Priyanka Gupta Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Business Podcast
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Introducing Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka Gupta is todays guest on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast.
She is a lady from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, North India, who was once a software engineer by education, and also once an investment banker.
But now she is a writer, solo traveller, and art lover and also the founder and editor-in-chief of On My Canvas — a personal growth and travel blog.
Now the key to this lady is her story is about breaking boundaries in conventional India to follow her passion.
As she says “I was neither a writer(blogger) nor an avid traveller until 2016.
In my small hometown, education and work opportunities are limited.
To make a good career, I left my home to study in Rajasthan, a desert state of India. The year was 2003, and I was just 15.
How The Dots Joined Up For Priyanka
In Rajasthan, I prepared to compete in a national-level exam which guarantees a merit-based course in the best engineering institute of India – The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
I studied hard for three years and scored an all-India rank of 78, out of half a million students who competed in the exam.
In 2006, I joined the Computer Science and Engineering B.Tech course in IIT Delhi. I graduated in 2010.
Then I worked in software and investment banking jobs and lived around India in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, and Bangalore.
Throughout my corporate career, I never enjoyed my work. Mostly I was fixing the nuts and bolts of old software or was making the rich richer.
Now I could have worked harder to develop the skills to get more innovation-centered jobs, but I didn’t like the work related to computer science.
Why did I study it then? Because for a girl from a small patriarchal town, IIT and CS were the only way to opportunities. (A lot of Indians first become engineers and then figure out what they want to do.)
The disappointment from my professional life bled into my personal life, too. I was mostly morose.
And that is the perfect place to start todays episode.
So why do few people really give their passions ago, when the story of others following their dreams are all around them?
And would todays guest have moments still when she thinks “ok, this is a sticky time. Should i go back and get a job? It would be easier”
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to join up dots with the one and only Priyanka Gupta
During todays show we discussed such weighty subjects with Priyanka Gupta:
Priyanka talks openly about her belief that there was no going back once she decided that she was going to be a writer and traveller.
Why you don’t have to lose the skills that you have developed throughout jobs that you perhaps were eager to escape from.
We discuss the path to finding the dream business, and why more often than not the dream doesn’t come to you until much later.
Priyanka reveals the steps that she took to get her first teaching position in Chile, after first taking the leap.
How To Connect With Priyanka Gupta
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Priyanka Gupta Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, have a good morning, everybody. Good morning to you and welcome to Join Up Dots. So have you ever had that dream to be travelling the world writing about what you see having experiences and just enjoying your life and making your life your job? Well, today’s guest is doing just that. She’s a lady from a small town in Uttar Pradesh, North India, who was once a software engineer by education and also once an investment banker. But now she’s a writer, solo traveller and art lover and also the founder and editor in chief of on my canvas, a personal growth and travel blog. Now the key to this lady’s Her story is about breaking boundaries in conventional India to follow her passion. As she says I was neither a writer blogger nor an avid traveller until just a few years ago, 2016. And in my small hometown education, work opportunities were limited. So to make a good career, I left my home to study and I, this was the year 2003. And I was just been now in Manchester where I studied I prepare to compete in a national level exam, which guarantees a merit based course, in the best Engineering Institute of India. I studied hard for three years and scored an All India rank of 78, out of half a million students who competed in the exam. Now she did loads of stuff, she worked hard. And throughout her corporate career, she admits she never really enjoyed the work. Mostly, I was fixing the nuts and bolts of old software, or I was making the rich richer, she says, Now, I could have worked harder to develop the skills to get more Innovation Centre jobs, but I didn’t like the work related to computer science. So why did I study it? When she says, Why did I study it? Well, because we’re a girl from a small patriarchal town. It was the only way to opportunities, but disappointment from my professional life bled into my personal life to I was mostly morose. And that is the perfect place to start today’s episode. So why do you few people really get their passion to go when the story of abers following their dreams are all around them? And what today’s guests still have moments when she thinks odd? This is a bit of a sticky time. Should I go back and get a job? I think it might be easier. Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Priyanka Gupta. Good morning, Priyanka, how are you?
Priyanka Gupta [2:56]
Hi, good morning, David. I’m good. How about you? I’m always good. I’m always good. I
David Ralph [3:02]
don’t really work for a living Priyanka just kind of rock up and do this kind of thing. Now, I’m going to talk about that straightaway. Because now I can say that quite flippantly. And I can say, yeah, you know, this is my job. This is what I do. But in the early days, oh, it was a totally different beast, with yourself with a travel blog. Once again, you get to a certain point and the ball gets rolling. But how do you start getting that ball rolling in the early stages, but when you’re actually wanting to make a living from it?
Priyanka Gupta [3:37]
of all, thanks for the great introduction, David. When I started, as I said, as you talked about me that I was neither a very serious traveller, nor writer, nor a travel blogger until 2016. So I was trying to do a lot of things to for that time, I was in a corporate career, I didn’t enjoy it. And I wanted to bring a change to my life to do something that I would love to do. And you know, live at the same time work at the same time have a have a ball rolling all the time. So when I started my blog, I had in my mind that I have to make it work. I have to shift from my job and I have to make this blog work. But I want to write my ideas and where I want to write my travel stories.
