Suba Lakshminarasimhan has not only found SLN Brand Studio, but also launched a women contentment program helping them to build, re-enter and grow in their career with clear cut goals. "As a personal branding strategist, I support working professionals, women with a break in their career, Entrepreneurs and students to create a personal brand,” explains Suba, We sit the entrepreneur down for a little chat ahead of the 2019 Digital Women Awards by SheThePeople.TV, for which she stands nominated.
How did your big idea strike you?
It was the first and small step, steadily adding more steps, keenly focusing on providing greater value to the first time and continuous clients who trusted me are the key strengths behind the BIG idea. When I realized all my deliveries are adding greater value in the thought processes and career growth of my clients, I wanted to bring varied services under a single umbrella. Introspection and brain-storming with the well-wishers made me understand that I was supporting my clients to build a personal brand. My clientele includes working professionals, entrepreneurs, women and campus ready students. I registered my brand as SLN Brand Studio LLP in 2016.
How has tech and digital been an enabler in your entrepreneurship journey?
Technology and digital are the reasons I am an entrepreneur today. When I was new in the USA, struggling to find the right job due to peak recession, the internet helped me to become a CXO resume writer and a Content Marketer. I learned everything online, applied for gigs online, continue building clientele and a greater portfolio online. Then, later, when my movement was restricted due to pregnancy and complications for a year or so, I continued to build entrepreneurship skills and greater network using digital media, social media and the internet. Google has been my saviour, friend, well-wisher, guide and what not.
I learned everything online, applied for gigs online, continue building clientele and a greater portfolio online.
At any point in your journey were you stuck with self doubt? How did you deal with it?
I was very scared while debating about continuing my journey as an independent consultant without any specific brand or to have a company. Mainly, due to the word 'Finance'. Money management, tax related interactions scared me a lot. One fine day, I closed my eyes and thought about my journey for the past 10 years. When I realized that there were major hurdles I had crossed beautifully in life without hurting anyone, and how the learning was possible only through life experience and time, I thought why not 'Finance'?' I spoke to CA, CS in my network, read various articles and understood the intricacies involved in company registration and related processes. Yes, I broke the self-doubt through introspection, reflection and action without delaying.
What have been your greatest challenges and struggles in your entrepreneurship journey?
- Setting Financial Goal and achieving it: I set a practical financial goal but struggled a lot in working out the pricing as a first-time entrepreneur.
- Managing non-payment and clients running away without paying: Being 'sympathetic' was one mistake I did in the initial years, but later on I started sticking with the payment terms. It was one roller coaster emotional ride which caused some damage to the quality of life.
- Scaling up rapidly: This is my current challenge where I want to scale up rapidly. I have been on the 'steady' mode till the recent years. I have achieved certain milestones but I know, I have many hurdles to cross.
As a woman entrepreneur would you say you have faced discrimination in your journey? Could you share with us?
As I started working with like minded women, interacting with women in various forums like LeanIn, Cherie Blair Mentoring Forum, I realized that I had faced discrimination in various instances but I was not conscious about it. Right from negotiating for lower package for a corporate training opportunities to considering my 'journey' as (1) 'time-pass' (2) 'I do not have to earn money' (3) I am not the breadwinner (4) I don't have a girl child to save money for her marriage and the list is endless.
What do you think women entrepreneurs need more of, from venture capitalists, government policymakers, start-up support programmes and others? And Why?
I see a lot of initiatives being taken by various parties but but they are all very scattered. I would be happy to have all these entities under a single board where the voices are heard, the support is provided based on the real requirement. Women entrepreneurship can be segregated based on various criteria, the needs, approaches and results should be properly tracked, measured and documented. That way, different needs and gaps can be mitigated and the time, effort and money spent on each policy, program can be reaped high too.
What would you say have been your greatest learnings on the entrepreneurship journey?
Dear Women, It is okay to feel scared or vulnerable when you want to start something and create your brand. Remember it is also okay to seek help.
- About me: The entrepreneurial journey is what made me realize my complete potential and how I should make the best use of it.
- People Management: I have been good at people management, but I had always surrounded by people that I knew. The entrepreneurial journey helped me to understand people from various perspective and the better ways to handle them
- Emotional and Social Quotient: I learnt how to showcase and promote oneself in the right way and the importance of emotional and social quotient to do it appropriately.
What advice would you share with other women looking to become entrepreneurs?
Dear Women, It is okay to feel scared or vulnerable when you want to start something and create your brand. Remember it is also okay to seek help. Understand the learning involved, get support from the mentors and, most of all, enjoy the journey consciously. You will easily cross the hurdles beautifully. Every problem of yours has a solution hidden somewhere. When you start searching for it, you will witness the solution coming to you, in various forms.
Your legacy in one phrase.
Transforming thought process towards growth through personal branding.
An entrepreneur you admire.
Mrs. Hemalatha Annamalai, Ampere Vehicles.
Your greatest strength.
I am a person of 'Self-Aware.' Such awareness along with qualities such as resilience, openness and ready to embrace change is my greatest strength.