THIS week we get thoughts and views from 31-year-old digital media specialist, Orion Social Media Founder and CEO Shanker Joyrama
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I was that kid that sat at the back of class, the noisy one that used to ponteng sekolah (play truant) and run off to Sg Wang and even to the cybercafe during schooling hours. I flunked almost all my papers in Form 4 and Form 5 and barely scrapped through SPM with just 2 A1’s (My English and Maths were always perfect) and passes. The first time I passed Biology, Add Maths, Moral and Chemistry was in SPM.
I did OK in College but the turning point was in University, again I scrapped through my first Semester – almost failing my Marketing paper. My dad threatened me and said that if I failed anything, he was not going to pay for my education anymore, and that I’ll need to start working. What happened next? I scored two Distinctions in my next mid semester paper in Uni. You see, it was just that I didn’t enjoy studying – But I knew I could do it.
So what has this taught me? You can do anything if you set your mind to it. Over the years of entrepreneurship, I’ve realised that believing in yourself is the single most important thing that will drive you to success.
What advice can you offer those looking to start their career/own business?
My answer would be to just do it! There will be people close to you sometimes even your closest friends that might even call you crazy or ask you why, but just put your head down – focus and create that reality that you desire. You can achieve anything that you set your mind to.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional life?
When I first started out at 25 back then, there weren’t as many mentorship programs around so I relied on my dad and successful uncles that always were kind enough to spare some time to advise me on a thing or two about business but that was it – just unstructured learning. I did manage to join a Mentorship programme called the Coach & Grow Programme (CGP) with Cradle a couple of years into my entrepreneurship journey, and it gave me some much needed structure to implement into my business.
Right now, I’m privileged to be back in the CGP Programme as a Mentor myself since last year to help out young and aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals as well as to kick their butts if they’re out of touch with reality. Trust me when I say that we Mentors, learn as much as you from these mentorship sessions.
So if you’re keen on giving business a go, do it – speak to people in the know about business in that field and ask away
What do you want to accomplish in the next five years?
Tons! I want to attain financial freedom and I also want to empower more people to achieve their dreams. I read a book called Payoff by Dan Ariely last week and a question struck me – ‘What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? My dream would be to be a motivational speaker. Friends often tell me I inspire them through my social media postings so I would love to do that on an amplified basis.
Most admired business leader? Why?
If I had to choose just one it would be my man-crush, Elon Musk! He’s really sticking his neck out there and being bold and innovative with Tesla, Space-X and even Solar City. I do admire plenty of other people too like (Tan Sri) Tony Fernandes, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and even this super straight talking entrepreneur from the US called Gary Vaynerchuck. If you realise, they believed in their dream and made it happen through immense tenacity and energy.
If you could have an hour with any thought leader in the world, who would it be and why?
Obama hands down! To battle adversity and to be the the American President for 8 years is an amazing feat. I would love to know how he manages his time, his art of compartmentalising thoughts and how he deals with stress and / or delegation. Running a business is intense because you’re really taking care of your own and your teams’ destiny whilst running a country is you taking care of Millions (directly) and Billions (indirectly).
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced? And what did you learn from it?
Challenges are aplenty on a daily basis everyday as the buck stops with you as the CEO, but my biggest challenge was in my first year of Entrepreneurship when I didn’t pay enough attention to cash flow management well enough. This was when I was running an e-Commerce platform and we were always paid in advance so I thought we were flushed with cash but then we made payments to all our suppliers and we realised we were approaching ‘Pay Day’ but we had no cash in the bank to pay salaries. I was 25, so I had zero savings at that time but worst still, I was already in knee high credit card debt amounting to RM15k. I remember going to bed and my head was pounding so hard thinking how am I going to pull through this. I wasn’t even paying myself anything so it was not about me but my team as they had families to take care off. Eventually we pulled through by making a huge profit on a few deals we had put on sale and that got us through that period of pure pressure.
Malaysia’s greatest brand?
For sheer impact and brand power, Air Asia! The whole story reads like a fairytale. Tony Fernandes had no aviation experience and to see where the brand is right now and what he’s achieved is truly a dream. Oh and I’d love to do coffee with him!
A must-read for every business owner/manager is …
It’s definitely got to be The Secret as it gives you the foundation towards understanding the Law of Attraction. We are all energy beings and we can attract the right energy into our lives. Sounds wishy washy at first, but when you do try practising it, it really does work.
I’ll also ask everyone to read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. That books breaks down the psychology of winning in presentations (and everyday life) and I would recommend it to everyone – cos believe it or not, we are actually “selling” every day at work be it with colleagues, managers and friends – every negotiation is you selling an idea to someone.
What are the top three factors you would attribute to your success?
Firstly believe. I’d say I fully and totally believe in myself and the dreams I set out to create into a reality. I knew I can do it and even now moving forward, I know I can do way, way more.
Secondly work hard. Nothing comes easy and I’ve had to make sacrifices to create this life right now. I watch almost zero TV and I work at nights till midnight even till now I work on Sundays in the comfort of my home. The more you invest, the more you get back. Simple.
Thirdly timing. I totally believe that everything happens for a reason and I am incredibly thankful to my parents, friends and even business associates that over time have led me up the path to success. I surround myself with people that think alike and we all believe in the Law of Abundance. Having the right people around you immediately makes it easier for you grow and succeed together. The Golden Rule: There’s always more than enough to go around.