Monthly Archives: July 2013

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10 sure ways to fail in an online business

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I think there will be thousand places where you get tips to succeed. I would rather tell some 10 sure ways of failing in an online business.

1. Getting linearly inspired: Inspiration  like real world works in a non-liear manner. Mr. Kashcarry  has made a fortune by such and such business. I don’t see much difference between and me Mr. Kash. So, let’s do it

2. Build and they will come : Let us make such a perfect thing that there will be crowd lined up. Quite possible. But you may not have enough time and cash to reach that ‘perfect’ point. The propellants of business – cash and time will run out.

3. Paralysis through Analysis In   99% cases, you will find that on the standard parameters, the founder of a company and first tier executives have one crucial and unbridgeable difference. The difference between Othello and Hamlet. Hamlet’s whole tragedy came because of too much analysis whereas Othello’s strength (and eventual tragedy) was rashness. The founder of a company did not analyse – he would have never started it. It was go-get attitude.

4. Short story is a big story cut proportionately One of the reasons why most MBA-s either remain glorified clerks or errand-boy or ‘helps for prime movers’ (lets call them alphas) is partly because of their education and training. Very small businesses  simply have  not time, resource and inclination to make case studies through fat, risk-averse and entitled tenured professors. But large corporations can and actively do this. The result is that the MBA hordes learn and fatally learn everything about  large corporations. A microscopic few could even think ahead and through of all the formalities, structures, alleys to ask the root of the journey of this corporation. So when they start something, they commit the mistake of thinking a short story as something coming out if you take a chapter of a novel and cut-copy-paste  suitably by ms-word.

5. Not dirtying hands A dangerous doctrine currently quite common and generally circulated among beta and gamma managers. This doctrine can be summarized as – Talk some, Talk little, Talk little more. They use a Greek word to indicate all this. This word strategos comes from Greeks who not only  produced philosophy but also fought one of the fiercest battles of history. Our MBA hordes and their schools teach strategy minus Marathon and Salamis.

6. Lifestyle Many consider building and running online business as a lifestyle statement. (I started a blog and overnight I could afford to live in a beach and enjoy paradise) I meet them all the time. They are quite nebulous and well-intentioned and being beta they are quickly influenced and brainwashed. Look at one of the alphas in his domain – Mr. Bill Gates. He never tries to impress you but that is why he impresses most.

7. Building Court and Harem In the decisive battle between Alexander and  the King of Persia in the Greek drive towards deeper East and India, the Greek Army was facing   overwhelming  odds against the Persian Army.  But Greeks won and won decisively. The victory’s implications are too early to have a proper understanding.  We learn that Persian generals had their court and harems in the battlefield ! Many online business have nice offices, pretty secretaries and interns, a corner office – all ready for the future. Of course, most comes from loan from banks or equity from financially obese but business-lean ‘investors’. Read the short advice from Seth Godin as how to live while you start and build an online business – Go to a place where there is cheapest rent and live on baked beans day in and day out and work. I have rephrased this advice in my Wordsmith Book of Business –  Live like a cobra during hibernation. Just the glucose to keep electricity needed to make your heart beat. Forget everything. Except the venom that is distilled – drop by drop. 

8. Not shipping The world rotates like a ship and you are making your merchandise but you are not ready to ship. Ships come and go but you are just not ready. Some little time, little more work and then we shall ship. The time never comes. Finally shipping routes change, ships do not come or do not anchor and in some cases, the route gets dropped and an air-plane now goes by the same route.

9. Colliding with the Miracle I started my business in 2005 and miraculously the venture became successful by 2007. In 2008, I started gaining weight, started looking for fancy consultants, even gave some adverts in some recruitment sites for interns, help and secretary. In 2008 Sept came credit crisis and few major accounts in financial sector evaporated overnight. I survived just because I had a project called which needed back-breaking work and we just floated. Still floating. Survival is excellence.

