"Intellect Must Venture Where Instinct Fails" - Saiyam Hota

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1. Tell us more about you and your journey?

With You; For You has been established keeping a core goal in mind: to make it easier for people to access Mental Health services and the dedicated professionals who provide them, all over India. We aim to be the one-stop shop for all Mental Health needs by breaking taboos and facilitating guidance and providing a safe platform to increase awareness as well as provide access to Mental Health resources at the same time.

Our app launched on the Google Play Store in May 2020, it lists certified clinical professionals, psychiatrists, treatment centers as well as helplines of NGOs and other such organisations. Our app also suggests daily tasks, has blogs, surveys, provides a share your story option and also promotes intuitive journaling. 

To download our app, click here: https://www.withyouforyou.co.in/

2. How did you come up with this idea and go about executing it? 

So my friend and now colleague Siddharth Tuli, first mentioned this idea, where he talked about the need for a safe platform catering to Mental Health needs. We talked about the lack of awareness and unnecessary stigma surrounding Mental Health. Our friends and even other people, in general aren’t comfortable sharing their Mental Health issues with their very own parents and us, because they fear being judged.

This lockdown turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us, we started editing and converting ideas into tangible work. It took us 3 months to get professionals on board and get our app ready, however this is just a start, we are constantly updating our app and trying to make our platform more user friendly and helpful.

3. What has been your biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that? 

I believe our biggest challenge has been the fact that we are just a few college students with a passion to bring a change in society however we don’t have a mentor. Having an experienced mentor on board can be really helpful in terms of guidance, pointing towards the right direction and in efficient decision making. We also didn’t initially have any industry experts on board but I’m proud to say that now we have several professionals on board.

I feel we overcame the challenge of not having a Mentor by giving our all to this venture, working as a team and using our experience. Even though we have a young team, several of us have worked at different startups and projects and in fact, I am playing a key role in another student-run startup, I am the Chief Marketing Officer at Edu-Vantage, an Education Management startup.

4. What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur? 

So according to me in order to be a successful entrepreneur, one needs to be patient, persistent, creative, knowledgeable and curious.

Patience is essential because a startup requires a lot of time, work and energy to create and even more time to gain recognition. Persistence is needed because even the best of entrepreneurs experience failures and challenges, you can’t foresee all challenges and you must have the ability to pick yourself up and keep moving strongly. 

Creativity gives you the vision you need to go from Zero to One and create startups that solve problems and create tangible impact. 

A successful entrepreneur should be knowledgeable, by knowledgeable I don’t mean being book smart, I mean being aware of the business environment, the basic knowledge of how to execute an idea and most importantly one should be willing to learn more and get people on board possessing such skills.

Curiosity brings the passion to learn and motivation to solve problems, curiosity helps you to move ahead from ideation towards execution and this very curiosity fosters the required productivity. 

5. What are your tips for first time and aspiring entrepreneurs? 

My tips for first time and aspiring entrepreneurs are simple, work on skills such as Patience, Persistence, Curiosity and Creativity. Increase your knowledge by reading books, articles, following the news and listening to podcasts. I suggest two books: Zero To One by Peter Thiel and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Start believing in yourself, people might doubt you but you should never doubt yourself, just because you’re young doesn’t mean you aren’t ready, Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he started Facebook and Warren Buffet purchased his first stock when he was 11. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur also work on your people skills because there are only rare cases of successful startups being run in isolation by one founder, a good team is very important. Don’t give up and be ready to sacrifice, you might have minor setbacks but always keep going.

6. What have been your biggest challenges and learning from what you do?  

One of the major challenges I have faced is time management, so in my first year in college my schedule used to be extremely tight, I used to have football coaching at 

7 am, then college classes, society meetings and debate mocks so I used to get free from college around 6-7 pm, sometimes even 7:30 pm.

As soon as I returned home I used to eat a snack, drink coffee and go to the gym. I barely had any time to socialize, talk to my friends or to just chill. So this taught me that I need to prioritise, I encourage everyone to indulge in several activities but have your priorities sorted. Now talking about challenges I have faced while ideating and executing With You; For You, I contacted numerous psychologists, therapists, mental health organisations to get them on board, I faced a lot of rejections while doing this work.

Making important decisions without any guidance from an experienced mentor and coming up with strategies to promote and develop the app to cater client needs have also been major challenges. All these challenges have made me wiser, more patient and taught me the skills that are needed in order to be a successful entrepreneur. However, I am just getting started, I have a lot of mistakes to make, lessons to learn and goals to achieve!

7. What are your career goals and how is what you are doing is going to help you with that? 

I aspire to be a Management Consultant at a top firm in the future. Management Consulting is essentially about solving problems for your clients, problem solving is also something that is an Entrepreneurs job. With You; For You aims to solve the problem of lack of Mental Health awareness and aims to break the taboos. Some of the key skills a Consultant should possess are Effective Communication, Problem Solving Ability and Entrepreneurship.

The work that I’m doing currently is helping me polish these skills, I’m improving my communication skills by debating, networking, communicating with new people via startup meetings, internship meetings, college events and society collaborations. Problem Solving is something that I find very interesting and is something that I’m working on as an Entrepreneur as well as by solving cases and guesstimates. Entrepreneurship is something that I feel is a part of me and I can continue constantly taking initiatives and working on new projects.

8. What's your message to encourage students to do internships and attend conferences?

I encourage all of my friends, juniors and even seniors to keep learning new things and polish existing skills, I believe that in the Indian curriculum education alone isn’t sufficient for the development of students. Holistic Development can be achieved by exploring, do internships, attend conferences, do online courses, engage in activities like Debating, Quizzing etc, play a sport. There are so many opportunities available for us college students, we should make the most of these opportunities.

Despite being busy with With You; For You I’ve done 3 internships since the lockdown began and I’ve learnt a lot in all these internships. Internships provide you with career insights and help you discover your interests, Conferences by experienced professionals expose you to a lot of knowledge and perspectives that you wouldn’t understand if you never attend them, Sports teach you a lot like discipline, teamwork, hard work and activities like Debating increase your knowledge, communication and public speaking skills.

I would request everyone reading this to try new things and grow, intern at a startup or a corporate, join your college’s debating society, do anything that fascinates you, just never be afraid of trying something new. Always remember that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

- Saiyam Hota

Interviewed by- Priyanshi Arora

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