Rajive Dhavan, 31, is a B.A. Mass Communication (Journalism) Graduate, with a collective experience of over 14 years. From a Helper (Retail Clerk) in a clothing store to a Call Centre Executive, from a Process Trainer in a Bank to a Sub-editor & a Columnist in a Daily, he’s donned many hats. In 2010, Dhavan launched his first company, What’s In a Name Creatives – one of the most prominent Full-service Advertising & Digital Marketing Agencies in South India – at the age of 22, with a loan of Rs. 40,000. He has helped over 40 regional & national brands with branding & digital marketing strategies. His other two ventures include Namesake Productions & Just Flaunt Salon. His first business book, STFU - Start The F#%$ Up , was published in 2015. He’s also bagged some of the most coveted National & Regional awards in Business & Digital Marketing. He’s also an eminent Speaker and Consultant.
_____________________________________________Here’s an excerpt from one of his interviews:
A firm believer in the teachings of failure, he says, “I had witnessed failure pretty early in life. I was expelled from my school as I had failed my boards in the 8th standard. That’s when I had my first major tryst with failure. I didn’t want to succumb to it. So, I decided to do something on 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, I think that as a family, we were a bootstrapped Startup then. Taking my will to do something on my own, soon I started selling sauces, canned fruits and other raw ingredients to bakeries near my house. It was a part-time business though. It was undoubtedly the most exciting thing to happen to me so far. Unfortunately, I had to wrap it up to focus on my education. After working at various events as a promoter, in 2002, I took up my first full-time job as a Helper (Retail Clerk) in a clothing store called Zodiac.”
“I had witnessed failure pretty early in life. But I had this urge to do something on my own.
Also, the situation at home was financially unstable. I think as a family we were like a bootstrapped startup.”
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 like GE Capital & HSBC Bank,” he adds. At a stage when he was working with one of the biggest corporate companies, drawing a handsome salary, he decided to call it quits. “The reason was simple – monotony. 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 great at it. The idea, however, was to learn and improvise. That’s when I got through an interview with Deccan Chronicle. But there was a big catch here. My Corporate experience of 6 years was completely invalid. So, I had to join them as a Trainee, at a salary of Rs. 7,500. It was less than 1/8th of my previous salary. My friends and family thought that I had lost it. But the excitement to write was so much that I didn’t bother about the salary,” he says.
“After working for 6 years at various corporate companies, I decided to call it quits. I sat at home for 7 months waiting for the right opportunity. It came by, and I took up my next job at 1/8th of my last-drawn salary. I was ready to start from scratch... again.”
As a sub-editor, his job was to put all the stories together and create a page layout. There was hardly any writing to do. So, the idea of writing articles was defeated. “A couple of months down the line, I decided to write an article on my own, after my shift, which used to end at 1 AM typically. 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 regular column. But I couldn’t write during office hours as I was still collating stories and working on page layouts. So, all my writing happened after my regular work-shift,” he adds. After spending over 19 months there, he wanted to take his writing ahead, and he joined an advertising agency as a copywriter.
“This was the biggest turning point in my life. I had hit rock-bottom, again. Unfortunately, in the first three months, we never got paid, despite the agency doing decent business. Being broke was an understatement. That’s when I decided to take up entrepreneurship and start an advertising agency, at the age of 22, with absolutely no money. The possibility of a bank loan was also negative, as we didn’t even have any payslips. 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 a reality was a rollercoaster ride though. And there were disappointments in every sphere. “With a lot of difficulties, we could arrange some funds by taking a loan of Rs. 40,000 from a friend. In the year 2010, with one computer, a drought-hit bank account, one employee and a single room apartment, it was time to kick-start a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency – What’s In a Name Creatives,” he adds.
“We launched our first startup at the age of 22, with a loan of Rs. 40,000.
It’s a full-service Advertising & Digital Marketing Agency called What’s In a Name.”
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 Video Production House called Namesake,” he says. After two successful ventures, he had the urge to push himself out of his comfort zone completely. And with his next venture, in the year 2013, he did just that. He surprised everyone with his third venture called Just Flaunt – a chain of Salons. “This is a brand that we created from scratch. It gives us the opportunity to gauge market conditions directly and interact with customers. It’s also a fantastic way to evaluate how our efforts as an Advertising & Digital Marketing 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.
“Well, the idea was to move out of our comfort zone.
That’s how our third venture, Just Flaunt - a chain of Salons, came into existence.”
While all this was happening, he was documenting his experiences, lessons, accomplishments, perceptions and failures. That’s what led him to publish his first business book, STFU – Start The F#%$ Up.