Raman Sehgal Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
Introducing Raman Sehgal
Raman Sehgal is the Founder of several niche companies including ramarketing, a multimillion-dollar international agency that helps companies get noticed in the global life science space.
As an entrepreneur, Raman embarked on a business journey that ultimately spanned the Atlantic—from a spare room in the Northeast of England to the bustling streets of Boston, Massachusetts, where he lives today with his wife and three sons.
As an author, keynote speaker, podcaster, blogger, Forbes Agency Council member, and guest university lecturer, Raman shares his knowledge, mistakes, and learnings in an honest manner that will hopefully help others’ journey.
One of his favourite mottos is “sharing is caring, right?”, which is reflected in the impact that his work has on other businesses and individuals alike.
Raman just launched his book, The Floundering Founder, which contains 24 lessons to refocus your business and better yourself, and collects the essential tools and learnings that can have the greatest, long-term impact.
So from the kid that was best known for selling (and eating) chocolate, crisps and candy in his high school what was the biggest dot that made his journey all make sense?
And where does he see the biggest part of floundering that all founders do as they find their place in the business world?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Raman Sehgal
During the show we discusses such weight subjects with Raman Sehgal such as:
Raman talks openly about the fledgling start to his business life and why the plan was never more concrete than just earning some cash to go travelling.
We discuss the crossroads that most entrepreneurs go through when health and lifestyle start to clash with their business dreams.
Raman reveals why it is so important to focus in on the love of a business before you start to focus in on the cash generation
Why he felt the need to put his life lessons into his new book to help others find their own way in life like he has his own.
How To Connect With Raman Sehgal
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Full Transcription Of Raman Sehgal Interview
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and life you will of course, are dreaming of. Let’s join your host David route from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another JAM PACKED episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:39]
Yes, good morning to you. Good morning to you and welcome to another episode of Join Up Dots. This is an interview show this is gonna be with a guy that has has wandered for clue sprinkling success wherever he is. He’s the founder of several niche companies, including remarketing, a multimillion dollar international agency that helps companies get noticed in the global life science space. Now he’s an entrepreneur, and he embarked on a business journey, but ultimately spanned the Atlantic from a spare room in the Northeast of England, to the bustling streets of Boston, Massachusetts, where he lives today with his wife and three sons. He’s actually in England as he’s speaking to me at the moment. Now as an author, keynote speaker, podcaster, blogger, Forbes, agency, Council Member and guest university lecturer. He shares his knowledge, mistakes and learnings in an honest manner, but will hopefully help others journey one of his favourite mottos is sharing is caring, which I think comes from Barney the Dinosaur, which is reflected in the impact that his work has on other businesses and individuals alike. And he’s just launched his book, The floundering founder, which contains 24 lessons to refocus your business and better yourself, and collects the essential tools and learnings that can have the greatest long term impact. So from the kid that was best known for selling and eating chocolate, crisps and sweets in his high school, what was the biggest doc that made his journey all makes sense? And where does he see the biggest part of floundering but all founders do as they find their place in the business? Well, well, let’s find out as we Join Up Dots with the one and only Raman Sehgal. Good morning, Rama. How are you?
Raman Sehgal [2:22]
I’m very well, David. It’s great to be here. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
David Ralph [2:25]
It’s lovely to help you. I feel I feel like I feel connected to you. And I’ll tell you why I feel connected to you, is because you’re very transparent. In fact, you didn’t really have a plan, it kind of almost built around you, you actually call yourself the accidental agency owner. And I’m always wary of those kids that from the age of three say, Yes, I always wanted to be the CEO of a major national company. And I think I never had that I just kind of stumbled around until I found my thing. Is that the way that it generally happens, do you think or is the weld got plans? But I never heard never heard?
Raman Sehgal [3:07]
It’s a great question. I mean, certainly, from my experience, I think most entrepreneurial journeys happen, through feel and through opportunity, where you see something and you just kind of lean into it. It’s interesting, because my experience, I think, people that start companies and have a very clear exit plan, or they want to raise finance and do all the kind of fancy stuff that they see tech companies do. Nine times out of 10, they spend other people’s money and it fails miserably. And then they will talk about how failure is the greatest thing. But whereas my experience has been very different, which is you kind of learn as you go along the journey, you take advice from people around you who have been on a similar path. And And therein lies the excitement of it, because it’s just uncertain, an unknown. So certainly my, my lessons have been very much organic, you know, the business is that I’ve started, particularly remote learning was, was never intended to become what it has become. It was genuinely intended to be a side project, like a freelance gig, and I can earn a bit more money. So my wife and I could go travel and that was that was about as much strategy that went into it. And then yeah, you know, as time moved on it, I kind of figured, actually, there’s something in this and, and the journey just continued and we’ve pivoted, and we’ve moved with the times, and we’ve, you know, become more specialist and an international during the years. But, you know, if I, I can’t go back on day one and say, Well, that was the grand plan. It never was. And I’d say the the are the exceptions to the rule that have a clear planning unless you’re Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, but again, I look back at their journey in the books I’ve read about them and they had their journeys. They had to make it up as they went along early on, and it just ended up being mega mega successful in their own Right.
David Ralph [5:00]
But I think the thing that made them mega successful, I don’t know if you’ve seen that a three parter on BBC iPlayer. At the moment, the Elon Musk show. It’s a great watch. And I’ve mentioned this a couple of times on podcast episodes. But the biggest thing that came out of it when I was watching them, was their inability to ask permission by just basically do stuff. And don’t even consider, but hang on, you might have to get this signed off. Maybe there’s a council that actually has to give you the green light to do this by just kind of steam forward with such momentum that other people get sucked in with them. Now, with your own business, I’m interested in the global life science space element of it, because I looked at that, and I don’t actually know what that is, what what what is that? And how can you niche down into something? And I suppose the biggest question is, that leads them together. Did you know what that was before you niched into it?
