The first featured STAR in my Blog-o-Rendezvous series is JESSIE PAUL… Guess most of you know or have heard of JESSIE, but if you’ve not here’s a short Bio..
CEO – Paul Writer, Author – No Money Marketing, former CMO – Wipro, former Global Brand Manager – Infosys
Today (27 Jan 2012), Paul Writer turns 2! Stop by at her web-site @ http://paulwriter.com/ or tweet her @Jessie_paul to drop in your Congratulations…
I had an opportunity to discuss with Jessie Paul about her cross-over from the corporate world to entrepreneurship. In this post I will share with you the key highlights of our discussion…
Nischala: Hey Jessie… Good Morning… Happy New Year! And Congratulation’s on the completion of 2 years at Paul Writer . My first question is how has this shift been – from the corporate world to your own venture?
Jessie: It’s so much more fun. A lot of people scared me about the risks of being an entrepreneur. While definitely I’ve had my share of ups and downs – collections, cash-flow etc. – the upside is significant.
Nischala: Great to hear that… So after 15 years in the Indian IT industry, and 2 years as an entrepreneur what would you say are the key benefits of being on your own?
Jessie: It’s great to be on your own. It gives me a lot more opportunity and flexibility to define the kind of work to do and the kind of clients that we service. Most importantly, it gives me complete control on my work, plan and priorities. I’ve also been able to meet and interact with a wide, diverse range of people, both face to face and through social media – I feel that I’m constantly learning in this role.
Nischala: Did you plan the transition? How long did it take you?
Jessie: I was mulling it over for around 3 years before taking the plunge. The key criteria were that it had to match the 3Ps – Passion, Perfection and Profitability. I had to be clear about what services I can offer, the business model, my future plans and the financial viability. So there are many aspects. I wrote a book, No Money Marketing, which I felt would help create a thought leadership identity. Over time I want people to view me as Jessie Paul, marketer, not ex-CMO Wipro or ex-Infosys Brand Manager
Nischala: Any specific highlights on the personal level?
Jessie: It gives me the flexibility to balance work and life out of work. And also possibly invest my time in things that are important to me. If you look at the average split of time for an employee in an IT organization, it would look something like 25 – 30% of your work time goes over non-essential e-mails, committee meetings, form filling and administrative work like leave approvals. And commute can take anywhere between 2- 3 hours in a day… So in effect, you really work for 6 – 8 hours, though you are out of your home for 12 hours…. If you reduce the commute time, that’s a big bonus – So living close to your work place is a definite plus. And if you can find a way to reduce your non-essential overheads, that’s another big PLUS!
Nischala: Are you spotting any trends on women taking the plunge into entrepreneurship – specifically in terms of changes at / after a particular phase of life like say having kids, etc.
Jessie: See there 2 dimensions – One is women in the corporate world and one is women in the work force. What I am seeing is that women continue to be part of the work force, but not part of the corporate world by opting to be on their own – either through free-lancing or consulting or entrepreneurship. For e.g.: We’re seeing a lot of trend of women free-lancing in areas like Marketing, Communication, etc. Also, with the emergence of digital communications, this is a viable model.
The point is many women assume the primary responsibility of raising a child and managing domestic responsibilities. I don’t agree that this should be the default, but it is the case for many women, either by inclination or societal pressure. So flexibility becomes important to enable them to juggle their professional and personal lives. Not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s also a site called www.fleximoms.com which was conceptualized to enable women find jobs which are more suited to their personal context and also enable women to re-enter the workforce if they were on a hiatus from work.
Nischala: That’s interesting. Any other drivers that women are looking at?
Jessie: There is research to show that working women are not just looking for money from their work and but seek to view their work as contribution to a bigger picture either for the organization or the world at large. They have other criteria for the choice and selection of the kind of work they would like to do and also the kind of employers they will work for.
This is why a lot of women find immense satisfaction in working for the social sector. Another important dimension is that women like to see a direct and positive impact of their work and contributions – and in large organizations, it’s sometimes hard to see and gauge this impact, hence entrepreneurship becomes an attractive option.
Nischala: Any advice that you’d like to share with anyone who wants to start off on their own?
Jessie: If you are starting off on your own, you need to first be mentally prepared for the changes at many levels.
Small things like where and how you will work from. Like in my case, my last day in Wipro was 8 Jan 2010 and I walked into my new office on 11 Jan 2010. So I still had an office space, just that the location was different. The continuity was important for me – I was afraid that if I started hanging around the house sheer inertia would keep me there. I do not have the ability to compartmentalize which is a must to work from home. Also I felt clients view “working from home” as not being a serious option.
The reality is that there are benefits in being associated with large organizations. Things like a bank loan, health insurance are much simpler and easier to get if you are part of a large organization. If you are with a start-up, these things are a lot more difficult.
Also, you need to have a realistic assessment of whether you can stand on your own feet, what your key skills are, what services you can offer and how scalable is your model. Like in my case the services are based primarily on expertise in the industry which is based on my experience and personal brand – So the risk is significantly lower. Also, the fact that I do have a good professional network further strengthens my chances of success.
Nischala: Thanks Jessie for sharing insights from your personal journey. I am sure a lot of people will benefit from this.
Jessie: Cheers! Have a Good Day!
How did you like this rendezvous?
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