Belonging to a middle-class Bengali family opening up my own firm, and getting into business all was nothing more than a daydream. The one thing that was almost a universal truth was that ‘Bengali people didn’t know how to do business.’
Bengali Entrepreneurs are a rare breed.
This scene from a Satyajit Ray classic movie ‘Jana Aranya’, actually shows my shift from a 9–5 job-goer to an entrepreneur.
Here, one character (a businessman & an entrepreneur played by Lt. actor Utpal Dutt) explains the spirit and freedom of being an entrepreneur to another character (the job searcher played by Pradip Mukherjee) who has been desperately measuring the streets of the city for a job over a year.
This movie scene depicts my struggles and the dilemmas that I always had before even thinking to become an entrepreneur. The sole statement about fetching capital & other issues such as the risk of failure stopped me from venturing out into the world of business.
Before any of you scroll further down, let me tell you, this blog speaks of the toils and all the ugly things of life without which success is inevitable.
So, I never intended on doing business until I witnessed a knowledge gap among the most celebrated industry professionals and was forced to think of an alternative way to educate and also make a living out of it.
The ego of being senior blinded them from seeing anything beyond what they knew. If anybody challenged their outdated knowledge they would misuse their power to overplay but never attend & accept the fact that they lag in Knowledge. I felt a certain uneasiness. I wished to educate these people and help them in addressing their half-baked knowledge.
How was the question, that hung in the air?
I was still working in Kolkata when for the first time I was given the opportunity to speak at a forum in the year 1996 hosted by a renowned Global Foundation, all but without payment. This did not de-motivate me, but I was keener on impressing them by giving out values even though I would get nothing in return. I wanted to do away with the transactional relationship with every other person following.
I have always been an avid reader.
In my struggling days, I couldn’t afford to buy new books. What I could afford was second-hand, rented books from the footpaths of Kolkata. I always wanted to be better than I was at the present. It was a competition, a fight between Me vs. Me.
The only reason why I searched for knowledge was to upgrade myself. To make myself ahead of the industry.
I always looked for one opportunity and I knew I could do something or the other out of it. I believed in myself. I thought that maybe the hub of all corporations, the city of Mumbai could give me the deserved work satisfaction and recognition that I had never been bestowed with during my working years at Kolkata. This was not just because I had gotten bored with the city and work, but because the frustration of knowing and still not being able to execute made me feel uneasy and trapped.
All I had wished for then was just one chance.
2001 was the year when I first landed in the city I had always dreamt about. I had come for a short period for an office project but had overstayed for 6 months. Going back to Calcutta I realized that whatever come may be, I had to build my career here, in Mumbai.
The calendar read 2008 of the 20thcentury. The world was moving fast. I was moving steadily.
After the first visit to Mumbai, 7 tedious yet productive years passed until I finally decided to make the shift from the warmth of my Kolkata to a hard-toiling life of a Mumbaikar. The shift to the ‘city which never sleeps.
My struggles hadn’t ended but had just begun.
I joined a renowned company in a good position. But the disappointment soon dawned upon me. It was like being back to square one. I faced the same work scenario when I was working back in Kolkata. All was about power and position. There was no depth of knowledge. The uneasiness had crawled back. I wanted to fill in the knowledge gap in the industry but still lacked in finding out a definite direction. Meanwhile, Mumbai was being hard on my pocket. It had taken all of my savings. I found it hard to make a living even though I was working in a reputed company in a ‘good position’.
It wasn’t just being enough.
I had resorted to working as a freelance consultant on the pro-bono format on weekends. I used to fly on the weekends to see and meet different clients in different cities. On weekdays I would get back to my office desk. Funnily all these struggles and frustrations, never de-motivated me. It gave me the strength and confidence to become what I am today.
As I always say, “If you sacrifice you win here”.
Mumbai is a fascinating city. The thousands of people who come down to this city every day, come here to be something. To make something of their own. But very few succeed. This is because a person should only be driven by three things. One is Passion, the second is Dedication and the third is Sacrifice. This was lesson number one that Mumbai taught me.
This is one of my favorite songs, very close to my heart.
I relate to this song, because the first time I saw the skyscrapers and the unimaginable luxurious houses of the city, I was dumbstruck. Standing at a point in my career where I faced a work dilemma, I couldn’t imagine how I would ever establish myself in this city amongst the brutal environment and all the cutthroat competition.
10 years went by while I was still trying to balance Work & Life. The anxiety of encountering half-baked knowledge had now grown bigger. It had taken the form of frustration and anger.
