From working as a banker to writing a book on sales, to launching educational content: The journey of Nidhi Vadhera
When small-town girl Nidhi Vadhera got a call from Citigroup to join the Sales team in 2003, no wonder it felt like a big win. However, living in Delhi, she soon realised all that glitters is not gold.
“I had the option of giving up or continuing. As a professional, I struggled with many things - hitting my sales figures was one, but I also wondered if I should always listen to my boss always, why my colleague got promoted while I did all the work, and if I should look out for new opportunities. These were my constant mindset struggles,” says Nidhi.
Nidhi however continued working at Citigroup for close to five years, and grew up the ladder. It was only during her maternity leave that she decided to take a break.
There were also struggles like finding clients who could repay loans in a highly unsecured financial segment, coordinating with teams across the country as she had handled the strategic alliances role PAN India, onboarding and documentation of strategic partners and more, she adds.
Over a span of several years, Nidhi handled multiple portfolios across Delhi/NCR, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, including product management, portfolio management, strategy, operations, delivery and fulfilment to name a few.
“As I took a sabbatical for maternity, it opened doors for new opportunities in training, coaching and mentoring, and I worked with various public sector and corporate clients, including ONGC, HTPC, Citigroup, Harley Davidson, Hilton hotels, Prestige group, Bridge group, Alten India, Manipal group, Imperial hotel, Adin Dental, Aryan Infratech. Here, I trained over 11,000 sales professionals,” says Nidhi.
Founding Vertical Hyphen
From her immense sales experience and interactions with peers in the field, Nidhi felt she had gathered enough research material for writing a book, titling it “Romancing Targets.”
“While I was writing the book, digital platforms were gaining momentum. This got me thinking and wanting to share my knowledge with the wider population of our country. As most books are written in English, it was not very useful for the vernacular population. With this vision, I started my YouTube channel where I have reviewed over 130 books in Hinglish so far. “Authors such as Jim Kwik (Limitless), and Thomas Erikson (Surrounded By Idiots) have appreciated my work on my Instagram,” claims Nidhi. I also got a call from the publisher’s office thanking me for reviewing “Top 5 Regrets Of Dying (author Bronnie Ware) because the video went viral, /and more readers started inquiring about the book, as a result of which the book was sent for reprinting after many years,” says Nidhi.
That’s not all. Ever the consummate workaholic, Nidhi decided to start a business in sales education, and she set up Vertical Hyphen. She feels that in a country like India, with 1.3 billion people, while there are several work opportunities in sales, many do not get a chance to go through structured learning or prepare for business world challenges. No wonder attrition is so high, she adds.
“The core problem I aim to solve is to shift people’s mindset, and help them embrace the fact that whether we are a student or a teacher, homemaker or startup, writer or finance professional, young or old, child or parent, digital agency or manufacturing business, we all are selling – whether a product, service or an idea. If anyone’s personal or professional life revolves around dealing with people, they are selling, and they have to not only develop a positive frame of mind towards selling but also acquire the necessary skills and strategies,” says Nidhi.
With her YouTube channel, Nidhi also understood the full potential of volumising a business by entering edtech. Today, her company Vertical Hyphen caters to three verticals – B2B corporate training, digital learning (edtech) and SME consulting for sales strategies and business transformation
“I re-educated myself at almost every stage of my life, whether it was when I decided to start a business, write a book, start a YouTube channel, or enter edtech. To continue learning, surrendering to the right mentors, and taking quick actions is my success mantra,” says Nidhi.
She adds that getting into business seemed like a natural progression. However, the biggest struggle she faced was whether to operate as a solopreneur targeting a lifestyle business or go all out and build a team to create a growth business.
While Nidhi understands challenges are endless and unpredictable as an entrepreneur, she says there is also no guarantee that two players operating in the same market will face the same challenges at business or work.
Just as Nidhi's book was out in the market, the COVID-19 lockdown came into force, refusing her the privilege of marketing her book through travels and talks. On the bright side, Nidhi realised she was the first woman author to write about sales in India.
“On Instagram, a follower sent me a Gujarati newspaper cutout. My name was now a part of competitive exams - in the General Knowledge section, there was a question, "who is India’s first woman author on sales?” Thanks to the book, I got a lot of limelight in terms of media coverage, including RedFM, multiple keynote speeches, YouTube, Insta and Facebook interviews,” says Nidhi.
Vertical Hyphen operates at three levels - it offers B2B training, works closely with SME clients for business transformation, and provides digital learning on sales-related subjects.
Besides growing as a team, getting more clients, and creating more digital content, Nidhi’s plans include writing more books focused on sales and business, creating more opportunities to interact with the youth of the country and working closely with the startup ecosystem.
Advising women leaders, Nidhi says, “Women entrepreneurs must do their homework before deciding to take the plunge. Go for a SWOT analysis to understand what you will gain and what will you lose once you commit yourself to a business. Money should be the last thing to motivate you for doing business, as it is just a by-product of your excellence and your ability to help people.”
She urges women to ask themselves - What’s your bigger purpose? Why do you want to do what you want to do? Are your reasons strong enough? Would u be able to balance the dual responsibility of managing a home and running a business?
Edited by Anju Narayanan