I’ve always loved visiting museums as a kid for the sheer experience of being transported to a different era. It is like a secret time travel portal to people who can see it and a boring building with ancient stuff to people who can’t. So, choosing the topic for the podcast wasn’t difficult, and I had so much fun scripting it.
I wanted to portray both sadness of losing so many museums due to budget cuts, and the amazement of how many museums shall survive bringing new experiences for visitors. As I read further about the use of digital technologies in museums, I realized many museums have been doing that even before covid. However, covid pushed more museums to be open to digitalization to survive. The statistics I found from multiple scholarly sources varied slightly, but all predicted the closure of more museums. It seems like it is the beginning of a new era for museums and how we, as visitors experience the culture.
I intentionally titled the podcast ‘Magical history houses closing forever?’ to signify the closure of many museums all over the world. However, as the podcast progressed the future of the museum doesn’t seem that bleak. In fact, the museums of the future promise to be much more immersive, taking us on almost real-like time travel journeys.
The problem arose while I was recording, starting with the fact that I hate my recorded voice. Telling myself that I gotta get used to it, especially if I want a career in media, I finally recorded the podcast. I made several mistakes as I read out the script, but didn’t bother about re-starting the entire script hoping to edit out the mistakes later. That was not a great decision on my part, as I am not accustomed to using Audacity, and editing every single flaw became very tedious.
So, I came up with plan B. To read the script in six different parts, and re-start every time I made a mistake. This allowed me to take breaks between each recording to read what I had to say next. Also, every time I made a mistake, I could restart as I didn’t have to start from the beginning. This worked so much better than the first time I tried to edit.
I used piano music from free sound for the intro and outro music. However, for the picture, I used a photo I clicked a few years back when I was living in India.
What do you call a person who changes their identity the way they change clothes? You might outright think double-faced, but the creation of identity is much more complex than deception. For instance, the version of you known by your friends might be slightly different, if not totally, compared to the one known by your family. We are also different than the people we were years ago. We grow and evolve, and our identities are highly dependent upon our social situations. While these changes might not be sudden or conscious, it is much more vivid in terms of online identity curation. A study by Bullingham and Vasconcelos (2013) on online identities with reference to Erving Goffman’s work brought to light that most people re-create their offline selves in the online space to create their unique online identity. So, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that as we grow in our offline lives, similar changes can be seen in our online persona. Here, I shall discuss the evolution of my online identity as an aspiring writer.
My first interaction with the writing community heavily relied on anonymity. As presented in a survey-based study by Keipi, Oksanen & Räsänen (2014), anonymity allows internet users to share aspects of themselves, or live their authentic selves. This is most common for people with low self-esteem and fewer offline friends. As a bullied teenager, I found solace in venting about my day-to-day struggles in form of semi-fictional entries. I made friends who were going through similar experiences and also got suggestions from mature readers and writers on the platform. My pen name during the period was lonely_girlie.
However, as the years progressed I became more and more confident about my identity as a writer and created a WordPress blog named, From My Perception. In this blog, I wrote about various taboo topics such as the Kumari Tradition of Nepal, the politics behind religion, and so on. My online persona during this period was a social activist, which was mainly influenced by my friend who was an aspiring journalist.
Soon after, I landed a few internships in magazine houses and advertising agencies. As I was exploring my career options, I fell in love with the art of copywriting and stuck with advertising. The hectic 9 to 5, which often extended to midnight left me no time for my creative pursuits. However, one night, tired of writing exactly what the client wanted all day long, I hopped back to blogging with a new WordPress blog Wild Scared Crazy. I never posted anything as I got sucked right back into the corporate cycle.
A few years later, I quit my job to pursue postgraduate education, and covid hit less than a month after. Although I was freelancing during the lockdowns, I had more than enough time for my blog and started posting poetries. Soon I made some new friends, even guest blogged for some of them, and had them featured on mine. As my popularity on the blog increased and I grew more familiar with the platform, readers, and other writers, I decided to create Instagram to reach out to more readers.
Delving deeper into each of my identities, it is crucial to note that I wasn’t the sole creator of my online persona. It was co-created by people who invested their time and effort in reading and interacting with my profiles on each platform. Communities I found on each platform highly impacted the people I reached and the kind of content I created. For any branding, in this case, personal branding, communities play a very crucial role, such as information sharing and the construction of the social structure (Hatch & Schultz 2010).
Now that I am trying to break into the Australian content industry, I revamped my poetry blog into a professional website with links to many of my previous works. With this new change, I am trying to create my online persona as a trustworthy and experienced communication specialist.
Although my online persona has evolved over time, my previous digital footprints still make an impact. As Smith and Watson (2013) stated in their toolbox about online self-presentation, anybody with simple internet skills can dig in to trace all my previous online persona. This brings to the question in relation to online persona creation. Do we create a new online persona over the years, or is it the same persona growing with the years?
