Pooja Vijay Dhole, a strong young 27-year-old woman based in Mumbai is an accidentally pandemic-born entrepreneur. She conquered and emerged victoriously even though she was amidst so many hardships. Read more to get to know what she does.
‘An accidentally pandemic-born entrepreneur’. This is exactly how Pooja first described herself when she reached out to us at Truly Soulfully to be part of this #trulysoulfullycurates series. Followed by a quick call, it was so captivating speaking to this superhuman. She is very bold and strong and that’s what I like about her. Like Sri Vidya, Pooja too is a part of the HustlePost Academy by the renowned Indian Business Coach and YouTuber Saloni Srivastava.
GET TO KNOW POOJA DHOLE
Pooja Vijay Dhole is a 27 years old Creative Copywriter and Content Creator based in Mumbai. She is a Computer Science Engineering Graduate, a Stand-up Comedian, and a Video Editor. She calls herself a generalist who you can find randomly hugging a dog on the street, obsessively talking about plants or performing at a stand-up open mic in a nearby cafe.
Her vision is to help organizations provide engaging content to scale up their marketing strategies. She delivers effective content that adds value, increases sales and brings new opportunities every day.
How did you decide on changing your career from being a Computer Science Engineer?
I liked being an engineer. I was good at it. However, after working for a while, I realized I wasn’t loving it. I realized what you are good at, can be different from what you love doing. I decided to study further, and do my masters (at least that’s what I told my parents. I actually needed some time to figure out what I really wanted).
While studying for GATE, I was also simultaneously preparing for the Journalism School entrance exams. The idea was to do something creative. But had I told my middle-class working parents that I wanted to write for films, they would have asked me to shut up.
As it turned out, my GATE score was not that great but I cleared the entrance and interview for IIJNM, Bangalore. I am grateful my parents agreed to go ahead with my crazy idea to study journalism for a year. During that time, I studied media, journalism and documentary filmmaking. I interned with a few media houses and eventually started working full time. In the beginning, I struggled to get a job as a screenwriter, so I started working as a video editor to pay my rent. After a year and a half, I finally landed a job I loved doing. I began writing funny scripts for a living.
When and how did you become an entrepreneur?
Due to the pandemic, like so many people, I lost my job. The drill began – of applying to various places, getting shortlisted out of 500 other candidates, doing tons of assignments and still facing rejection. I was angry and frustrated, at first, which eventually led to self-doubt, anxiety and panic attacks. I considered myself disciplined and hardworking with the right skills.
I began questioning myself: Why was I still getting rejected?
Thankfully, it gave me time to find the answer. I analyzed where I saw myself in five years. Did I want to work for someone who didn’t value my hard work and wouldn’t think twice to fetch bread off my table especially in times of crisis? I had to change my approach.
Globally, India’s freelance market is the second fastest growing. In 2020, only India has seen a 46% increase in new freelancers from quarter 1 to quarter 2. It may require money to make money in terms of big businesses, but you can always learn high paying skills and build on that. I started working on my side hustle. Now, my goal is to create time and location based financial freedom.
In the beginning, it was overwhelming to make a portfolio, network with people, get clients, and figure out the market. My mentors helped me figure out how I could add value, how I could solve the bigger question to get paid a bigger amount.
While working as a freelancer, I thought of an idea to make my own digital product. My goal is to help people figure out their strengths and how they can make money using it. I am still working on it.
Watching how most companies treat the candidates casually, I also felt low key arrogant that I could do their job 10 times better.
Where are you based? Do you work locally, nationally or internationally?
I am based in Mumbai. I’ve worked with international clients and some local brands.
How can people contact you to work with you?
I am more active on Linkedin.
Read more posts from #TrulySoulfullyCurates
What are the various services you offer as a content creator?
I help organizations grow their content by planning creative strategies, social media strategies and copywriting assignments. I work on video and podcast scripts, as well as provide freelance video editing services.
Do you work with specific companies for content creation, copywriting and planning creative strategies? Is there any specific niche or area?
I mostly work with digital marketing agencies or anyone who wants to make relatable content for their website and social media. Those are my strengths.
I believe capitalism cannot survive alone without an empath. We understand the pain points of people. We observe what they are looking for and what their digital persona is. An empath is someone in a team who can help a brand reach wider audiences, by making content the audience wants to read and in turn engaging them with relevant topics. Thus, increasing sales.
