06 | Myths and Misconceptions About Tech Entrepreneurship In The 21st Century That Can Kill Your Results, With Naresh Vissa

The title of today’s interview is myths and misconceptions about tech entrepreneurship in the 21st century that can kill your results. My name is Monica wall and today I’m talking with tech entrepreneur and marketing expert. Naresh Vissa about common myths and misconceptions about tech entrepreneurship in the 21st century that stop most entrepreneurs dead in their tracks before they even get started. So welcome Naresh. Thanks a lot Manuj. It’s a pleasure to be on. Yeah. nourish has graciously consented to the interview, to share his extensive knowledge and experience, to dispel some common myths and misconceptions about tech entrepreneurship. So every entrepreneur can understand how to bootstrap a business and generate wealth, and Naresh. Thank you again.

So we’ll dive right in. My first set of questions is going to be about your background and your experience in the field of tech entrepreneurship so that the audience can understand where you’re coming from, and how you can relate to them as to where they are right now. Sounds good? So can you tell us a little bit about yourself in terms of your background and experience in education? 

Sure. So let me tell you that this ties into how I got involved in technology. So initially, when I was in high school, my goal was to become a sports writer. So a journalist. So I went to journalism school, this was pre financial crisis 2008, I went to journalism school. And while I was there also was, I guess, awarded a second kind of dual program to be involved in the business school as well. So I was in the journalism school in the business school, but really, my passion was journalism. And that was my first foray into online and digital because during that time, the media industry was essentially converging from traditional media, to going digital. So newspapers had just started going out of business, radio stations had started going out of business, and then the financial crisis hit. And that really took the industry forever. So the financial crisis essentially forced media businesses to completely digitize. And so while I was a student, I got great experience, writing, reporting, directing, producing TV, radio, print, magazine, newspaper, it and then I also got experience, because of the media convergence. That was my first foray into the importance of online and digital and understanding technology. So I got some great experience while I was there, worked at CNN, had various, it was actually cnn radio at the time, which ended up getting sold to Clear Channel Communications. So had a great experience at both places, CNN radio and Clear Channel Communications, which is one of the largest traditional radio companies in the world. But, but I also because I was also in the business school, I was exposed to the financial world, and I started gaining an interest in finance as well. So went to business school, eventually went to business school at Duke University, and, and got experience working at some of the large banks on Wall Street. And while I was finishing up school at Duke University, my master’s degree I was contacted by a company, it was a financial company, but they wanted to start it a media division. And so they, they said that they found me online, they just typed in some keywords. And we’re looking for somebody who understood media and publishing, but who also understood finance and business. And so I was one of a handful of people who popped up on LinkedIn when they put in some search terms. So long story short, I ended up consulting for them while I was finishing up school, and then moved to Baltimore, Maryland to take over that project full time, and got tremendous experience working in in e commerce and, online, online and digital, because they were at the end of the day, probably the largest financial marketing company in the world. And so working there getting experience led me to have the confidence to go out on my own, and understand and trust my abilities in running my own business, and it just turned out that it was a technology business. It started out in 2013. I’m coming up on six years, okay, 2013. It was just me. And it was a couple of services that I was offering. And I’d call it more consulting. I think a lot of people when they leave a job or lose a job, they say they become a consultant all of a sudden. And so I essentially went from just me consulting to building my company bootstrapping and building, piecing together my company, Krish media and marketing, which is now a full service online and Technology Agency we offer what does that mean? Well, we offer just an array of agency online and technology services. And I’ll list a few off from you. These are all at our website, Krish media marketing. com. But we do things like podcast production and monetization, ebook publishing, web design, web development, app development, General online marketing, search engine optimization, online reputation management, pay per click social media, social media advertising, we do just so much in the online and digital space, you name it. We have solutions for clients. And like I said, when I got started, I wasn’t doing most of these. But in the two or three services that I personally was offering, client said, Can you do this? Can you do that? And instead of saying no, I went out and hired people and said, Yes, we can do this. And we can do that. So that’s how I’ve grown my business, Krish media and marketing. That’s how I got into technology, thanks to my experience in journalism initially, that got me exposed to web and online. And then that first full time job out of graduate school, really taught me the ropes and gave me the confidence that I could do this too.

