Episode 134 / September 12, 2021
Manish Pandey on mentoring the best Content Creators and the future of Creator Economy
How often and sincerely do you help someone for free?
Moreover when it’s related to building/growing their business?
Only some of us can confidently say yes to the above questions. However today we have Manish Pandey, who heads Culture and Brand at Josh Talks.
Coming from Silvassa (i.e. headquarters of the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu), Manish had very humble beginnings.
He’s been featured on Josh Talks series – #RagsToRiches and Ranveer Allahbadia’s #TheRanveerShow, Ranveer also referred to Manish as his mentor for career and spirituality and also credits him for helping to build and grow Beerbiceps and Monk entertainment.
Similarly, Manish has selflessly helped several solopreneurs and founders in building and scaling their brands for free.
During the episode, Manish shares with us what drives him to help other entrepreneurs grow, his recommendations for building a personal brand and more.
02:50 – Helping Entrepreneurs and Content Creators
07:49 – Introspecting life backwards to 5th standard
16:04 – Meeting Ranveer Allahbadia
21:12 – Advice to 100xEntrepreneur to build its Social Media Brand
23:44 – Putting out one’s vulnerability
26:08 – Manish on Spirituality
Read the full transcript here:
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:00
Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia. Welcome to the 100x entrepreneur podcast. Today I have with me Manish Pandey, research head Josh Talks. Welcome, Manish to the podcast.
Manish Pandey 00:11
Hi Sid. Hello, good to be here. I mean, I have followed your podcast recently. you interviewed Supriya also I went through that and you guys have been doing a great job so I’m really happy. Just a little correction I used to head research at Josh Talks. Now I look into operations and culture. And my role is more like an elder brother to the organization. And if you ask me about my job profile, my job profile is just to make sure that everybody is happy content and you know, things are being taken care of. There’s a happy working environment. We work as a sports team. And it’s crazy. And apart from that I also work with a lot of content creators around the country. Work with few more startups as a consultant. Both my co-founder Shobhit and Supriya have been kind enough to allow me to also work with other teams. So yeah, that’s what I do. and fun to be here. Let’s talk.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:12
Thanks, Manish. you were recently on Ranveer Alhabadia, aka beer biceps podcast, where he mentioned that you know, you mentor so many entrepreneurs, including him, and you don’t draw money from the entrepreneurs, you help. Where does it align with your purpose in life?
Manish Pandey 01:35
Well, Sid, you know, I really like helping people. And till recent past, I didn’t know how to quantify what I do. And should I be taking money for that thing? Because I didn’t really Okay, first of all, I was a full-time member with Josh Talks team. So, in my books, it was unethical to draw money from anywhere else. Right. So whatever salary I used to get from Josh Talks, and I still get, I was very content, right. And I never took money from any of the entrepreneurs or content creators who I worked with, but then Supriya walked up to me one day, and she said, Manish, is what you do is great. But you should charge a little bit of money so that people value your time. And I said, Okay, I’ll think about it. I thought she’s just saying just like that, but was it just she was damn series about? And then she said, okay, you know, there’s a common mentor of ours, and he was building a YouTube channel and all of that, and she said that you should work with him, and try and figure out and maybe also try and figure out some commercial, and I said, Okay, Supriya, this is coming from you. So, you know, I think this means that I have permission to take consulting, you know, as a part of my thing and draw money and she empowered me. And even Ranveer, you know, he said that bro, you should really make it like a commercial thing. The reason, because your time should be valued. So, there are a few startups now. Who from I draw a little bit of consulting fee, I give them a particular number of hours in a month, and then I take a fee for that? Now, I’ve started doing that. However, yes, you are very correct. Till 2020, I was not taking any money from anybody. And I was I used to think that you know, what I do is I just meet them and talk to them and something beautiful comes out. So, my spiritual being in me used to say that it’s come out of you, it’s not yours. So why should you take money for that? Right? So that was the whole scenario. But now I’m involved more than talking. I’m involved in their day-to-day stuff, then few with a few of the startups I have a commercial engagement. Now, it would be wrong to say that I don’t have but yeah, but all said and done. There are hundreds of people that talk to me in a course of a month and a quarter and yeah, I don’t draw money from them. Because some of them are growing. Some of them are, you know, trying to make their mark and all and I really like helping youngsters who have the zeal to do beyond what normal people are doing. So, I think that’s my contribution towards making a stronger nation. I think it would be a very big thing to say. I don’t think that you know, it goes but somewhere it’s building being built-in society. So, I think that’s my contribution towards or say that it’s a gift back from me, whatever I learned because whatever I learned, I learned it on the streets. I’ve not been to any college. Right. So yeah, that’s what I think it is.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 04:47
Your journey has been very inspiring. You started working, as you shared in your Josh talks, like really early in your life started giving tuitions when you were just a school kid, then started working In the factory along with your father, you passed your 12th. you then couldn’t opt for college because of the financial situation of the household, you worked in a call center. And now in just 13 years span of time, you are mentoring so many entrepreneurs, so many startups, some of them are like in dollar terms multi-billionaire in their valuation, how does it feel? To see all that?
