Episode 6

In Conversation with Sorav Jain

Published on: 3rd June, 2021

This week on the Go Glocal podcast, we invited MSc International Marketing Management alum Sorav Jain, who graduated from Leeds University Business School in 2008. Sorav is an expert in digital marketing, and he is the founder of both echoVME, an award-winning Digital Marketing Agency, and Digital Scholar Training Institute.

Listen now to hear more about his journey and learn tips on how to become a successful entrepreneur! 

Read the blog here.

Ellen Wang:

Hello, everyone and welcome to the Go Glocal podcast series, the show that addresses the importance of think globally and act locally. I'm your host, Ellen Wang from Leeds University Business School. Today I'll be discussing glocalization with a Sorav, who is one of our alumni graduated from MSc International Marketing Management in two thousand and eight. Last July, I've had the pleasure to invite Sorav to speak at one of the virtual international programme sessions, where I learned Sorav is an enthusiastic, passionate digital marketer, and is not only an influencer himself, but he also helped others to become digitally visible with his knowledge and expertise. Personally, I'm a big fan of Sorav’s work. So, I'm very excited to invite him back today. And hopefully through his personal journey, we can address the importance of being Glocal. So, Hello, Sorav, how are you doing? Thank you so much for joining me today.

Sorav Jain:

Hi Ellen, thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm doing really good. And I'm super excited about this programme.

Ellen Wang:

Great, thank you so much. And I think a very good place to start today is for you to tell us a little bit about yourself, please.

Sorav Jain

All right, thank you. My name is Sorav Jain. I started my career at the age of seventeen. While I was doing my biotechnology, in my undergraduate years in Chennai, and while I was looking at the leaf and the stem a microscope, and I was discovering those vascular tissues, I realised that this is not what I'm made for and mentally I quit that programme. But though I was physically going to my college and completing the graduation, I found my passion in the second year of my college. While I was working part time at a digital marketing agency, I learned how to write content for websites, how to build websites on top of Google search results. This gave me a lot of confidence about what I really wanted to do in my life, because I found my passion in digital marketing. But I was not too sure because I was very young. So, I went to University of Leeds, and I did my masters in International Marketing Management. And while I was doing international marketing management, I had a professor, her name is Caterina Presi. And she was teaching the digital marketing, because we had a module in digital marketing way back in two thousand and eight, which itself is very interesting thing, right? Because I didn't think way back at that point of time, everybody in this country was even talking about digital marketing. And when she was teaching digital marketing, I realised that whatever she was teaching, I actually knew more than what she was teaching. Because I had a practical experience of two years in digital marketing. And she was bringing a lot of theory on table, no offence to her. But what she was telling me was like a moment of enlightenment for me, because I realised that this is something that I think I can talk to my friends for hours, and actually as to discuss this with every student in University of Leeds because I realised that Oh, god, this is something I'm so confident about. And I came back to India, because at that point of time in UK, I don't think for a young guy, an opportunity in digital marketing was immense. So, I came back to India, I joined a marketing agency again, and I started doing digital marketing for them. And I started blogging after that. So, my blog got me my first client, which also made me quit my job. And in between that scenario, I was also pushing to my dad's business, because he wanted me to mind his own business, like mind my own business. But I was not happy about being a traditional businessman selling clothes and attires, running a regular shop. So, while I was blogging, I, you know, I used to burst my stress by writing everything about digital marketing there. And then I got my first client by that. So that changed my life. Because of blogging, because of using digital for a purpose with a purpose, I found to live, I really discovered how to live my passion, how to live my life in my own terms, and be your own boss. And since then, today, I've done a digital marketing agency. I have about 70 people working for me, and I work with them very closely. And we manage 40 plus brands in India, doing that digital marketing, I run an institute called Digital Scholar, because I give birth to my Institute or your back and you won't believe my Institute is all about what I learned at Leeds University like my styles, the, we have agency culture, like how international marketing management had it. We have presentations making like international marketing management habits. So, everything that I learned in, in University of Leeds is what I had tried to build in my Institute here in Digital Scholar. And this is a business which I started a year back only for a reason, because I realised that I could only change 70 people's lives while I'm just running agency, running an agency. And I realised that I could do a lot more justice to lives of people by creating an institute and teaching them how to become a digital influencer, how to become a digital marketer, and how to find your purpose digitally, because a lot of people are just wasting and killing their time on the internet. So, I believe this is where the, this is the need of the hour. And this is where the country needs, people need to be guided in this country at this point of time, where they learn how to really look at digital from a monetization perspective, personal branding, perspective, career opportunities. So, this is who I am very passionate about digital marketing, very passionate about travelling, these are two things which inspires me the most.