Okay, awesome. That’s great. Great story. So let me ask you one thing, you know, you have a background in journalism. But how did you gain experience in some of these new paradigms like social media management and, you know, app development and things of that nature? How well, how did you, you know, become an expert in that?

Well, in the case of social media, that became a part of journalism, because every journalist and every media publication now, running your Twitter feed and running your Facebook page, and LinkedIn page is a part of the job. And that’s what we started doing back post financial crisis, when Twitter and Facebook and all the social media were coming up, it was trying to understand not just those but also the technologies that came with them, Hootsuite, and Uber, got Hootsuite, and some of them are slipping my mind. But anyway, some of these technologies that come along with with social media, it was very important to to understand them. And, and then when I started working full time learning about, like email service providers and things like Salesforce Infusionsoft, which led me more to the retail side of MailChimp and I contact, learning all these different solutions. I have to do it with the job or yet when it comes with a job. On the management side, I got great experience, being a management student, undergraduate and graduate. Really, I learned the nitty gritty of psychology of general management of finance, accounting, all which I still use today in some capacity, even though I don’t have a financial business, per se, or an accounting CPA business, per se. I use it in managing my books and managing my people, hiring talent, getting rid of talent, analyzing my financials, you have to do all that as an entrepreneur. And fortunately, my schooling kind of back that up. I didn’t understand it at the time. And I even wonder, you know, why am I taking this accounting class? Why am I taking so many accounting classes, I don’t like it, it’s boring. But it’s it’s all come back to me come in handy. And that’s something that really my father, doing the journalism and all that that was fine. But he he always said, you know, accounting is something that I wish I had taken accounting classes. And it’s something that anybody can use, and it’ll it only stand by you. And so I select, I did it, even though I hated it. And I’m really happy that that I did it. And I and I gained that knowledge. And an important thing is, I’ve always had or an important idea. I’ve always had the backup plan of if everything fails, I can always go back and get a full time job. So that’s really the benefit I got started when I was in my mid 20s. And that’s always been my backup and my thought process. And even today, six years later, going strong. I know that if all goes wrong, if there’s another financial crisis, the business goes down, well, I can probably just go back and get a full time job. And the experience that I’ve gotten doing what I’ve done has been tremendous way better than I could have way better than anything, I could have gotten working a full time job.

that’s for sure. Entrepreneurship teaches you, forces you In fact, to pick up a lot of different skills, because you have to do it all.

You have to and it’s I think you have to personality for it. It’s not for everybody. I just happen to have that personality where I like learning and I like doing stuff. And when I don’t like doing stuff, I hire other people. So you asked earlier, well, how did I learn technology and SEO and all this stuff? Well, I know enough to to make a sale. But I hire people who actually are way better than me. Just be one of the secrets of entrepreneurship. It’s hiring people who who do stuff that you don’t do in the world better than you most stuff and letting them just do what they do best.

Yeah, exactly. I’m just a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a well known entrepreneur, he is famous words are think about who not how meaning, you know, when you need to do something, don’t start to do it yourself. But look around for people. And in fact, you know, these days, you can hire freelancers online, on sites like up work and all that. So it’s very easy to find talent, and at the very reasonable price.

Well, that’s how I’ve grown Krish media and marketing. So I discovered these kind of online sites and 2013. And I had to go through some growing pains, because a lot of the people who I hired were not very good. Yeah, you go through the growing pains, and you find the good people, and then those good people, no other good people. And so the competitive advantage of my company, Krish media and marketing is we’re able to offer the, of course, super high quality services, but we’re able to offer extremely low competitive prices. And we didn’t tell our clients, if you find another company that’s domestically based here in the United States, that beats our prices will match them. And it’s largely because my team is spread out all over the world. And because we’re spread out all over the world, we don’t have all this overhead that traditional agencies have to deal with the offices, healthcare, etc. And so because we’re spread out, I’m able to keep my overhead low, which means I’m able to charge lower, which means my retention is higher, people feel like they’re getting more for the money that they’re paying. And it’s been a very fruitful relationship as a result.

Well, good. Let’s go get down to some of the core questions that we want to go through today. So what is the number one myths or misconceptions that entrepreneurs have about tech entrepreneurship in the 21st? century?

