TheShareStory.in is an initiative to build a community of Entrepreneurs, Founders, Startups & Industry Stalwarts to celebrate success & to learn from shortfalls, and to Contribute, Inspire & Embellish Entrepreneurship by sharing their exciting Stories!
As a part of our initiative, we invited yet another passionate Professional Ms. Meenakshi Venugopal for an interview with us to understand more about her corporate journey. She is the Co-Founder of FactDr. Let’s learn more about her exciting journey, her background and her advice for our growing community! Dynamic, daring and a go-getter—these words are floating around the lady herself.
Could you briefly throw light on your entrepreneurial journey so far?
My entrepreneurial journey started in 2008. My first venture was an online education business that started with just a Gmail Account. As the business grew, we built multiple websites and now this is our core revenue-generating business with a full-fledged application that manages the whole business.
FactDr. being your third startup what all difficulties did you face to convert it from a dream into a reality?
FactDr has been the most challenging of all my businesses. To set up our content-intensive website, FactDr, we had to open a physical office and recruit a full-time team. Our requirement was of many roles such as content writers, editors, developers, designers, digital marketers, and HR managers to help us convert our idea of FactDr to reality. Recruiting the right core team that is excited to associate with an early-stage bootstrapped startup has been our biggest challenge.
What qualities do you possess that make you a superwoman in your niche?
I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a superwoman. But I am definitely someone who can get back up as many times as I get knocked down. I have faced challenges, fell down, and bounced back every time with double zeal. A never-give-up attitude has helped me stay strong. Despite the obstacles, here I am, confident that I would surpass my present challenges as well.
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
You mean besides the money???
On a more serious note, entrepreneurship has allowed me to grow as a person. Entrepreneurship changes your mindset. You get more attuned and start to figure things out more. And because our personal and professional lives overlap, your new improved personality spills over to your personal life as well. I have evolved as a person on the whole.
How did the idea of FactDr. come upon?
When I and my co-founder, Jaagrit, finished setting up our core businesses, we wanted to move on to the next venture. We wanted to utilize our skills in running successful online ventures and replicate it on a larger scale.
Healthcare overseas is a lot more advanced than in our country. The good news is people are getting more conscious and open towards good health. The notion of healthcare is shifting from being curative to preventive. Today more people are willing to take steps to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. India needs more options in reliable healthcare. And hence, FactDr was born.
What services/products do you offer?
FactDr started off as a purely content platform. Now we are venturing into mental wellbeing and counseling. Mental health, in our country, is not just undermined but also stigmatized. We hope to change the way people look at mental health issues. We aim to increase acceptance in the manner people look at mental health.
Why do you think a factual research healthcare platform is the need of the hour?
The advantage of living in a technology-dominated world is we can find answers to absolutely anything online. This same boon is also a curse. Lookup any minor ailment online and you are sure to find an article that interlinks it to a fatal disease. Half-baked knowledge is dangerous and misleading. It creates panic. With FactDr, we ensure you get access to scientifically correct information on any topic. We have stringent quality guidelines and make sure the information we provide is useful, medically correct, and valuable.
How has the Pandemic changed the perception of people with regard to self-health? Did this benefit FactDr. in any way?
The pandemic has definitely opened up people’s awareness about self-care. A complete change of lifestyle with lockdowns, isolation, unemployment, and lack of socializing is making us realize that staying physically healthy and mentally fit are initiatives that cannot take a back seat. This pandemic has caused a spike up in the mental health issues reported worldwide.
In India, we are becoming more cognizant of the importance of mental wellbeing. How many people will be proactive enough to take steps to safeguard their health remains to be seen.
Where do you envision FactDr. five years hence?
Besides mental health services, we also have planned out a few more services that we are excited to provide through FactDr. But we are taking one step at a time so that we can remain focused.
Any future projects or exciting prospects that you would like to share with our readers?
I am excited about venturing into the mental health space. I am personally a strong believer in good mental health and take conscious steps to stay happy and positive. The number of people affected by pandemic anxiety is staggering. The divorce rates have risen. Substance abuse and domestic violence are on the rise too. If I can contribute to this arena and help to lessen people’s troubles, I would be satisfied.
If you could go back and do something differently, what would it be?
I would have rolled out my services much earlier. I would have recruited a larger team and ramped up development.
How did you manage your life and work during the lockdown caused by COVID 19?
Though COVID-19 has caused a 360-degree turn in my lifestyle, I have adapted pretty easily. The pandemic has allowed me to slow down and reevaluate my priorities with FactDr.
Pre-pandemic, I was busy running daily operations. So this break has been a blessing in disguise. Personally, I have taken the good out of these times, and have realized happiness is indeed a state of mind.
Has the Pandemic affected the organization in any way?
We have had to temporarily close the office due to the pandemic. While many offices have resumed operations, my team is still working from home as that’s a safer call. Of course, we have had our losses. But taking things slowly has allowed me to re-focus on what’s important for the business to grow.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs among our readers?
- Don’t be afraid to change course midway.
- You are much better off taking a turn than continuing on the wrong path.
- Keep an open mind.
- Trust your instinct.
- Bookish quotes are good to read, but never underestimate the importance of the lessons from your own experiences.