Helping companies set the right tone is what drives this former PR agency executive. Read all about her #PassiontoPaycheck journey
When Vidya Gopinathan landed a job at a well-known PR agency after graduating from Birmingham City University with a Masters’ degree in Public Relations, it was almost a dream come true. She loved the challenges and the fact that there was something new to learn every day. However, after a while, she began to find the routine stifling and hated being chained to her desk. She also felt her capabilities were not being used to their fullest. Staring at her screen was not something she envisioned doing for the rest of her life.
She says,” I consciously decided that I needed to do something else to keep myself interested and motivated to get out of bed every day. It started with small things like helping friends with their businesses while they were away on a holiday or when they simply needed a fresh mind to bounce ideas off. The more I did that, the more it excited me. I would always lend a helping hand when it came to Communications, Content and Digital Marketing – it wasn’t different from what I was doing at an agency of course. But here, I was in control, I could let my ideas flow, formulate strategies and work on my own terms. That little help I gave here and there is what propelled me into thinking about this seriously. I realised there were so many opportunities just waiting to be tapped around me and I finally took the plunge and started my own communications firm.”
In June 2017, she founded Eclat Communications. Starting an agency she says was the easy part. The real challenge, however, lay in getting people to believe in her. Convincing another person/business and gaining their trust was not and still isn’t an easy task. But not one to give up easily, Vidya persevered and still does to this day.
“It is indeed a gamble for businesses to go with newbies, so your initial pitch to them has to be solid. So, predictably, I did meetings after meetings, the conversion rate was slow, but it happened. I just had to keep going, I had to keep my enthusiasm and hope high even at the 10th meeting.”
The second and most crucial task was to make businesses understand the importance and power of communication, which is still in its fledgling stage in India.
The third challenge, which she never anticipated was managing both the operations and finance of the business. “Managing multiple accounts meant you manage the work as well as the administrative and finance-related duties. That took quite some time to get used to because I had to learn it from scratch.”
Her determination to prove that she had not made a mistake by quitting her well- paying job pushed her towards her end goal. “The kind of clients I want to work with, the nature of work I want to do and the power and freedom to control my own fate were key factors that I had in mind. Each time, I just told myself that I could work hard and make my own company better rather than work for someone else.
Vidya’s typical workday starts at 9 am. She likes working in the mornings when her mind is fresh and uncluttered. Most of her creative and thought-provoking work is done at that time. She likes to keep the afternoons and evenings for routine administrative work. “I like to make sure I wind up by 5 or 6, just like my previous job so that I can use my time doing other things like spend time with family and friends. But for the most part, I get to do whatever I want to. As long as I have my timelines and deadlines in place, I love the freedom of flexibility that I have. I sometimes decide to take off on Mondays just to remind myself of the perks of having my own firm.”
Looking back, Vidya is in her happiest space at the moment. She recently gifted herself a car and enjoys being in the driver’s seat of her own life. Her mantra is simple, “Just go for it. There are always so many things that are stopping us from taking that plunge and doing what we want to do. You’ll only overcome the fear when you take the step towards it. I’m not saying take a blind plunge, do your homework, do your in-depth research, organise, organise and organise and then when you’ve got it all, go ahead and do it.” There is and has never been a substitute for hard work and Vidya’s success proves that ‘you can have your cake and eat it too.’
Vidya draws inspiration from a quote by Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, ‘“It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Her indomitable spirit and never-back-down attitude continue to pave the way for her bright future.