How Saloni Srivastava found her hustle and is now helping Indians start a business online

HustlePost Academy, a new business venture started by Saloni Srivastava during the COVID-19 lockdown, aims to make creators out of ordinary young men and women using social media platforms to earn money.
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Want to start a new online business? All you have to do is invest just Rs 21 a day to learn how.

Saloni Srivastava started the HustlePost Academy, during the COVID-19 lockdown last year to help ordinary young men and women become creators on social media platforms and earn an income.

In late 2017, Saloni asked her husband to record her daily meals on her iPhone. She then used simple, free software to do a basic edit and uploaded the video online. In a week, it had gained over a thousand views.

As a content creator, she offers an interesting blend of tips and tricks for millennials ranging from videos on getting your personal finances in order and meal prepping effectively, to managing your morning responsibilities and recommendations on life-changing self-development books. Saloni’s videos cover a range of topics that help the 18-30 age group deal with aspects of adulthood that are not taught in school.

The HustlePost Academy was a natural transition to scale up on the popularity she had gained as a digital content creator.

Every day is busy with most of Saloni’s time spent on the phone browsing and interacting through various WhatsAppgroups. She says she has her own group on WhatsApp, which she uses to actively help online entrepreneurs with marketing and coaching.

“The group video chat feature is a boon because we use it actively to have a conference call every month. I am able to interact with over 500 people through my WhatsApp groups” she says.

Hustling for success

Hustle Post Academy came at a time when many had lost their jobs and were looking to earn while sitting at home. With enforced physical distancing and self-isolation, people who had extra time on their hands were also looking at a side hustle – and online was the way to go.

Diverse courses

The Academy curriculum comprises of 13 courses focussing on helping people explore new ideas to start a new business.

Users can start off with a foundation course that gives important information on starting and running any online business. Alternatively, there are 12 mini courses with a new course launched every month. These could include anything from ‘Starting an online business’, to ‘Leveraging Instagram’, among others.

The response has been overwhelming. Within an hour of launching, 100 people signed up, and within 24 hours, the academy saw 600 people join.

The course comprises three elements – a library of recorded lectures to which a student has 24X7 access, assignments and “homework” and live interaction with Saloni and other students.

It is priced at Rs 7,665 and includes one-year access to all content on the website, live support, which according to Saloni, comes up to only an investment of Rs 21 a day.

Way forward

The users are as diverse as the subjects taught – a chartered accountant charting a course in spirituality, a freelance content writer earning Rs 1 lakh a month – many are hustling to find new avenues to earn money.

“The academy now has over 3,500 students. We have also launched an advanced programme to help entrepreneurs who’ve come out of the academy to reach the next level. We are also working on building a free academy to help people in smaller towns of India and this should be launched in the next 2-3 months,” Saloni says.

Revenue-wise, the company has quadrupled its earnings in 2021 Q1 as compared to last year.

One important feature of HustlePost Academy is live interaction - users engage with each other, hire each other and exchange skills. Saloni interacts with the group weekly, answers their queries and provides the mentoring they require.

Saloni also dedicates a part of her time to mentoring and networking with other women.

“WhatsApp is a major networking tool for me. The biggest advantage I have is the geographical reach of this platform. I don’t just get to network with people in India, but I actively also network with entrepreneurs all over the world. Entrepreneur-specific groups can help with networking, mentoring, and sales coaching. This helps entrepreneurs based in smaller towns a medium to communicate with those based in hubs like Bengaluru and Gurugram. This bridges the knowledge gap massively,” she adds.

This story is part of a series spotlighting extraordinary, inspiring women from different walks of life for the See Us, Hear Us campaign powered by WhatsApp for International Women’s Day. You can read more such stories from the month-long campaign here.

Edited by Diya Koshy George

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