Ellen Wang: That's a great, Sorav, thank you for sharing all of that journey with us. And I feel like I've, I've taken on the journey with you since you were 17. And, you know, it's really inspiring to hear from someone that know exactly who you are, and what you want to do at the age of 17. And what you pursued, right. And I think that's really, that's really something. And one of the things that picked up really is, you know, in addition to you know, who you are, what you wanted to do is from a blogging, you start to generate your first clients. But also, what you're trying to do here is, you know, digital presence with a purpose, I think that's what you're trying to say, really, there is not only to be online for social media networking, you know, just for the sake of being online, but you need to have a very specific purpose. And that's what you're trying to do, and you're trying to educate people. And it's really great to hear about, you know, your experience from Leeds, which generated some of the some of the inspirations, I guess, for you to start your own business. So, I'm just going to take a slight step back and trying to dig a little bit deeper, in addition to your experience to Leeds, your master programme, other any other points or other elements that inspires you to start not only one, but to have two of your own businesses in India, you know, how did you start that journey? And did you ever think it was going to be a very successful one? Or did you have a little bit of that kind of a risk elements in your head thinking or what happens if it fails? Tell us a little bit more about that. Please?

– $:

Ellen Wang: What an inspiring story. Oh, my God, I don't know where to start to pick up the elements. I mean, you talk about saying no to your father, and then you know, and saying no to your father, again, you know, that's a that's a big thing. I'm sure that's a big decision. And you probably go through some internal conflicts as well. But having said that, I think it's your persistence that really paid off, right, your pursuit of, not pursuit of happiness, but a pursuit of your, your passion. And that really came through from the story that you were telling us. And also, I picked up on the fact that you said Monday to Friday, you were doing workshops, and Saturday and Sunday. So that means you're literally working seven days a week, right? Right. Yes. Wow. Okay.

Sorav Jain: So, for almost seven to eight years, I was working almost seven days a week.

mentioned, you know, back in:

Sorav Jain: I think glocalisation is very important, because it's very important to create personalised experiences for people. One of the things, I give you examples here though, I learned Digital Marketing and I teach digital marketing and English here. I've also, I've also tried teaching digital marketing in local languages. So, the ideas are global, but the thoughts are local and try to custom and it has to be customised for the local audiences a little. And I see that there is a lot more, people enjoy learning things in local language, with a global case study or a global scenario in lock mode, so that it's a lot more convenient for them. So, so one of the things is one, this is one of the things which I discovered in my journey. Besides this, I think it's very important for us to, you know, think globally and in get inspired by global people, global acts, global case studies up there, and try to implement that in your local markets. Because eventually, for example, my Institute is by-product of what I learned at the global level, right, I learned from a leading, global university, which is Leeds University, Business School, and sort of the top 100 business schools in the world. And what I've learned there, I've tried to adapt that to the local market, and people are very inspired. So not everyone can travel there. But then they can all learn and be part of an atmosphere like that at a very cost-effective price. The reason why I'm telling you this is I have not gotten inspiration, I would have not adapted things locally. So, in the businesses today, people are looking for a little personalised experience. And glocalization plays a very, very important role there, because it just helps them connect better. It helps them in it helps businesses creating larger impact, it helps consumers connect a lot better. So that's my take on it.