Before that time, I was not I had not published much work, but I was still writing on and off in between. I had taken a small writing workshop here in Bangalore, where I am right now
on a couple of weekends, and I started writing after that. I was still taking some online courses. And then I just started the blog. I was reading a lot of blogs, meanwhile, getting a lot of good books, trying to get better at writing. And I started noting down my travel experiences. And so it happens
In 2016, I decided to quit my job. And finally for good, and I travelled to Chile in South America. The plan was to teach English to young Spanish speakers there. And meanwhile, all during my travel and I about got to stay about for nine months in Chile and I travelled in Peru and Bolivia. And I kept writing and I kept travelling. And after that, I came back to India, I started my blog. By the time I had a lot of travel experience, I had some writing experiences. Well, I had quit my job. And I, and I just started on my writing journey. So that’s how it all started. Right? Okay, so there was so much in there, but I wanted to jump in. And one of the things I liked was the fact that you said, I quit my job, the good. You actually said the words for good there was there was no going back. Now. Could you go back? Or have you seen the promised land now and think No, no matter what happens, no matter even if I’m eating noodles out of a stream, for four days, I’m still going to be moving in this direction.
Yeah, there is no going back because I left the job not because there was some problem, or I wanted to leave for a few years, I was on a sabbatical. Now, I wanted to leave it for God, I tried different kinds of jobs, I tried software, I tried investment banking, I tried another kind of finance jobs. So I tried a lot of streams, I tried working in a big company, I tried working in a large company in a startup all of it within a few years, just within a few years. And I realised that this wouldn’t work for me because I do not like computer science work. And if I do not like something, then it is hard for me to really do well at it. And I was not okay, with doing just okay, I want to do something which I could be good at good, I could be great at and enjoy it. So there is no going back for me to the corporate career. Having said that, I still use my computer science knowledge a lot when I’m writing technical articles for a lot of companies who approached me or find me from somewhere and they want me to do some writing for them.
David Ralph [7:15]
This is key as well, because this is what I always think is the sexy time. But you’re you’re moving into a new environment, you’re moving into a new way of life, but you don’t actually have to leave the skills behind. But you’ve developed even if they’re in jobs that you didn’t like, I literally use 95% of the stuff that I used to do when I was in corporate land still in Join Up Dots. A lot of people think that they’ve got to just leave it all behind and create everything new. But that’s not true is it Priyanka?
Priyanka Gupta [7:49]
Now you’re so right, they were like, the kind of skill that we have learned over the years, not just in, in our school in our college. But even while we are working at a desk job, wherever we are put a good ad in the first few years of our career. I think we learn a lot during those growing years. And all those skills really come come together and help us during our later years. Like if you want to work at a presentation. Or if you want to know how to you know handle a database, maybe for your own website, or if you want to hold meetings and conducts talks that you had done maybe during your your job. So for me, I had spent like about four years studying computer science. And I’d spend five to six years at least working closely with the different Nitty gritties of computer science. So I really didn’t want to leave all of it just like that it’s good to keep up with the technology is it’s good to have a scale that you can count on in your hard days in your rainy days. And, and the skill is needed in the world. Like there are a lot of lot of my clients who tell me that we really need a writer, who also has a strong technical background, which is almost, which almost never happens. So this has worked so good for me so far.
David Ralph [9:04]
Now, you say your clients, which is great. So you’ve got people that are seeking you out a course, that’s difficult to get the first one, you know, you need some track record of success. It’s very difficult to say you’re a podcaster until you have released in recorded podcasts. It’s very difficult to say you’re a writer or a travel blogger until you’ve done a bad thing. How do you actually get the first climb because I know so many people out there would love to do what you’re doing, but they’re worried about how they get that ball rolling again.
Priyanka Gupta [9:39]
That’s a very good question, David. Thanks for bringing that up. It’s really hard in the beginning for sure. I can imagine like when you started your podcast, how tough it must have been, you know, you must have wanted to talk to really great people around you. And you’re just in the beginning of your recordings and people don’t really trust you. So when I started calling myself a writer or a blogger
I just launched my website and anyone can launch a website. So I was like, shall I? Or can I really call myself a writer, blogger, you know, I’m not published. I’m not I’m not written a lot. And you know, I’m not one of those prodigies that since I’m nine years old, I’m putting out this poetry that are all over the national Herald or whatever. So I was very insecure about calling myself a writer or a blogger, and people around me who were reading my stuff or reading my articles or reading my stories, they were telling me, no, you’re a great writer. And I told them now, I’m not yet a writer. I can’t call myself that, because
David Ralph [10:36]
why did you think looking back? Now, I know you were saying that at the time. But But why do you think actually, you couldn’t accept that you as a writer, even though people were pointing their fingers at you and saying, you’re a writer.