Well, I think one of the myths, and this is it’s a good thing and a bad thing. A lot of wantapreneurs or want to be entrepreneurs, they look at people like Mark Zuckerberg, they watch these movies. And they think, Oh, yeah, I can just move to Silicon Valley. And I can raise all this money and have this roller coaster of a ride experience, and attend all these crazy parties and just live the life and have a lot of fun. That is not entrepreneurship at all. That’s only a very miniscule percentage, fraction of a percentage of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is actually as simple as going across the street and running a gas station, or buying real estate. People think entrepreneurship has to be creating the next Uber the next Facebook. But in reality, you can do very well as an entrepreneur simply by sticking to kind of the boring ideas. And so that’s something that I understood and that I realized that some of the most historically proven business ideas like real estate investing, for example, are still very lucrative and entrepreneurial. In the case of my technology, look, we my technology company doesn’t do anything out of this world. I mean, where there are lots of companies that do what we do, but it’s just the way that I run it is very different from the way that they run theirs. So entrepreneurship, the myth that you have to create the next Facebook or Uber Snapchat or mobile app, or anything like that, is it’s just not true. It’s that’s not it might be popular, it might be the the trendy thing to do. But the chances of failure far I mean, that’s why there’s only one Facebook, there’s only one Snapchat, there’s only one Uber, the chances of failure are extremely high. So I’d say stick to what you know, really get a good understanding of some kind of a niche and try to become an expert in that niche. And then, and then you can figure out how to merge that with your entrepreneurial abilities.

So, you know, that’s right on point, I believe that to a lot of people are jaded by, you know, all these big companies, big, deals and big names. But tell me, have you had an experience where you know, you’ve come across entrepreneurs who actually believed in that myth? And how did it hurt them? Like, can you give me an example of if you have run into some, some of these people?

Yeah, so I run into them all the time. And I went to I mean, speaking humbling, I guess I went to two schools that are pretty reputable within the probably within the world, within the United States. And, so when you go to these top schools, actually, I think those those students are those alumni are the ones who do get jaded. Because they see their friends working in Silicon Valley, they see their friends working on Wall Street, and they think that they can just go out and raise a ton of money and make all this money, I think it’s actually a detriment to go to these schools. And to believe that, you’re just going to be given the next Facebook or you’re just going to be given all this venture capital money, it’s not that easy at all. And so many people I know who either were classmates of mine, or who went to similar caliber schools, Ivy League caliber schools, or like Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, they have this idea because of these theoretical ideas, or these case study the theoretical principles that they read in their books or case studies that they read, for some classes, and they think it’s just that simple, and that easy. But in reality, those programs, they train their students to become essentially corporate drones to be corporate workers. And, in working in corporate is a completely different lifestyle, completely different skill set. And those corporate jobs are either starting to disappear, because they’re either being outsourced or to overseas or to expert freelancers. Or my generation is finding those corporate jobs to be not rewarding, not meaningful, and leading to a dead end track. Because they don’t want to wait around for 10-15 years to get promoted. Yeah, start seeing the fruits of their labor. So the point I’m making here is, I run into these types of people all the time. And I think it’s largely because of their background of how they grew up, because, or not just how they grew up, but the people who they went to school with, because they know several people who did make it. Yeah, go out to Silicon Valley or Wall Street, and we’re making millions of dollars every year. And they think they can do it too. But the reality is, it’s not that easy.

Yeah. So how do you what advice Will you give somebody like that, to come out of that? Shell off there and sort of see the real world?

