Nilesh Kataria, an entrepreneur from Punjab, believes in growing by lifting others. Running multiple successful businesses, he is a proud founder of ‘Speak To Uplift’ and ‘Apna Jugaad’. Amidst all this, he successfully works on himself and motivates others to do better.
SPEAK TO UPLIFT is a platform for inspiring or motivating conversations. Their mission is to inspire and encourage others by sharing true success stories of individuals. They invite participation from practically every field, including academia, athletics, the arts, business, entertainment, and many more.
We had the pleasure of having Mr Nilesh on the ‘E-commerce Guru – Entrepreneur’s success series and having an insightful yet motivating interview conversation. So, let’s hear it from him!
Question 1 – Tell Us About Your Organisation, ‘Speak To Uplift’. What Is It All About? What Services Are You Providing?
The journey of ‘Speak to Uplift’ is relatively new. It started 6-7 months back and was found around February. It started with me posting random content on LinkedIn wherein I talked about people’s journeys and success stories. I received a positive response, and hence I kept doing it. Many similar platforms did similar things, like Josh’s talk, Ted talk etc. But being reputed platforms, they were always targeting very big, inspirational and successful people. My organisation is basically for those who are less known to the masses. I used to write success stories for people at a very basic level too.
Later I decided to provide services under the umbrella of ‘peak to uplift’ like digital marketing, personal branding, career guidance etc. And till this point, we didn’t think of the monetary aspect of things. That was because I was already associated with two other businesses. One of them was my family business of automobiles which was flourishing.
Question 2 – Please Shed Some Light On The Other Startups That You Mentioned Earlier.
Dating back to 2018, when I was in my second year of graduation, I felt that it was high time that I started doing something on my own. I never wanted to work for anyone and wanted to do my startup. I started with my EdTech company. Under that, I targeted USA colleges and Canadian colleges and started with students’ assignments. That was my first startup and I felt good about myself working on it. As I mentioned earlier, the second business is my family business of automobiles. We sell spare parts for every automobile, from Maruti to Bugatti; we have everything. Being a family business, it was already doing good. I digitised this business and expanded the business to more cities. Finally, I pursued ‘speak to uplift’, my entrepreneurship journey.
Question 3 – How Did Your Professional Career Begin, How Did It Start, And How Is It Going? How Would You Define The Period In Your Life When You Believed Your Life Had Taken A Significant Turn In Terms Of Your Career?
My life did not take a monetary turn, but my mindset was one of the things that changed for good. When I was in school, I was an average kid scoring 50% – 60% in his exams. Speaking from an Indian point of view, a student scoring like me was thought to take up family business after schooling. My turning point was my starting participation in co-curricular activities, like speeches, debates etc., which helped me greatly and improved my skills. It added a lot of confidence and my personality. All of this reflected in my grades, and as a result, I scored better. So, it was a turning point in my life.
Question 4 – What Is Your Inspiration Behind ‘Speak To Uplift’?
Everyone knows Gaurav Taneja, aka The Flying Beast. I’ve been his big fan and followed him for years. So when I first started posting about people on LinkedIn, he was one the first people I wrote about, and my post went viral. This post had almost 2000 likes, but that was because people had already known him. This led me to think I must post about people who are hustling or have already succeeded but are living in a nutshell.
Furthermore, I started researching and reaching out to many influencers and other people who wanted to talk about their journey. I was consistent with that, and people were reading about them. Today, I have been getting almost 15-20 people asking to post about themselves. So, my inspiration and my motivation were Gaurav Taneja, sir.
Question 5 – Talking About Linkedin, How Would You Advise People On Creating Better Networking And How To Promote Ourselves Better?
For LinkedIn or your own business, you need to be consistent, patient and much more concentrated. Just put your heart and soul into it, and don’t expect anything in return. Everything comes with time. I started my journey in February 2022 and gained a very minimum of 1,000 followers. Eventually, we reached 2k followers. I stayed consistent with regular content, and it took me only till November to reach 22k followers. I want to sum up by saying that you must be patient, consistent and regular to notice changes.
Question 6 – Talking About Your Initial Days, What Were Your Problems And Challenges? And How Did You Overcome Those?
First thing, you cannot be good at everything. It would help if you worked with like-minded people to grow. But finding the right people is a challenge. You can always hire people but finding someone who fits in takes a lot of work.
The second thing is a failure. When you are working for a startup, it is a rollercoaster journey every day. You might be productive and successful one day and need to feel more motivated the next day.
Finally, you need to work tirelessly without expectations for at least two years. Keep no expectations in the initial days, and you shall reap the fruits later.
Question 7 – What Is Your Advice For Youngsters Who Want To Start Their Businesses And Do Something Independently?
The first thing to know is that you can avoid getting hyped up by social media. The term startup is glorified on social media, and it’s true essence is lost somewhere. Target smaller markets and smaller audiences. Don’t idolise MBA chai wala and other viral projects. Try to think more about the monetary aspect of your business. Focus on how you can earn more.
One thing I have faced is that when people are in their 20s and are in college, they are still dependent on their parents. This time should be utilised to focus on developing the skills that will help them mark their daily expenses. This will give you a sense of independence and confidence.
Question 8 – I Feel College Students Are Confused About What To Pursue After Graduation Or Masters. They Choose Between Choosing A Professional Course, An Internship, Or Entrepreneurship. How Would You Advise Regarding That?
I have always felt that you cannot succeed until you try. Nobody achieves something big in one day. Everyone has a journey. For some, it takes 2-3 years to achieve something; for others, it is much more or much less. But you’ve got to try! Don’t think of your first salary or your first job title. Keep going, keep working hard, and you will see the results. You never know what you are capable of.
Question 9 – What Would You Do If You Were Not An Entrepreneur?
I’ve never thought of it that way. I could be in a corporate job. I also had a dream of UPSC so that I could be doing that too.
Question 10 – Talking About Your Daily Routine, How Do You Plan Your Day? And How Would You Advise Youngsters To Plan Their Day?
Everyone has their own thing that makes them feel alive. It could be hanging out with your friends, listening to music or anything. For me, it’s waking up early and going to the gym. It helps me stay fit and gives me discipline. And I have been doing this for the past 1.5 years, it helps me relax and relieve all my stress.
People sometimes advise that you schedule your day, but I prefer something else. I do what occurs to me and don’t stick to a schedule. This has worked for me, and I intend to keep it that way. I would like to highlight that whatever you are doing or planning your day, always be ready to take up the problems. Never doubt yourself!
Question 11 – Coming Back To Your Organisation, ‘speak To Uplift’, What Are Your Plans For This, And Where Do You See It Down The Line?
First off, I want to provide internships for all the students in college. It will only take an hour of their time, but it will help them build skills and prepare them for the future.
Next, I want to build a platform like Amazon and Flipkart. More like an app for everything, wherein you can order food, buy groceries, shop, browse trending products, book doctor’s appointments and much more.
Question 12 – What Is The Key Success Mantra You See In Yourself And Others?
I lack patience, and I’ve been working on that for myself. Looking back at my journey, I have consistently posted on LinkedIn, which reaped the results for me. My recent posts on LinkedIn even have 5k likes on them, but if you scroll to the initial posts did not even have five likes. So that consistency has worked for me and can do wonders for all.