Priyanka Gupta [10:51]
Because I had just started
my writing journey I had no I was not clearly published anywhere. I was not making a lot of money with writing. And I thought, and there are a lot of, you know, as we would say, dilettante who said that we are, we are doing this, but they don’t really do it. And
David Ralph [11:10]
the learning there is shallow, and the experience there is shallow. And I wanted to be really deep in writing, I wanted to call myself a writer, when maybe I have, you know, a great blog, or maybe when I have a book, or maybe when I’m making enough money to live on writing. And in the first few months, it was not like that, not until at least a year as well. So I restrained from saying that I’m a writer. And I would say, okay, I’ve just started a blog, and I want to tell stories, and I want to write these life ideas. But then slowly, I gathered that confidence, and I started writing more and more, and people would approach me through my website. So again, going back to a question how I got my first client was, I got my first client through my element I connection. So I’m from an engineering college in India, which is one of one of the biggest and one of the greatest from the country. It’s one of the oldest as well. And we have a lot of, I have a lot of engineer friends and people who are now working for companies, they’re on their own companies, some of them are doing PhD and all of that. So one of those not sort of friend, but another person from electrical engineering branch asked me because he was starting his own company, and he wanted me to write for him. And so that’s where I started. Now, I will tell you pre anger, but you are a writer. And I’ll tell you why. Because I started reading your articles in my research. And very quickly, I lost myself in the article and I was in a position that you was writing about your your writing is very descriptive, and it’s very story based. And I’ll give you an example. Okay, I will give you an example. I will probably kill this. But this is just the first paragraph of an article that I was just reading this morning, carrying out backpacks and waddling on the muddy trail near our cottage to go out of the dense boil edge of the Amazon and to the boat, which was to take us into real life. We were so busy admiring the iridescent Blue morpho butterflies typical at the Amazon, that we almost shrieked when the guide shouted something about a leopard. Instantly it hooked me. I was it was a little movie going on in my head. And that’s very different from a lot of the travel blogs that people come to Join Up Dots with where it’s basically telling this what bass have seen, but not really allowing me to be there at the same time. I could sense the mud. I could sense the effort of carrying the backpacks. You took me on that little journey so I would say Priyanka that you will writer
Priyanka Gupta [13:52]
Thank you so much, David. That’s so gracious a few that’s so so encouraging of you. And I’m very happy that you read my articles and you feel this way because that’s one of my sort of motive inspiration agenda, whatever you might call it that I want to tell stories. And I do read a lot of travel box in which it’s mostly like there is a lot of information and I cannot really might imagine myself in that place. So for me, it was always it’s whenever I sit down to write a piece of story, even though Facebook post or Twitter, then I really want to show it to people. Where am I? What am I thinking, what do I see? And I think that’s why that Amazon scene that was the that was the morning that’s still alive in my mind. So thank you a lot for for saying that. I’m a writer. It means a lot. Well, you are a writer, no getting away from it. And I could I could have read more and more than that to the listeners because it was all very descriptive the visions with vibrant I think it’s a very different thing. Okay, so let’s take you back back to that moment.
David Ralph [15:00]
You are in your, your job is not a crappy job. It’s just a job that’s kind of getting you down, you build like you going through the motions you’re building. But your your personal life is being affected. I think most of us that have jumped into a new venture have got to that point where we think I can’t keep on doing this, there’s got to be more to life.
How did you do that? How did you jump? How did you not surround yourself with people that are saying, know what you’re doing? You’ve only got to stay here for another six years? I mean, your be your be the chairman of the company. All those anchors that hold you back? How did you sort of break free from that? Because that’s probably the most difficult part of the journey, isn’t it doing that leap?
Priyanka Gupta [15:46]
For me, I think that was the easiest part. It was, it was one of the strangest thing to do, of course, so the people around me, for my friends, for my family, for my directors at the company, and my boss, who always used to say that you’re doing really well, and you want to continue to have you here, you’re doing a job of two, three people at the same time. You’re good at finance, and you’re good at this, but you want to leave really. And for me, it was as simple as that, that I didn’t love that job. I didn’t enjoy it. I was not honest, neither to myself, not to the company, not to the to the people around because i would i would i was doing the job. Well, I was never, you know, just lazing around and late and not doing my work. But I was not. I was not trying to think out of the box at the job. I was not trying to be innovative. I was not using my talent. I was sort of lingering around. I was sort of surviving. So when I decided I’d so I in mind.
When I quit my job in 2016. That was the second time I quit my job before I was working for a finance startup in 2013. And I had quit my job back then as well. And then I didn’t work for a couple of months, I tried to figure out something I was working around as chefs in a restaurant, I tried to open one of my own restaurant, I almost went for a canary course to Italy, and then just stopped right ahead and joined my final company, which was a big bank. I worked there as an investment banker, I worked it for two years. And in 2016 it was like the final sort of, you know, final decision that Okay, I will not do this anymore. So it wasn’t really, for me as Personally, I didn’t think Oh no, I’m not going to get this salary anymore, or no, what am I gonna do? Or what would people say? Or this is my you know, this has been my life. This has been my career. This has been my education, but I’m going to leave it forward. So I was not really, really very scared about all of that. Yes, I was anxious. And I had these butterflies in my stomach. And I was wondering how it would all work out. But I was not. I didn’t think I didn’t think a lot before quitting. I just like did it every time I had to do it. And were you single you haven’t got children or whatever.
