authentic. I make an effort to keep strong ethics, stay honest and be as real as I can.

What are the most important qualities that have been most beneficial on your journey?

Working hard is by far the most important thing when you have your own business. Sometimes you have to say no to fabulous social events, but keeping clients happy and delivering work on time is crucial.

What is the best advice you could give to someone starting out as an entrepreneur?

It’s important to have big goals and dreams so I wouldn’t want to ever squash those for somebody starting out. Be prepared to put in the work, turn down party offers from friends, stay up late into the evening fulfilling your dreams and up early to conquer the day.

What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a female in the business world?

Not being taken seriously. I find the main challenge as a woman in this male-centric world is

that men think we may not be as capable or as intelligent. It’s a fine balance to prove yourself without doing it in a way that is forceful and contrived. It’s important to not give up and let prejudices get in your way.

Who do you most admire and why?

I’m inspired by strong powerful women! It wasn’t until leaving Australia and crossing over

into the workforce that I really saw a difference in culture. Though I adore the US and everything it has to offer when it comes to women in the workforce, Australia definitely has superior viewpoints on women. When I see these amazing women here breaking glass ceilings and succeeding, I am in true admiration.

How many employees do you have?

My team ranges depending on the projects we are doing and how many hands we need. But, on a regular basis, we are a small group of eight. On larger projects, we sometimes have upwards of 15 people.

If you had to choose another job, what would it be and why?

I have always been impressed with Doctors and how much knowledge they have. If I was to do school again, knowing what I know now, I might consider going to medical school and doing dermatology or some sort of surgery.

How do you spend your spare time?

I adore going hiking, being in nature, fishing and exploring new terrain. I’m also always up for trying anything new. I like a good movie as much as an adventure.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I adore movies from the 90’s! A few of my old time favorites are The Professional, Casino, Practical Magic and Federico Fellini’s films for the visuals.

Tell us a little about yourself?

These days, I’m a combination of an Aussie at heart and an American day to day. I’m proud to have grown up with my roots firmly planted in Australia, you can’t have an inflated ego living there and it keeps me grounded. My family also helps with that!

When I first lived in NYC, I was in awe of what an incredible country this is, a driven country with goals of exceeding your expectations. I’m proud to be both American and Australian now.

How would you describe your style?

I adore fashion and I like to stay up to date with trends, but only if they align with my taste. I’d say I’m a combination of 70’s glam, with a hint of menswear, I’m all about duality, I love femininity mixed with the strength of a tailored jacket. I’m certainly not afraid to choose bold colors, unusual shapes and design.

Keep up with Brooke’s beautiful photographs and busy life on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brookemasonphoto/?hl=en). 

 

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Dan “Tito” Davis connects with Dalai Lama during 7 Continent Book Tour

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World Traveler and Renowned South Dakota Bestselling Author of “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” Dan “Tito” Davis has just wrapped up his seven continent book signing tour in Antarctica. Davis has been promoting his book and his message of growth through adversity for the last 18 months after being released from prison. Before then Tito spent 13 years on the run from the US government as an international fugitive. Davis is one of the first, if not the only author, to do a book signing tour across all seven continents.

You took your bestselling book “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” around the world. How did you get the idea to do a seven-continent book signing tour?

When my book went number one on Amazon I did my first world tour in 53 days.  After that, I continued to promote my book. Recently when I was in Argentina I realized that I had done book signings on every continent other than Antarctica. At that point, I decided to knock out the seven continents, which meant heading to Antarctica.

I was in contact with John McKeon, the President of Polar Latitudes, and I let him know that my goal for this cruise was to do a book signing in a penguin colony in Antarctica.   I also let him know that this book signing would be on my seventh continent.  I would like to thank Polar Latitudes for making my adventure possible. They have a very attentive and professional staff which made this adventure extremely memorable and comfortable.

Your book is about your life on the run as a fugitive, and how you turned it all around to become a famous South Dakota writer. What was the reaction to your book while you were on tour?

