Welcome everyone to this week’s author interview. Have you ever wanted to make it as an entrepreneur but didn’t know how? Well, today is your lucky day, because I have with me Reethika Sunder who, alongside Dr. Kanth Miriyala have created, “Entrepreneur 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.”. Read on and learn how you can turn your ideas into real investments, without having to give up your day job.
Reethika’s Genre: Non-fiction – Entrepreneurship or Business Self-Help Category
Dr. Kanth Miriyala was one of the founders of Quintant which was sold to iGATE for 87 crores and an investor in Qik which was then sold to Skype for USD 150 million. He is a Ph.D from University of Illinois and B.Tech from IIT Madras. In his career, he has been a founder, investor and mentor to many start-ups.
Reethika Sunder is an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and a business consultant. Reethika has over six years of consulting experience working with an Indian IT firm and an MNC. She has also worked in a start-up apparel firm and has provided consulting services to a start-up sales analytics firm.
Crisp, reader-friendly and practical, Entrepreneur 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. tells you how you can become an entrepreneur even if you have a full-time job and are risk-averse. With facts, flowcharts and illustrations, this is a fast and super-useful read from which you will come away with a clear and solid road-map for converting your idea into a viable enterprise and taking your venture from zero to launch.
With case studies, anecdotes and easy-to-follow guidelines, this book:
•Tells you how you can realize your dream of being an entrepreneur even if you have a full-time job;
•Provides you with widely tested and proven methods that dramatically reduce risks of failure;
•Shows how you can make your product a profitable one even before significant investments are made;
•Discusses how you can increase the valuation of your start-up in order to successfully obtain funding;
•Explains how you can align your business goals with wider life goals and leverage your personal strengths;
•Tells you how to launch a start-up that YOU will enjoy building.
Read this book if you’ve ever had an idea that you want to turn into a profitable business endeavour.
Reethika, let’s learn a a little more about you and your book …
1: What inspired you to write your book(s)?
Over the years, I have realized that many people are working in jobs that they don’t particularly like. Most of them are doing it because the job is their only source of income. And in times of recession, it makes them so helpless, dependent and fearful of what would happen if they were to lose their jobs. Also, the income earned through a job follows a very linear growth path. Through the book we wanted to share experiences of people who have been successful in building start-ups that made them financially independent much earlier than a job would have ever done. The book provides people with a clear and solid roadmap for converting their ideas into a viable enterprise while working on their full-time job without making huge investments.
2: As you embarked on writing your book, what was the overall message you wanted to convey?
There are many people who have business ideas and would like to start their own business. But they are reluctant to do so because they think that the only way to start a business is by quitting their full-time job and concentrating on the start-up and they also think that a business requires a huge amount of money as investment. Hence, most of them abandon the idea of starting their own business. Our book tries to guide people on how they can build their business while working full-time without making huge investments and how they may be building a more sustainable business this way.
3: What was the hardest part to write in the book?
I think the hardest part was trying to make a business book easy-to read, by keeping it simple and conveying key messages through anecdotes. We also thought that the book should have illustrations that convey key messages. The illustrations are designed in a way that even if someone doesn’t like reading too much, they can grasp important concepts of the book by going through the illustrations.
4: When your book was released what was your readers’ reaction to it?
Most of our readers found the book very easy to read and practical. They have been writing to us for advice on their start-ups. Thanks to our readers, the first print edition of our book was sold out within a month of its release and our book is now going onto a second reprint.
5: Are you self-published and if so what was the reason behind this?
Rupa publications who is a reputed publisher in India has published our book in the Indian sub-continent. We have chosen to self-publish on Amazon outside India. We are just experimenting with two different business models to find out what works best in reaching out to our target audience of first time entrepreneurs.
6: What is your writing routine?
This book was written over a period of six months with a series of interviews conducted during this period. We had to go through three iterations before we finalized the manuscript. I spent 2-3 hours every day writing or reviewing the manuscript during this period.
7: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I had read a chapter from Thoreau’s book Walden when I was a child and the chapter had such a deep impression on me that I went looking for the book and to this date, it is the most special book I have read in my life. So, I think a dinner with Henry David Thoreau would be an experience that I would have really cherished. One of his most inspiring quotes for me is this one “However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names”. A few quiet days in the forest, reading Thoreau’s book, introspecting is something that I would really enjoy.
8: Describe the role books played in your own life
I have loved reading since I was ten years old. I would spend most of the summer vacations reading almost three books a day. The world of books is so magical and has an uncanny knack to draw you within, trigger your imagination and subconsciously influence your values. Books have shaped my life and my values and have been my constant companion through life. And I believe that the desire to create this magic for someone else has been my greatest motivation for writing books.
9: Do you have any advice for new writers?
I think it is important not to be too harsh while writing out the first draft of the book and allow thoughts to flow. The ideas/concepts can be improved upon by reviewing it later and it is an iterative process. While it is important to spend sufficient amount of time writing the first draft, it is also important to complete the book. Most people end up spending too much time making changes without completing the book and soon abandon the manuscript midway as they don’t allow the creative process to flow by becoming too critical of their work.
10: How do you use social media to promote your writing?
We use Facebook and our blog primarily for promoting the book. By sharing videos, articles and images on entrepreneurship, we try to keep the audience engaged.
Links to ‘Entrepreneur 5pm – 9pm’
Ebook version available outside India.
2) Paperback version of the book available in India
We are really happy to share that the first edition of our print book has already been sold out and our book is on a second reprint now. We are already working on our second book where we will share stories of several part-time entrepreneurs, their challenges and learning.
Thank you Reethika for joining me today and I wish you well with ‘Entrepreneur 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.’ and its sequel.