Name: Akshita Jain
The Enterprise: Cupid Speaks is an online Youth magazine. Our magazine is a place for everyone to express and opine themselves. It is a platform that we provide to the talented and the passionate. Cupid Speaks- an online youth platform is a one stop shop for people who like to read and write. Ours is a lifestyle magazine which caters to everything that is happy, positive and hip and happening.
Yes, we call it hip and happening, because that is what our youth is and we also wanted to be looked upon as that. We promote people who indulge into creative fields, teach and help students and bloggers who wish to read and write, organise blogger meets and make the bloggers interact and organise workshops that can help promote our motto.
The Woman behind the Entrepreneur:
The real Akshita is a die-hard Shopaholic and a big Bollywood fan. I am an Economics graduate from Hansraj College and changed the dimension of my field since my course ended. I always loved writing and was writing with different supplements of the TOI since in School. Yes, so writing was something that I always did. Shopping is something I can’t get enough of. I am also a fashion blogger and do Fashion PR as well. I have do, that is something I was born to do. It gives me innate pleasure. (like all other girls as well) I have huge interest in Social media and love to experiment with it and use it for new and innovative ways.
When did you first start your venture and how did the idea come about?
It started on ground and online officially on 21st April 2011. After college I tried my hands with different avenues of the social media as I had great interest in it. Having played with the different social media tools available online and writing for a lot of time, the idea of having my own Online magazine where not only me but many more students and bloggers and enthusiasts can write came up. I worked around the idea for a while, talked to like-minded people and when one of my friend and techie, Ankul Barar approved of the idea, (who is now the CTO of the website) we started it full gear.
How much capital did you start with?
We started with a minimum capital of INR 40,000 which we needed for the initial set up and all required online and other works.
In how much time did the enterprise turn into a profit making venture?
We started in April and its November now, there is a lot more to come now. We only started making profits in the month of September and we are on a path of doing so. The future is bright and it’s a boom for internet business right now.
What are some of the top challenges you faced and how did you surmount them?
The biggest challenge was the name, “Cupid Speaks” was not something that everyone approved of. We had our counterparts with suggestive names and having a word “Youth” in their name which worked for them. Everyone, from friends, to writers to strangers asked, debated and disapproved of the name saying that it was suggestive of only love. We had a tough time telling people that “We are an Online Lifestyle magazine” and “Not a dating site”. Cupid Speaks only means expressing and bring out the inner desires and passion, which could be anything like writing, designing, rapping, singing or anything else as well.
The other challenge was making people write and also inculcating the habit of writing. Since I was out of college, most of the people I knew were working professionals. I had the big task of reaching out to the people who would write as passion and read a lifestyle magazine and at the end love it. Getting people to write and work for a start up like us was difficult. We did try and tackle all of this, we cleared what our intentions were and what we wanted to do. Built a our brand with just doing what a magazine was support to do and today it’s great to see people connect with us and our name.
At some point of time, someone event contacted us to buy the website and turn it into a dating site, but it was a big “NO” from us. It’s a lifestyle magazine and that’s it.
What challenges do you continue to face and what is your strategy to tackle them?
There are a lot of challenges that a start-up faces ranging from funds to people. We still have a lot of them as I said that we are still in our infant years and are working full gear. We only follow one strategy in front of problems and that is not giving up because had Ambani given up then, the oil supply for one-fouth of the world would not have existed. There is nothing like impossible and not happening. We just have to make it happen.
What drives you?
Work is more intoxicating than anything else around. It has a driving force in itself. Writing is something that has always been close to my heart. And making others write and shine and help them with it has an amazing feeling. Also the support of everyone including friends and family and Cupiders(everyone who is a part of Cupid Speaks is a Cupider) drives us to work.
How many hours do you work per week?
Haha, I guess for the next few years I can’t even dare to put hours into my work. CS is my baby which needs to be looked after 24 hours. But yes I worked about 12-16 hours a day, and more or less. This will only Increase and Inshah Allah it will.
What tips would you like to give to budding entrepreneurs?
Dream, dream to achieve.
Do not give up, even if you are alone, because if you and your idea has the spark, then people will join up themselves with oodles of support.
And Yes no idea is small. In fact the smallest bomb can have the biggest impact.
Can a budding entrepreneur reach you for guidance? If yes, how can she contact you?
Anyone can reach me for help and anytime.
firstname.lastname@example.org is where I answer all queries that come to me. I may get three days late if I am hibernating or if my parents take away my laptops but not more than 3 days I leave a mail unanswered.