Entrepreneur: Cheryl Fernandes
Business Name: Creative Cronies
Welcome to Entrepreneurs of India #startupstories episode 63
Cheryl Fernandes once struggled to find out what she loved to do in life. Unable to listen to the inner call, she worked in many sectors. But nothing gave her the kick!
In an effort to discover her potential, she recollected the best things she used to do in school. Then she realized her stronghold- public speaking and art!
Cheryl combined these talents to launch Creative Cronies, a digital marketing agency based in Pune. As a beginner, it wasn’t easy to catch up with biggies in the industry.
However, she took each step with utmost care. Slowly she built a loyal clientele and reputation. In the process, she learned and unlearned many things.
With a vision to change the society for better, Cheryl also focuses on bringing light to the lives of differently abled people. She has hired them to make them self-reliant. As Creative Cronies continues its journey, Cheryl speaks in length about how running a business changed her life.
1) How did you get your idea for this business?
I wanted to always start my own company but like many of us I was lost. I was then a student of University of Texas. I was told to tap all the industries don’t shy away but my first thought was “ how is that possible in a country like India?”
That’s going to look so bad on my resume but I did it anyway. I worked in banking, hospitality, worked with my dad in his company and still didn’t find what I was looking for but kept searching because I really wanted to do something that I loved.
I started to unlearn what I had learnt and went back to looking at my potential. Cheryl what are you good at ? What were you good at in school ?
Public speaking and art ! That was the answer. So six years back I made it happen, I started in advertising where I enhanced my marketing and creativity skills. I knew digital marketing would be the next big thing so I worked my way up to learn everything that is to know in the industry.
2) Why is “now” a good time for this idea to exist?
We are in the age where digital marketing is very important for businesses today. In the last one decade or so the world has shown a paradigm shift from analog to digital. More and more people are consuming all kinds of information online which makes digital marketing the best way to reach out to your targeted customers and this is the best time.
3) What was the reaction from your family when you first decided to become an entrepreneur?
I come from an entrepreneurial background so we are aware of the challenges that come with it, after all it’s not a job where income is generated in the first month.
It was definitely a struggle despite being from a business background because we all know being a women entrepreneur can be difficult in a country like India. However, later when I was able to share my vision with my family and they were very supportive
4) What was your biggest mistake in business and what did you learn from it?
To be an entrepreneur you’ve got to be more of an extrovert which I definitely wasn’t. I lacked networking skills, how ironic isn’t it? Being from a marketing background I didn’t want to put myself out there a lot. But eventually I moved away from feeling so scared and started networking with more people.
The other mistake that I made was , since I started off doing really well in the first year of my start-up and was lucky to get enough clients, I took the workflow for granted. I learned building a brand is not easy and a plan is very important with a proper in house management team who would share the same vision for your brand.
5) What is your biggest obstacle in the next 12 months and how will you overcome it?
I believe since digital marketing has become such a hype these days it will be saturated very soon, in order to continue overcoming this obstacle it is important to keep a team of individuals who can help me bring out the niche in my brand and that niche is creativity with quality.
6) What habits contribute to your success?
The good thing about having your own company is, you got to be self-motivated and what has helped motivate me is, my spiritual practice, workout routines(like a good run in the morning). I make sure I am headstrong, for which I practice meditation daily.
It’s very important to take care of the little things in order to get the big things done. Like I mentioned before I started unlearning what I learnt, which drove me to start painting again, something that I had stopped doing after I was done with school. Painting is one of the best forms of meditation and it has helped me to a great extent.
7) If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
I don’t think I would have done anything differently, the obstacles I faced helped me to learn more and to bring out the best in my business.
8) What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Two quotes that have helped me:
If you love yourself, you love others. If you hate yourself, you hate others. In relationships with others, it is only you, mirrored. — Osho
‘The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen.’-Rumi
9) Where do you find inspiration?
There are many places I find my inspiration from, one of them would include dealing with like-minded entrepreneurs.
10) What is your favourite book?
Richard Branson : Losing my virginity.
11) What advice would you give to someone starting out?
First most importantly make sure you are in tune with yourself, because the main key asset for running your company is your intuition.
It is true that entrepreneurship changes you positively. It sharpens your skills and elevates your confidence. Just as it did to Cheryl, who was once an introvert. To thrive in business you must have a strong ability to create networks. That’s the only you could get people to trust you.
However, nothing can be taken for granted when you are running a business. A success would be followed by a downfall.
Cheryl makes a sensible point when she says the importance of intuition. Your intuition defines the fate of your business. The obstacles, as she points out, may help the entrepreneurs evolve. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your wonderful insights on entrepreneurship.
Check out the Instagram page of Creative Cronies here!