Raman Sehgal [6:03]
I? That’s a good question. It’s a bit of both of those now, and I’ll come on to talk about it. Because I’ll tell you what, what it is. And, in essence, if you you or your that whoever’s listening has had a COVID vaccine, for example, there’s a high chance that our clients would have been involved in the development, manufacture, packaging, testing, distribution of that vaccine to ensure it kind of safely arrives in your arm. So our clients actually live in the kind of supply chain or the or the outsourcing space, that ecosystem that supports new drug development. So whereas you know, the majority of the industry is dominated by big pharmaceutical companies, and well, finance, biotech companies who are all effectively developing new medicines, new treatments that are designed to help patients all over the world. There’s an entire kind of industry that sits underneath that, which is effectively supports those companies in getting the drug from just an idea through clinical trials and ultimately, to kind of market which are few and far between. But it’s, as you can imagine, it’s a never ending journey of drugs that are constantly developed and tested and hopefully end up helping patients. So that’s, that’s the market where we play in, which is, as you mentioned, is a super niche market.
David Ralph [7:26]
And just jumping into that. Romain, you didn’t have a medical background or anything, you didn’t study medicine.
Raman Sehgal [7:33]
No, I didn’t actually in to the second part of your, your question. So I stumbled across this in my first ever marketing agency job. And, you know, Lady Luck kind of shone on me when one of my first clients was a lady called Fiona Cruikshank. And she was running a pharmaceutical contract manufacturing business. And, you know, I was just fresh based, you know, post graduated and became an account executive on that client. And, and I just found the whole industry quite fascinating. And I kind of educated myself on it, I learned about it. But also, what I’ve worked out quite early on was it was quite an old school way of marketing within that industry. You know, very few, for example, this was in the early 2000s, very few had a web presence, very few knew what SEO or kind of pay per click advertising or any of that kind of good stuff, which is very common amongst different businesses now, but in those days, very little thought it was going into how do we attract customers digitally. And so that kind of marketing piece that I had, I kind of applied to a relatively conservative, traditional industry. And, and I just enjoyed it, and I liked the people and I love the global aspect of it as well. So, you know, a relatively young age, I found myself in the US or in, in Europe, where I’m at trade events and just meeting people and, and kind of just getting to know the sector. And that ultimately led me down the path of building a bit of an expertise in this area. So my first few clients were clients in this space. And that was very much the genesis of the business. And what actually happened Interesting enough, and you know, going back to your previous question of like, entrepreneurs kind of make it up as they go along. When I when we kind of got going in 2009. We ended up just attracting other types of clients. So for five, six years, you know, we launched a TV channel we worked with, I mean, Sarah Davies, who’s one of the dragons on Dragon’s Den, her business Crafters Companion was a client of ours. For years, we worked in on bars and restaurants and hospitality and we had loads of different clients. But we always had this solid core of clients in this kind of niche life science space. And then it led to me having a bit of a meltdown, which I can happily talk about, in about 2015 16 Where was very much a crossroads moment where I decided just to pivot the business and focus everything on this space. But we just quite a bit of I look back now is pretty crazy courageous decision because it meant actually walking away from half of our existing revenue at the time.
David Ralph [10:14]
But But most people do that, you know, I’ve interviewed 3000 plus people. I’ve done the same myself that I talk about cute burnout, to the point that I was just going to close everything down. But I think it’s those moments remark that actually make us realise, hang on, it’s time to prune the garden, get rid of all the stuff that we don’t actually need and focus in on the ones that are bearing fruit. And so I think those kind of meltdowns. So as burnouts, although you don’t want them are actually a way of going, hang on? Hang on, I’m taking on too much here, it’s time to get focused.
Raman Sehgal [10:56]
Totally agree. It’s a kind of clearing of the closet moment. Yeah, mine, mine happened almost. And actually, this is, this is documented right at the start of the book. And this is where the book actually the the idea came from, which was, on one hand, it was I did some analysis in the business where I looked at all of our clients. And there’s a framework and a matrix that we have in the book, which kind of has the idea where you can classify your clients by maintenance and profit. So in the whole, you want high profit, low maintenance clients. And what I found is most of all, high profit, low maintenance clients perform the life science, pharmaceutical sector, whereas the high maintenance, low profit type types of clients were absolute nightmare clients were from the other kind of sectors. And that was a kind of piece of analysis that ultimately led me to kind of give me the validation that actually let’s just focus on this space. But at exactly the same time, to your point, David, it was kind of a personal, like, I just, I felt like I’d hit a bit of a brick wall, I’d been running the business for six years, and I was a bit all over the place. And, and just just just struggling in terms of keeping everything together. And I read a really interesting book called I think it’s called that it’s either the Miracle Morning or the morning miracle, I always give it the wrong way around. But that book really kind of, I think I’ve read it in 2015, almost exactly the same time, we’ve pivoted the business. And it really made me think about time for myself and how to invest in myself as a as a, as a business owner, because you self David, like you, when you run businesses or even a business, it absolutely consumes you. It consumes your mind, it consumes your body, it consumes every thing about you. And for me, it was a book I read at that time just was a bit of a you need to find time to invest in yourself your own development and your own learning. And I’m happy to talk about that. But that was I’m sure many of your listeners that run businesses will probably resonate with that, that there’s a point on that journey where, you know, it is a bit of a crossroads clearing, you know, what am I going to focus on? What am I going to spend my time on? And I also thought about what what I’d regret in the future if I didn’t do and that was an important way of giving me some clarity over where to focus my attention. I think
David Ralph [13:12]
the book you’re talking about is by a guy called how Elrod right that’s the one yeah, he was on Join Up Dots all must be eight years ago now. And I remember he he died twice from memory got hit by a car and died and and then realised that the first 15 minutes of each day is the way to do it. Now what I’ve discovered because I actually ran five businesses, and there was a time that I was juggling plates. And overtime, I was spinning from that plate and that plate and trying to keep everything going. And it brought me to my knees. And so I what I say now I’m a plate balancer, where some of the businesses don’t really need to be spun. So I just keep an eye on the plate. And it’s just sort of like it’s balanced on the poll. And then others might need a little bit more help. So I go and focus on them. So I’m very big now on looking at what needs to be done. Instead of going, Oh, yes, I’m, you know, like Elon Musk, for example. He breaks everything into five minutes. And so he does five minutes on this, and then a five minute meeting on that. I’d go under, I’d go under doing that I need to have that breathing space of going. No, this is where it’s important. This baby’s crying at the moment, I’m going to pick this up. Do you feel the same way in your own life? Now? Have you got more of a focus on what needs to be done? When and even if it means that it’s you that needs to be done? You’re willing to walk away from the business and focus on yourself?