Ellen Wang: That's great. And thank you for that insight. I, I absolutely love the bit that you said whilst you're doing a lot of the workshops in English, but you also adapt that into local language as well. You know, we all say that language is connects people together. And yet the common language is English, but at the same time, you're trying to customise locally to attract some more students. Well, audience, not students, but audience and to educate them because that's the convenience, because you understand the local markets. I absolutely love that. So, thank you for sharing that. And so, the next bit that I wanted to move on to is, you know, from our student’s perspective, given that there is a lack of international mobility due to the global pandemic, what do you think our students can do to develop the global mind-set, but to act locally.

Sorav Jain: I think they need to be more empathetic, and one. Second, they need to really be they need to value they're pretty much the whole local scenarios are, wherever they are, I think there is opportunity everywhere. So instead of just aspiring have to do something globally, I think we should first try to adapt and be the king of the local markets. You know, you won't believe when I say that I have 40 clients, they are majorly from the local market. And somebody asked me this question sort of India's such big country and you can get clients from all across the country, I always say that I think it's the most the first system be the king of your local market try to be globally renowned in your local market. Because that itself is quite huge. And you need to be, you need, you can really be satisfied with what it can bring to you or what it can give to you. So, this is what I would say that first, try to adapt that how you could win local hearts, how you can connect with people locally, to and bring in a lot more global perspective. So, get inspired by global leaders, watch them, learn from them get into their mentorship, and bring those ideas locally because that is where the game changes for you.

Ellen Wang: Great, that’s a really good point. So, appreciate the global opportunity, adapt to all of that, and be the king of a locally. So, I love that. And okay, so one of the things that I wanted to throw to you, is in some of my previous episodes, I've interviewed student representatives who share their challenges during the pandemic periods. One of the common challenges was to build their online personal brand which helped them to secure a graduate job for example, because nowadays employers look at applications online and their online presence right. So, in your expertise, opinion, what advice can you give to our students on enhancing their personal branding online please?

ild your brand online. And in:

Ellen Wang: Thank you Sorav. I've I think these are extremely useful tips. And I particularly enjoyed the bit that you shared. It's about finding that one mission, I think in the past, we talk to our students a lot about transferable skills, you know, you transfer from one to another, and it can be done. But I really love your perspective of you know, finding that one mission you should be able to identify what that is and keep at it. I think that's a really interesting perspective. And also, I like the bit that you said about the trend. So, you got to understand the trend. So, for example, from a blogging to now a more visual, right so you got to understand what is out there. At the moment, and you need to go with that and to be able to establish who you are online. And of course, the value adding, sharing as well. So, I just wanted to go back onto you as an entrepreneur a little bit. So, I wanted to ask, what advice can you give it to some students of ours or your audience who's listening to this podcast right now, that perhaps are inspired by yourself and your journey and who want to be like you after their graduation? What skills do you think that's really important to be an entrepreneur? Are there anything that you wish you'd known before you start your own business?