10. Not thinking like a young fertile woman of previous age  : Business in its fundamental essence like birth, death, disease and old age is gender-blind. Consider a hundred years back a young and fertile woman knew that Nature has given her a short window – at most peak 6-7 years when she can prove irresistible if she takes proper steps. What are the steps ? Remaining skinny, agile, physically attractive and always honing those skills to get the best man. This charm capital’s allure is million times more than normal capital as history since Helen of Troy has proved decisively. But some don’t think way. They either overdraw or think that this capital will remain forever. A man’s true natural power in terms of access and reach  increases with age whereas the more lethal, more effective power of a woman decrease with age. Head to head, a man of 23 and a beautiful woman of 23 has no match while both poised on natural power and on an natural environment. The capitulation from the man  is immediate. A young business is like a fertile woman. She is running out of time and she has to make sure to ensure her future. What is the path ?  Target three clients who are fat, highly matured and they are looking for  some charm. Money and access are there for them. Spread your charm.

How to do this ?

If you are a man,  get charmed and learn.

If you are a woman, charm and learn.

Either way, Charm is the Key.


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Gross and Subtle

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In case of a ball moving in air, the laws governing are action and reaction and Newton explained it. 

In case of an electron’s movement, the governing laws posit uncertainty and Heisenberg did not say action or reaction. 

In algebra, we call something x and after analysis, we find the X.

In calculus, the same x , y now become dy/dx and these cannot be found out. You have find them out in a mental space. Then you squeeze them mentally into such a small proportion that our mind breaks ! 

We can see one’s physcial body but cannot see mind, intelligence and the core of personality – false ego. But they are there. We feel this and this assumption lies at the root of all communication.

Air seems to pervade space and sky seems to be covering this. But sky seems to be unaffected. 

If someone suddenly dies – we find the physical body in front, the man was talking, thinking, solving problem shortly before but now nothing …. 

As we move from the gross to the subtle, the words to speak about these also remain subtler. 

The subtlest stuff of the Universe is the individual living spark without which every gross element below cease to work. Or such can be unanimously perceived by all of us.


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How to get ideas for your online business ?

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From running three online businesses, my realization is this : Don’t try ! It is a sheer waste of time and valuable neural cycles. 

Then how to do an online business ? 

There is nothing called online business. It is business, simple business where there are the below components :

1. Product or service

2. Buyers 

3. Others who are trying to sell the same or related things (competition)

4. Cost to make / deliver the product and services

5. Price at which these can be sold.

6. Amount left after discounting all costs (middleman fee, like banks, paypal) – gross profit 

7. How will this vary with time while time is X-axis and Profit  is Y-axis. Does it look like a straight line , a sine wave, a saw-tooth waveform or an S or a staircase going up or going down ? 

8. Refer to the curve above and plot no of hours per week invested. How does it look like ? Does it look similar to the previous curve ? If yes, you are doing great.

There is nothing online in anywhere. 

There will not be any online anywhere.

From the stand-point of business – online world is a channel, a very powerful channel nevertheless but it cannot change the above immutable laws of business. 



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The perils of automatized sales communication

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Automation saves times, reaches more, needs less focus, saves cost, does not have any fear, does not become frustrated in being rejected and knows no boredom.

It seems so alluring and so wonderful.

Except a small problem.

In Sales communication, in this world of incessant calls for selling, people are already bored.

Email – one of the finest tools of our time becomes spam.

TV advertisement – once a wonder and matter of curiosity now needs to be shut-off to allure people for No Break Programming.

Social Network – once a great delight and wonder now becoming a too much noisy channel where things are not getting heard.

 3 sentences of advice to all the buyers of automatized sales communication 

1. Life is not easy. Sales is less easier. 

2. The silence after a massive, global and billion scale automatizes sales campaign may be very strange and deadly for your business. 

Think !


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Ignorance, Illusion, Knowledge, Scientific Knowledge, Ne-science

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Ignorance : The purest state of existence. Lower animals and small children. Consciousness is not fully developed. Completely unaware of many significant things and complete inability to see anything beyond the passing moment. Not capable of constructing chain of events of knowing the chain of action-reaction.