Raman Sehgal [14:41]
I’d say yes, definitely. But it’s it’s an It’s a never ending challenge. Right. And I think people that think they can attain that kind of concept of work life balance are a living a bit of a kind of fallacy in the sense that i i I remember reading a book a few years ago, I think it’s called the one thing and I remember learning about this idea that that certain times in your life, you’re the balance will be shifted towards work at certain times, the bonds will be shifted toward leisure and pleasure and sometimes towards family, in health, etc. And it’s just recognising, and being self aware that you need to tip the balance the other way. And so I am very mindful of my time, I’m a bit of a productivity kind of obsessive, not at the five minute Elon Musk level. But you know, every single day is planned in what I’ll be doing this day. And I also have in again, you kind of grow and you’re like, I’ve grown in my business, my role has evolved over over the years. So I’m not kind of doing all the day to day work that I was when I first started. And so there’s, you know, a few key things that I need to focus on as part of my role, which may ensure that I’m adding the greatest value to the businesses that I’m involved in. And so my to do list, if you like in my the way I structure an idea is around, making sure that they are aligned to those key aspects. And that kind of keeps me aligned, if that makes sense. But yeah, I also, I’ve got three young kids as well. So it is also just making sure you have the time and the energy to spend enjoy that time with the kids, which again, is easier said than done. But my wife and I work very hard. And making sure we’ve always got things to look forward to like you said, David, like, I’m not like money isn’t my greatest concern anymore. It’s a very kind of privileged position to be in. And what that allows us to do is always have things, things booked into, you know, we’re going to Edinburgh, this weekend with my best friend nears family, and then you know, we’re going I’ve gone to the World Cup, football cup when in a few weeks time and then we’ve got Christmas. And then we’ve got holidays planned. And the idea of always having things to look forward to, I think is so crucial just to kind of keep you keep you positive and optimistic about the future.
David Ralph [16:56]
I agree with that, totally, we’re speaking to a man we’d be back after these words,
Jim Carrey [17:00]
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 [17:27]
Now, Ramin, I, I’ll be honest with you, the vast proportion of my entrepreneurial life hasn’t been doing what I love. There’s been elements of what I love. But a lot of it was just crazy. Is this going to work? Is this going to pay a bill? Is this going to allow me to move on for a couple more months doing this? And there were stages in the early days, but I I seriously considered just getting a job in Tescos. But would just give me a little bit more income that would make it easier I never did. But I used to think oh, she’s just you know, that make it a little bit easier, then just keep on pushing, pushing, pushing? How much a bit Do you love? And have you had those moments? When you think to yourself, I need to take a back step, I need to step away from the dream to make the dream actually move forward.
Raman Sehgal [18:18]
I think there’s been moments but I do think there were fleeting, and often a reactive mindset to just whatever’s going on in the moment. And once you know, a bit of time passes, you’re like, God can’t believe I was thinking like that. And so for me, I think I do enjoy what I do. But I think that is key we know, particularly my main role that Remarketing is is it’s very marketing driven. It’s very specific to the pharmaceutical supply chain that we work in and I do enjoy the industry, I enjoy making contacts, I enjoy doing the content and you know, kind of meeting new people and all the good stuff that I have to do as part of my role. I do think that’s a key part of, of having a successful life generally is, you know, whether you’re running a business or whether you’re working at a checkout, if you care what you do, then you’re probably going to be unhappy. And it doesn’t matter how much money that you make. I think that you know, my experience with money for example is once you start earning a certain level of money to kind of the impact of what it can do feel like starts diminishing at some point. And you know, it it’s great to have money and it’s very an enabler of good stuff, but there’s definitely a point at which where its impact kind of drops slightly so I do personally for me, I think it’s important to to do something that you love, love because you’ve got more chance of being passionate about it and giving it your all etc, etc. And I know I respect people that start businesses that they have no idea about or they have no passion about but that wouldn’t work for me personally just because I’m I Love the impact we make on the businesses that we work with the impact that we make on our team members, lives, like, you know, I’ve watched team members, when you start with me 1213 years ago, and I’ve seen them go on a journey from buying their first car buying, you know, renting their first place moving out, you know, getting that first apartment and buying a house and get married and having kids and watching them go through these life goals and knowing that you’re helping enable them that is, that’s an amazing privilege to and
David Ralph [20:28]
how do you deal with it when, when that reliable staff member that’s been with you, the employee suddenly does the crazy thing and kind of screws you over? We’ve all had that were my most reliable staff members that you would go by will always be there suddenly go Looney Tunes for a few days and cause you issues? How do you deal with that?