Sorav Jain: Okay, entrepreneurship is toughest game affair. That's something that you should keep in your mind when you start your journey as an entrepreneur, because you will be judged at every instance, by your family, you need to personally validate yourself, you need to prove to your peers around you, you need to prove to a lot of people. So, it will, it will be a very pressurising task. So, first thing, you have to understand that you need to be very strong mentally when you're starting your journey as an entrepreneur. Because sometimes you need to work with different people, different teams. So, your leadership skills are being judged, you are being just as a leader, you will judge yourself as a leader. So, there is a lot of those questions that will start coming to your mind. So always the first thing I will suggest to you as if you could find a mentor, who could find you who can help you in becoming a better entrepreneur, you should be, so never compromise in hiring the right mentors for different skill sets that can actually, you know where you're not good at. So, identify what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are. And all those weaknesses, you should have a coach for yourself, be it life coaching, be it, coaching, with respect to dealing with people with respect to leadership with respect to management of finance, because if you have these coaches, there's nothing, you know, I wouldn't say it won't go wrong, it means, but there are lesser chances of things going wrong. And that's one of the mistakes that entrepreneurs, they think that I can do it all on my own talking to their friends, seeking their advices. That's not right, because your friends themselves are not entrepreneurs, they are working in a nine to five job and if they are giving you entrepreneurship advices, then you are getting it wrong. So that's the first thing. The second thing as an entrepreneur, is to see that how do you learn to sell, you know, because a lot of times, we are so much focused on building the product, or building the infrastructure, or getting all the things right, but we just fail to sell. And if you don't know how to sell, if you're not aggressive and not being bullish about selling, then we can never scale. So, selling is the core of entrepreneurship. So as an entrepreneur, you need to be a good salesperson, a good business developer. And that is one skill, which is the most important skill in the world, I would say that everybody should master is something that you should master because that itself is enough for you to actually get some of the best deals for yourself or the best customers for yourself. So that's the skill that has to be up there in your mind. Number three, is investing the right in the right things is very important. For example, I see people invest a lot in infrastructure, whereas this compromise, investing in people compromise investing in marketing, people and education, and you don't teach them on how to do what they need to do, then they're never going to get it right. So that so always remember that your people development skills are the most important part of entrepreneurship, which also calls for a statement that while you're doing this, you should also figure out multiple ways to invest in marketing the right way. Basically, digital marketing is what I would say, is something that you should master and learn at this point of time, which was frugal way of marketing, which is a very cost effective and better solution for you, you should adapt to it because people think I will start my business my friends will give me my give me some business and word of mouth will spread. But that will not help you scale. The businesses that advertises are the businesses, that becomes big brands, and then that's the one which tells you how to gets enquiries. So, if you fail at that, then you fail to get the larger chunk of it. fourth point is having processes. If you're very clear with processes, then even if somebody important in your organisation is leaving, you know that the processes are so clear that somebody else will come and just follow the process and protocol. So, if there's no process defined, then you will never get scaling up right, so be it an agency business beach institute that you made on a whatsoever, you may not be very clear, but processes like this is how the call has to happen. This is a time when the person needs to be welcomed this way. So, there could be a very strict protocol for early everything, becomes easier for someone to follow nobody to question it may change time and again, but then you will have clarity and your team will have clarity, your customers will have clarity, everyone will have clarity. This is how it works. So, process of very important, because I believe the core reasons why businesses fail is because they don't set process as an individual. When I had no process inside of my organisation, I used to run Monday to Sunday, right. And when I set processes, then I found a second in line team, had got better leaders, I'm able to take some space for myself, I'm able to travel, I'm able to do things, because I learned how to get there, right. So, it's evolution of entrepreneurs. And the most important thing of all is hold on, whether you are failing, whether you may, it may work or may not work, you need to hold on to a situation perseverance and persistence. These are two important things in your entrepreneurship journey. And when you think that it's not working, despite a lot of other factors, you need to know when to call it a quit. Because if it's, if it's, if it's mentally inclining you towards and take you to a downside of it, it's not good thing. And you have to always understand as an entrepreneur, you will have multiple challenges. So just pick it out to someone, maybe have a therapist, maybe speak to your friends or your family, just don't keep it to themselves. Because entrepreneurship and leadership is the loneliest sport in the world. And if you don't have the right support system around you, you may you know, you, you may get in the wrong things, which should not happen. Because it may happen because of the pressure that you will bear or the losses that you will bear. But when you have a good support system, you know that how to get that. Right. So that's basically what my advice would be for all those people who are listening to me right now.

Ellen Wang: Wow, Sorav. Yeah, I've, I've put it down so many points. I think your observation, you know, you talked about self-validation is, you know, is one of the things that you kept on doing to start with, and you know, leadership skills, of course, you have to be a leader, not only you create something, but you have to lead yourself to start with, and then leading other people. And then you went on to talk about, you know, being able to sell and investing in the right things. And the infrastructure, right, so without the basic infrastructure and processes, everything else just going to fall apart, it makes me feel like the huge Jenga [game] you know. So, if you have a one piece that's missing, right at the bottom, everything else is just going to fall apart. So, I think he's definitely coming from an experience perspective, not just a one last question I'm going to throw at you if that's okay. is, of course, a lot of these common from experience perspective. But I wanted to ask, are there anything that you think that can be developed, from our student’s perspective, whilst they’re at university, so you know, before they even engaged in business environment, or starting or thinking of starting their, their, you know, setting up their own business? Are there anything that they can do to develop these skills whilst at university?

