We are publishing an interview of Mr Bharat Gupta, Founder, Bharat Gupta Inc. (A Mumbai based startup).
Please tell us about your background and your choice of a passion driven career over a conventionally high earning profession.
With an Honors degree in Economics and a plan was to go abroad for a master’s degree, my path back then looked pretty set with a career as an Economist or as an Investment Banker. Coming from a family of chartered accountants, it was always a given that if nothing I’ll do CA!
Since childhood, I’ve always been actively involved in co – curricular activities at school (Modern School) that encouraged the arts. I was also a part of theatre group run by Feisal Alkazi for nearly a decade. But at that time I only looked at this as a hobby.
During the holidays post 12th grade board exams, a friend was joining Shiamak Davar’s dance classes and literally forced me to join. Little did I know that this would be a turning point. Within a short span of time, I performed at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, Melbourne and became a part of his Dance Company.
My parents supported my decision to follow my passion but were clear that I needed to complete my masters. So I moved to Mumbai, did a masters in Journalism and Mass Communication. Shiamak noticed my managerial skills and along with dancing I started managing Public Relation, Social Media and Communications. The opportunities were endless. Working with him for his dance academy, attending global events like the IIFA Awards and TOIFA Awards, interacting with celebrities globally and have them share their experiences with dance; it was a dream that many would want to live.
So what made you decide to move on to start out on your own?
I worked full time for about eight years. It was everything I could have hoped for! But there was an itch within me because I had a keen interest in writing and in fashion. Shiamak was supportive, so I didn’t leave but my role changed to that of a consultant. In 2016, I decided to venture out on my own. I had gained experience in various fields. While most assumed I would join an agency, I was very clear I wanted to start out on my own. So I began under my own name with services that included Celebrity and Talent Management, Public Relations, social Media, Content (blogs, website) and fashion styling. I was lucky to get Fashion Guru Prasad Bidapa’s support soon after I ventured out and I started managing his models in Mumbai. Besides this, projects based on curating content for social media, for websites and styling assignments started coming in. So I got the confidence I needed at the right time.
How has the transition been? Do you consider it as a successful decision?
I think anything that stems from passion will never be a failure. The reason for this is that you will never look at work as work. You enjoy the process of struggle and success. You learn to surround yourself with people who are passionate about what they do. My parents, my sister and my friends have been the strongest support. Work came in well initially but then you have great months and not so good periods. In time you learn the art of putting the pieces together and getting back on your feet. The fact that I can take up clients whose business acumen resonates with my beliefs, that I can work at the convenience of my time and space, and take creative liberties makes it amazing. Success is situational and if I don’t experience failures, I wouldn’t really value the success.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
My endeavor to do this is to change people’s perception – That you can follow your dream and make it happen if you have the will, that it is not necessary that success comes just from conventional career choices, that you can dabble with multiple things you are talented in and that money does not necessarily equate to success. The unique thing is that the universe resides in each of us, that you can be a one man army if you trust your instinct and are ready to work hard.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Clients include those from the field of entertainment, fitness, fashion, wellness and lifestyle. The services basically target towards curating plans and strategies that will help them connect them with their target consumers organically. The aim is to give the celebrity / brand visibility, creating a niche image and make them convert their talent into a profitable business venture.
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
Through the initial stages, getting work wasn’t difficult through the network. The first major hit that came was due to demonetization. Some of the client services put their projects of hold which then obviously affected me. But these are problems that you can deal with you if plan your savings in advance. Another issue is client expectations. Initially it’s always good, but over time they expect more than you signed up for. The solution is be professional yet firm. Document everything and ensure you’re clear on your services. Don’t over commit and raise their expectations. Also, working with multiple clients as a freelancers, time management is a major challenge. But a clear plan and structured working is the easiest way out.
I think the biggest challenge is making the decision to switch from a comfortable job to your own dream project. This is a leap of faith you need to take to make things happen. To be successful you need to give it you all – whether it is planning, networking, socialising, working tirelessly, failing and trying again till you eventually succeed. I owe my success not only to hard work but faith if those around me. Work takes time, there are good periods of time and there will be a lull. You need to know your business well and be sure of your goals. Any venture without research and planning is not long lasting. Also, balance and commitment is the key. Take on what you can handle, don’t get carried away. You have the key to your success, you’re the one standing in front of a door of opportunities; it’s only upto you to take the chance, commit and create magic!
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
I work with clients who too are passion driven. All they need is the push to put themselves out and connect with people who require their services to bring a change in their lives. Whether it is models, actors, yoga teachers, wellness coaches or stand – up comedians; the idea is to make them find faith in their dreams. There is always a market for something that is new, the effort needs to be put into making the world see them. The big picture is to make passion a driving force which makes careers sustainable and not just money making machines.