Raman Sehgal [20:52]
Yeah, I mean, that’s it. That’s a, that’s a difficult one. I mean, I think there’s two aspects that come to mind. The first for me is I think sometimes when you grow a business, and it gets bigger and bigger, and it gets better, it’s a bit like, I liken it to like if a soccer team from your mountain lessons, or a football team that go into the division is almost like moving up the division. So you start as a no Division team, and you know, you move up to the top level, you know, the Premier League, or the Champions League or varsity level, but whatever you want to use. And, you know, if you think about a team going through that journey, the chances are the same bodies will the same players on day one are not going to be the one. So I think an element of it is you learn as you go on that journey, that you just simply outgrow people. And that’s, that’s a hard thing to get to. And but again, that’s just part of the journey. And it is difficult at times when you have to say no to people like you adore because they’re good people, and they’ve been there for a while, but they’re just not, you know, they’re not not necessarily going to make that next level. And then the other the other side of things that people are screw you over. And you know, I’ve got two or three specific incidents that have happened in my journey where people I trusted and given my all and you know, thought that they’d be there forever decided, actually the whatever they decided to do, it was it was a knife in the back situation. And it’s incredibly painful, because it’s hard not to take it personally. The way I’ve tried to manage that over the years is I kind of take that pain and anger and kind of focus on it being a bit of a screw you I’m going to show you so use it as a motivator, which kind of as a you know what, screw me and watch what we’re going to do now. And it is It sounds quite childish. But I’ve always tried to use that as a bit of a motivator to like, kind of not in a revenge way. But in a I want to kind of get my own way back. Yeah, that’s, that’s in you know what you did that, but I’m good for it, I’m better for it, I’m stronger for it and look at what we’re achieving,
David Ralph [22:55]
I think 90% of what I do. And I only discovered this, I was having an interview with a sort of therapist person on the show. And she was saying, you’ve obviously got wounds in you that you’re carrying with you and I went now I haven’t, you know, I’m like a tweak on the mighty stream of life I just float through. And then when I analysed it, I realised that 90% of what I do is based around, you thought I couldn’t do this. So watch me. And a lot of it comes back from my parents and my family, you know, where it’s like proving them wrong at its core. And it was a sort of real eye opener that I realised that my ambition and drive wasn’t sort of intrinsic, it was extrinsic, I was grabbing it from other people and then sort of bringing it through. And the other thing where man, but I realised is I’m just a bus driver. And what I mean by that is I used to think to myself, if I spent a lot of time helping somebody get going, but and they were struggling when I had to put more effort in, but now I realised that they’re just with me for a certain part. And if I decide to get off, when I can’t do anything about it, you know, my journey is going that way, certain people are going to be with me for the whole time other people aren’t, but I can’t spend my energy trying to support the world. And there was a big part of my life. But I felt that I had to, which actually led me to my burnout where I was trying to be there for everyone trying to encourage them and bring their ambitions up and drive them but you can’t help you can’t lead you know, Lead a Horse to Water and make you drink as I say.
Raman Sehgal [24:42]
Yeah, exactly. I totally agree with you and not boasting knowledge is a great one that I’ve often used as well but I think it’s from the Good to Great book kind of on and off the bus but you’re right yeah, at some point in life you kind of recognise that you can’t be there. For everyone and in support everyone in point In time, I mean, I’ve read quite a lot of books over the years about, you know, learning to say no. And, you know, the art of saying no and kind of, in the books like essentialism are excellent and kind of focusing your attention on things that really matter that are meaningful and add the greatest value, as opposed to just saying yes to everything and actually ended up as an absolute mess on a personal level, because you’re taking too much on.
David Ralph [25:23]
Now. Trouble is, it’s bad ambition back drive, I could never understand why other people didn’t have the same fire in them as I did. And I used to think that I could trends MIT that fire into them, but it just never worked. How would you deal with that? You’re somebody who’s, you know, you’re supporting your family, supporting your kids, you’re supporting the ambition, and you’re supporting your staff members. And you’re, you’re getting that fire blazing inside you. But other people just don’t have that? Do you just sort of switch off from it? Or does it really annoy you?
Raman Sehgal [26:01]
You know, the call I was on just before this, we were literally talking about that with one of my teams in one way or another team member is frustrated, because there are team members that just don’t have the same fire in their belly. Yeah. And it’s fascinating to watch, because I naturally gravitated towards those with fire in their belly, because that’s what I’m like. But the older you get, you kind of recognise that we’re all kind of created differently. And especially when you’re building a team in an organisation, you can’t have everyone in the organisation like that. Because if you’ve got those people, you tend to OD on passion, and heating and motion and all that kind of good stuff. So certainly when you think about team structure and organisational structure, having a good mix of personality types, and people who are calm under pressure, and more rational and methodical, and there might not be as get up and go, like I am. But because what happened immediate over the anxiety, early on in the journey, I would try and recruit people that were almost a mirror image of me thinking about what we need more people like me, that’s actually the last thing we probably needed, we needed more people that complemented those skills. And so I definitely gravitate more towards people that have got that fire in their belly, and you need them in your organisation. And I would say my experience a few, few, fewer than a few and far between in terms of most people aren’t like that, I would say most people just want to do their best be the best they can do from a rational, kind of methodical doing your job perspective, but don’t necessarily want to, you know, set the world alight. And about in my experience is just about getting the balance. Right, and, but I do get excited. If I interview someone now. And I can see it in my life, I can just see the passion runs through their veins, and it is infectious. It isn’t exciting. And then you think about, well, if they’re working with a client, a client is gonna feel that as well. And when you’re running a creative marketing type agency, that stuff is super important. Because you want the client to feel like Wow, these guys, you know that the zesty, they’re fiery, they want to come up with ideas like that’s an important component. But you’ll also have another person in the room that kind of wants the sensible head, like, you know, a good project manager and account lead, that actually is a bit more rational and a bit more kind of strategic is a good combination.
David Ralph [28:15]
I used to interview people when I used to run teams in the City of London and my first opening gambit question was, what makes you laugh? And the best staff members I ever had all came up with the answer of when somebody hurts themselves. And and I started looking out for that as the answer because it just seemed to be a common theme that if they just had something extra, and I’ve never been able to work out what that was, but I could say maybe 10 or 11 times when somebody said that as their answer by turned out to be brilliant.