David Ralph [18:13]
At that time. Yeah. When I quit my job. Yeah, I was I didn’t have children. I was single at that time. But do you think it’s different? Because I always say I, you know, I did it. I had five kids, or why I had a mortgage. I had like, the worst start point. But I still did it because you knew you couldn’t do it. It was almost like you were being sucked into a tractor beam of energy, but was just taking you and for five years, I think I could have left at any time. But I just sort of held firm to the job that I was doing until it got to that moment when he just thought I just just have to do it. I just have to do it. There’s no such thing as the right time. But there’s no such thing as the wrong time, I think.
Priyanka Gupta [19:01]
Right? Right. I agree. I think if I even if I had a family, big family at that time, maybe five, six children, I my steps would have been different. But I think I would have definitely tried to create a life of my own that I want. Because even at that time when I quit, I didn’t just quit out of do I did save up a lot of money so that I could survive and you know, don’t have to worry about money at all for at least the next few years. So there’s always a way to do the things that you want to do. And one of the things that people do is that they work hard. Sometimes they work two jobs at the same time, save a lot of money just to be able to take a chance take a chance at life take a chance at their career and do something that they like to do for the next few years and sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t work out. I do think they do work out this is the thing. I think they may not work out how you plan it.
David Ralph [20:00]
But as long as you’re willing to pivot and do things and leave your ego at the door, and and do stuff that maybe weren’t part of the plan, but it gets some money through the door, I think that things always work out. I think there’s too many opportunities out there. And I think there are people that sort of go, right, I’m going to quit my job. And I’m only going to do this. Well, good Anya, but I couldn’t have done it, I did loads of things to just keep sort of like chipping away moving to where I want you to be.
Priyanka Gupta [20:32]
Right? Understand, I think that’s a very good thing that you said about ego, that you leave your ego behind, you keep it in some corner, or you just let it you know, sink to the bottom of the ocean. And then you that’s how you float towards the top. And if you keep going, if you keep swimming, you definitely reach the shore for some people. And for me, I always felt like this. And a lot of people have said this to me, you know, you don’t always have to just leave something behind to go towards the path journey that you want to create, you can sort of assimilate your existing things and work around them and move slowly. And I’ve seen it work for a lot of people, as in your case, as you also say, that you kept doing and kept moving towards where you want it to be. For me, it never seemed to work out like that, because I cannot focus on too many things. At the same time, I like to stay very clear of my path, very clear on my path, and just look ahead on that, and not have too many things because it’s hard for me to juggle.
But having said that, I have written a lot about this as well. Like I’ve written a few articles, articles on career and how to choose a career, how to follow your passion and how my own journey how I quit my job. And one of those articles is specifically this, that when you don’t have a passion or when you don’t want to follow a passion or when you don’t have this one particular thing in your mind, then how do you create a very enjoyable and fun and, you know, satisfying career out of the skills that you have and the education that you have like walking with what you have. And I think that’s like a great thing in itself.
David Ralph [22:12]
Let’s listen to Jim Carrey. And we’ll be back with Priyanka,
Jim Carrey [22:15]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [22:42]
Now, one of the things that I think about doing what you love is that you can’t see what you love. But when you start, you just start doing something vaguely in the area. I do a lot of stuff now, which I adore. But it wasn’t part of my plan at the beginning in any shape or form. I was just going to record podcast episodes and see where it took me now with your business on my canvas, how different is it now in four years to the first kind of content that you produced? Is it more focused in a certain direction, but you you couldn’t see at that time?
Priyanka Gupta [23:20]
Right correctly, it’s, it’s been, it’s been changing throughout. So the one main thing that stays constant about it since the beginning is that I started
on my canvas as an in depth source for life ideas and travel stories, which you know, encourage people to live and travel fully and meaningfully.
They can, they can do things to better themselves, they can see around they can explore and they are not inhibited by by society by social charges, choices or by their own mind. Now how it has changed is that when you start a blog, a lot of people tell you to be really focused on just one niche. So when I write about personal growth articles, or when I write about life inspiration articles and my travel blog or travel writer friends tell me that you should not you know mix these two Nish on your blog. And you should only talk about either travel or either about writing or about personal growth. So I was sort of in a confusion about all these three different genres a lot of times but then I as a as I read more and more as I explored and discovered more and more platforms. And I got to know more writers and creators, I realised that and I started and I started sort of accepting my own ideas behind this as well let a person cannot be really limited to just one one niche, one thought, one hobby, one interest, one passion, there are multiple things that could be interested in and it’s all right to express all of them or to write all of them. So that’s what I did. And that’s what I do now without
Any innovation when I started my blog, it was more of I wrote more about more about personal growth and my life experiences, then I sort of started writing about travel. And then so for a year, I was writing more about travel. And then I’ve mixed both of them. So I write about both frequently, and
that are my skin or my shame, or am I thinking, Okay, this might not work out, or that might not for me, it’s the place where I talk about things where Which I Learned myself as I as I grow along the process. So that has changed a lot. Oh,
David Ralph [25:34]
yeah, I think that’s so true. You know, because when I started Join Up Dots, I remember, I do a little sort of Intro music, I play it. Now, this is the sort of version of that’s the end of Join Up Dots. You heard the conversation. That’s the sort of like that the very first jingle that we had. And after about something like 20 episodes, a guy said to me, I don’t think you should have that music, you should have a different music. And I thought to myself, Oh, oh, he must know. Okay, so I sort of changed and bought in a different beam tune. Now, I play it whenever I want. And my whole business is whatever I want to do. And if I want to have a show that is light hearted and flippant and fun, I release it, because that’s the mood I’m in. And if it’s something that’s a bit more deep and insightful, then once again, it’s the mood I’m in. And I think that comes across big time in your business, where you you understand that it was a rainy day, and you was locked away when you were writing because it’s not all positive. It’s not all flowery, there’s a realism and that can only come from really showing the real person behind the writing or the podcast, or the content, whatever. You just got to do what feels right at that moment and ignore majority of people, don’t you?
