Scaling New Heights
He calls himself ‘not-so-bright, lazy and useless as a kid.’ But now, the ‘useless kid’ has turned into a fantastic and phenomenal speaker by learning from the best in the world! Raj Shamani, 22, is a passionate young entrepreneur who is sharing his experiences to direct the younger generation on the right path. He is one of the youngest Indians to speak at the United Nations Assembly at Vienna. Raj has also delivered TEDx talks at some prestigious institutes and spoken to more than 1 million people across the globe till date!
Here in a tete-e-tete with Raj Shamani…
A motivational speaker
I still don’t think I have become a motivational speaker! I just try to show people how I have achieved things by figuring out what to do and how to do- by consistently trying. I was a lazy child at school. I was constantly judged by society, parents and relatives. It put me under a lot of pressure. Sadly, the pressure, instead of motivating me, killed my creativity and zeal to create something. So, more than motivating I am trying to influence people by showing people what I do.
The source of inspiration or driving force for our young population
I believe the source of inspiration has to be decided by an individual. It needs to come from within or from a sense of security from the family. It completely depends on an individual. More holistically, the source of inspiration should be dreams and role models. We all grow up by watching our parents, our heroes, in our friend circle or in TV; we all get influenced by them.
We try to wear clothes which one of our role models or favorite bloggers wear or try to talk like our favorite people.
Just the source of inspiration should always be a role model. One can surely ream to be like his or her role model. This automatically aligns our actions.
Inspiration and Mentors
I really get inspired by three people in my life.
First is Richard Branson. I have been reading about him since I was a kid. The first book I ever read was ‘Screw it let’s do it’ by Richard Branson. He has always inspired me. His life is crazy. He only loves breaking the records. He loves the game.
Second is Gary Vaynerchuk, I follow him religiously like a God. He is like the king of execution. He does each and everything to make his dreams possible and that is one thing I love about him. He focuses on actions and less on other things. That inspires me a lot about him.
Third person is my father. My dad was a coconut vendor when he was a child. He used to sell coconuts on streets. And from there he has built a life where he has given us a house to live, clothes to wear and food to eat and we are very grateful for all that he has done- coming from such rags and now we have a life of comfort. He has been an inspiration!
The top three career advices to the youngsters
First, we should all start focusing on building our brand. Because personal branding is just getting started and we have entered the digital era where the 5G and AI are coming up! Branding is therefore going to matter more than ever. The only jobs that matter are opinionated jobs (The places where we need somebody’s opinion like Consultants Digital Marketing Specialists’). Jobs as influencer will matter. Hence brand building has to begin right this moment.
Secondly, we focus too much on career plans and all sorts of planning! This is the biggest drawback of our generation. We are so engrossed in planning that we stop taking actions. So most people just Google and search things. We keep looking for more inspiration and don’t take action! So start taking right actions right now.
Thirdly, everybody waits for the perfect and out of the box idea. Instead of that start doing something which is in front of you and do not wait for the ‘out-of-the-box’ idea. Build something out of whatever is available!
An ideal education system
Ideal education system, according to me, should revolve around a lot of experiences than just books. We should focus more on how we can give experiences to children. Rather than just making them rote-learn lectures which somebody wrote years ago. So, ideal education system for me should be about experiences and experiences should be related to issues like dealing with stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, negotiation, finances, and dealing with promotions and how to be punctual. I think the education system should be based on the real world problems.
One memory from childhood that shaped ‘Raj Shamani’
I remember, I was in 10th standard when I went to my teacher and offered that I would host the annual day function of the school. Before that I have never raised my hand in school, or ever spoke a sentence in English. I was that bad. I had never done public speaking or went on the stage leave aside hosting a show. She just refused it and said we can’t put a child like you on stage and jeopardize the image of our school. Those words hit me very hard and lead me to public speaking. It led me to host shows and shaped my life terrifically because it ignited the spark in me to do something.
A technical process or an instinctive speaker
There is no specific process but there is a three-way model which I tend to follow. I learnt it from one of my mentors.
Whenever we have to go and give a speech:
Start with a Bang- Always start the speech with a bang, so that you catch everybody’s attention.
KISS (Keep it sweet and simple)
End with the boom!
Greatest moment of success in life
The greatest moment of success for me was when I was speaking in Delhi University. My parents were sitting in the front row. They were watching me and in the end, they were the first ones to give me a standing ovation. That moment I realized I have made my parents proud. My father is someone who would never stand and clap in front of the public! And that day he did and it was a moment of success for me.
Besides when I was at the United Nations, I ended my speech with ‘Jai Hind’ and there were people from 176 different countries, they all stood and clapped for me again. I felt they were applauding my country because of me. I felt really successful at that point.
Important life lessons that you have learned about business relationships through your personal experiences
In business, we think of profit. And the lesson I have learnt the hard way is that until I do not give value to people they are not going to give me value. So, whether it comes to relationships, or it comes to networking or giving somebody a product, until I value someone first, I am not going to receive what I am looking for. It is a general golden lesson to give first in order to receive what you want!
The biggest hurdles in building your business
The biggest hurdle was to build my brand because when I launched my product- Dish Wash Gel, not many people were ready to accept it, and not many people were ready to keep it in their stores. It was a new product, so people were apprehensive to keep it and give me a chance. It was the biggest hurdle and I solved it by providing value. So, instead of going to the shops first, I went out to the customers and gave them my Dish Wash Gel for free and asked them to give me a feedback in front of the shop keepers. That helped me to create a relationship with the shopkeeper and that shopkeeper started keeping my product! I solved the hurdle of branding by giving people value and giving people the taste of product first, so that they talk well about my product and spread the word of mouth. This is how I built my business.