Raman Sehgal [28:51]
Yeah, well, I can. That’s amazing. And it’s funny, you mentioned that just in the sense that like I always had a few go to questions. In fact, I’m interviewing, I don’t get involved in many interviews at all anymore. And I am interview and I’m doing a 20 minute interview later on, when I was looking back through my typical interview questions, and I was kind of like, like, what are my best tips? Like what are the couple that I really want to ask the individual like, because we’ve only got 20 minutes together. So I love that one. I’ve never actually used that one. But you kind of you’ve I think there’s two or three questions that you learn to ask and you get a really good feel for the character or the person sitting underneath it just by how they answer a particular question.
David Ralph [29:30]
And do you have the question? I used to interview with another guy sometimes and we used to if he ever said Do you have any language skills, I knew they were rubbish. It was time to sort of that that was his code to this person isn’t going to cut it. Let’s get him out of the room as soon as possible. Do you have any of those?
Raman Sehgal [29:46]
We don’t. We don’t have anything specific in that. You know, it’s kind of the code for let’s let this let’s get this in done, but that’s actually a really, really good idea. I do ask I mean, the interview, I’m doing it around today I did the individual being interviewed beforehand. And I did ask the person interviewing to give me the heads up like if they’re not happy with them. Don’t waste my money on the interview, as well. I don’t want to do a 20 minute when you for the sake of it. Yeah.
David Ralph [30:19]
Well, let’s hear these words. And then we will be discussing more about his new book that floundering founder would you love free coaching expert business lessons and the ability to be surrounded by like minded go getters or building six figure incomes online for free? Well Join Up Dots six figure Online Business School is now open and showing you how to create a 10k income online per month. So if you’re serious and changing your life forever, head over to join up dots.com forward slash Bisco and register today. And Dippy say it’s free. Yeah, I’m sure we did. That is join up dots.com forward slash disco. So So you have got your new book out, which is the floundering a founder I love the title, because it’s what we all are we all you know, I hate this thing, where it’s like, oh, yes, I was born to be an entrepreneur and I was being no you were born to make things up and keep going. You know, that’s how I think an entrepreneur is it’s just show me try try. Ah, that’s slightly working. We will work a bit on that and pivot. I going back to the beginning of the episode. I don’t trust the little three year old with the briefcase and the suit that has it all planned out. I think we’re all floundering.
Raman Sehgal [31:39]
Now, well, I don’t disagree, I think I think the majority do flounder in especially in the early days. And so what I wanted to do with capture in the book, not floundering feeling and sending in from what I’ve learned from other entrepreneurs, is often a bit of a crossroads moment where people just have a bit of a nightmare. And they feel stuck in the rut. And that’s the that’s the specific part, like, I suppose, instincts and occasion where this book is aimed at helping founders and CEOs are often kind of experts and technicians by trade who just, you know, they’re just good at something they’ve learned to create a business off the back of that skill is often one of the challenges is, is getting the balance between doing the doing and actually running the business. And, again, from what I’ve seen, people tend to get stuck in a bit of a crossroads and feel guilty and frustrated, because they can’t find the time for themselves and their family and the business. And so it was very much a book that talks about how I navigated through that particular time in life. And in my life in our business success has just continued to go from strength to strength, since so I want you to capture a lot of those lessons, both like 12 lessons from a business perspective, because I come from a small business perspective and 12 from just a general life perspective. And given the attention span of most entrepreneurs and CEOs, they’re very, like short, practical chapters, the idea being that they would read 10 pages a day off, read for 10 minutes and get, you know, a good dose of of information that they could put into their to their life. And like you said right at the start David, I tried to write it in a way which was non corporate jargon speaking, it was like real life language that people would understand. And it’s amazing, you know, when you launch a book, just seeing the reviews and how people take them. And I’ve been, you know, really grateful for the amazing reviews we’ve had on Amazon and other kinds of places and the kind of no nonsense, honest, transparent, brutal, authentic tone is really, really important. But I know people have really got value from it. So yeah, I’m so pleased and that it’s helping people because that was kind of the aim.
David Ralph [33:52]
Now a lot of the floundering obviously comes when. And I see this time and time again, somebody is very good at something they’re being paid in the corporate world to do about something and then they think I might as well get paid to do it myself, I might as well just jump across. And then they struggle because they are suddenly web designers. Their market is they are creating sales funnels, they are building everything, which takes them Birbhum further away from their core core sort of skill. Now, what I liked about your website, it’s it tells a talks like a story, okay? And it is, as you say, you talk about the size of your nose, that you got paid in whisper bars from your mum and dad who wrote ran a sort of sub post office, but there was an entrepreneurial spirit through it. So the first lesson of the floundering founder, tell us what it is and tell us does it actually apply to the person that you’ve always been? Or is it something that you’ve developed since
Raman Sehgal [35:00]
That is a really, really good question. I mean, I suppose the and I’m just the opening kind of gambit of the book is a quote, actually, which talks about, you know, kind of, I can’t remember the specific call, but effectively urging you, when you get to the end of end of your life, you imagine that you meet the person that you could have become effectively, you meet a better version of yourself. And I remember hearing this quote, and it really, really kind of stopped me in my tracks. I was like, Oh, my God, imagine meeting the version I could have become. And so the whole concept of the book is thinking in terms of, you know, what do you want that better version to look like, either at the end of the life or in five years, or 10 years, and then work back from that, as opposed to just a more traditional goal setting, which is okay, I want to lose 20 pounds next year, I want to earn more money, or whatever the goals are. I think if you come from a place of well, what are you going to regret in the future, it really clarifies and focuses your mind. And so that’s very much the first lesson in the book. I don’t think I applied that in my own life, I don’t think it was a lesson I have already thought about until until well into my 30s, actually. And I think when you get into your 30s, and you’ve experienced a bit of a kind of people getting sick and