Sorav Jain: Yes, good question. There's a lot that they can do. You don't have to wait for the right time to become an entrepreneur, right, you can. And you don't have to wait for the right time to build your personal brand, because people can do it at any stage of their lives. So, I believe some have skills that they can develop right now as personal branding, which can actually help them in shaping themselves better, get a lot more better job prospects. So, you know, your resume, your LinkedIn profile, a polished LinkedIn profile, and a good blog and a good YouTube channel. And, and goal oriented or purpose oriented Instagram presence, or Twitter presence can actually become your resume, you don't need to even see your resume is up there. If you are talking about things that you're very passionate about, your recruiter might just hide you thinking that you pretty much know things because you've been talking about it some days and some months. So, they know that you know your subject a lot better than other people who have not done this, right. So that is you don't have to wait for that moment. Nobody in this world will ever come and tell you that you are an expert. You need to validate yourself and call yourself an expert and start your journey to become a better person. So, in that subject, I would say a lot better professional in that subject. So, in that case, start your journey in second. If you want to really learn how to sell online to work on, you know, do your business online. You can always start learning drop shipping which can actually help you in setting up your ecommerce and selling someone else's product, learn affiliate marketing which will help you in selling someone sells good via your content, which will be a great avenue. And as you become a popular, you will start seeing influencer engagement opportunities, which is quite big, right? So, I don't think you have to wait for any special graduation day for you to get out and figure out what you need to do with your life. I think wherever you are right now, and if you have a lot of times it for yourself, even if you don't have a lot of time figured out some time for yourself to build your personal brand and start something that can actually give you passive income. And it could be anything, teaching online or it could be consulting online. It could be just affiliate marketing, it could just be influencer marketing, so many opportunities are valuable. If you know money is raining on the internet now. So, go ahead and get drenched in that rain.

Ellen Wang: Great stuff. Great. So, I think what you're really saying there is our students must find their USP right, find their USP and know who they are, but also develop an online presence with a purpose. Don’t wait, just do it. And what can I say, Sorav, it's been an absolute pleasure, I think thank you so much for investing your time onto our podcast today. And you've shared so much insight with us on the topic of glocalisation, but also about your journey, who you are, and how you got to where you are today. It's been such a pleasure. And I would love to continue talking with you all day long. But hopefully we get opportunity to invite you back again.

Sorav Jain: Thank you so much for having me on the show. And I'm looking forward to hearing this pan out. Thank you.

Ellen Wang: Great. So, I think this is a great point to conclude our episode today with many things to take away from this session because there are so many points, and you know every step of the way Sorav is giving you such good tips on all aspects. Remember, if you wish to connect with Sorav then please feel free to follow him on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn the handle is Sorav Jain that's: SORAV JAIN. So, on that note, I would like to say thank you again for your time Sorav. And over the next few episodes, I hope to continue inviting more guests to join me and share their insight on glocalization and how they're tackling on some of the challenges along the way. Most importantly, I want to raise awareness and the importance of think globally and act locally. If you're interested in finding out more about this topic, please subscribe to our podcast series. And if you want to get in touch our contact details available in the episode description. Until then, let's go Glocal!

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About the Podcast

Go Glocal
Welcome to the Leeds University Business School ‘Go Glocal’ Podcast, the series that aims to connect you with Leeds University Business School alumni and current students to discuss transforming your academic and professional careers by having a ‘Glocal’ mindset.

Going ‘Glocal’ is about thinking globally and acting locally, ensuring that you have an open and globalised perspective and using it to benefit yourself and those around you, whether it is your studies, your peers, your colleagues, or your work.

We are very excited to welcome guest speakers from various disciplines and industries to talk about their journey at Leeds University Business School and beyond, and how they have utilised ‘Glocalisation’ to their advantage. The podcasts will be released on a weekly basis along with our interactive blog post, which summarizes the key takeaways that our speakers have to offer.