Charu Babbar is the co-founder of ProductivitySpot, a site dedicated to help professionals and entrepreneurs get more from the apps and tools they use for their work.
After a successful stint as a Technology Marketer with industry giants like Oracle, IBM and Adobe, she decided to test her mettle and establish an identity beyond the big corporations. So far, the journey has had its rewards and challenges.
Apart from ProductivitySpot, her interest in learning languages, travel and poetry keep her occupied.
Where did the idea for ProductivitySpot come from?
After ten years of working, I decided to take a sabbatical to travel and volunteer. When I started exploring options for work, nothing interesting came my way. At that time, Sumit the co-founder for ProuductivitySpot asked me if I would like to join him as the Co-founder and scale ProductivitySpot. I got excited by his vision for the site and got onboard.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts with a list of tasks I would like to accomplish on that day. I do not work continuously and often take long breaks to read or to work-out.
I spend a considerable amount of time researching on new ideas I would want to try or new trends in my industry. I attempt to spend at 20% of my work hours on this activity.
I try to keep distractions at a minimum by keeping my phone on silent, not taking personal calls during work hours and keeping chores for one particular day or after work hours. It helps me focus better; I have a tendency to jump between tasks, which I am trying to minimize.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a person who believes in meticulous planning and execution. If I start without a plan, I feel like a headless chicken and accomplish nothing.
Before implementing an idea I extensively research and spend a lot of time adapting it for my business. After implementing it, I monitor it for at least 3 months to see if it is working or not.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am really excited with the prospect of DIY in online business. If I am ready to spend time and energy, I can practically do everything by myself. Not that I am advocating this approach, but it feels great to know that I need not be dependant on a designer to make graphics or need to do extensive coding to make changes on my website.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Listing down all the tasks that need to be completed in a particular week or before a particular date. As mentioned earlier, it helps me organize myself and achieve desired results.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I guess it would be to travel and work in different jobs in different locations. Not only it widens the cultural horizons, it will also help in understanding the nuances of business and learn unique tricks.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
If writing is a major part of your work, spend triple the time on editing as you would on writing. Just because it is easy to become a ‘writer’ these days, doesn’t mean we should not follow the fundamentals of language. It is important to keep it simple but not rudimentary.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am still in early stages of my entrepreneurship journey therefore, I spend more time on researching on an activity than on executing it. I think this way, I am in a better position to assess what worked the best and what didn’t yield expected results. So, taking it slow at beginning maybe better than jet speed.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Since I was new to the world of online business and blogging, I started by taking it slow. Instead of trying too many things at once, I started by implementing one tactic. My co-founder’s previous experience and success was of immense help. If I have to put it in one sentence, it was about taking it slow and learning from the expert.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Back in 2014, I created a product but could never get it out of beta. It still exists in limbo. But, that did not deter me from putting my best forward for ProductivitySpot. I guess accepting your shortcomings is the first step in moving on from a failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see someone adding more greenery and nature to our concrete buildings at a large scale. I know sustainable architecture exist, but how do we make our existing buildings green and connected with nature without spending a fortune.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My recent purchase of AppSumo credits has certainly turned out to be a better investment than I expected. Not only I get access to some amazing deals, but even the other resources are helpful
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use Google sheets extensively to plan work hours, track progress and manage expenses. As a person with multiple list, it is easy for me to organize them in different tabs, identify important activities and make changes. You can assume it to be my personal assistant without who I won’t be able to function properly.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I am a die-hard devotee of Seth Godin. I think his book “Permission Marketing” is a must-read in this age of information overload. What is most important for business? Your customer and your customers get to know you through Marketing, therefore it is of utmost important to get that aspect right.
In Permission Marketing, Seth explains why it is necessary to be relevant to your customers and how important it is to build a relationship based on their consent and convenience. If your Marketing is not yielding the desired results, you may be able to figure a reason with the help of this book.
What is your favorite quote?
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot
- At the beginning of your entrepreneurship journey take it slow, don’t try to do don many hats
- If you are a blogger or writer, focus on editing as much as on writing, if not more.
- Accepting your shortcomings is the first step in moving on from failures in life.