Prerna and her team at Social Media Direct are creating impact, “one word at a time.”

What’s your story?
Our digital marketing agency, Social Media Direct, was born in 2011. We’re a small team at the moment but when we started out, it was just my husband and I. It wasn’t easy but it sure was a lot of fun.

Our agency was born because, like most entrepreneurs, we had our backs against the wall. My husband, Mayank, was really ill and in chronic pain and as a result had to leave his job with American Express. It was at the same time, that we had several small businesses reach out to us via our personal blog, asking us to manage their social media and content for them.

One thing led to another and soon we were in business. We needed this business not only for income purposes but also, as a reason to turn around our health and mindset. Owning a business is great for us since it forces you to re-evaluate your priorities and focus on your core values.

4 years down the line, we’re making a full-time, 6-figure income, in the best of health and working with businesses worldwide.

What excites you most about your industry?
The dynamic, ever-changing nature. Nothing is a given. Everything is open to exploration, testing, tweaking and change.

The only constant in content marketing is quality. Since I’m a perfectionist {ahem!}, this emphasis on quality excites me. It’s amazing to be able to continue to raise the bar and create content that reflects a brand’s values and vision, resonates with it’s audience and most importantly, brings results.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I’m an Asian Indian, born and brought up in India. We have been able to service a global client base across the U.S, Australia, and Europe, right from our Asian headquarters. It gives us great joy when our clients acknowledge and appreciate our work ethic and best of all say that they never realised we’re in India because we’re so much a part of their on-site team.

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Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Gurgaon, India. We’re headquartered here and live here. It’s a melting pot of experiences, cultures and blends the small town feel with metropolitan facilities and infrastructure.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Actually I have two “best” pieces of advice:
“Always keep moving. One foot in front of the other.”
“Your mindset matters.”

Keeping momentum going and also, having the right mindset makes a huge difference in an entrepreneur’s life. This is especially true when things don’t go to plan or there are setbacks.

Having the right mindset and keeping your eye on the big picture and long-term goal is what keeps you going.

Who inspires you?
In my personal life,  I’m inspired everyday by my daughter. She’s 7 and she’s incredibly positive, fearless, confident and compassionate. I look at her trying out new experiences, foods, books and love her enthusiasm for life. It inspires me to be braver with my choices, be more mindful of my words and actions and be a better person, every day.

In my business life, I’m inspired by Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, Mark Zuckerberg. All of whom have blazed their own paths, set the bar high and never been afraid to think out of the box, question conventions and confidently make their own decisions.  

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Failure, in business, isn’t fatal. You can recover from setbacks and it’s good to fail every now and then, actually.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
While I don’t believe in having regrets, if I had to choose one thing it would be getting started on building my email list earlier. I started focusing on building my email list almost 2 years after I’d had a website. Yes, big fat mistake.

If you’re just starting out, do this one thing. Even if you don’t have a website, put up a splash page and collect email addresses. You’ll be glad you did when you publish your first post, or pop up that first product.

How do you unwind?
I’m an ISFJ which means I enjoy time on my own and quiet time is an essential time for me. Whether it is power walking or simply snuggling up quietly with my daughter while she reads, unwinding for me is about escaping from the online chatter and surrounding myself with calm and serenity.

Reading and baking are two other ways I unwind and let the stress slip away as I flip pages of a book or whip up cakes and cookies.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Goa! Hands down. The best destination to unwind, relax and just press pause. Gorgeous beaches, scrumptious food, a vibrant nightlife and of course, the ocean, washing away your cares and stress. Bliss.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Purple Cow by Seth Godin. Every business needs to be a “purple cow”. How are you carving your identity and uniqueness for yourself? What sets you apart from all the other fish in the ocean?  This book not only inspires you, it actually motivates you to “purple cow-ify” your business too!

Shameless plug for your business:
Social Media Direct {soon to be rebranded to Content Bistro}  is a gourmet digital marketing agency that works with time-starved entrepreneurs and small business owners.

It serves up fresh and crisp content marketing and community management strategies and solutions designed to turn browsers into buyers and fans into followers.

Guided by over 7 years of experience, Social Media Direct believes that content marketing is the cornerstone for all businesses. It is the key to engaging with your customers, your community and your contemporaries.

We specialise in eCommerce businesses, in the home and family niche. Our deep understanding of this market is what has enabled us to work with businesses in the U.S and Australia successfully, delivering results and creating impact, one word at a time.

Our services include: Gourmet aka custom content creation, email marketing, social media and community management strategies and solutions, search engine optimization (SEO), brand outreach and visibility.

Having gone through the entrepreneurial “startup” fire ourselves, we also have a range of DIY eBooks and eCourses for bootstrapping business owners, who’d rather learn the ropes themselves.

How can people connect with you?
To learn more about our gourmet content marketing services and products, please visit our website www.socialmediadirectbiz.com

You can also connect with us :
on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/contentbistro ,
on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/contentbistro/ and
on Instagram at https://instagram.com/contentbistro/

Twitter handle?
@content_bistro

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is a partner in the Private Equity firm Unity-Group. Co-founder and non-exec director of The Marketing Group PLC and is CEO of Key Person of Influence (Asia). He is author of 'Progressive Partnerships'.

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