Illusion : Consciousness is not steady. One it seems like a snake and next moment it seems like a rope. Illusion can remain for million of years but it needs a single moment to dispel. Illusion’s Sanskrit equivalent is maya – what is not. It appears but it is not as it appears. The greatest of illusion : We are the body. In Illusion, once cannot think anything except body (gross and subtle) and its extensions and interactions. Why is this an illusion ? Because the body is constantly changing and so is the world. It will un-manifest one day (death). Still, we think we are this body only.

Knowledge : Two types – ascending and descending. In first type, once gets knowledge from authority. In the second,. one experiments and finds out. For certain questions, second type is useless. Who is my father ? Who is this Universe’s father ? These questions cannot be answered by the second method. Even it were so, one cannot be sure because the cause has happened before the ‘effect’ is asking. The first method’s weakness is approaching false authorities. Perfect knowledge can come from the Perfect Authority. In Vedic Literature, God is called Uttama-sloka – He speaks the Perfect Words and the Supreme Wordsmith and the Supreme Authority.

Scientific Knowledge : Scientific Knowledge – Observation, Hypothesis or Theory, Demonstration. Any knowledge that cannot be demonstrated some way or other is not scientific knowledge. Let’s ask : Where did life come from ?

Observation : Living beings seem to be everywhere we look around.

Hypothesis : Life has come from some chance combination of matter very very long time ago.

Demonstration : Not a single living being was ever made by any scientist from pure matter.

The above theory is incomplete, incorrect and not scientific.

Observation : I have a father, my father had a father and in this chain, there must be someone who might have fathered the first being. This Person must be a living one.

Demonstration : No report ever by any living being that he / she has come out from some dead stone. Nor have we observed any time by any one finding a living being coming out from dead matter. However, anyone can see that man and woman live together and in few years, they have more living beings who are in the image of their parents.

Ne-Science Ne-science is much more dangerous and stickier than ignorance or illusion. Some examples of ne-science

a. We human beings seems to be only living being as other places seem to be not capable of sustaining Life.

–> This tiny brain concludes from a very very weak  premise. He presumes life is sustained by matter by life, he only means life as he knows it in the earth. In the same breath, he informs you that there are  billions of galaxies and our knowledge is like a drop of water compared to the ocean.

b. Studies like anthropology, zoology, animal behaviour, most liberal-arts studies, social sciences and then generalizing the findings universally.

—> Small children like to go to zoo to watch animals. However, if an adult also continues the same and argues if chastised about the behaviour, we shall conclude that the person has serious dysfunctional issues. A recent addition is genetic studies. If a chimp and human being has 99.9% genetic similarities, then the argument goes that we are like chimps. Hence study of chimp’s sex lives will be useful to understand and condone our sex lives. By that same logic, in the atomic level, a 8086 processor and a supercomputer – both have silicon. So why not study 8086 and bother studying and using supercomputer ?

c. Common-Sense Challenged : We shall go to the moon, to other planets and increase our knowledge.

—>  All our space exploration can be considered of fulfilling few men’s curiosity at the immense cost of men’s physical and intellectual labour and money. What did we get other than ego-boost and bringing some rocks and dust ?

What are you thinking ?


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How Freelancing can improve your spousic relationship ?

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There is no word called spousic – so I invented it now. The word means any relationship between consenting adults who live together – married, live-in, co-habitation, contractual, experimental – choose your like. The Post’s focus is not on the type of relationship but how true freelancing can improve all the relationships. I think this is universal. I can only vouchsafe for a particular kind of relationship personally – heterosexual, monogamous, married – legally and as per the rituals of Vedic Culture, with children. But like a scientific theorem, the theorem holds true generally as well as in special cases.

1. No debt  : Banks are not very keen to advance huge amount to a freelancer for housing, car, study or for anything. A true freelancer very shrewdly lives below his means and knows the wisdom that banks are good slaves but bad masters. No debt immediately relieves a freelancer from pursuing life-styles considered upwardly mobile. He / She transcends the ocean of misery that befall people in our age when spousic relationship breaks or remains tense but co-borrower, co-lateral clauses remain. No debt life (and by implication – a different and disciplined kind of life ) keep both the parties in their feet. The focus now shifts to a kind of creative survival struggle and nothing bonds two persons other than some mission threatening physical well being. In this case, starvation or ejection from the rental flat or the habitation in a less-posh flat acquired after three years of back-breaking work. I think Americans call this kind of work – eating only baked beans.

