It was a truly refreshing experience to interview Rupa Ganatra, a go-getter and go-giver who believes that service and helping others should be a non-negotiable element of success. The woman has tremendous presence to match her great ambition. Her involvement with the Ashraya Initiative, a non-profit that helps street children in Pune, India, is a serious endeavor that is yielding impressive results. A member of London’s ever-expanding community of social entrepreneurs, she networked consistently, far and wide, until her window of opportunity opened.
Capitalizing on the momentum in the digital publishing arena, she launched the Business of Everything (BOE) in early 2013 to give the savvy, online reader some of what its been missing. It aims to cover the people, places, and perspectives that currently have the world’s attention. Not simply a website, but a dynamic reflection of what’s so appealing about international culture, and, a powerful metaphor for how interconnected we are at the beginning of what will be an extraordinary and innovative millennium.
How did you get involved in social media?
When I quit my job to become an entrepreneur at the start of this year, I started using Twitter and Pinterest. Once we launched BOE Magazine, the social media platforms became an incredible way and in fact an essential tool to engage with our readers, find new interested readers and increase our overall traffic to the site. We are now on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Instagram.
You created the Business of Everything (BOE) magazine. Great photos. Great posts. What has the response been like?
BOE Magazine was created by myself and my partner Meera Ashish. It has only been a couple of months since we launched and we have been amazed and humbled by the feedback and compliments we have received, (many from people that we have never met from different parts of the world). And this itself shows the power of social media today. One of the best feelings was when I was talking about the magazine to lady at an event in our first month and she said that she had come across it already and was listing the articles she had enjoyed reading the most from the top of her head.
Why do you believe the world of online publishing is red hot right now?
The way we consume content, discover new things and shop the content is going through a huge transformation. The speed at which content comes from source to market and the speed at which we absorb it is also changing massively. And new ways of content delivery is another contributing factor, as video becomes a highly sought after tool for creating engaging content.
Ten years ago, the voices of a minority group of journalists produced content, had voices and influenced the population in the publishing world. Today, the online publishing world has opened this up to offer a much wider group of people who garner influence from bloggers to brands. Bloggers, in some cases, have become as influential as traditional publishers in setting fashion trends and influencing purchases. And brands, with the use of social media, have also become publishers as they create engaging content that attracts an audience. Furthermore, the way we action the content we read has dramatically changed. Ten years ago, you could also read about a book in a magazine and remind yourself to head to the shops to purchase it in the future. Today, you will read about the book online and within a few clicks, you will own that book and be reading it on the same tablet that you read the initial article on.
I believe that there will always be a place for print publications in the publishing world but that the future is truly online and the world of media, content, video, PR and shopping is being inter-woven and transformed forever. This is what makes this industry so exciting and interesting.
I love your commitment to giving back. You’re a board director of Ashraya Initiative, which helps street children in Pune, India. Talk a little bit about some of its programs.
My involvement in Ashraya Initiative for Children began in 2008, when I wanted to move away from making donations to large charities and move to an organisation where you could get more hands-on and be able to see the end results of your own actions. The organisation is based in Pune, India and assists a very small percentage of India’s 18 million street children. The Residential programme provides a home and education to some incredible children, while the Education programme reaches a much larger group of children who are living in Pune’s largest slum Yerwada. Getting to know and working with the inspirational founders and building life-long relationships with the children themselves has been incredibly fulfilling.
What is your definition of success?
When you are younger, society often teaches you to define success as a series of accomplishments – what sort of house you should have, what sort of qualifications you should get and how much money you earn from your job. However, I think that’s really missing the point. Success, to me, is the journey that you take and the person you become through it. As an entrepreneur, you go through some of your highest and lowest days in the same journey and how you handle those days and what you learn from that process is what really matters.
To connect with Rupa Gantra, and follow her amazing journey, follow her on Twitter.