death and that type of thing, it really focuses your mind on why am I here, like what’s the point of it all, especially when you have kids as well, I think that just adds to it. So that’s where that type of thinking hit me probably in my early 30s around. If I, if I want to live the best version, I want to say I want to be the best version of myself constantly. And I don’t want to live in I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret anything I want to always feel like I left nothing on the pitch. And I’d kind of give it my all but I also experienced like the good times. And back to what we talked about before as well. That means like, don’t put off like holidays, you want to go to like destinations you want to visit go into see sporting occasions, like amazing experiences, like do it now because you just never know what’s around the corner. And that’s, that’s an important part of, of the way I think about this. It’s just that kind of living, not living for the moment in the jumping out the aeroplane type way. But having, like, getting experiences and memories and just getting them as much as possible and keep doing it. Because I think that’s such an important aspect of living. Yeah,
David Ralph [37:27]
I agree with it. Yesterday, I was sitting on the sofa. And tomorrow, we’re flying off to Venice for three days, me and my two elder kids. And Mike this, this is a bit of annoying. One of my kids who’s now moved out, got married, got her own kid, but then found that she was going to get a cheap holiday, she suddenly become my youngest daughter again. And so she’s coming back. And then that’s going to annoy the other one because she’s out there and she’s gonna go when I could have come. So it kind of I wouldn’t change it for the world. And I think the biggest success or anyone can have is the ability to go screw it. Let’s do it. You know, and you don’t have to go oh, can I have the time off on Friday? Oh, you can’t, you know, you just sort of look at it and go, you can. And going back to like 10 years. I remember this distinctly Yeah, the 10 hour, Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. One of the things he says in that is, people don’t want to be a millionaire. People want the lifestyle that a millionaire gets. And so if you can do stuff whenever you want, you can choose the cheapest price and get the same thing. So you can go oh, let’s go to New York. Oh, school holidays, absolute fortune. Oh, we could go next Tuesday for 50 pounds. We go on that one. And I think that’s where a lot of success comes. But ability to actually amplify the earnings you’ve already got. Because you have the time available to do these things. Would you say?
Raman Sehgal [38:52]
Yeah, no, no, you’re right. And I think it’s living with that mindset. And I’m a massive Tim Ferriss fan. So I subscribed to a lot of what he puts out into the world in the way that he lives in I think it is enough for anyone that follows his podcast and his books, there’s just endless amount of lessons and learnings from his guests on on within his content. But I do agree I don’t think it’s necessarily about you know, making all the money and in you know, but the interesting is that, you know, certainly in my life and some not yours do is once you make a comfortable amount of money and it becomes less about the money, you still have to make the time right, you have to do exactly what you said there. Because unless you’ve fully retired and you’re not doing anything more, the majority of us even if we’ve earned more money than we ever thought we would. We’re still working and we’re still busy and lifestyle and you still got to take kids to football and to school and all that kind of stuff that occupies time and occupies life. So you still have to take the time to to how how are we as a family or how is we as a couple of me as an individual, like, how am I going to get the best out of this year? And you know, or this month or this week and I think the example you get there where you can, there are hacks to living life in a much more kind of cost, effective resourceful way, but actually making experiences and memories. You know, one of the things that I talk about, which you might find interesting was, I started, when I read that book, that house book, you know, years ago, I started journaling. So every morning, I do something every morning, you need something called a five minute journal. And you know, I’ve been, I’ve got seven years worth of journals, which have stacked a bunch on the bookshelf behind me. And what I then do is go back and read them, like, say, at the end of three months, I’ll be back. And so I’ve got seven years of like learnings about myself, like self reflective learnings. And some of the interesting thing is like, you work out what makes you happy, because you see these things coming again. And again. And I’ll give you like a couple of tiny examples. So one thing that really makes me happy is when my car is clean, and it cost me like 10 pounds, or five pounds, or whatever to get my car cleaned. And so like, you work out these weird little hacks that that you do in life all the time, that make you happy, or actually just go and go into a pub with my wife for a drink on an evening is happy. Yeah, just enjoying going for a walk with the kids enjoying a blue sky, like really simple things that actually don’t cost any money whatsoever. But you don’t often know what these things are unless you kind of write them down. And so again, that kind of learning from from someone like Tim Ferriss, like capturing that data about yourself, then gives you some insight into, you know, if I wanted to, I could hack my days to make them kind of makes you put all the happy stuff in a day. But where I use them is if I’m just having a bit of a crap day or a cup time, and I’ve got like a list of things that I know, if I can shoehorn a couple of these things into my day, it’s gonna make me happy. Neither one of those things, I’ll be like curling up with the kids, and putting a blanket on ourselves and watching a movie, you know, two hours of bliss, that will make me happy, and again, costs nothing, you know, or whatever your Netflix subscription is. And so, back to what you said, there, I think capturing what makes you happy, through journaling, I think is one of the most effective ways of then kind of living a slightly happier life, because it’s not to your point, it’s not all about the money then, because a lot of these things are offering or cost very little.
David Ralph [42:28]
Yeah, I agree with you. I’ve got 10 years of podcast episodes that I can listen back to. And I hear different versions of myself. And sometimes I go back nine, nine years and just pick one randomly. And I listen. And I think, oh, yeah, you’re right, you’ve got a good point there. Even though it’s me talking. It’s like, I’ve got a good point. But I’m not actually doing it. Now I’ve kind of lost track of myself. And then I bring it back into my life. And then I sort of refocus. But one of my Happy Times Roman is is just on those days, those Mondays mornings, when it’s pissing down with rain outside. And you know that there’s people all around the world standing on windy train stations waiting by they’re trying to come in to get them to a job that they don’t like. And I’m sitting dunking digestive biscuits while watching a film with a blanket over me. And as you say, it doesn’t cost anything, but I never lose the gratitude of I can choose what I want, you know, and yeah, it’s just simple stuff.