Bullingham, L & Vasconcelos, AC 2013, ‘“The presentation of self in the online world”: Goffman and the study of online identities’, Journal of Information Science, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 101–112.
Hatch, MJ & Schultz, M 2010, ‘Toward a theory of brand co-creation with implications for brand governance’, Journal of Brand Management, vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 590–604.
Keipi, T, Oksanen, A & Räsänen, P 2014, ‘Who prefers anonymous self-expression online? A survey-based study of Finns aged 15–30 years’, Information, Communication & Society, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 717–732.
Getting funds and finding investors is one of the biggest struggles for any startup. The entrepreneurs need to plan out everything from investors they can approach, how to get in contact with them, plan out a pitch, and more.
Here are a few things entrepreneurs must do before meeting an investor.
Make a concrete plan
Your brilliant idea with no execution plan is of no use to the investor. Every year many startups with brilliant ideas fail due to inadequate planning or faulty execution plan. So, before you approach your investor, make sure you’ve everything ready from the execution plan for development, marketing, financial requirements, crisis control, and more. Don’t leave anything to be dealt with as it comes.
Have a figure in mind
The entire reason behind meeting an investor is to get funds to run your business. So, don’t go in without knowing the estimate you’ll be needing. Check out everything from recurring expenses, one-time expenses, and variable expenses. Having a figure will make your plan seem feasible and concrete. It shows that you’ve put in enough amount of work and that you’re serious about your startup.
Prepare your team
Investment in any business is risky. So, investors spend a great deal of time reviewing everything about your startup before funding it. Having a dedicated and motivated team who understands their roles and responsibilities is a huge plus point. After all, the success of a startup depends on people working on it.
Having a mock investor meeting with your team and being prepared for all their questions could be a big help.
Research the investors
Before you approach any investor, research the industries they invest in. Reaching out to investors who are more likely to invest in your domain saves you a lot of time and energy. You can also make a list of investors who might be willing to put their trust and money in your startup. It not only opens up more options but also helps you stay more confident during the negotiation.
While these five things bolster your chances of getting an investor, it is a tough market with many enthusiastic minds looking forward to building a startup every day. So, don’t feel demotivated when your pitch gets rejected. Every rejection gives you what’s needed to create a better pitch.
However, there’s also an easy way out. Join VGo Global’s startup ecosystem. Here, your ideas get a platform to grow and develop into a successful company. With everything from funding to marketing taken care of by the VGo team, you’ll be required to put in only 10% of the effort. You will also get proper mentorship to help you take your business to greater heights.
Venturing into unchartered territories and getting new customers is exciting. But it is crucial to note that your existing customers are the life and soul of your business. Getting customers to visit your platform and make a purchase, again and again, is what makes you stable. Adding on, it costs five times to attract a new customer than keeping the existing ones.
So what can you do to keep the customers visiting your platform again and again?
Great customer service:
Go the extra mile, blow them away every time they get service from your platform. Leave no room for complaint and if there’s one, address it immediately.
From providing the friendly UX/ UI to timely delivery and quality products, make sure you tick each of the boxes. Create an eCommerce experience so great that they keep wanting to come back to you.
Loyalty programs such as vouchers, memberships, and accumulative discounts could contribute a big deal in cultivating loyal customers. For instance, if you give your customer a discount voucher to your customer on their first purchase, which they can redeem on the next purchase, they are more likely to return. After all, who doesn’t want a special discount?
You could also send gifts to your most frequent customers, which would encourage other customers to frequent your eCommerce platform. It simultaneously also contributes to increasing new customers.
Everyone likes something that’s tailored specially for them. When you get some data about customers browsing throughout your platform or buying some products, your system can save the data and show products accordingly. For instance, if a person is browsing through new gadgets, your algorithm can show the items they spent more time on the homepage itself. Similarly, if a person made a purchase, an AI that suggests better products or related products would be of great help. It shows your customer that you want the best for your customers.
You could also get your AI to generate personalized emails to customers regarding products they might be interested in. If a person recently bought a camera, you could send an email about camera lenses, tripods, and more.
This article is a slightly edited version of the article I wrote for VGo Global in 2020, when I was working with them as their Campaign Lead / Blogger.
An entrepreneur is someone who manages, organizes, and assumes the risks of starting a new enterprise or business out of an idea, regardless of their age. These are individuals who have little to no knowledge of how to build a product or find a market for it, generate a customer base and start selling. Needless to say, each of the domains mentioned here requires skill and expertise for a successful business to be built.
To be an entrepreneur means to be an individual who takes on challenges. It is synonymous. It also means to be someone who is a problem solver. Someone who knows what lies ahead is only half the battle. Below given is a list of the major difficulties faced by entrepreneurs at different stages.