Manish Pandey 05:28
I really, really find and sometimes I said, right, so I was not going through a very good phase right now, like last three months had been really difficult. I’m still in that phase, I took therapy also and, and recently because I think, because of the COVID situation in the country, I was deep down there with COVID resources with my friends, we were helping a lot of people and I saw a lot of deaths from a very close quarter. In 2019, I lost my dad. 2020 I lost my uncle. Just a few days back. I mean, it’s a year now. And then again, very close friends of mine, they lost their parents, somebody lost their sister, brother friends and all it was really haunting time, right. So, you know, I was just not too good in my head. And I was like, Okay, let me take some time and think about it. And I was really depressing kind of a thing. I don’t know if depression was there or not. However, I was not good. And I was introspecting. I said What have I done in life? Right? I just reflected myself right. I took myself back to the fifth standard. When I was just a kid what does a fifth standard kid do right? And I said I was making 60 rupees a month. And I used to teach Sunita aunty and son who used to be in my, my school, junior. He was in 3rd standard and I was in 5th standard And I used to teach him. He used to be a kid who used to fail in class. And then he came in the top five, and he passed all subjects. Sunita aunty used to cry and say that, you know, Manish changed my son’s life. And then I think I carried that culture with me. Well, my father was a security guard, you know, in a factory. And then later, he became a security guard in a bank. When I came to silvassa, first with my father, I and my father, we used to stay in the security guards’ cabin, like a small cabin, you can imagine a security guards’ cabin, right? We used to just be there. And my father used to make around 1300 rupees a month, that time. it is 2001-02, I was in eight-nine standards. And, you know, I boldly went to my father and said that don’t worry, we will together do it. And I said, can you please talk to your friends who are driving trucks and you know, doing other stuff, factory workers and if I could teach their kids because I think I can teach their kids and I’ll give a trial if they like it, then they can pay me you know, monthly income. And it happened, it happened. I mean, my father used to make around 13-1400 rupees a month at that time. I think till the time I went to Navodaya; his salary was around 1800-1900 rupees. And I used to make around 1400-1500 rupees by doing tuitions, right? And I used to send that money to my mother and my sister who were in the village and father’s salary I and my father used to look into our livelihood, every day, whatever. Well, it’s not a special story Sid, you know, 96% of our country has a household income of fewer than 30,000 rupees. Today, You and I are top 1% richest Indians. We’re very privileged, right? So, so why I didn’t feel anything that time is because mere aas paas sab log waise hi the. koi rickshaw chalata tha, koi truck chalata tha koi bhangaar uthatha tha, saare waise hi log the. we used to stay in a slum. If you miss out on your timing, just to take a dump in the morning you have to stand in a queue because it’s one toilet which is supporting around 20-30 slums and each slum has five to six members. So, one toilet is supporting around 100-150 people right so imagine if you miss out on timings, you need to stand in a queue because everybody wants to go there. So, yeah, that was it and then and then After my 12th standard when I came to Puna for the first time and got into a call center, that’s a different story altogether, it has a story of all how did I land there? Where did I stay, and all of that is again, our story again? And one thing led to another and the only thing that I never gave up was on my confidence. I always remembered, where did I come from? I always knew that I need to take my parents out of the slum and put them in a place where there is dignity. One of my biggest dreams always had been that my father should not go to anybody and ask for a single penny. udhaar nhi lena hai because I remember I very clearly remember when you take 100 rupees, 200 rupees from friends, right and when you are not able to pay back on time, the way they come to humiliate you for that 100-200 rupees. It’s very, very painful. And I’ve gone through that I’ve been there. I don’t want anybody I pray to God that nobody should go in that phase. kisi ko kisi ki saamne haath failana pade. And that is why I said, you know, I like making people independent. And that is why I inherit, mai consciously karta hu ya nhi par merese hota hai. That is something that happens to me that I go ahead and I help people. Whoever asked me for anything, right, whoever comes to me and asked me. today I’m in a situation Sid, so why shouldn’t I do it? Tell me Tell me one thing, today I’m in that situation that I can do is why shouldn’t I do? Right? That is what kind of pushes me to do what I do, man. So yeah, I mean, rest there is rest of the stories in Josh talks So yeah, listeners can go and check out my Josh talks for the journey that I’ve had. It’s a little sob story. So, I don’t know bring it out here. And, and yeah, man, it is like 96% of India has that same story. I represent them. So yeah.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:55
And if you can remember, when did you started helping entrepreneurs and how did they start reaching out to you because you were working in a corporate reliance. And as you said, right, they are mushrooms, which go under a banyan tree so nobody could come to know about the mushrooms. Everybody knows the banyan tree.