Raman Sehgal [43:28]
I remember listening to podcasts years ago by Michael Hyatt, and he used the phrase that it’s kind of reframing that you, you know, if you’re doing something like, if I went for a run this morning, it was rainy and windy and not particular, not particularly nice. And I kind of had to tell myself, like, I get to do this, I get to run. And that’s different from thinking, Oh, God, I’ve got to go, I have to go for a run. And that slight change in terminology, like I get to do this, I get to spend time with my kids, I get to drive, right, I get to eat in nice restaurants, I get to do this, like, these are all privileged positions. And I think to your point, like being able to just reflect back and being like these are, these are things that a lot of people would dream about. So I totally agree with you. I think it’s a really, but I do think, you know, reflecting back on podcasts, and reflecting back on journal is a way of capturing some of that, because I think we move so quickly in life, and we’re all consumed by our careers and our businesses and our families, that you never necessarily get that time to just like, analyse the data, so to speak. And I think that’s where I think, you know, capturing whether it’s through audio or or writing things down, I think is such a powerful thing. Because it makes you kind of really realise what what makes you happy and, and also for me, it also makes me realise areas that I need to improve upon. So in the journal I would write, I’ll see commonalities of like how I could have had a better day and they’ll always be the same stuff over time. And I can see myself making the same mistakes and getting really frustrated and annoyed at myself about About the same thing and same things I’m anxious about. Again, capturing them just makes me a bit more mindful of them. When I’m going into those situations, again,
Unknown Speaker [45:08]
let’s hear from Steve Jobs. 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 [45:44]
So the question I like to ask based on that now, and I varied this many times over 10 years, but can you remember the last the first dot, but actually, you can go Oh, yeah, that’s how I got here. Now can can you remember where the dot actually started?
Raman Sehgal [46:01]
Oh, I, I’m kind of torn because as you know, my parents ran a post that was when I was for years when I was a kid. And I would be working in that I think I was working in the post office when I was eight years old. So I was, you know, on the shop side selling sweets and in crisps and all that kind of good stuff. But if I look back now, I was learning basic lessons in customer service in mental arithmetic, doing, you know, the mass of hardware, but you had that added up and give it give it change and all that kind of stuff. And actually just the concept that we bought this stock, we need to sell it to make money. So that’s probably one of the dots that definitely, I didn’t really think about it until I reflect back. So many years later, I see that as being a dot that kind of started the journey. And then I suppose later on in life, the other dot that I always recall before I started remarketing, I was working for a pharmaceutical contract manufacturing company, I remember, I was living in Edinburgh at the time in the managing director of the company came up. And we had lunch together. And she said to me, I think it’s time that you left. And I was like, oh my god, I’m, I’m getting fired. I’ve never been fired. This is so embarrassing. I was like, Oh, what do you mean, she’s like, you’ve obviously got something in you a real talent, and you’ve got something that had been like in demand in terms of the service that that I could offer. And she said, Look, we’ll we’ll take your salary, and we will become a client of yours for at least the next year. And it was just that belief that someone who I respected and looked up to, and thought a great deal of had that belief that actually, you can go and do this. And you know, I’m willing to put my business on like not on the line, but I’m willing to be a client of yours because I trust you’ll do a good job. That kind of, in that it becomes less about you and more the belief that someone else has in you. So that was in the dark that I reflect back on which was the I remember my wife even still talks about now I came back and said to her, like you were like, like a kid in a candy store, like, oh my god, like I can’t believe she’s she wants to do this. And this is my chance and someone believes in me. And maybe maybe we could do it. And my wife had just qualified as a doctor at the time. And I remember her saying, Look, just go for it. And if worse comes to worse, she was starting to earn money as a doctor junior doctor, like we could fall back on that salary. So those are two of the dots that I think were there aren’t many as you kind of mentioned in your previous episode, but those are two that come to mind.
David Ralph [48:40]
Yeah, big, big dots. And I from your background, I’ve been one of your dots that really sort of hit home with me was your mum, I think that your mum running the post office has entrepreneurial spirit, and she knew what stock to buy in people wanted. And, you know, it’s not easy. Being a sub postmaster, I see those little shops. And they’re a hub of the community. And I think she was one of the big dots as well.
Raman Sehgal [49:03]
I think you’re right. I mean, both my parents, my mom and dad run the post office for years. And again, like you think about your work ethic. And I look now and you know, one of the things that a parent, I’m really conscious of it, like, I read a quote years ago, which is you know, and it’s the same with leadership and a team actually using your, your kids will do what you do, but they won’t necessarily do what you say as him like they won’t listen to you when you tell them to do something. But over time, when they see you doing something, it kind of goes into that kind of hardware and I look back now and I remember my like we’d come back from like a wedding or a party or something really late at night like me and my brother wouldn’t get up to like one o’clock the next day. And like my dad and my mom would have gone to the post office at like 730 in the morning. And I think again, like a look at where my work ethic has come from. Like it was 100% influenced by by just being around that and then you know running your own business and all that kind of stuff and and I hope The kind of example that my wife and I set, you know, my, my, my wife doesn’t need to work like in, you know, like as, as a doctor, you know where we’ve earned enough money where actually you she wanted to look up to the kids, she could do that. But we both know that it’s, it’s such an important and professional adds so much value to society, and she loves doing it. But it’s also such an important example to set to our kids, which is doesn’t matter how much money you make in life, having that kind of that work ethic and kind of having a profession that you love, and you enjoy doing is such an important aspect to life. And that I certainly got that from my parents. I think you’re spot on that, David.
David Ralph [50:36]
Yeah. Now before we finish it up with moving you onto the Sermon on the mic to speak to your younger self, what would be the biggest role or lesson out of the 24? But you would think that we can leave the listeners today for so from the floundering founder, what would be the number one that you think? Yeah, if you only take that on board today, it will be changed life changing?
Raman Sehgal [51:00]
From from the book specifically,
David Ralph [51:02]
or just from the book?
