Working at HelloMeets wasn’t something that I had planned. One day I just decided to go and meet Sahiba for a cup of coffee.

Through the course of our conversation, I realised that what she was doing at HelloMeets was something so unique and different and something I hadn’t heard of before (at that point of time I didn’t even know what a startup was), it made me want to explore more.

Right then without any prior plans, I asked her if somehow I could be a part of it all. Thus, started my journey at HelloMeets.

That’s also when I learnt my first lesson here. You don’t really have to plan things out always. Learn to go with the flow.

Take each opportunity that comes your way as a step towards growth

That doesn't mean you jump at every opportunity without using your head, but weigh the pros and cons and then if it's suitable take it up.

Over the last 5 months at HelloMeets, I’ve met a lot of people from different industries, learnt so many new things and broken quite a few of my personal barriers.

So today, I decided to share some of those learnings with you all and tell you why I think being a part of a startup could take you places both professionally and personally.

Meeting new people and interacting with them is no rocket science.

I have always been the shy and introvert type. But when you’re part of a Community like ours, you have to be a conversation striker.

You can just approach people, go say hello, find out what they do and what their interests are.

I’ve attended a lot of meetups since I started out, even handled some of them on my own. It has tremendously increased my confidence and I can’t thank Sahiba enough for giving me the opportunity to do so.

She’s always made sure I do things I’m unfamiliar and uncomfortable with so that I learn more.

Before my first investors meetup in January, just a few weeks after joining HelloMeets, Sahiba told me that — Usually after the event gets over, we interact with the attendees and find out more about what they do, how we can help them in anyway.

I still remember when that event got over, I just stood still in my place. I was so scared as to what would happen if I was asked something I had no idea about.

And now after having attended so many meetups I can clearly tell you, if you don’t know something its completely okay. Don’t hesitate to ask. Its really amazing what you can do when you reach out to people.

We recently went for the Tlabs EdTech Event organised by Rahul Gupta and powered by 10,000Startups. Such events are great for networking so we decided beforehand that I would go upto some people and talk to them.

During the Tea Break, I went and met a few people and spoke to them about what we do and vice versa. We met some really great people and even invited them for our future events. That’s another challenge I overcame.

If you don’t know something yet, doesn’t mean you won’t ever know it

All you need is some practice and research. When I started out, I didn’t know how to write emails for the community members at HelloMeets. But, today with some practice and the right guidance I can write some good emails.

At this point I would like to thank Srijan Bhardwaj for helping me improve my email drafting skills. He guided me on what all goes behind in making an email a good one.

Here are a few things that I’ve learnt from him:

  1. Apart from having a great subject line that compels the reader to read your email, the first three words of your email are also very important. They determine your click rate. So always make sure you make them interesting.
  2. There are different types of emails you can use, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

    For example:
    a testimonial email — to grow user interest
    a deadline email — to create a sense of urgency in the minds of the receiver.

    When you want the user to act in a certain way, make sure to use time sensitive language. Its important to create a sense of scarcity. Use phrases like “ Get it before its gone”, “only____ Spots left”….
  3. Make your Call to Action very direct and easy to understand. After all that’s what you want the user to do eventually.

    Do not put more than 3 links in any email.. It lands the email in the spam folder directly.

    Here’s an example of my before and after email:

    This was an email I wrote for an event on Zero Budget PR for Startups… It lacked structure and was more like an essay. Straight on boring….. I’m sure no one would have read it ….
Initial days..

This email was a follow on email for Google Analytics workshop. It included FAQs that would answer some doubts that customers had.

Once you make it clear about what one can learn from something and is it actually useful for them, it leads to conversions. Its a great way to make people who are on the line to cross that line.

Another great thing I learnt from Srijan was:

When you have a speaker who’s really done a lot and has his own story to tell, try and make your email campaign more interesting. Make your audience curious about what’s happening.

So, for one of our meetups this is what we used:

We created this really exciting but true story about the speaker without disclosing his identity — refered to him as Mr. X and shared what all he’s achieved.

This was followed by a revelation of who Mr. X is in the following way:

We got some really great responses from our Community. They loved the way we created a hype around the event.

This email was followed by another one highlighting the key takeaways.

We ended this campaign by sending out a deadline email stating that we had limited seats available and creating a sense of scarcity and urgency.

There is never a dull day at work

Working in a startup is just very unpredictable in the sense, there is so much to do that you’re constantly exposing yourself to learn newer things which makes it very interesting and exciting.

Make reading a habit — Read as much as you can

There’s so much out there that one doesn’t know. Its important to read and increase your knowledge. No doubt meeting people and getting to know from them is great, but you must make reading a part of your daily life.

Here’s a blog I read in the 1st week that helped me understand the startup buzz words… Maybe you could gain something from it too….

** The Startup Fundraising Dictionary

End Notes

Here are a few things I’ve learnt from attending the Investors & Founders Meetups at HelloMeets that could really be useful for startup founders looking to raise funds:

How to present yourself in front of an investor?

  • Teach them something they don’t know —When an investor walks out of a room and knows more than what he knew when he came in, it means you have really done something great.
  • If you can’t grab the investor’s attention in 5 mins then you’ve lost it….
    Explain what the problem is — How big it is — and how you’re going to solve it
  • Be very Articulate and to the point. Don't go on in a loop talking about you’re product/idea

What should you expect from the investors?

What I’ve understood about this is that — an investor will do whatever is required to make the entrepreneur succeed, because only if entrepreneurs succeed do investors succeed.
The investor- entrepreneur relationship is like a marriage, one where you get married to get divorced. So in this case, always make sure you marry someone you can easily get divorced with!

So that's all from me folks! Do share your comments below and let me know how I can improve my blogs.

PS: It's my first. And I never thought I’d write one.

Thanks to Sahiba for pushing me and motivating me to write this.

I’d like to end this one with a quote:

It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone, that you begin to change, grow and transform. — Roy T. Bennett

Would love to see you at one of our upcoming Meetups!