Manish Pandey 12:12
Yeah, correct. So, you know what, I always had myself into events, right? So, events like one of my ex-bosses, Rohit Verma had an event called social media week, which was a global festival, and somehow, I was adding social media for it. Then a good friend of mine, Yash, Raj Akashi. He, he curates an event called TEDx gateway, which is one of the largest TEDx is in the country, maybe in Asia. And, I was the social media guy for him. So, I met a lot of people there. So networking is being something very, very close to me. And somehow, I developed this art of networking by myself. And I used to read a lot of books. So, whenever I used to go and talk to people, I had the stuff to speak to, and I was very, I think I was good at what I used to do. So social media was my thing. And I was very good at what I used to do. And that is what helped, I guess, and that’s how people knew me. And that’s how people referred me, okay, you want to help on this particular thing? Go talk to this guy. You want to help with this particular thing? Go talk to this guy. And yeah, and in reliance, also in corporate, you know, I was not like, working in some small team. I was working with the president of one of the units, Captain Raghu Raman who I learned so much from, right. He used to give me a lot of exposure. He used to send me places, right? One of the IPS officers launching his book, used to tell me send me that go, Manish is you represent me there and do your stuff and used to give me a lot of confidence. My good friend, my brother, Arjun Gupta, who’s right now working in London. He used to be on our team. He’s the one who brought me to reliance in Raghu’s team. He used to empower me a lot. So, it’s not something that I have done on my own bro. A lot of people have helped me. Shobhit and Supriya, I met a TEDx gateway event, right? In 2015. And we became friends when I heard Supriya for the first time. The only word that I have for her is I got inspired by that girl. That is what I saw in her eyes and what she told me and I still remember. And I said she’s trying to build something for me. How can I not go and help her in whatever she needs? And that’s how our relationship started. Our friendship started and, the rest of the journey is in front of you, right? So yeah, I mean in Shobhit, Supriya, captain Raghu Raman and my friend Yash Raj, Ranveer for that matter. All of these are empowered me a lot to be where I am today.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 14:45
How did you meet Ranveer?
Manish Pandey 14:46
It was very funny. I mean, Ranveer was doing a talk at TEDx Bandra and Raghu sir was also doing a talk there. So, I went with Raghu sir. And because it was his talk and I had to be there, and Ranveer was also as a speaker and he then had some 90-100k subscribers on YouTube channels, and Ranveer was going through a little bit of his own phase in life that time. So somehow, we somehow, we made eye contact and there was a very spiritual connection between us. It’s very funny, very fairy tale is to say that how can you Muslim, aakhon aankhon me kya ho gya. So, he saw me and he got intimidated, he came to me and said, Brother, I want to talk to you. And that’s how we started talking. And then he opened up about his life and, and there is he’s done some Hindi videos also about me and how I came in his life and how things changed. So, I helped him through a couple of difficult things that he was going through. And that is how our friendship got built, I brought him into a spiritual journey, I helped him. he already had the element. So, he had the element in him, so I just pulled that element in a set brother, there is a right way of doing things and, and that’s how we became friends. And because of Ranveer, I met all the content creators that I know today, he introduced me to everybody. And then that’s how we, we started talking to all of them. And now they are kind enough to call me their mentor or whatever, but I’m friends with them. I like being called friends and I love their company. Many of them are very, very, these guys are really crazy. These guys, these guys are going to change the way marketing and branding are perceived in our country. There’s a new wave coming Sid this 20 to 25-30 creators, these guys are going to be rock solid, and going to put up the place. You know, in the New Age marketing and branding that we will do, we’ll get to see. this is how these guys. And this hour I do stuff I think things are moving from one place to another.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 16:51
So, from you know, you are mentoring so many entrepreneurs on content creation and content distribution, for 1000s of content creators who are listening to this podcast, right? What would be the key learnings on in your journey that you would you know, tell them the right things to do? I know there would be many if you could summarize?
