Q&A with Rahul Varshneya


imageedit_2_6007827613Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

A. My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is the fact that you truly define your success. You will grow as much as you really want to and that there’s no one else that controls your fate.

Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

A. Like I mentioned earlier, the biggest difference in my opinion is that Entrepreneurs get to define their own path to success. They go as far as they can imagine. Now one can argue the same for those who work for others, but those people most often don’t control the fate of the company directly. Being an entrepreneur is all about taking decisions that decide their fate as well as that of the company’s.

Q. What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?

A. The spark was fueled by a problem that I personally faced, or I saw someone that I was connected to, face. All the companies that I previously started were based off that and the same goes for the current business as well. The services arm (Arkenea) was launched to help entrepreneurs and businesses to deliver a fantastic user experience to their customers through technology and the product (Foster) helps these startups and small businesses to keep their audience engaged by sharing engaging content. The problem that Arkenea was started to solve was faced by my co-founder and I when working in our previous organization. And for Foster, the problem emerged when we were looking for a solution that could help Arkenea keep its audience engaged to project ourselves as experts in the industry, as well as help keep the brand alive in the audiences’ minds.

Q. How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?

A. This is the biggest challenge for most companies. There isn’t an easy solution or the right way to this. There are many things that send across a certain message to the potential employee as well as gauge their interest and culture-fit for the company. We spend a lot of time telling them about us, our values and culture to make sure they realize what they’re getting into. We lay a significant focus on getting a buy-in from the employee and we ensure these are the right reasons they’re joining the company for, by clearly laying out the growth path for the employee. Once the employee joins, the ‘care’ part is built over a period of time by engaging them in certain activities apart from their KRAs where they feel they play a role in the organization’s growth.

Q. How do you generate new ideas?

A. The best ideas come from problems. I look at day to day problems and gather information on how intrinsic or deeper it is. If it is something that someone would pay to solve, then I look for a way to solve that problem in the most efficient and user-friendly manner. That is how I generate new ideas.

Q. What motivates you?

A. The biggest motivation is knowing that what you do actually makes a difference to someone’s life in a direct manner. That keeps me going day after day!

Q. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

A. I’m not sure if you’d consider Steve Jobs as part of history, but the way I look at it, he would be one person that I would surely love to meet and talk. Steve Jobs somehow knew the pulse of the market and knew how to interpret insights into experiences for consumers. He had an eye for flawless execution and would leave no stone unturned in making every product clearly stand out in the market. Steve Jobs is my hero.

Q. What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

A. There have been many failures along the way of starting and running a few companies. Even with the existing ones, you keep testing hypothesis to see if it can get traction. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. But if I would have learnt one thing, that would be to be persistent. I love this quote from Albert Einstein, who said that, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with the problems longer.” If you stay with the problem long enough being committed to finding a solution that works, something that finally resonates with your customers, you will find a solution and find success in what you’re doing. Most often, people quit. Quitting, according to me is the biggest failure.

Q. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

A. There can never be a pattern or formula for becoming successful. If there were, wouldn’t everyone be just successful? One of the other things is that everyone’s definition of success is different. Would you call 1 million downloaded a success or the one that received $100,000 in revenues? Is making $1 million a year successful or making $1 billion finally called success? In my view, success means you enjoy every waking moment of your life doing what you love.

Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

A. The top three skills according to me would be Persistence – to stay with the problem long enough to find a solution, Focus – laser-sharp focus to get things done and Humility – to accept your mistakes and customers’ feedback, and learn from them.

Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea LLC which helps entrepreneurs and businesses build engaging mobile apps. Click here to subscribe to his free email course on maximizing app downloads.

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