2. Survival and Growth Anxiety : A true freelancer suffers all the suffering a man of business is heir to, including corporate employee but there is a change of consciousness. Outwardly, they seem same just like a cat catches its prey as well as very small kittens by teeth. For an average corporate wage earner, the auto-pilot is unknown and will never be known. He is like a passenger in a Jumbo Jet where cockpit controllers will remain total stranger to him – almost whole of his career. He can only change planes. A true freelancer is more like a Greek athlete – he can swim now, take a cycle, run, jump over hurdles, rest a while – but all the time in control in terms of mode of travel, intent, destination and balancing work and life. This will spill-over and nothing is more infectious than creative anxiety.In gross level, creative anxiety often culminates into orgasm.

3. No free-loading : Most freelancers cannot afford a harem of secretaries, a cubicle full of interns or helps. But he needs them. So he is always looking for some help – either in book-keeping, Invoicing, posting, refreshing diary, eating and sleeping at proper time. Freeloading is impossible with a freelancer. A freelancer will even put a 9 year old to send some pre-drafted mail to some email IDs after checking / pasting. In short, the maladies of free loading – desperate housewives, obesity, mall-therapy will not be there at all.

4. Equality in stark Inequality If you ask someone in a crowd – ‘Do you think html files work better in TRADOS 9 or wordfast ?’ – most will be happy to answer that these are Greek to them. But ask about God, relationship, romance, sex – everybody has an opinion and this has remained same since the Greeks who listened to Pericles’ funeral oration. This human behaviour is making so called ‘equality’ leading to helplessness. If I were a slave-master in a corporation today, I would first make sure that some 100 men and women consider themselves ‘equal’ and behave as such. The immediate result will be this : these 99 fools will not be able to project a leader and the true leader will slip away long back. These leaderless bunch will not be able to put any kind of united resistance ( a group of men is not an army) to any threat – external and internal. Who will benefit ? The slave master. A Freelancer knows that the world is unequal. Were it not so, why mighty corporations care to send him an email ? The high sense of inequality in function make a natural division of labour and sphere of influence. The inequality make both powerful.

5. Understanding the Grace of the Cosmic Engine : This I think is the greatest benefit. In India, the first earning of the day is called bouni and is respected and a silent prayer is made by the freelancers – auto-wallahs, rickshaw pullers, small roadside vendors. This is acknowledgement of the Grace of the Cosmic Engine and the Designer. A freelancer can well understand that there are hundreds of people around and he would have no valid complaint if he were not awarded a job or project. The Cosmic Engine seems to be biased to work in his favour. On the other hand, many well paid corporate workers whine that their talents are not being recognized.  A freelancer cannot have an attitude of entitlement. Entitlement is like a parasite for spousic relationship where people conveniently forget (or think that the media, the Government, the corporate employer) actually ensure their necessities. An entitled brain lacks the capability to think deeper. It foolishly and with dire consequences as all ignorance brings identify immediate cause as the Supreme Cause.

Check your relationship under these 5 point lenses and write a blog post.


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How much urgent is urgent ?

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I have observed many colleagues of mine who very politely but firmly refuse the so called urgent projects.

I have also observed and sometimes suffered from misjudgement by colleagues who value the urgency but cannot match, causing much tension and heartburn at the last moment.