Manish Pandey 17:14
Well, the first important thing is to be disciplined. Second, to be consistent. Third, to believe in what you’re doing fourth, to really study the niche that you are trying to do. So, you cannot teach something that you don’t do yourself. So first do it. Like if you are a fitness content, person, you need to be looking fit. If you are a if you’re a person who’s teaching some coding or something like that, you need to be a good coder yourself, right? So you need to be very, very versed in your subject financial people, people, content creators on finance, they need to be really versed in finance, and they must have even if they don’t have a college degree in finance, but they should have hands-on practical knowledge which can share which they can share, which is data-backed. Right? That and then and then please, don’t be ignorant of the trends. Please don’t be ignorant of what’s working, study data analytics, study what is working, what is not working, and collaborate, collaboration will help people grow. So, this is what I feel the young content creators should keep in mind. And then the Yes, there are many technicalities which come in place, depending upon what kind of content you’re trying to do. But yes Sid, I want to tell through your podcast, that storytelling is going to be a big thing. And the next trillion-dollar company that you will see in the next maybe a decade’s time is going to be a storytelling company or company that’s supporting storytelling. So yeah.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:45
So, for example, you know, to get more context into what you are saying. What would be your advice for 100x entrepreneur, being self-critical at the same time, what would you advise 100x entrepreneur, which is, you know, building content for entrepreneurs, on various channels, especially on YouTube, let’s say we are producing 50-minute content on YouTube.
Manish Pandey 19:14
I would have a list of things that I would gladly email to you. But let me just highlight few things for you. I think I think we should go very, very aggressive in terms of your own social media branding, the post-social media branding, and the 100x entrepreneurs, you know, branding, you need to figure out where your listeners are, right and penetrating it them in there, collaborate with, with guys who have their own social clout. Get them with a podcast, ask them to share and all and make it interesting like, when you have podcasts to post you post it but when you don’t have podcasts to post right. What do you do in that phase is very, very important? So, I would like 100x entrepreneurs to go out there and do a lot of, you know, what we call user-generated content you guys should be kind of looking for. So maybe you should, you should try and do a lot of giveaways try a lot of interesting stuff which draws the attention of young and aspiring entrepreneurs or, you know, even guys who are doing consulting, freelancing, and all of that even those guys are entrepreneurs, right. So they should be, they should be coming, there should be hacks and tips and tricks that you should speak of, I think you should start series things like five things to keep in mind, three things to keep in mind, play with the content platforms, strength, like, Instagram right now reels are the new thing. So, so be there in the reels, try and be in the shoes of Gen Z. Kids, you know, because they are they’re the next generation entrepreneurs or people who will, who will be a part of, you know, economy. So, so yeah, engage with these people try and see what kind of language they understand and all and, and, and dude, beyond Spotify. let us speak to the Spotify guys and make you play somewhere in Spotify. So yeah, I mean, Spotify needs this content. Today, you’re talking to a lot of entrepreneurs have checked, like there are around 50-60 things that I saw, you know, so. So, these are the kinds of things that you should do, which I’m saying right now. However, there is a set of things I might email to you that you should pay attention to.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 21:31
Thank you so much, Manish. I think many entrepreneurs who are listening to it because they know 100x entrepreneur, will be able to relate what kind of content and what kind of discipline they can get into their own content creation. One of the key things in today’s be it any entrepreneur as you mentioned, you have to be aggressive with content whether it’s if you’re building if you’re offering content or not. But your brand chamakta hai social media pe, right. So, can you go on the basic basis of that? For example, there’s a person called Rahul Mathur of Bimape on Twitter. His content is very interesting. Yeah. So, if you can help you know, the entrepreneur listening on the thought process, how to build that kind of engagement on their own profiles and on there you know, business profiles on social media?
