What would you do when you are already super-successful in a crazy-competitive niche?
While you are thinking about it, here’s what one woman did.
She raised the bar- like crazy!
Meet Jessie Paul, Founder and CEO of Paul Writer, a vibrant marketing firm founded in 2010. With over 18 years of experience in services marketing under her belt, she decided to start all over again when she was the Chief Marketing Officer of Wipro – because she wanted the feel of being a CEO.
So she dug her heels in and founded – which has grown to a very active community of over 30000 Senior Executives all over India. She also is the publisher of India’s only magazine on marketing- Marketing Booster. She is also the author of “No- Money Marketing” – a guide for marketing on a skimpy budget.
Here are some interesting insights from Jessie during her interview with Kidskintha. She talks about how she views success, her take on work-life balance and how she does it all! What struck me during the interview was that she makes it look like a cake-walk – with no conflict, clear values, clear decisions- and cuts through all the BS with élan!
Hi, Jessie! So glad to have you on Kidskintha. Can we start by talking little about your background?
I’ve started my education at a convent in Delhi, did 2nd to 5th grade in Sydney, Australia and then completed my schooling at an all girls’ school in a little town in India. I managed to get a seat at Regional Engineering College, Trichy (now NIT Trichy) and specialised in Computer Science which was very in at that time. I was very fortunate to graduate in 1992, just when India was opening up and I decided not to go abroad like most of my classmates. Instead, I started working at Tata Elxsi. However, I rapidly realised that marketing was more fun than engineering and wrote CAT and joined IIM Calcutta in 1996. There again I was really fortunate – I met my future husband there 🙂
You have scaled your way up at companies like Wipro and iGate Global. What led you to make the decision to quit and start Paul Writer?
It was a combination of factors – one was that at 35 I was the CMO of a Fortune 1000 firm. I wasn’t quite sure what else I could do in the marketing field that was going to be different from that – more so in Bangalore. I wanted to experience being a CEO and it seemed like starting a firm was a good way to do that. There was a gap in the market for a marketing eco-system and that’s what Paul Writer set out to achieve in 2010.
What challenges did you face when starting up? Did you at anytime feel like giving it all up? Or, pursuing some other thing? Did you know all the way that this would be your niche?
If you start a venture with a degree of financial security I think you have more freedom. Mine was bootstrapped and initially a very small team which reduced payroll pressure. The last 5 years have been great fun with very few moments of anxiety – the next phase will be to build upon this foundation.
Paul Writer is now a well-connected community of India’s top Senior Executives. What, according to you helped you scale so fast?
Creativity and not pursuing money as the sole goal.
That’s great advice! Talking about challenges, one of things that we discuss here at Kidskintha is about balancing the tight rope. Managing time between work and home is a mountain of a challenge-everyday. Can you talk a little about how you do it- manage to do it all and still avoid guilt-trips.
If you are in control of your destiny then you can choose how to manage your time. It is a question of priority. You have to decide what is more important to you and work around that. It is true that some decisions will impact your earning capacity or personal brand or revenue, but there should be a commensurate upside in terms of quality of life. For example, I am very choosy about speaking engagements on a Saturday as I feel it is not fair to my child. This is not to say that I never do them but they have to be really special in terms of an upside for me to compensate for the loss of family time. In the long run, it forces you to focus on quality rather than quantity.
It is rare that a conflict cannot be resolved with some compromise and with support from friends and family. My advice to women is to not assume that work-life balance is a woman’s problem and work on the premise that men and your extended family and staff would also like to enjoy personal time!
What are your best timesaving /productivity hacks?
Outsourcing of almost all boring chores, online shopping.
Which apps/software do you use to organise your day? Your favourite to-do list manager?
Notebook and pen are my best for prioritising though I do have iCal and Evernote.
What personal habit do you think keeps you afloat amidst all the stress? What one habit would you recommend other professionals cultivate?
Reading. I read one fiction book every week. Or if I’m really busy and think the book will distract me, I read the print version of Economist before bed.
What’s the best advice you have received?
“Control your variables”.
As somebody who has walked the path, what’s your advice to other professionals, especially women just starting out?
Marry wisely. Choose quality of work over money.
If there’s one thing you could change for women in the world, what would it be?
Stop treating issues as “women issues”.
A few words on what you like about Kidskintha the most.
I find some of the topics off-beat and interesting.
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About the Author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to creating happy children. She believes that growing up well and happy is a function of growing up with well-informed adults. This site aims to deliver research-grounded and bite-sized pieces of information on two important facets of a child’s life- parenting and education. You can find her voice on the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, TinyBuddha, Citizen Matters , Nectar and Lies About Parenting.