Priyanka Gupta [26:52]
Yeah, thanks for sharing your own experience with the davidi have been doing this for so long that I can. And that it’s really good to have your experience as well. Exactly, if I think that’s the main. And now I understand it really well, what I am going to say that if you’re a creator, if you’re an artist, if you’re a writer, if you’re a painter, if you’re a podcast person, if you’re a musician, you have to do what you have to do, you have to do you and you cannot do anyone else, you cannot do that great. Another great blogger, another writer, another musician, because as soon as you start getting to influence you’re not, you’re not honest, and you’re not doing you’re not saying or you’re not painting, what you believe in what you care for, and what got your attention. So as soon as you start doing other people, then it’s not not you on the paper, not you on the on the canvas. And that’s where it sort of goes wrong, or it goes slow. And you feel it because I started feeling it that, okay, I’m trying to be like this person or that person. But I do not have to adhere to these things, I have to be myself and I will do what I like. And of course, it shouldn’t be a diary entry where I’m just talking about myself, the blog should have a takeaway. And as, as long as I follow certain guidelines that is that are associated with good writing and a good blog article. And I’m well, but I have to do me, I cannot do anyone else. And that’s the only way to go. It’s so much easier to be you as well. And no matter how you want to operate, you know, I don’t do a lot of social media, I don’t do any social media. And I still get people saying to me, oh, you really should be doing this, you should really be doing that. It makes no difference to my business, because I operate in a different way. And if you want to be on social media, then do it for the right reasons. Do it because it’s right for you. And it feeds you and it views you because there’s so much isn’t a Priyanka, in online business, that just sucks the energy out of you. If you number one, don’t really understand why you’re doing it, you’re just doing it because other people are doing it. And secondly, you can’t see how it fits into your business. Once again, you’re just doing it because other people doing it. And then it becomes a churn. And it becomes Oh, I’ve got to write another blog post or I’ve got to find another picture to put onto Instagram, all those kind of things. Take away the energy of what you should be doing. And that is fueling yourself, making yourself feel better because then the quality of the work is better. You see what I’m saying?
I completely agree about social media and other things because there is so much to consume these days. And as people who ourselves we produce a lot of I wouldn’t say content content as people who ourselves we produce a lot of a lot of art and a lot of, you know, shows and loads of writing. We need to really understand how to consume plus how to how to give value to others how to add value to other lives.
Sometimes I also try doing all of it. And I know a lot of people around me who struggle and who try to do all of it, like they want to be on their blog, they want to have a podcast they want to have, and not even one blog is enough. These days, people have 234 websites. And then they have an Instagram account, or maybe two, or maybe three, and then Twitter. And then you know, there are so many, and there is one social media app every other day, one new app. So I think you learn all these things on the journey, when you get your hands dirty. That’s only when you understand what all it doesn’t have, and where the real value lies and what works for you. Some people suggest just doing to social media, some say Do whatever you want. For me personally, I started with like almost no social media, I was the kind of person who would never post a picture of myself having a cup of coffee or even travelling somewhere like very rarely, but I do it. And then I was in this stream of travel blogging, or just blogging in general, I saw the people have Instagram accounts and everything else. So I started very slowly. Now I have I do it on two, three accounts, and I schedule all my social media and some I haven’t done like Instagram for six or seven months. So it’s really very, very important where you spend your energy, not just in presenting your work to others, but also in consuming.
David Ralph [31:23]
And even when I make a tweet, or when I share something on Facebook, I just have this constant thought in my mind that how do I add value to others through these two, three lines? Why would someone read this? And if I can’t answer that question, then I don’t write what I plan to. Brilliant. Yeah, I love that. It’s all about the value. And that’s the theme, that’s the spine of the business. That is what you have to be very well. And your colleagues that said, you know, you should just write about this, you should just write about that. But they are not basically right. They are because when a business becomes too eclectic, it becomes confusing. But if you understand your audience well enough, Ben Beau’s issues kind of fall to the wayside Don’t be they they become something that doesn’t really matter, because you understand who you’re speaking to.