Well, the advice that I would have is an idea did not know this when I was in school, because I was young, and I just didn’t know any better. But it’s to question everything that your peers are saying, to question everything that your professors are telling you. And to think about the long term to understand the world as it is the current situation of the digital and the global economy. Why is it I mean, just think about, for example, we had a we have a president, who got elected largely because jobs were disappearing, they were either being outsourced overseas manufacturing jobs. And instead of looking at the rhetoric, think about, well, why did these jobs disappear and understand, technology has essentially deflated the economy, and it’s going to continue to do that. And it’s a huge threat to I don’t want to say it’s a huge threat to the economy, but it is a huge threat to the working class. And politically speaking, I’m actually all of course, I love technology. Without technology, I wouldn’t have a business, I wouldn’t be able to have the business model that I have. But as a student, it’s understanding how did we get to this situation? Why is it this way? And how is this going to affect the future, and no politician can come in and try to destroy technology or try to keep businesses from paying people less money or really just keeping businesses from, operating their business? And so thinking long term, I think people should should think about all the this kind of thought process is type of critical thinking of what will a job at McKinsey look like 10 years from now What will a job at Procter and Gamble look like 10 years from now, this professor is talking about raising venture capital money? Well, why should I get venture capital money when I can raise private money? or Why do I even need to raise money? Why don’t I just start something that brings in cash flow from day one. it’s that type of thinking, when you’re young, you don’t, I didn’t really know much about business. So I didn’t think about this. And I almost fell victim to that brainwashing. But fortunately, I worked at a very entrepreneurial company. So they were a company that were corporate, but it was a very entrepreneurial company that empowered its employees to think outside the box to even just kind of hold, you could wear whatever you want it to work, there was no dress code, you could run if you had an idea, you just had to go to a superior run it by then. and then you were given the green light. So I think that’s what really spearheaded my level of thinking got me to kind of veer off from that traditional, I think, what people call it or I call it a bismarckian in education system or education thought process, which essentially teaches people to work in factories and in manufacturing centers.

Cool. All right, what is another biggest myth that you have come across that you would like to address on this interview about entrepreneurship in the 21st century?

Well, I think there was a myth when I was in school. And that was a marketing is easy marketing is anybody could do marketing. And I fell victim to that trap, because I actually I don’t have any degrees in marketing. I took a couple of marketing courses, they were boring, I didn’t really learn anything. And so I just I fell into that, camp, also a marketing is, you just take someone out to lunch, and that’s marketing, and you’ll get the business. And what I’ve recognized again, working full time is marketing is actually a science there. There’s a there’s a lot of numbers, a lot of data that goes into marketing, and it’s all about return on investment. Yeah. So when you look at marketing, from that perspective of what am I getting in return, then you view marketing completely differently from the average person who thinks marketing is just creating a Facebook page and getting likes? That is not marketing. Marketing is iterating. It is testing, it is experimenting, it is seeing what works, what doesn’t work, return on investment. That is marketing. And I wrote a book 50 shades of marketing, which walks through people, or sorry, walks people through the marketing process, and all these concepts and ideas.

So what, you know, obviously, you know, we cannot teach the entire subject of marketing here, but what are some of the nuggets that you may want to share? For people who are just starting off their journey? In regards to marketing?

Well, there are two very important principles of marketing, which the average person who thinks marketing is just colorful balloney, has no idea about and the first thing I should say, is direct marketing. What is direct marketing? direct marketing is simply a producer or a business that is directly connecting with a consumer or a potential customer. And so what how do you do that, you don’t do that. I mean, you can do that by taking someone out to lunch. That is one form of direct marketing. But the the quickest and easiest way. And this ties into the second principle, and that is capturing traffic and engaging with that traffic. So capturing traffic means let’s take the example of taking someone out to lunch, taking a potential client out to lunch, well, you probably captured that client somewhere at a networking event or at a party or somewhere, you somehow got in touch with them, and you got their phone number, you got their email address, so you’ve captured that traffic, then it’s engaging with that person. So taking them out to lunch and engaging with them will be thanks to digitization, we can speed up that process so that you’re not focusing on one person after the other, you can do this to multiple people at the same time. And so through online marketing, I really learned that we can capture online traffic and engage with them through social media through what I think is the most important, that’s email marketing and the email list. Because with one email send, you can reach, you know, an infinite amount of people. Yeah, whereas you cannot, it’s not humanly possible to take out to lunch and infinite number of people. And so the digitization has made the marketing cycle shorter, it’s made the process easier. And it’s only going to continue to to improve as we move forward.

That’s great. All right. Is there any other myths or misconceptions that you would like to talk about with our entrepreneurs or professionals?

