nVision Digital is a Bangalore based start-up founded by Naveen Kulkarni. He has over 20 years of professional experience in Information Technology & computer programming. He started this venture to follow his passion and from part-time to full time.
“We keep ourselves on our toes so as to learn latest algorithm updates that search engines push out every single day and we celebrate & systemise our learnings by testing those changes in our SEO lab”, says Naveen.
We got an opportunity to talk with Naveen, the founders of nVision and Let’s look at his journey as an entrepreneur and see how he is working hard to achieve his dreams. I am sure his story will inspire you.
Give a brief info about your startup?
My startup, nvision digital is a digital marketing company which helps small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs to maximise their revenues from online channels through our digital marketing campaigns. We help a wide range of businesses by improving their online brand and elevate their online presence, generate better-qualified leads, drive targeted traffic and ultimately to improve their business numbers.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Well, my startup is not something that’s born recently, it’s been an evolving journey and also my own personal story that tells you how I pursued my dream of building a freedom based business while working on something that’s very close to my heart.
I was very passionate about creating websites since those HTML days where people used to code each page manually (I did too). And internet grew rapidly and it opened up a plethora of other avenues for people and blogging started becoming a mainstream thing and I was specifically attracted by a new way of living. It was living the internet lifestyle.
Speaking about my startup, it’s built on a platform of my own experience in developing and ranking websites globally over last few years. Since I was able to build, market, rank websites and portals successfully in global and local search engines and learnt a ton during that process and systemised all those learnings into multiple strategies that can be applied to most of the the SEO projects and are flexible/scalable at the same time.
Back to the history before my startup, I was doing a lot of work in affiliate marketing, the fact and opportunity hit to me that my work and expertise in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) could help hundreds and thousands of businesses if I rank their websites and 2X, 3X or 10X their revenues while doing this. Since most of the businesses are searched and approached through organic searches (most of them are now from mobile), it made sense to me that businesses would be willing to partner with me for a digital growth campaign for amplifying their brand online. All they care about was results and improvement in their business figures.
At nvision digital, we solve one core problem of our clients : Position and launch their online properties into the right trajectory online so that they start reaping the benefits from their websites/online assets by attracting the potential organic traffic for the right keywords that generate revenue for them across the right geographies.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I am a computer engineer by education and I have been in the IT industry for 20 years now and worked with companies in India and overseas under various roles. Though my core area in my job involved around databases (such as Oracle programming), I always had a passion for writing, visual arts, creative media etc. I wanted to pursue those passions full-time, however, it was yet not clear to me which route I need to take to since the route I take should also somehow generate some revenue while I work on my passions.
I was in Dubai when I started exploring part-time ventures that I can engage myself after my work hours when I am back home every day. I was listening to entrepreneurship podcasts every day while I was travelling to work in the bus. Those podcasts and blogs opened up completely new avenues in front of me.
And it turned out that my old hobby of building websites for friends and relatives had tremendous potential if I adapted myself to rapid changes that happened in web designing and development industry. I decided to learn SEO (search engine optimisation) in 2013 and started creating websites at a rapid pace and was able to handle the end-to-end workflow starting from creating the website, marketing, affiliate ventures, scaling etc.
I built dozens of websites under my website portfolio and I was able to rank hundreds and thousands of keywords at the top of search engines and my journey of realising my long-term dream and living a freedom based lifestyle had begun already.
In the years 2013 and 2014, started putting more serious efforts into growing my websites further and systemising my learnings over next few years. Along the way, I also started helping out local businesses with my SEO skills and web designs. Those were big successes. I started getting referral businesses asking me to help out.
All this was happening in parallel to my day job. A lot of late night stays working on my ventures, learning, attending webinars, reading books and what not. The best part of it was it never felt like a job, I was having fun learning, experimenting, celebrating successes along the way. Digital marketing offered me a blend of work that catered many many things that I was passionate about. Be it writing, graphic design, videos, a lot of creative work and collaborating with interesting people made this field just the right choice for me to dwell into.
Finally, this year (2018), I made the big move of leaving my full-time job and jumping full-time into my passion – digital marketing. By now, though this is my 1st year of an official launch, in the hindsight, it’s already 5 years old or 5-year young startup 🙂
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based in Bangalore, the IT capital of India. Why this is the best place? Well, I didn’t think of any other place since this is where I lived most of my life and many of my clients are in Bangalore, so it becomes easy for me to meet them as and when needed for business discussions. Bangalore is also a vibrant city when it comes to innovations and for events related to online marketing and digital marketing, so I would like to leverage those opportunities as well being right here at Bangalore.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Documenting those floating ideas 🙂 I get so many ideas all the time, especially when I am driving. And most of the times, those ideas are good and many times they get diluted and remain un-actioned, get buried, owing to my day to day work. I need to better the system of capturing those ideas and taking them to next level by execution while not impacting current ongoing projects.