Right? Because then those streams are of those different directions, sort of, you know, all go towards, towards the same towards maybe the same area. Because if you understand what your audience like, what they are reading, what, what excites them, what does, what do they get out the value from, and you do that, do more of that, then all that adds up. So I do not go, I also do not go beyond, you know, field of focus. Like it’s not like one day, I will start writing about, let’s say, I don’t know, maybe let’s say music, because there are a few particular genre that I stick to. And most of my thoughts, most of my ideas, most of my writing revolves around them. And I see that my readers are of the switch between my articles, sometimes they want to read some life idea. Sometimes they want to read why I quit my job. And sometimes they’re interested in a travel story. So and one thing that I keep common across everything is storytelling, and giving something fun to read, even if it’s an article upon, you know, building a routine, I would try to make it readable and fun. So that’s those are the things that I keep constant. I have five pillars of Join Up Dots that I keep in my head all the time. And I don’t think I’ve ever shared this, if I have shared it, I don’t know. But this is what I kind of do. When it started off, it was very much about taking the leap. It was all about talking to people that took the leap. But then I realised through going through the journey myself that there’s there’s a mindset element to it to creating a business, you’ve got to believe that you’re a writer, and you’ve got to believe it before other people say it to you. And you’ve got to believe your base, you’ve got to believe your back. And when you can get overwhelmed by everything and exhausted. So there’s a health element that comes in. So we’ve my podcast is pretty much an episode about the leap. It’s mindset. It’s certainly health. It’s business information. And then it’s the technical stuff now, which we weren’t doing a lot of at the very beginning. But it could be things about doing backlinks it could be doing about website design. It’s all the kind of nitty gritty stuff that make up a business. But as long as it fits within those five elements, I know that I’m keeping close enough to what I need to offer to the world. And I don’t deviate from that.
David Ralph [34:48]
That was good. That was a good answer. You were blown away by my passion there. And you just came back right now. That’s fine. So let’s take it back again because you moved to Chile. Okay.
Now, what’s that plan? Did you just turn up in Chile? Or did you find a job out there before you went? How did that happen?
Priyanka Gupta [35:11]
I went to Chile.
As part of a programme there is the government of Chile runs this programme called English open doors in collaboration with the United Nations. So they want to encourage students and everyone in Chile, but they start with the students in the school, they want them to learn English while they are going up, because they want to promote English in the country so that all the citizens can later go on and travel around the world or they can work anywhere, you know, the benefits of learning another language English, mostly because it’s, it’s used in many other countries. So I was part of that programme. It’s a volunteer programme. So I applied to it. And they take about, I forgot the exact number, but they have I think about hundred volunteers every year. And the volunteers get spreads throughout Chile to teach English so I applied to that programme, I got selected. It was a four month programme and I could be placed anywhere in Chile. So I just booked a ticket and left for that after I quit my job. And did you know that you were going to be good at it? Because I you know, without sounding rude. I’m blown away by your English, but I’m blown away by every non English person’s English were were terrible. The the people from the United Kingdom can barely speak English ourselves. And you’re an Indian lady, absolutely fluent in English, going over to Chile to speak Spanish people? Did you know that you could just deal with it? Or was it going to be a car crash waiting to happen? You know? How did you gain the competence?
I was not at all worried about the English part of it. Because I have studied English since I am two and a half years old. In my school. The main medium of the language was English, we would as little children, we started speaking English, I could only speak to my teachers in English and not in Hindi, if it was not the Hindi or Sanskrit class. So English was never the difficult part of it. Of course, you think about your capabilities as a teacher, right? Because I had not been a professional teacher, I’ve don’t have a teacher’s degree. All I have is my English skills. And I had taught in India before two children once as part of some programme again. So when I applied for the programme, I remember thinking about the essay questions that you get were you described, and you have that makes you think that why you would be good as a teacher. And I started writing, and try to make very good answers to those questions. And then when I went there, actually, those answers helped me because I, I decided to be very patient with the children, I was very gentle with them. And I didn’t expect myself to be that way that you know, I would be put in a class of maybe 30 students, and they were from the classes like seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th standard, and 30 of them together. And they don’t speak any English, they only speak Spanish and they want to talk to each other and they want to do all this, they will play all these games. And then slowly I picked it up, I realised how I have to be. And it’s not more about having a very perfectly monitored 40 minutes or 15 minutes class. It’s about how I am with them and how I encourage them to learn English. That was the goal of the programme that you encourage the children to, to continue learning English. And so I think I learned how to do that. And I went on from that. So
David Ralph [38:54]
they had the short answer is no, I was not scared about English at all. But I was definitely scared about being a good teacher. Now, as we’re talking at the moment, we are dealing with a pandemic across the world. So dependent on when you listen to this podcast. 2020 was a weird year for all of us. And certainly somebody that’s doing a travel blog, where suddenly you can’t travel anywhere. How are you dealing with that and what what are you using as inspiration on a daily basis when you might be marooned in a certain town for a lot longer than expected?
Priyanka Gupta [39:31]
Yeah, definitely debit 2020 has been very different and very hard for a lot of people.
So when it comes to that, and I think it was February, February, March, sort of the time when travel had started coming to a halt and we were listening from around like a very good friend Singapore. She told me she can’t come to visit me because you know, Singapore was getting locked down already and it was just February.