How did you decide on choosing this career?
When I look back, it has been a lonely and crazy journey. It involved calculated risks and constantly analyzing what I was doing. Honestly, sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing. I was in survival mode. Sometimes, I felt guided by the universe. Sometimes, I chose what felt right. I believe everyone’s career path is different, as everyone’s experiences are different.
My goal changed from doing what I love, to finding financial stability in what I do. Being 5 years older and wiser, I would not recommend anybody to jump from one career to another. I wanted to explore my unique strength and I had loving parents, so that worked out for me.
Who is your inspiration in this field?
I remember admiring the way Jon Stewart spoke on The Daily Show and I thought to myself, ‘You can say this and not get arrested? What kind of power is this?’
With Tina Fey, I feel she is a highly organized, creative person. I love how she comes from an entirely different background and still remains relatable.
According to you, how important is it for people to have a side hustle?
Meet Suresh. Suresh works for a 9-5 job, he has a mindset that his salary will always remain capped, and he has to fit this requirement to his earnings. He rarely spends time with his family, his wife keeps complaining about not taking her to Maldives. He thinks he can have all the fun when he retires at 60.
Meet Ramesh. Ramesh has a 9-5 job which fulfills his basic financial needs. He just started his side hustle, as a copywriter where he works for clients on weekends and after work. Eventually, he mastered the skill and started consulting with clients on the content he provided. He eventually began earning more from his side hustle. He started working for remote clients, followed no strict time schedule. He spends time with his family, takes holidays while working from different locations. He doesn’t want to wait to be 60 and retired. He wants to live his life now.
What are your future plans as a content creator?
Short term goal is to reach like minded people, (whisper…more clients). Long term goal is to launch my mentorship programme. It will be a digital product, where I will help people figure out their strength and how it can be their side hustle, so that they can also achieve location and time based financial freedom.
What is your proudest moment so far as a content creator?
In one of my open mics. Wait! Vania, did I tell you I also do stand up comedy. (smirks**)
I had just started doing stand up. After I performed my set, an audience member came to me and said,” I liked your set, I will follow you”.
The same day, the open night producer also told me that ”When you speak, I felt like ‘yeah that is right’. You sound inspirational and you look like someone who can start her own religion.”
Being compared to some religious guru is the highest honor, nowadays, well, at least I like to take that as a compliment.
Advice for someone who wants to make 2021 their year as an entrepreneur.
Value yourself and your time. Like seriously, is it worth binge watching that show, or going on a second date with that person who generally replies after two days?
Spend time figuring out your strength and show up. Don’t take rejection personally. It is okay if 40 out of 50 people are ghosting you on Linkedin. At least 5 are responding, 2 might get on a call to discuss your services and 1 might get onboard. It’s still a win. It may sound cheesy but seriously, you control your reality. Your mindset controls your success and the quality of your life.
How do you advertise your business as an entrepreneur? If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out about advertising their new business, product, service-what would it be?
Firstly, get rid of the thought “log kya kahenge”, (What will people say). When big companies advertise themselves, people don’t mind. One of my mentors said, no one ever felt Amazon is being in your face when they advertise their end of the season sale. Why should small businesses feel ashamed while advertising themselves? Small business owners need more support than big organizations. Use social media, establish your personal brand.
Women especially don’t want to talk about their accomplishments and their businesses. Even I had that experience where I struggled to speak in a meeting or someone just spoke to my male colleague rather than addressing me during office meetings, even though both of us were working on the same project. We should not be afraid to take space, to make our voices heard, because what we have in our brain – the world needs more of it than you give yourself credit for.
If you have the ability to mentor another woman entrepreneur will you consider it?
If I pen down my goals/accomplishments based on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, empowering other women holds the highest point. If I am able to do that, I will consider myself to be on the right path of self actualization.
Did you professionally learn to become a content creator or self-taught?
No, like you and other people pursuing something creative, most of my observations are from my daily life and experiences. And of course, failures.
What does content creation mean to you?
It means I am sharing a part of my life with people. Sometimes it’s hidden in witty one liner or 1500-word blog posts. I hope with so many experiences life gives you, it will just become more deeper, meaningful and empathetic.
Tell us a little about you being a video editor.