Again, I am a big proponent of building passive income streams in terms of products or apps or anything that we build once aggressively and then the system keeps generating revenue consistently while delivering great value to customers. This leads me to keep exploring lot of ideas and sometimes I am awake at nights just thinking about these.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
You see, digital marketing is a sea or ocean and it’s a challenging field to be in. There are so many new businesses coming up every day, every country, every city. So we are not limited by any boundaries as of to choose if it’s a local or international customer. Every business whether it’s an established business or new business, they need help to either for creating a new digital campaign from scratch or sustain the already achieved organic search rankings. So though there is competition (tell me which business doesn’t have), it’s pretty big landscape and we don’t feel we are competing against anyone directly.
How are we better than anyone else? – We deliver results that are trackable, measurable and tangible.
Businesses can clearly see the increase in their business, sales, leads, emails, money that can be directly attributed to our digital marketing efforts. We don’t promise moons and stars during our proposal. We are not pushy. We are not salesy. We are professionals. We offer transparent, practical proposals, perform technical website audits, do accurate demand analysis and we are qualified people who work based on well-perfected systems.
We keep ourselves on our toes so as to learn latest algorithm updates that search engines pushes out every single day and we celebrate & systemise our learnings by testing those changes in our SEO lab.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
To be honest, it’s a fantastic feeling to be your own boss and I always felt that a flexible schedule helps me to spend more time at family, work on my other hobbies and so on.
But having a perfect work-life balance is a myth. It’s just a concept and sparse reality. Ask any founder and you will receive the same answer 🙂
When we work on the things that are close to our heart, the clock is always ignored. Having said that, aspect of health is extremely important and if there some aspect more important than health, that’s your family. So, I am still bettering myself to have thick boundaries between work & personal life so that I can spend quality time with family and give attention to my health as well.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We didn’t raise any funds since our CapEx is less. We are going with lean startup model and as of now, we don’t foresee any need of raising a capital. Again, I keep on exploring new business ventures if they seem exciting and if that needs a bigger starting capital, then we will decide on that.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Well, that’s a tough insight to get from other people. We will never know what others really think about us. And why bother when we are are doing the right things and the things that matter to ourselves most 🙂 Let’s assume that others like the way we are progressing and this perception helps us to stay calm and focussed.
And my engagement with others, be it family or friends has been always pleasant, friendly and I am blessed to be having got so many amazing people in my life who are friends for life.
What gets you excited about this company?
Digital marketing is a dynamic business to be in and with our team who are eager to learn, experiment and adapt, we are going to have a great time ahead and our company would be known for its results and vibrant work culture.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
I usually wake up around 7 am in the morning and a morning walk about 20 minutes is something I usually do. There have been a lot of misses recently but I am vowing myself to be consistent with it. Then I hop onto my mobile for checking notifications that are related to my work. I quickly glance notifications such as project updates (we use asan), traffic statistics for our client’s websites, search engine rankings, eCommerce sales, emails and an overview of what things that needs to be prioritised for the day.
About 10 am , I login to our project/task management software Asana to see if any tasks of team members needs updating or needs inputs from me. This would also consists of receiving deliveries from from our other freelancers (content, graphics) and keeping them ready for review and publishing. I also plan my meetings for the day. I would complete this syncing exercise in 30 minutes.
During main course of the day, I mostly spend my time in strategising, managing day to day operations such as coordinating with writers, designers, freelancers and of course with my team. There will be Skype calls, screen sharing sessions, in fact a lot of them. I would also meet few clients locally who would want to meet me on an ad hoc basis or recurring basis. I also publish few articles myself on one of ours / client’s website as per the planned content calendar.
I would also spend at least an hour in learning new things about SEO by reading, listening, watching and attending webinars. My work day usually ends about 10 pm these days. I work between home and a co-working space and the days when I work from home would have lot of overlapping time with family, which is great.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
My team is divided into two categories. One being permanent people who are working with me on a specific role such as a content manager or content writer and the other category is the pool of freelancers that I shortlisted after working with hundreds of freelancers over these years. These freelancers offer on-demand help on a project basis such as graphic designing, animation, mastering audio/video and for dozens of other tasks a digital marketing agency needs for the different type of projects/ventures.
Speaking of my permanent team, I picked them up from the known circles and I knew about their skills such as writing even before I offered them a role. They are fantastic team players, they have excellent academics, good experience and possess the right attitude and we are like a family now.
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