So at that time, I just I had just gone
Towards small wildlife National Park in India in the end of February for two, three days. And when I came back after that I, I realised that it’s all just shutting down. So what I decided to do was to really make use of the time and focus on my writing. And because I do different genres of writing, not just travel and the life inspiration as well, and other growth ideas as well. So I focused on doing all these different kinds of writing, reading more books, and focusing on other things like exercising every day and making good food, spending time with my partner, and then going to bed with a bowl, and then getting up next day following a routine. And then sitting down to write and not thinking about when I would be able to travel again, this helps that I live in a very green part of my city, that’s Bangalore, right now in southern India. So I have a very open water, vast green land in front of me that I can see. And it makes me feel that I’m in a very open space, it inspires me. And I forgot to think about things that I cannot do. So I just, it just went down for me that way. Like I knew that it’s not easy to travel right now. And I shouldn’t. And I focused on my art, I focused on my writing. And then in I think the lockdown opened up in May. And then things started slowly opening up here, though, we still have a lot of cases in India, in Bangalore also. And in September, I did go away for a month in a very remote coffee, a state of South India where
David Ralph [41:36]
there was nobody there. And there’s a lot of mountains and nature and lakes. So we did a lot of isolated hikes, and we went to a few lakes. And that sort of gave me my energy back. But I know it’s some people have not been able to do even that even go out for a day or two days. And it must been really hard. Yeah, at the moment, as we’re speaking, we’re in national lockdown. So you can’t go anywhere. Yeah, you’re basically from your house. I’m fortunate I walked to the back of the garden where my recording studio is, and and then back to the house. And pretty much that’s life until you go to bed in the evening. And I personally found a period of time where I was feeling really tired. And I’ve spoken to loads of people. And it seems to be it was the uncertainty. And it was the restrictions and the fact that you couldn’t do anything. So your body kind of started going into hibernation, it was very, very difficult to just keep on producing content, keep on wanting to do it when your body went, I can’t be bothered, I can’t be bothered. It was a real mental aspect I think we’ve been through.
Priyanka Gupta [42:41]
Right, David, I’m so sorry to hear about that. It’s it’s been like that, right? I talk to my friends and they tell me the same things. And we all we all felt this sort of lack of routine, just staying at home. And no one’s work responsibilities have decreased there as many. And but people have been so let down. So restricted, we cannot go out, we cannot go to a restaurant, we cannot go on a drive, we cannot. Almost all the things that a human enjoy on a daily basis
couldn’t be done. And that sort of puts the body and mind in a sort of just as you said correctly, just hibernation, just just being there and not wanting to come out not wanting to do anything not wanting to even stand in the sun sometimes. So that has been really hard. And what I have just tried to do throughout this time to just keep on going is what has helped me and I know that not everyone could do it. But like exercising every day and making my body move, maybe just dancing sometimes in my own house on my balcony, and listening to music and just trying to just trying to shake that feeling off that we have not been able to do much. Because the more you sort of get, you know sucked into that it’s it’s really hard. Like you said you were just walking back from your garden to your house. And I know that there’s a lockdown going on the UK, and you cannot really do much. So these are the times which we get really tested as to what how to how to go on day by day like how to take the day by it’s very hard, and has it affected you financially, the 2020 it has it been more difficult to get paid jobs.
It has been both good and bad for me.
I tried not to focus at all on the projects that I lost because as the year began, I was in terms in contact with a lot of good companies a lot of good collaborations. I was getting new clients who wanted me to write them I was also starting to generate good affiliate income from my blog. And then I suddenly saw that all of this just zeroed down as March April came everything. Everything just you know dipped dip so low but then
So very fortunately, and I’m very, very grateful for all the opportunities that came my way. Because a lot of people, a lot of companies still wanted me to write for them. And I got some new clients and I got some new people who wanted to work with me. So I support that ways it was good. So I had both like, good and bad, I lost some and I got some.
David Ralph [45:22]
Don’t ask for more than that, can you really well, let’s listen to Steve Jobs. And then we’ll be back with Priyanka.
Steve Jobs [45:28]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [46:03]
So when you look back, I think we’ve already touched on this, your dots join up quite clearly the skills that you’ve built up the knowledge base, the passion, the enthusiasm. Was it obvious as you was moving through it? Could you see the dots as stepping stones moving forward? Or has it always been like most of us, moving into that fog? Until you can see the clearing? And the space? And the clarity?
Priyanka Gupta [46:32]
Not at all?
Not at all. David, when I was going through the journey when I was working these restaurant jobs, or when I was you know, thinking, Okay, I’ll go to Italy and do a culinary course. Or when I when I went to Chile or even before that a lot of times I couldn’t really see clearly, I was just this girl, just this person trying to do something trying to figure it all out. And in the process. Also bit worried that will it ever will I ever figure it out? So no, no, not at all. And then what would be the big dot when you look back on it that the moment when confidence hit? And you thought Yes, I think I’ve got this, I can see where I’m heading.
I think that would be about the time that I went to South America. And I have just left my job a couple of months ago as already started travelling. And from that point on, because that was like a major step that I had taken, I had given up my apartment, I had given up my work I had decided that I would start writing more sincerely, I would make a career out of it. And I just took this leap. And even though when I took the leap, maybe I was not that confident about it. I knew somewhere inside me that it will work out. But it would not I was I wouldn’t be able to say 100% you know, okay, this will work out. But when I took the leap at that, that moment really helped me that leap helped me, it made me understand that if I can do this,
David Ralph [48:07]
if I can have the courage to jump, then of course I can do it, I just have to go on. So that became like, I think for me, I can say that when I after I’ve taken the decision, I was more shocked about it than before. And the key thing to every episode of Join Up Dots is you genuinely haven’t got a plan. You’ve got a kind of vague direction, you’ve got a passion, you’ve got an enthusiasm, but anybody who sits there that thinks they’ve got to create this business plan and understand where every part is going to move. I kind of think, well, maybe there are people out there that can do that. But I certainly couldn’t do it. I just had to keep on doing stuff until it kind of made sense to me.
