Unlocking Your Hidden Potential
Rishi Chowdhury is the co founder of YHP Ltd, a company he started with a friend from college in 2010. YHP is a UK media company looking to create a more entrepreneurial country. Their goal is to “encourage the entrepreneurial mindset, whether you plan to ever start a business or not.”
YHP interviews some of the top entrepreneurs and the up and coming entrepreneurs, mainly around the UK, to provide that inspiration, motivation and invaluable advice to those who visit their site; usually as many as 20,000 a month regularly do. They are also expanding to offer useful resources for startups and entrepreneurs which will help them survive and grow. YHP will also be expanding community interaction with a dedicated portal where entrepreneurs can directly help entrepreneurs. Here is my interview with Rishi:
1. Tell me a little about yourself, and how you started in your business.
I was always the business type, I guess because it came naturally to me, ever since school. At university I met my co founder Joseph, we were in the same halls, and we found out we were very similar; we both came up with ideas for businesses on a daily basis! Some were ridiculous, while some actually seemed quite good.
Well during university I started a business which paid my way through my first year, in my second year Joseph started a company which I joined as a co founder and the business was a complete flop! But I tell you what it was a great experience from which I learnt a lot, and when I speak to investors these days they like that fact that you've had a failure, it shows great experience. So never think a failed business means your a failure, because your just one step closer to a success.
2. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur and run your own business instead of being in a more traditional work environment.
I always had this dream of working for myself, which ultimately isn't the case when you have board members/investors to please but I wanted to be making decisions that would impact the company, my company, like nurturing your own baby, and see it grow from an idea in my head to a fully fledged business making a difference to people's lives in this world. I am still motivated by all the emails I get from readers who love what we do and tell me how they were inspired to start their own business and even though it's more work they are enjoying life so much more.
The think about running your own business is you have much more of a vested interest, it keeps you interested, motivated and number one you are passionate about it. If you wake up every morning and are working hard on something you are genuinely passionate about then work won't feel like work and you will enjoy your life more than working for someone else, making money for someone else, living to benefit others. It's like renting as opposed to buying a house, if that makes sense – Renting, you are paying but not actually gaining any ownership just making the owner (CEO) money whilst getting the short term benefit of accommodation (salary), compared to buying (where you can decorate the house as you wish not with a landlords permission) which might be more of a strain (life of an entrepreneur) but your end goal is complete ownership of the house, that's like a successful business.
One bit of advice if you are going into employment, look at joining a startup. Honestly I did that whilst running YHP and I learnt so much from the company; more responsibility and an entrepreneurial culture.
3. If you are single with no kids, how do you find time to socialize? Are you “putting off a relationship for your career?” How do you balance work time and play time?
I just don't sleep! No but in all seriousness I think it's important to take breaks and still keep a social life otherwise it will affect what you do in your business. I think there is always enough time to fit in running a business, managing a relationship and socialising, you just have to be really smart with your time.
Don't get into the habit of saying yes to everything it can take up too much time, I found that at one point I had too many projects at one time to fully invest myself into anyone one effectively. I read a great article by Derek Sivers once, called ‘It's either hell yes, or no!' He explained how when someone asked you about taking on a new project, if you're reply wasn't going to be a ‘Hell yeah' then it should be a no. It's true, save your time for what really matters, for what makes you go hell yeah!
Also make sure you find to sleep, I lacked sleep for many months trying to fit more in, but found myself tiring during the day. Once I dedicated more time to sleep I found myself a lot more productive, exercise is also really good in boosting your productivity.
4. How did you get started in the business you are in? Is this work your passion, would you do it even if you were not earning money?
Yes I love what I do, my passion is business, especially starting businesses and I love working with startups and entrepreneurs. YHP was started because at university we saw so many students with great ideas but didn't believe in themselves or have the knowledge of starting a business. I got tired of being that guy having to help people realise that it was possible, how they can do it and show them that people in worse circumstances have done it, and not just one person, but loads of people. People we walk past every day, they might not all be going for a billion dollar business but they are there creating a comfortable living for themselves with their own business.
This is why the site came around to be honest and I would still be doing it on the side even if it made no money. But probably less involved because it is time consuming.
5. How does your business benefit those in your community?
Our business looks to help boost local small businesses through offering discounts on resources that can help them but we also host local events which look to help connect local entrepreneurs.
6. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Hopefully as the owner of a profitable media company spawned from a problem me and my co founder had 7 years earlier! I think YHP can be the go to hub for aspiring entrepreneurs and those who are in the early stages of their startup growth. I see us being a leading organization in this area.