Corie: Hi, everybody, this is Corie Johnson from ZenBusiness, and I’m here today talking to Sachit Gupta, who is the founder of Platforms Media out of Austin, Texas. How are you doing today?
Sachit: I’m doing well, thank you. How about yourself?
Corie: Oh, good. It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Texas, so I don’t mind it. Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
Sachit: In a nutshell, Platforms Media works in an ecosystem of creators who are podcasters, authors, artists, and brands. What we do is make connections between them with the end goal of finding messages and brands that are creating positive impact in the world and creating the world’s best amplification engine for them.
Corie: That’s really cool. How did you get started on that project? Was this something that came naturally to you? Was it an idea that was inspired by something?
Sachit: It definitely wasn’t natural. Right after college, I worked in corporate America at GE capital. I was in a two-year leadership program, and, after a year, I realized this is not for me. I left, ended up traveling for a bit, and then I moved to San Francisco and thought, “Who do I want to work with?” There were a lot of authors and podcasters I listened to when I was in college or when I was in the corporate world, and they had helped me figure life out and I learned from them. I thought it would be really cool to work with them. When I got to San Francisco, I just started emailing different podcasters. The one that replied was Andrew Warner, who runs a podcast called Mixergy. It actually took a year to finally start working with him; he said no many times.
Corie: They always do.
Sachit: I did a small project, and he still said no, but finally said yes and hired me for a day. He was sending beaded bracelets to people as part of one of his programs. So I made ten. There’s a crazy story on how I did that, but basically I went to a store, bought the beads, bought the strings, made the bracelets, and gave them to him. After that he asked, “Can I hire you for two more weeks?” I said sure, then those two weeks turned into two months and seven years later he’s still a client. Through him I started working with everyone. It was definitely not planned and sounds like a really crazy story looking back at it, but I just started by sending cold emails to people I was inspired by and wanting to work with them.
Corie: It sounds like you went the extra mile to make what needed to happen…happen so that he would trust you and you could get that first customer. Do you think that’s accurate?
Sachit: Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of times nowadays people will find the minimum they need to do, and do that. I look at it the opposite way. What is the maximum someone is expecting, and how do you take it beyond that? The only standards that matter are the ones we set for ourselves.
Corie: So you found the opportunity to go above and beyond and you really took it?
Corie: You touched on this a little bit, but can you tell us briefly, what were you doing before you started your Platforms Media business?
Sachit: Platforms Media is the evolution of it. I created the company last year in Austin, but before that I was doing the same work, just as a solo consultant. Then sometime last or this year I realized, “This is going to be bigger than what I thought.” So it was the evolution of what I’d always been doing, but taking it more seriously.
Corie: That’s how a lot of people end up starting their businesses. It is something they’re doing on the side and then it evolves. What inspired you to get into this? Was it only working with those people and you saw this opportunity or was there a single moment where it clicked in your head and you realized, “This is what I have to do”?
Sachit: It was first knowing that they inspired me. I remember when I first moved to the US from India, after my first year in college, I got a marketing internship. I didn’t know anything about marketing, so I started Googling marketing blogs and I found Seth Godin‘s blog, and that’s how I really learned marketing, from reading his books. When I was in college, I read this book called Recession-Proof Graduate by Charlie Hoehn. He told the story of how he used this idea of “free work” to work with Ramit Sethi, Tim Ferris, and all the people he was inspired by. I didn’t even know you could actually work with them.
Corie: There is no “Come hang out with me” on their blog.
Sachit: There’s no job listings; it isn’t like that. He gave me an example that this was possible. They had all this impact on me, and I hoped to one day get you to say thank you. I realized I could actually work with them. In Charlie’s book there’s a cold email template he used to contact the people he worked with. I was just taking that and modifying it a bit. I started sending it to other people and it worked.
Corie: It worked! You mentioned Tim Ferriss. I see him on your website. Was he a hard one to land?
Sachit: He is at the top of podcasting, so it was a huge privilege to work with him. That came from being in the industry awhile and doing great work and somehow, somewhere his team finding out about it. One thing led to another and I got to work with them, which is a huge privilege.