Priyanka Gupta [48:53]
Right? I think it all works out differently for everyone.
For you, you have your journey, when I hear about it makes me think that, you know David has done things that he sort of like to do when he kept moving in a direction that he thought would fit well for him later on, while managing the things that you had on your hand. And you couldn’t just let go of them at that time. And of course, maybe you didn’t want to. So there are very different different paths. I think everyone’s path is very different. And we can never compare. And as you said earlier in the show that
David Ralph [49:29]
it definitely works out. If you go Go ahead, it definitely works out. He always does. I promise you, you’ve just got to keep the passion. You’ve got to learn from your mistakes. You’ve got to just keep moving forward. And I was talking to a guy yesterday and he had a business and then he closed it down and now he’s opened it up again. And he said is like he’s got new eyes and I said of course you have because you’ve got the experience of doing it the first time of what didn’t work, you know, you’ve just got to keep riding those waves. Well, this is the part of the show that we’ve
been building up to. And this is a part of the show that we always build up to what we call the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send Priyanka, back in time to have a one on one with her younger self. And if she could go into the room and speak to her younger version, what age would she speak to? And what advice would she love to give her? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m gonna play the music. And when it fades, it’s bad time to talk. It is the Sermon on the mic.
We go with the best bit of the show.
Priyanka Gupta [50:48]
Thanks for the buildup, David. So if I would go back in time, and I would talk to, I think I would talk to a 20 to 23 year old Priyanka who had just graduated. And she was she just joined a corporate job, and was trying to figure it all out, in my first job, I got bored. So if I can just look from a distance and say, I would say that, eventually it all works out this journey, that we all go on, to find our purpose, and to find good work to build good work career, and to surround ourselves with good people, we go on this journey. And this eventually always works out. But we have to have more belief in content and confidence in ourselves. So if you have more belief in yourself, if you’re confident about who you are about what you want to do, it will all work out to not worry so much.
You know, you’ve done so much since the beginning, when you were so young, when you were 15 years old, you left your hometown, and you left your family to live with strangers to study and make something of your life because, and you did. So you are a very perceiver and hardworking a good person with a good souls. Good soul. So don’t be scared of going after your dreams. Go after the things you believe in things you care for. If you keep going, they’ll all come to you. Because that is what that is what I’ve seen happening in my life all the time. So even though you would go through this time, it would be tough. And you’d wake up most days not knowing what you can do. Is it the right decision that you took, but it worked out?
Or maybe you made the wrong choice? Maybe it was not the best of all, maybe you shouldn’t have left your job or would writing work for me or not. So if you think that you believe in certain things, have confidence, let go let go off of this, you know, things that are pushing you behind and go on. And it would be good for you
David Ralph [53:01]
and do not take everything so seriously. Everything works out with the time Believe in your goodness. And that will that will take you a long way. Yeah, absolutely. Of course it will. So Priyanka, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Priyanka Gupta [53:18]
The best way to connect with me is through my website, which is on my canvas.com. I also have a Twitter account by the handle at Gupta pranky. I have I have a Facebook account with on my canvas blog. If you type on my canvas blog, you’ll find me My email address is also on the blog and you can always reach out to me at hello at on my canvas.com where all the links.
David Ralph [53:48]
Yeah, we’ll have all the links in the show notes to make it as easy as possible. So just come over to Join Up Dots look for the most recent show, and then you’ll find Priyanka Priyanka, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots of your life. And please come back again when you got more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is always the best way to build our futures. Priyanka, thank you so much.
Priyanka Gupta [54:14]
Thank you so much, David, for having me. It was lovely chatting with you. It was so much fun. Thanks for all what you’re doing for having all the different people on your show and talking to them and introducing them to the world. We are very thankful. Thank you so much.
David Ralph [54:30]
So do you fancy travelling the world being a travel blogger writing because it’s one of these things, you know, she isn’t just writing about what she’s seeing. She’s writing about other subjects because once you get known as a writer, you can branch into different things. I’ve got a maid called Neil Hughes, who’s the tech writer, and he researches things on behalf of other people when he goes right now I don’t know whether that was part of his plan at the beginning. But now that’s a big part. about business. And we Priyanka, she was saying that she had a client call with somebody who wanted her to write about artificial intelligence. So it’s not just about you, travelling the world looking at windows and writing about what you’re doing. It’s about developing the skills of being a writer. But you can take in many different directions. And once you do that, business kind of just comes to you, you’re providing a need, you’re providing a value to people who can’t do what you do. Okay? So, think about it. If you want to travel the world, maybe this is the route to go and if you want more information on that, then come over to Join Up Dots and connect with Priyanka through her resources, and I’m sure she will be able to help you and direct you in to pastures new. Until next time, my brains you look after yourself and I will see you again. All the best Cheers. Bye.