Just about everyone has been extremely positive in regards to my book.   Many of them are intrigued when they meet me because they’ve never met an international fugitive, or I should say former international fugitive, before.  A few people have asked me if I’m still a fugitive.  Laugh out loud! I tell them if I was a fugitive I sure wouldn’t be out here in the front of the room promoting this book!!! I’d be back in a corner trying to slip away.

During your travels, you met the Dalai Lama and gave him a copy of your book. What was that like?

I was fortunate enough to have a private audience with his Holiness the Dalai Lama while I was in India.  At that time I believe he was 83 years old, and he looked 20 years younger. He had five rings of security around him. You could not take your own camera or phone into the temple. It was like going through airport security in the United States but you didn’t get your items back until you were leaving his temple.  Only the Dalai Lama’s official photographer was allowed to take pictures.

The Dalai Lama is definitely a professional. He was very outgoing, very kind and asked me what my book was about. I told him it was about the same thing you’re preaching Your Holiness, it is about perseverance, it is about survival, and it is about life.  He told me that those are very important qualities.  He then put his forehead to my forehead and held up my book with his free hand.

I couldn’t believe it!   My forehead is touching the Dalai Lama’s forehead and he’s holding up my book. I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario.  I had a special feeling of peace and tranquility when I was with the Dalai Lama.  It is a hard feeling to accurately describe.

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Becoming A Successful Music Artist: 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry With A Certain Energy

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Shain Romanowski, better known by stage name A Certain Energy, is a hip hop artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana and a U.S. Marine veteran. Here’s 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry he gave:

Brand yourself.

Branding yourself can take you a long ways when it comes to an image you want representing yourself. As a musical artist you would want people to know that image. Some people go about this with a logo, whereas others go with this by a tag on a beat. Think of it like this, you want something external representing you out in public that people would recognize. That they can use to differentiate yourself from the competition. This can become a long term promotional tool for you if executed properly at the same time.

Know your market.

This ties closely with branding. Once you know your brand you want to market yourself to the right demographics. For instance it wouldn’t make sense for a hip hop artist to market themselves into a alternative rock field. This just wouldn’t sell right. Lose more money that way. Come at it with a business approach. You are the product, and the product needs to connect with the people that they find more use for you with. That’s the way I see it.

Don’t burn bridges (unless it is vital).

In an industry as tough as ours we need to come at it from a team perspective. You don’t make it by yourself no matter how you “self-made” you think you are. There are connections you made that got you opportunities in the first place. The moment you burn that bridge you put a strain on the newly developed relationship you had gotten from the previous burned down bridge. I’m not saying bury your dignity away, but all it takes is a little respect towards the ones that already put their foot in the door to let you in (as long as you’re worth the time to open the door for).

Mamba Mentality.

If you know me personally I am a big advocate on basketball legend Kobe Bryant who played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. His belief was to always be better than the opponent from all angles. Always be faster than the opponent. Be more defensive. Be more aggressive. You want to want it more than the opponent in front of you. In music this is what you want to be. The more passion you have than the other guy would take you a long ways. You’re more willing to accept risks. You’re more willing to take what you can get, but strive for more in the process. This mentality is clearly an ambitious feat that not all people have. You can’t just force this onto someone. This comes from the heart within. Only you know if you truly desire the success in whichever field you strive for. In this case with musical arts.

Don’t be afraid of failure.

Failure is what either makes you or breaks you. Take failure more for advice instead of taking it to heart. I’ve seen plenty of people venture into a field expecting automatic success just because they have that As Seen On TV mindset seeing someone else accomplish something. Every story is different, so don’t come in thinking everything is going to be easy, set, and automatically golden right from the get go. Every victory you receive is earned. I would rather have it that way too since it would be a win-win either way. Why? Because you value more, and value is the most important thing in my opinion with human traits. What ever we value most to us always seems to have more leverage with any possible outcome.

 

 

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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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