Corie: That’s great. I’m going to shift now. I love hearing about your business, but I also want to talk to you a little bit about your experience with us. You formed your business with ZenBusiness, is that correct?
Sachit: Yes. When I moved to Austin last year, I wanted to create a new entity in Texas, and the ZenBusiness founder had been interviewed on Mixergy.
Corie: Yeah! Our founder
Ross was interviewed on Mixergy a few months ago.
Sachit: I remember when had my first entity in San Francisco it was such a complicated process. There are all of these companies, and they’ll promise you a price and, by the end of it all, it is 4x and you’re thinking, “What just happened?” Also, the process is complicated. When I found ZenBusiness, just the fact that the word “Zen” is in the name, I thought, this sounds different. I remember filling out the form and getting on a call with Michelle. She spent 45 minutes with me answering every question I had. I could tell that ZenBusiness cared about its customers and was going to make the process easy, so the decision was super easy.
Corie: Was there anything in particular, besides Michelle, that you really loved about ZenBusiness?
Sachit: It was how the process was made so easy. I think in this company formation stage, which is such a pivotal and emotional moment for people, companies will just upsell you on whatever.
Corie: On whatever they can, and take advantage of you?
Sachit: Right. So seeing ZenBusiness cared about the customer was refreshing. That was amazing.
Corie: That’s really good. I’m glad to hear you say that because that is one of our core tenants. Having expert service, also being low cost and fast. So I’m glad you were able to experience our expert service first hand.
Corie: Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting their business and maybe are a little scared? What would you tell them?
Sachit: The best advice I got, when I first started contacting all of these podcasters and people I wanted to work with but kept getting objections, was to just keep going. A lot of times we are closer than we think we are, and the worst thing is to give up right when you’re about to make it. My advice would be if you are starting, just keep going.
Corie: I like that. That’s really good. How has your life changed since you started your business?
Sachit: It’s changed a lot. There’s a quote from one of my mentors. He says, “People don’t have business problems, they have personal problems that get reflected in their business.” You’ll see an evolution where the business changes, reaches its limits, and then I changed personally. Then that gets reflected in the business. I don’t know if it’s healthy or not, but it’s this intertwined thing where one leads to the other and then the other one helps the other.
Corie: That’s cool. Now that your business is taking off, do you feel a little bit less financial pressure or a little more financial freedom from being your own boss?
Sachit: Yes, definitely more than before, but I think I’m reaching a point where it’s becoming more about the craft of doing it than just revenue. There’s an interesting article by one of my favorite writers, Derek Sivers. He talks about how everything he did wasn’t just motivated by the money. For him that was always secondary, a side effect. It was a side effect of following his interest of helping musicians. For me that’s what it really has been, helping creators. Then the financial side is the beneficial side effect of everything else.
Corie: That’s so cool! Can you tell me what is the next thing for your business? What’s your next big project?
Sachit: This year has been really interesting. Really looking back and understanding what we’ve done and what our leverage is now because I started with zero connections and over the last seven years have built more from network and community. Taking that in and understanding how we can serve creators better and better. The next evolution is going to serve that purpose of just helping more creators reach their full potential.
Corie: That’s awesome. Helping creators reach their potential, I think that’s a really noble goal. How can people get involved with your business if they want to learn more about Platform Media? Or maybe they are a podcaster who wants to get involved. How can they get in contact with you or benefit from your services?
Sachit: I’m Sachit Gupta all social media, or they can go to www.platformsmedia.com and just contact us from there. I’d love to talk to them.
Corie: And who are the people who should be contacting you?
Sachit: We generally work with a lot of independent creators, podcasters, authors, and people of that nature or brands who want to partner with them in terms of distribution. Really what we’re building is an ecosystem of both those sides, creators and brands. It’s growing into something I’m now starting to understand.
Corie: Awesome. Is there anything else you want to share with us or any closing notes?
Sachit: I think that would be it. The closing note would be if you’re starting a business go, to ZenBusiness because they make it super easy and they won’t upsell you.
Corie: Thank you so much. I hope that you have a wonderful week, and thank you so much for talking to me!
Sachit: You’re welcome and thank you, too.
This interview was edited for clarity and readability.