When I was pursuing my post graduate diploma from IIJNM Bangalore, a major part of the course was to learn documentary filmmaking. I was blessed to have Deepu sir as my mentor, co-founder of Pedestrian Pictures. I made 2 documentaries. And while doing that, I learned video editing, shooting, voice recording, and use of ambience. It took me some time to understand that in this gig economy, skills matter. And high paying skills like video editing proved beneficial to my career.
You’ve written screenplays for Web Series- how exciting is that? Would you like to tell us more about it?
The most exciting part for me was developing the characters: imagining a fictitious person who has her own fears, doubts, values, limitations, and explaining through the narrative her experiences, the childhood and trauma that lead to that belief. Screenwriting is such a creatively fulfilling work, I am still learning. I hold huge respect for people who spend years mastering this craft.
When and How did you start as a stand-up comedian?
I used to keep notes of general observation, and funny one-liners for years. I loved stand-up comedy. I used to survive on comedy content. After some years of laughing at the idea of performing at an open mic, I finally performed on 8 March 2018. A producer had organized an all ladies line up special for International Women’s Day.
How long have you been a stand-up comedian for?
I have been roughly performing stand-up for 2 years. My only regret is I would have liked to have been more consistent. Since Covid, stand-up events have become rare.
Where do you perform?
I perform when any good hearted producer decides to give me a spot on their show. Most of the shows happen in Western Mumbai, areas like Andheri, Bandra, Juhu or sometimes it also happens over Zoom calls.
Where can people watch your shows?
I keep posting on my IG about upcoming shows, or ask people to be my +1(read beg people). If you are in Mumbai you can always visit the venue. I provide the link for tickets. Some Zoom stand up routines are also available nowadays.
What does stand-up comedy mean to you?
Living in the moment. It helps me become the character I am writing. It gives me assurance that the way I perceive it, the world is not weird. I feel at home on stages. I feel like I am expressing myself and feel important enough that people are actually listening to my jokes. And, nothing gives one a high like a huge round of applause. Seeking validation as always!
What do you like most about being a stand-up comedian?
So, the few moments before the host announces your name, you are there with your sweaty palms and a piece of paper consisting of some “jokes”, because you thought they were“funny”. You go on the stage. The first few moments are a blur. You say something, it comes out differently from your dry throat. You try to look confident and the heart rate is off the charts.
Then, you get your first laugh.
Now, a different personality takes over. It feels like “OMG, I am so smart, people are actually buying this.” It feels like flying and it feels light. And the joy thats hits you, when you pause for 5 second before delivering that new joke. And you bomb. You try to do that again at the next open mic. It bombs again. Then, you try different varieties on the 20th, 25th time. It hits okay. But on 35th time, it kills. That’s it. That’s when you move on to a new joke.
Tell us about the best piece you’ve worked on as a stand-up comedian.
This is a small piece I wrote on an incident. If you know Mumbai, you know it runs on local trains. One fine day, I was running towards my train, literally rushing through the platform and a man decided to stick a chewing gum on my ass while I was running. It was uncomfortable and I was furious when that happened. But when I tell this story during the set, I describe to my audience the beauty of timing that the man pulled off. In that fraction of a second, he performed Newton’s Balance Ball Motion, where precisely he placed a scalar object (a gum) on a moving vector object (my ass). That, my friend, is called dedication.
What is the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur for you?
Getting over my anxiety and sense of perfection. It mostly leads to self doubt and inconsistency and thus, procrastination.
What is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur for you?
Financial freedom. The idea that I work hard for myself, and that my time and efforts are valued. I feel proud that I chose myself and found the courage to let go of finding answers and surrender to the universe when I was lost. And finally, it feels right . The path where I can serve to the community, to people. The excitement that I am using my potential to the fullest and being persistent in giving myself the best life possible.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years career wise?
I am working with amazing people and about to launch my 3rd product. My business has generated a revenue of 1 million dollars. Simultaneously, I have also established 5 more channels for passive income.
I felt an instant connection when I first spoke to Pooja. I personally felt motivated to work even more on my goals, seeing how strong she was during her struggles of working hard to makes ends meet while still being focused on what she actually wants from her life and career.
As part of my research for this interview, I had a chance to come across Pooja’s Linkedin profile and website, they were both just so impressive, captivating and motivating. I hope to meet so many more, strong people just like Pooja through this #TrulySoulfullyCurates series. She is truly a role model for many and I’m grateful to have met her. Looking forward to attending one of her stand-up comedy shows soon, even if it is over Zoom.
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Signing off, see you soon xx