Now why should a freelancer take an urgent job ? There can be three reasons

  • Instinct to help or bail-out. Bailing out is not monopoly of the Government and not only banks are the beneficiaries. We all bail out and also hope that we will also be bailed out.
  • Fear of saying NO – This needs no explanation as most of our sufferings come from not saying NO at the proper time. Decency, temptation, fear, niceguy addiction – all combine and we reap the consequences.
  • Earning More – Nobody, especially a freelancer can argue against earning more money if the situation presents itself. However, the argument is not against earning money but qualifying the word and its understanding by us – earning. Is it cash, future revenue, reputation, competence, respect. If it is cash and cash – go for it but just have a check whether you are losing something more in value or not just because you are not able to map and articulate the value in cash.
  • Working Hands are urgently empty – This is a scenario whose contradiction I shall illustrate by an example. In South Calcutta, there is a doctor who has publicly displayed ‘Urgency Fee, $ 50’. I happened to be inside his chamber and very innocently asked – ‘Considering you are attending some urgency and another call comes and demands double urgency, what will you do ?’ He was angry with me but the logic was too much for him. The thing applies to a language doctor like you. What if ? Three hours after the urgent project is being worked upon, you find another more urgent. What will you do ?

I am not trying to confuse you by putting hypothetical (but welcome in a sense) situations and I am aware that probability of such congruence of events are rare.

But what is not rare is that many people are always in urgency. Corporations are nothing but black-body radiators of urgency. As soon as you are within the critical radius of a corporation professionally, you shall be bombarded with urgency.

The intelligent thing is not to curse and grumble. Neither it is sensible to run away.

The crucial thing is to ask – How urgent is the urgency ? This game should be played both ways.

1. To the Corporation – It is urgent, sure but have you checked everything to make sure that we really don’t have any buffer ? The ball goes to the big fellow’s court and from YES/NO, the game has shifted to the negotiation space. In that space, you hit the most-vulnerable part of a corporate employee – his or her insecurity which reflects as urgency, release and waiting for the next urgent. You comfort the person and all the while run your negotiation game at the background. For this to take place, you have to be knowledgeable about the corporate employee’s working system and that needs reading  and framing and asking important questions.

2. To yourself – How urgent it is for me to hold ? How much is the worth of letting it go ? Where shall I draw the line ? How much the rope of negotiation be loosened ?

Experience shows that a temporary loss or erring on the side of being firm pays. The Corporation is also aware that in 48 hours it will not be remembered that the thing was delivered on time but quality wise if it  bombs, her/his appraisal will be poor. So, it will also vacillate.  During these moments of oscillation, you release your spray of comfort and balm.

But these ‘games’ are in the domain of High Art. High Art can be learnt at the price of  huge amount of time and effort but cannot be taught.

However, on  a broader arena and in a grand scale, books on such subject are being written. I shall recommend two : The Art of War by Clausewitz and The Prince by Niccolo Macchiaveli.



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Are you killing your future by not reading dis-interestedly ?

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I am convinced that many competent freelance translators don’t read as much as they should. By reading, I mean the purest form of reading – dis-interested reading.

In times to come, the standard by which a freelancer will be judged and rewarded is going to change and either way, it will be a raised one. Here are the reasons :

  • The raw language competence will continue to command respect but it will be entry ticket only.
  • Projects – especially on the edge ones will be needing more traits like Mycroft Holmes (have you read Sherlock Holmes at least 20 times. No ? What prevents you to learn from the greatest freelancer of the world ?) – i.e connecting various seemingly unconnected things and getting meaning of high-value – present and future from it. This will be a tremendous virtue. 
  • This Art can be cultivated in three areas : The Art of Seduction, The Art of The Art of Detection and Disinterested Reading. 
  • Disinterested Reading affects your brain just like a highly active adolescent reacts while challenged by ever new challenges. What is the effect ? The brain is not allowed to settle and glide below but makes quantum jump and stays.

Some are genetically blessed to be disinterested readers just like some people can seduce more easily. However, with practice one can hone and who knows what level once can reach. You dont know unless you try.

Your very busy projects, your super-value clients, too good to lose time are all like getting the metaphorical fish which comes to you from the great economic ocean filled with various animals. You eat some, keep some in your digital storage called banks, paypal, moneybookers and finally use them to buy other things needed in life other than the fish.

Disinterested Reading is not getting a fish – large or small regularly from someone. It is learning how to catch fish on your own.