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There Is No Plan B For An Entrepreneur: Shalini Singh, Galvanise PR

Posted: April 6, 2015

While juggling multiple roles, don’t forget you are important too.  Make yourself a priority because no one else will with #KhayaalRakhna

Shalini Singh is the Founder of not one but two businesses – Galvanise PR and Speakers MIC. How does she do it? Listen to her story.

Day In The Life Of An Entrepreneur is an ongoing series at Women’s Web where we invite women entrepreneurs at work in India, to share their stories, and tell us what their life and work is all about.

I have been in the Public Relations (PR) industry for two decades, prior to starting out on my own. I worked with PR agencies in India, UK and North America as well as in-house for Cisco India supporting India and SAARC.

DILOE-finalGalvanise was founded in 2008 to primarily work with challenger brands. I never planned running my venture, it just happened.  2007-2008 is when a lot of start-ups were being launched. I would meet entrepreneurs socially and at networking events and I would hear them complain about PR being more of a pain point than support for their business.

On asking more I realized that start-ups pay a lesser retainer than a known brand to avail PR – PR firms delegate team members depending on the revenue coming in and so if the retainer is low, a PR executive with lesser experience would service the account. However in reality an emerging brand needs someone with experience to support them.

My passion for PR lead me to start Galvanise PR – though we started as a PR firm working with pure play start-ups, our focus changed and we realigned  in 2014 working for emerging brands for PR support in metros.

Life as an entrepreneur with two businesses

While Galvanise PR supports corporates in creating awareness among their target audience, Speakers MIC (Motivate Inspire Create) was launched in 2014 to provide motivational and inspiring speakers to businesses.

Corporates are looking for various mediums to keep their teams motivated as well as share knowledge and information with them.  Among others, we have inspirational speakers like Devika Malik who at the age of 24 has achieved so much and is continuing to achieve more despite a disability, Prasoon Joshi, a known face – and truly a motivational speaker, as well as Apurva Purohit – author of Lady You Are Not A Man – Apurva in an informal and an entertaining way conveys the message of Diversity & Inclusion.

We are living in a multi- connected world, and besides I belong to the servicing industry which means connected always! Trust me, it is not easy but I do balance my life by investing time in hobbies from fitness, to needlework, to gardening (learning to make sure I do not kill the plants!).

I think one of my secrets of not dropping my to-do actions is because I swear by the ‘Calendar’.

My day starts early and I try to plan it well though at times I have wished for more than 24 hours in a day. I think one of my secrets of not dropping my to-do actions is because I swear by the ‘Calendar’.

As for managing two businesses, I cannot do it without my team – we are a small team but a great team for both Galvanise and Speakers MIC.

We are a small team – a team of six –and looking to grow to eight by the end of this year.  Team management forms a very important part of my day – I have been blessed to have worked with the best who have pushed me to think, achieve quality and meet deadlines – it may sound simple, but it surely is not. Despite educational qualifications, the education system does not make the youth ‘employee ready’, so training the team takes a lot of my time.

As shared earlier, I feel lucky with the team we have as they are open to listening and learning.

What I have learnt: There is no Plan B

I got this advice when I decided to get on my own – there is no plan B for an entrepreneur. You have to be a risk taker and give in your best – you cannot do justice if you have a regular job and you are starting your own venture. Having said this, an entrepreneur needs to know and realise and ask for help if the business is not taking the direction as planned and then decide to wrap it up (it is OK to – making an effort to be on your own itself is huge education) or take a mentor’s support and work around it.

…an entrepreneur needs to know and realise and ask for help if the business is not taking the direction as planned and then decide to wrap it up…or take a mentor’s support and work around it.

Citing my own example – Galvanise was founded in 2008 but it is only in 2014 that I felt secure about the business and now know which direction to take the firm in. I got a mentor on board in 2013 who completely changed my both personal and professional life for the better. Sunil Savara my mentor, who is extremely busy gave me so much of his time making me realise that running a business takes more than just being a good professional. Sunil also pushed me to realise my own worth.

Life beyond work?

Having been in the communications industry for two decades, there is something which becomes a part of you – for me it is planning ahead, meeting deadlines, being organized – however I have family and friends who may not agree with the same philosophy, so I have to work around the environment I am in – which I have come to terms with for people I care in my personal life.

A new day drives me – I enjoy every part of my waking life both at and off work. I have an amazing ecosystem in terms of family and friends for which I am more than grateful to God for. I enjoy connecting with them and it relaxes me. Besides this I enjoy investing in fitness as I feel a fit body leads to a happy mind. Fitness also builds will-power and this is required when there are days when you feel the world is conspiring against you and one has to overcome and be strong.

I used to enjoy doing needlework which I have picked up again and am truly enjoying it.

I believe in having a cleaner environment and education for the child (underprivileged) and do contribute in my own small way.

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Image contributed by the author

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About the Author: A veteran with two decades of PR experiences, Shalini Singh is the Founder of Galvanise PR and Speakers MIC

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