Manish Pandey 22:33
Well, see, if you followed Rahul. Rahul is a great character like Rahul, I have a very good friend. His name is Palak Zatakia. You know, we’ve spent a lot of time together with him. Then there’s a friend of mine, Piyush Kumar So these guys You know, if you see these guys on Twitter, right? And even all my friends like, Ranveer and other guys, right? So, if you see, see why they are able to create that kind of content is because Sid, they read a lot. They read a lot of books, right? And, when if you want to write one line, you have to read 10 lines. It’s as simple as that. I mean, so they do that because you brought Rahul’s name. Rahul is a great guy, whatever happens in his startup, he just puts it out online, he hires from Twitter, he engages people, right? So, I think he’s just being himself. And I think what works for him is he being himself and he’s putting his vulnerabilities outside his achievements out there. Even if he’s sad, he’ll put it out. Even if he’s happy. he’ll put it out. Even if confused about something, he will put it out. Sometimes his tweets are very full of frustration, and that is fine. That’s okay. Because that’s his facing every day. Right? So, his life is on Twitter. And it makes a lot of sense because that is what building it building it in open. So, he’s building it on social media. So that’s great. And he has great company, by the way. I mean, he has is a great startup that is building. So yeah, I mean, that’s what it takes, I think. I think people who need who want to write should read a lot, read a lot of books, read a lot of books follow up a lot of podcasts, consume, consume, consume when you consume more than you can give a little bit so yeah, I think I think consumption of good kind of knowledge is very important.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:34
This reminds me of one of Javed Akhtar’s quotes, right, he said before, you can pour the glass has to be full.
Manish Pandey 24:44
Yes, yes. Even Sharukh Khan said Gareebi me gurvat nhi hoti, right? So, he said agar aap khud gareeb, and Gareeb means not just by wealth, right? Even by knowledge, all kind of things. If you don’t have a, what will you give? so first you need to collect. First, you need to earn and then you can distribute a little bit. So yeah, that’s what it is, I guess.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 25:06
How did you get started on your spiritual journey?
Manish Pandey 25:10
Well, that that was a part that had me because so I think you know that I grew up in Nepal, right with my nanaji, and, and he, he was a very spiritual person. So, I used to just follow him and he used to make me sit with him and read Bhagavad Gita to me when I was four, your five-year-old, so he used to explain Bhagavad Gita to me versed to me, and he used to, you know, relate it with what happened in my life, that day, and all of that. So that’s how I got intrigued by that. And then I learned my meditation from him, I learned a little bit of yoga from him. And I just followed him and then and you know, it’s an ongoing journey. It is in you, it comes within from you, right? So, so I cannot really trace where it started, how it started, but it just started and it’s been with me. So, you know, and, and what’s it being spiritual is very simple and simple stuff. Right? You just have to be honest to yourself, man, and you need to say that, okay, I’m not going to do anything unethical, I’m not going to hurt somebody. I will keep forgiveness at the forefront. I will help people; I will not be jealous or envious of anybody. I will see inspiration in everything that I see. And, and just be there and be kind to each other. love nature, respect, nature. See, I tweeted it yesterday, also, right? I’m born on this earth. It doesn’t matter. What did I get born with? What will matter is when I go, what do I leave behind? Right? And I need to leave a better Earth than what I got. If everybody just puts this thing in their head, I think everybody will be spiritual. Spirituality is not some degree that you get right. It is. It is a part of our life. It’s how you conduct yourself. Yeah, that is what it is. I mean, it will be a different podcast altogether, a separate Podcast, where we will do one more just on speaking on spirituality, because, because it’s, I get very, very intrigued when I speak to spirituality because I want everybody to be kind of follow the path. It’s a wish because the earth will be a better place. If everybody kind of comes down and, and tries to understand how much is enough, you know? So yeah, that is how the spiritual journey started. And that is what it means for me.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 27:43
Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I know, we can go on hours and hours. There’s so much to relate to you. But I think just keeping the time in mind and come up with the key lessons which you shared in mind. Right on being authentic, or having a growth mindset? And you will, you always kept pushing yourself, for better, you could have easily settled at the last part of the journey. And this is inspiring, really your journeys, inspiring, what and how you were able to nurture so many seeds around you. The seeds of you know, entrepreneur dreams, which you are.
Manish Pandey 28:24
you know, what’s it I think? I think it happens because I don’t really think about it, and I don’t let it get into my head. And it is like a normal thing for me. I just walk and things happen, right? So, I don’t really like taking credit for a lot of things is because it’s because when you look at it, you’re not doing anything special, you know, you’re doing what a human being should do. So that’s a basic, basic responsibility, I guess. Right? So why should you be pompous about your basic responsibility? You just do it? I mean, everybody should do it. Why just me. And the story that you said, is relatable because 96% of the country has the same story. I’m fortunate that I maybe I’m representing them, and I’m telling everybody story through me. But yeah, I mean, our country, I have brave people who are trying to do brave things. And kudos to everybody who’s, who’s kind of pulling themselves out from a situation that they are in and trying to give the next generation or their own generation a better life. You know life with dignity, food with dignity on the table is important. And that is what I wish. I pray to God that everybody in our country has food with dignity on the table. That’s what I wish.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 29:35
Thank you so much, Manish.
Manish Pandey 29:37
So much. I had a great time. Thank you.