Rajive Dhavan, 30, is a serial entrepreneur and author with a collective work experience of over 14 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication (Journalism). A firm believer in the teachings of failure, he says, “I had witnessed failure pretty early in life. After failing my boards in the 8th standard, I was expelled from my school. That’s when I had my first tryst with failure. I didn’t want to succumb to it. So, I decided to do something of my own. The idea of not taking money from home sounded cool as well. Especially when the situation at home was financially unstable. In fact, think as a family, we were a Startup. Soon, I started selling canned fruits, sauces, and other raw ingredients to bakeries. It was a part time commitment though. But my first full time job was that of a Helper in a clothing store called Zodiac.”
After working there for over a year, he did quite a few odd jobs, and slowly worked his way up into various MNCs, taking up varied roles. “From a Call Center Executive to a Voice & Ascent Trainer, from Corporate Communications to Business Writing & Process Trainer, I did it all at some of the biggest MNCs,” he adds. At a stage when he was working with one of the biggest corporate companies, drawing a handsome package, he decided to call it quits. “The reason was simple. I felt somewhere monotony had seeped in. I didn’t feel great about what I was doing. It was like I was playing in my comfort zone. And there was nothing adventurous about it,” he explains.
For seven months he was at home awaiting the right opportunity. He had this urge to take up something that interested him - writing. “I knew I was not good at it. The idea, however, was to learn and improvise,” he says. That’s when he got through an interview with Deccan Chronicle, at a fraction of salary compared to what he was drawing in his previous job. “But the excitement to write was so much that I didn’t really bother about that. It was not all that easy though. That’s because I joined as a Sub-editor. And my job was to put some stories together, and create page layouts. There was hardly any writing to do,” he recalls.
A couple of months down the line, I decided to write an article on my own, after my shift, which used to typically end at 1 AM. After a few rounds of getting it checked by my friends, I was ready to share it with the management. They liked it, and published it. Slowly, I started contributing more articles. And soon I was given a column to write for. But I couldn’t write during office hours as I was still collating stories and working on page layouts. So, all the writing happened post my shift,” he adds. After spending over 20 months there, he wanted to take his writing ahead, and he joined an advertising agency as a copywriter. “Unfortunately, in the first three months, we never got paid, despite the agency doing decent business. This was the biggest turning point in my life. After dabbling with quite a few jobs in varied fields, at the age of 22, I decided to take the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship, and start an advertising agency. The most exciting thing about doing this was to do something we loved. Of course, taking up the challenge against the general perception that we could not pull this off gave us a different high. But at that time, all we had was just a dream,” he recalls.
Transforming this dream into reality was a rollercoaster ride though. And there were disappointments in every sphere. “With a lot of difficulty, we could arrange some funds by taking a loan of Rs. 40,000 from a friend. In the year 2010, with one computer, one employee and a single room apartment, it was time to kick start a full-service advertising and digital agency – What’s In a Name Creatives,” he adds.
Within a couple of years since its inception, the agency showcased exponential growth. “Diversification was next on the cards. In 2012, we launched our second venture – a full-fledged Production House called Namesake,” he says.
After two successful ventures, he had the urge to completely push himself out of his comfort zone. And with his next venture in the year 2013, he did just that. He surprised everyone with his third venture called Just Flaunt – a Salon & Spa. “This is a brand that we created from scratch. It gives us the opportunity to directly gauge market conditions, and interact with customers. It’s also a fantastic way to evaluate how our marketing efforts as an Advertising agency are helping it on a real-time basis. And ultimately, it’s all about innovating and making a positive difference in this space,” he says.
While all this was happening, he was documenting his experiences, lessons, accomplishments, perceptions and failures. That’s what led him to his first book, STFU – Start The F#%$ Up.