Well, the other the last myth that I want to share, it’s not marketing related. It’s more entrepreneurship related. And that is, entrepreneurship is difficult. We talked earlier about you have to do everything as an entrepreneur. Yeah. So if you want to become an entrepreneur, you can’t be lazy, you can’t be mentally lazy. And it all ties in physically, spiritually, emotionally, you can’t be lazy in any of those aspects. It’s like a four legged chair, you need all four legs for the chairs stand up, if one of the legs is missing. Well, you can’t sit on a chair. So entrepreneurship is very similar. It’s not easy. Going out, I think, some veteran employees who try it, entrepreneurship will tell you that they tried it, and one or two years later, they just have to give up because it’s hard to get even one paying customer, whether you’re selling a widget, or you’re trying to get a retainer client, it’s extremely difficult. And a lot of work is involved, and you have to be sharp, your antenna have to constantly be up. So I want to dispel that myth that going out and doing anything on your own. Whether it’s selling lemonade on the corner of the street, or starting a technology business that does six figures and annual revenue. It’s incredibly difficult.

you’ve touched upon that, you know, the mindset piece of it, like, you know, you need to be mentally strong to have that stamina to keep going. And I think a lot of people underestimate now.

Yeah, it’s not, it’s not just about how much you know, it’s not just about who you know, but it’s also being mentally sane. And that’s why I brought up those four aspects of emotions, spirituality, physicality, and mental toughness. They’re all they’re all incredibly important in in succeeding, not just succeeding, but also just staying in the ballpark.

All right. Let me now talk about something about the changing landscape of business. So you started, you know, you started your journey a few years ago? Can you think of something that used to be true when you started? And it is not true anymore? So something to watch out for as the landscape changes? 

can you be a little more specific with the question.

you know, in terms of marketing, let’s say Facebook ads used to work, they don’t work anymore as easily. Or? I mean, this is just an example. Yeah, or email marketing? You know, it could have been that it was easier back then. Because people were not receiving as many emails now. You know, people are bombarded with multiple email. So something along those lines that you can speak off? I mean,

yeah. So my book, 50 shades of marketing goes over some of these trends, and mobile tablet, those are continuing to grow, meaning people are almost outsourcing their lives to these devices. And so more and more business is going to be done on them. I also want to state that, look, 15 years ago, my job did not exist. 15 years ago, I probably would have been a corporate guy who knows. But the reason why my job didn’t exist is because the developments weren’t there. Facebook was brand new 15 years ago, and had probably less than a million users. So 15 years from now, 15 years from now, things are going to be completely different again, and who knows, maybe I have to completely pivot, I have to iterate, I have to change my business model and maybe even do something completely different. But the point that I’m making is, things are changing so quickly. Technology is getting better and better. It is actually an incredible time to be in to be alive in general, because the cost of doing business has gone down. The cost of conducting business has gone down. The cost of starting a business has gone down, everything’s become super easy, capitals readily available to capital equipment, because all you really need these days is a smartphone. You don’t even need a tablet, you just need a smartphone, and a laptop computer, and an internet connection. And a internet connection, which is you can get for free pretty much around most countries, even in countries, some countries that used to be third world decades ago, you can get internet connections at a at a local cafe or restaurant. So the point that I’m making here is things are changing a lot. And they’re going to continue to change. And it’s important to adapt, because if you fall, if you become complacent that you’re going to fall behind and some other kid in his mid 20s is going to come and and overtake your business model and overtake your business. So you have to stay charged.

True enough a true. All right, any closing remarks anything else that you may want to share that we haven’t talked about yet?

Well, I would just recommend people to read my book 50 shades of marketing, they can get it on Amazon or visit my website at nourish vista.com. And if they, if they actually contact me through my website, get on my mailing list, I’ll send them a free copy of the book, just say that you heard me on this show. And I’d be glad to send you a Kindle an audiobook version of that book. It’s about a $25 value. But it has a lot of great resources and tools that will expose you to an entirely new ecosystem of business and entrepreneurship.

That’s awesome. So what I’ll do is I’ll grab those links from you. And I will put them in the show notes notes so that people can access them easily.

Excellent. That sounds good.

so thanks a lot, Naresh, for this great interview. I’m sure all the entrepreneurs and professionals in our audience have have a much clearer understanding about the realities of tech entrepreneurship in the 21st century

 

 

 

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