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And if you prefer to watch a video of the answers, see video below on my YouTube Channel :
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The Q&A in text format
You do so many things, would love to know how you started your career and 3 best and 3 bad experiences.
I started my professional career as a Management Consultant after my B-School. I worked for a year before I realized that the 9-5 life is not for me. I wanted a life where I could, realistically, spend time with my family & friends, whenever I wanted. At the same time, blogs became a thing, internationally, & I got on it. This was 2004. I was a broke freelancer living in Bombay. I couldn’t even afford the 9k rent. I knew how to code websites & I started getting clients from the US / UK / Europe. Far too many good / bad / awesome things in 16 years!
How to maintain sanity in this insane time?
I can’t tell you how to do it but I can share some of the things that have helped. JOURNALING. Write how everything makes you feel. One line, one page, whatever. Has helped me cope. THERAPY. Talk to a professional. The lockdown has amplified our insecurities. Uncertainty has sky rocketed. Just like our bodies need a physical trainer to keep healthy, our brain needs a mental trainer. And finally, like all the good times & the bad, THIS TOO, SHALL PASS.
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As an influencer & beside putting all my effort & info in my content, why am I not growing?
Firstly, in general, most platforms are suffering from users leaving and reduced organic reach for existing accounts like yours and mine. Secondly, it’s a long game. Content isn’t everything. It’s ONE spoke in the wheel. Right now, on ground things are not possible else I would’ve suggested meeting people in real life. Thirdly, it would also be specific to what your niche is, what your goals are, specifically. Else it’s generic advice.
What kind of content helps in engaging people & clients?
Controversial opinions, nudes, etc. More engagement, more followers, more clients. That’s the universal answer. But on an individual brand / person basis, it would depend on : What is your goal? What work do you do? What do people want to know more about you? Etc.
Do you also do overall business coaching apart from coaching for building brands online?
Yes, I do. The 60 minute consulting call is customized to each person. The fundamental principles of doing business are the same. Once you’ve established your goal. The feedback I’ve received from consulting calls is that it has helped clients narrow down their goals & truly understand what it is they actually want to do. And then depending on whether you find it useful, I’m happy to work on intermittent hand-holding, as required.
What are the top 5 blogs that you love to read?
I do not read any blogs. Most of my reading material is either paperback books / audio books and podcasts. If I do read some articles, I usually get those links from people I follow on Twitter.
In the past, art was inseparable from politics. How does work in the social media era when hate is rampant? Asked since you did those shoots with Divya Spandana… and my art is political too.
Divya was managing social media for the Indian National Congress and I photographed some events with them. Some of the photographs made it to my blog. I was not trying to make a political statement. The biggest reason I did that gig was because I was curious. I’ve had one phone call interaction with someone who was managing the Modi campaign prior to him being elected the Prime Minister. And this gig with the Congress meant that I would have some interaction with Rahul Gandhi. I wanted to see for myself. No money was involved in either interaction. I did end up registering to vote for the first time after these interactions. I made a personal political choice for the first time in my life. As far as social media and hate are concerned – social media, IMO, amplifies who we are. That’s it. I don’t know if hate has gone up or down but I do know that I get to know about all of it nonetheless. To maintain my personal sanity, I stay away from politics online. We do have rabid political discussions with friends and family. I have not considered my art to be political or apolitical YET. So far, I am not attempting to make any statement with my art. I’m trying to enjoy making art and using that as meditation.
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What is #NAINAMAMA? : “Naina’s Monday Ask Me Anything”.
Having used the “Ask Me Anything” questions box on Instagram Stories over the last few years, I’ve considered doing it in a more structured way and I’ve observed that a lot of the questions are repeated. The repetitiveness is understandable because of the nature of Instagram. Stories are gone after 24 hours and not everyone gets to see them. This is not only a waste of my time, but also a loss of information that someone might find useful. I have, indeed, considered saving these stories as “Story Highlights” on my Instagram profile but I do not like how they eat up valuable real estate. Someone visiting my Instagram profile for the first time, sees my profile photo, my statistics, my bio and then an entire row of Story Highlights and THEN they get to the real reason they are likely to engage with me : my work. Without the Story Highlights, they can see six posts and 1/5th of another three. With the Story Highlights they can only see the first three posts in their entirety, which, to me, is unacceptable.
Every Monday, I will put up the Q&A box on my Instagram Stories and attempt to answer about 5-10 questions. I will also document those questions on my blog, similar to today’s blog post.