Raman Sehgal [51:05]
Or it’s hard, it’s 24 lessons in there, David, I’m gonna have to pick one. Okay, I think the one that I I think is the most important thing that I’ve learned is, it’s, it’s to learn every single day. And what I mean by that is, I, I think it’s so much information is at our fingertips, I think it’s actually overwhelming. And going back to what we talked about before, I think having the TAT like making a trying to find time, I think is a very difficult thing. So one thing I do is I make time every day to learn. And what that literally looks like is I will read for 10 minutes in the morning. So whatever book I’m reading, that’s it 10 minutes at some point in the morning, and I’ll listen to a podcast during the day. So when I’m either running or commuting or out and about even when I’m, you know, if I’m helping clean the kitchen, or whatever, I’ll have like a podcast on in the background. And then I’ll try and read a blog. So I might just read like a blog, like Seth Godin has a blog. And it can be as little as 20 words, it could be a couple of 100 words, collectively, that’s about 20 minutes could be a bit more from if the podcast is longer form content, and I’ve been running. But I just felt that fills your mind full of learnings in a given day. But in a very kind of easy way to consume, you know, through audio through bogs, through books, etc, etc. And I genuinely think that lesson that technique has benefited my life just so much in the last 10 years or so. It really isn’t such a simple lesson, when you hear people complaining all the time about oh, well, I haven’t got time to read, I haven’t got time to read this, I haven’t got time to that. Like, if you’ve if you try and find the time, you’ll never find the time you’ve got to make the time and I think making 10 minutes to read every day. Think how much time people burn on social media just doing nothing and scrolling on their phone or go into Netflix looking for something to watch, like people burn so much time, I just I can never believe that people don’t have 10 minutes in a day to read or 20 minutes, listen to a podcast and whatever. So I think that would be the number one lesson that has impacted my life and, and also impacted my businesses, we’ve all benefited from the things I’ve learned. And you can you can read something on any given day and then pass that to a team member and say, Hey, I read this or came across this, this might be something we should look out for our customers or for our business. And so the kind of domino effect of your learning is substantial. Yeah,
David Ralph [53:43]
I agree with that. I had a guy many years ago, went off to the dentist at lunchtime came back and said, Oh, I’ve just picked up this magazine in the dentist. And it’s got this speech by Steve Jobs, Join Up Dots. And it changed my life. I read it and put Wow, that’s amazing speech. And when looked into it started a podcast and boom 10 years later, we’re still going. So yeah, everything joins up. But you’ve got to be looking to find these things because there’s inspiration everywhere. Now this is the end of the show. And this is a bit we’ve been building up to and this is a bit that we call the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to speak to your younger version. And if you could go back in time and speak to him what age would you choose and what advice would you give him well as always, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme and when it fades is your time this is the Sermon on the mind
Unknown Speaker [54:37]
here we go with the best bit of the show the Sermon on the mind the sermon on
Raman Sehgal [54:56]
so I need you can ask this guy origin, which is great. And actually interesting enough, I wrote a blog last year when I turned 40, talking about the four L’s, and at four years old, and these were effectively the four hours that I wish I had implemented in my life earlier on. So especially in my in my 20s. And those are the one that I’ve just covered there is to learn every day. So I think that’s super, super important and exactly the way that I mentioned, the second one is to learn to listen. So really listening intently when someone’s talking, rather than thinking about something else in your mind. The third one is to lead responsibly. So in my early years, I think, you know, you think leadership is all about, you know, being the centre of attention, and in the person stealing the show. And as I’ve grown, I think you recognise that leader and responsibility is about actually letting others thrive, and setting the example but also just giving them a platform. Again, I think that’s really important. And the final one is to just live presently, again, you know, for me, it came through practising meditation and just living, living in a more present state and just makes life a bit greater. And I love the quote from Ferris Bueller, which is, you know, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. And I think for me, I definitely did that my 20s and my 30s. But it’s something that I’m very mindful now. So the four L’s live presently, listen intently, lead responsibly and learn every
David Ralph [56:37]
day. I can honestly say, I don’t think there’s a week that goes by that me and my son do not quote Ferris Bueller in some regard. So yeah, I know exactly where you’re coming from. So my man, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Raman Sehgal [56:53]
Yeah, I mean, the easiest way to connect is if you just go to romantic al.com. And the website, which is kind of a gateway for all the stuff that I do, or just find me on LinkedIn. And if you type my name, there’s not many of us in the world. So you should be able to recognise me and, and obviously, if, if you’re interested in a book, if you look for my name on floundering found on Amazon, or any good bookstores, you should, you should find it. And yeah, and I obviously do just want to say thanks for having me on. As a guest, I’ve really enjoyed the conversation. I love that you’ve asked me because you’ve asked me a handful of questions I’ve never had in my life. And I think that is that is the sign of a good host, no doubt.
David Ralph [57:30]
Thank you very much. And to make it as easy as possible, where have all the links on the show notes. So Romain, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And, as always, please come back again, when you got more dots to join up. Because the joining up those dots and connecting our past is always the best way to build our futures. Romans. Thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah, Romans, C Gao. So he kind of stumbled into it. Yeah. How many times? Do we hear that, that you stumbled into it? And then you kind of find an avenue and you start working towards that and then it grows from there? Yeah, you can have a strategy course you can, we can teach you the strategy, we can teach you about how to structure a business so that customers will naturally follow through and we can teach over, but you still have to have that kind of ability to say it’s not quite working. Let’s go a different way. And let’s pivot and let’s keep on moving forward because it kind of grows around you and then you suddenly think, yeah, you’ve got it. So for everybody out there as always foods connecting with us on Join Up Dots, thank you very much for doing that really appreciate it loves speaking to you, across the world. And for anyone who’s sitting there silently thinking, Oh, just just drop us a line. We’re nice, we’re friendly, and we’re say hello to you. But the bottom line, be back again, because we’re going to be delivering more and more episodes to you, as we have been doing for many, many years. Until next time, we will see you again look after yourselves. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye.
That’s the end of Join Up Dots. You’ve heard the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action. Create your future create your life busy only you live. We’ll be back again real soon. Join Up Dots during the gods Join Up Dots. John. John, Join Up Dots.