In the summer of 2017, I decided to quit my corporate life and start my own company. My own Digital Business Consulting Firm. It was a risk I was willing to undertake now, after 27 years of the rotten corporate atmosphere. The mission was always to build the most respected company across the globe.
I was now ready to build something from nothing.
Long before had I thought about opening up my own company I had established my work credibility through individual consulting I was then doing on weekends. While my life was being unbearably harsh on me I happened to come across a book named ‘Inbound Marketing’ by Dharmesh Shah. I had absorbed word by word from the book and was in awe of how the marketing trend had really changed. I felt pity for the industry that still took sides of an age-old method that was incompetent to produce the desired results for businesses.
The book grew confidence about opening up my own Digital Business Consulting Firm.
I started my company out of my living room.
When I attended conferences or seminars or went to client meets I realized that I had to have a business card. It looked very rude when I was not able to reciprocate the same action when somebody handed me their business card. Thus, I thought I had to get it done as soon as possible. I had determined thoughts of taking it to the top.
To have a business card I needed to have a logo, a website, and something that authenticated the existence of my company. This is when I started fending for a website name. I had to build my dream company and I wasn’t ready to compromise on any ground. One of my friends had recommended keeping the color Yellow as the primary color of my business venture. So, I had it in my mind to even keep the company name as ‘Yellow Consulting’. I wanted to draw a clear line of differentiation between the agency concept and consultancy.
As I went through the domain name selections I found disappointment yet again. The domain had already been claimed by somebody else and there was an existing consultancy with the same name. I hadn’t come to a conclusion with my company name-hunting. With some hundred cups of coffee and several sleepless nights, the perfect name struck me. I typed it without wasting a quarter of a millisecond. It was available! I bought it instantly. The Digital Fellow, yes, that was going to be my company name.
The name of the company was finalized, but that didn’t mean that I could go to rest in peace. To bring up a website required immense hard work starting from Design, Content, Coding, and Functionality. An unending task list popped up in front of me. I was up for the challenge.
The first thing that I needed was a logo for my website. With my unique website name, I didn’t want the logo with any sort of normal abused design. It had to be unique just like I thought of my company and its name. Being a born artist my visualizing powers are way better than other people's (without sounding too boastful).
I started sketching. While I sketched and filled my trash bin for the days that followed, I looked for inspiration over the internet until I found this and sketched it right away in my sketchbook.
This more or less gave me the feel of what I wanted my logo to be like. But still,there was something missing. I couldn’t well figure it out. A lot of brainstorming went into the process of logo making and sketching until I finally came up with the idea of portraying myself as the face of The Digital Fellow. This was when I started sketching myself.
Personification in the logo was needed. It had to communicate the values and ethics I was building with my company. It had to uphold all the things I personally believed in.
This has been the first ever sketch video that I had sent my gem of a designer to portray it on the digital software.
Now, before my sketches could be portrayed in the actual digital software I had to get the family of designs right. The colors and what it should communicate to my audience had to be decided. Why and What colors had to be chosen? These were the next big thing I had to get straight. This is followed by drawing out the brand architecture and going on with both primary and secondary research. The goal was to get my brand identified the way I wanted it to. This was not an easy process but rather a very tedious one. Any creative has to be supported by data and exactly why I pushed myself to go through this process.
The procedure I followed to make up my Brand Identity
This whole procedure helped me carve out the words for my brand that would go on to define it for the years that were to come. People would know what my brand stands for with these words
Now was the time to seek out the colors.
The colors had to be in accordance with my Brand’s style, personality, and culture. Most importantly it had to be in line with my personality. I dug deep and thought of all the cult brands and how did they come into existence to make it Big. I studied a lot. I made use of Aura Shashtra an age-old discipline that determined the colors that favored me and decided on the color combination on which the designs for the website were to be made.
The color selection was an overwhelming process but I made sure to leave no stone unturned. Aura Shashtra helped me in choosing the colors that were exactly in accordance with my zodiac. I also took help from the age-old Chinese tradition of determining the Yin & Yang for my website colors.
I matched the data that I got after I affirmed the chakras with color psychology to get the exact shades. I didn’t want to go wrong in making my brand and this played a very important role.
All this knowledge finally gave birth to the first ever color palette for the website and the family for the website colors was finally completed by my designer. A milestone was reached.
The first-ever color palette for the website of The Digital Fellow.
This marked the start of a fabulous journey of knowledge and empowerment of many inexperienced yet skilled individuals who joined me further and helped me grow the company.