Fundraising is the first major hurdle that an entrepreneur needs to overcome. It is one of the biggest challenges as finding an investor is easier said than done. Raising funds is not just about asking for money from potential investors. It is an extremely tedious job to come up with a pitch that will make investors believe in the potential of their idea. It is also vital to master the art of storytelling when it comes to fundraising.
Raising a round of funds can take anywhere between 6 and 12 months. Even the best startups have faced several rejections before securing funding.
There’s a history of entrepreneurs going broke as they end up taking debt in the form of funds and are unable to meet their anticipated sales target.
The next major roadblock is developing a product out of an idea. When it comes to product creation and development, technology plays a critical role. Typically, entrepreneurs have an idea and vision of a product, but they’re unaware of the technological expertise needed to build the product. A lot of times, entrepreneurs fail to acquaint themselves with the relevant technology.
There are quite a few instances where entrepreneurs managed to raise a lot of funds but did not have any knowledge regarding the technology that is required to develop a product that would work like a magnet to attract customers.
Marketing and Sales
One could have developed the best product in the world, but if the product has been advertised in the wrong market, it’ll never be successful. Finding the relevant demographic target place for a product and creating a loyal customer base is a complicated and integral part of an entrepreneur’s work.
To make sure that the product sells and reaches the right customers, in-depth market research and assessment of product competition are crucial. Additionally, ground-level sales work is known to offer positive results. Once the groundwork is done, it is time to introduce the product and then, an experienced and proficient network of marketing and sales professionals should be in place to take it forward.
There are so many different products hitting the market that entrepreneurs find it difficult to keep up with the changing market needs and rate of growth. This is why it is crucial to always bring forth one’s A-game where marketing and sales are concerned.
Building a Team
Gathering the right team for the job is a tricky, yet important part of building a business. The biggest challenge here is finding employees who would be willing to work with you while keeping your hiring costs low. The next challenge is building a team that can work really well together. So, this process is actually more than just finding people with the right skillset. It is about hiring enthusiastic people who are flexible and bring a vast array of perspectives and ideas to the table.
Delegation of Tasks
Delegating or outsourcing tasks is another major difficulty that entrepreneurs face. It seems that most of the time, something or the other gets messed and the entire task has to be redone. This leads to delays and failure to meet deadlines. Successful task delegation comprises providing the authority and resources to enact specific tasks and also finding the right team of employees or outsourcing partners. It’s a bit of a trial and error process.
Some people are naturally indecisive, but even those who are not saved from having to make some truly painful and difficult decisions when running a business. It’s never easy to make business decisions, regardless of one’s leadership skills. Some entrepreneurs consider themselves to be leaders and they make all the decisions themselves. They don’t consult with anybody or have a team to help make all the vital decisions. While others believe in being a team player and discussing with the entire team to listen to their vital inputs. That being said, there are times when businesses actually work out better if one person is making all the decisions, rather than having a committee. But, this works only if the entrepreneur can understand the weight of the decisions and is prepared to be blamed in case of failure.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to decision-making and one has to decide whether to be a solo leader or a team player.
When starting with a new business venture, time management is one of the biggest difficulties faced by entrepreneurs. As newcomers, they take up multiple roles and don as many hats as possible. They have to accomplish so much in a limited amount of time, and therefore, they’re always running from pillar to post.
While the limited funds and time are something that cannot be controlled, having a strict schedule that allocates money and time to each task is achievable. Entrepreneurs cannot afford to lose money or waste time, especially during the first few years of being in business. They have to be extremely smart about allocating each penny and minute. This can be done by creating a goal list that is divided into weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.
All these challenges seem daunting and even the most prolific of businesspersons can face setbacks caused by these. However, it’s crucial to note that every problem has a solution, and there’s no success without trial and error. So, if there’s something in your mind that you think is worth doing, go for it. Dreams don’t just come true, you gotta make them happen.
This article is a slightly edited version of the article I wrote for VGo Global in 2020, when I was working with them as their Campaign Lead / Blogger.
I think I’ve mastered the art, Of taming my wild heart, Now my heart doesn’t flutter, Thinking about you, And my mind doesn’t revolve in circles, Making up stories about me & you, Ah! It feels so good to be free, From this day-dreaming spree, Where you’re on my head, Every second of my day. Phew! I thinking I’ve finally, successfully Un-crushed on… Uh-oh!! This is fatality! I’m writing poetry About YOU! Get the f*** out of my head!!!
We weren’t best friends, not even close, Maybe that’s why we didn’t stay in touch, Occasional conversations once in a while, Months and months went by without a word, So, I write to you words I never said, Oh, how I took you for granted, Knew you’d always be there, Just a call or a text away. I remember our jokes & your weird laugh, The way you played with colors & shapes, Ah, how you strived to be better every day, My partner in almost all my works, You were the creative to my copy. And I hate it more than I can express, There won’t be working together ever again, That I need to talk about you in the past tense, How is it fair that I need to go on, While your journey comes to an end? How is it fair to any of us, To go on without you in our lives?