‘Finding your own sweet spot is crucial’

When Anuradha started Inditales in 2004, she was one of the first people in India to start writing a travel blog. Today she is one of the most influential travel bloggers in India.

Anuradha - blogger, writer and consultant

Her tip for women entrepreneurs

‘Finding your own sweet spot is crucial: what is the essence of your own personal talent, passion and personality?’  Experiment, fail, and then do it again, and finally you will discover your own sweet spot.’

 

When Anuradha Goyal started Inditales in 2004, she was one of the first people in India to start writing a travel blog. Today she is one of the most influential travel bloggers in India. Anuradha: “My blogs are not about me, but about the destination that I visit. I try to give people a personal insight into India.”

We met for our interview in a hip coffee shop across the street from her apartment in Panjim. She lives there with her husband, a former pharmaceuticals researcher who now works as a consultant. Anuradha has lived in various cities around the world, including UK and USA. But in the end she decided to settle in medium-sized Panjim. “I like it here. You can reach everywhere by walking. And it’s a city that is frequently visited by people of all nationalities. I always say: ‘When traveling, I discover the world. But in Panjim the world comes to me’.”

Explore

She has always felt a great urge to explore. When she was six years old, she decided she wanted to travel by bus from one village to another on her own. But really going on a trip was something that hardly anyone did in the India of her youth. “Hotels and other facilities were not so easily available. In those days you made two types of trips. You went to visit family and lived with them. Or you went on a pilgrimage, where all facilities for travelers were available.”

‘Make your dreams come true. Do not expect others to make them come true for you’

“I think I got the travel bug from my grandmother. I was raised largely by her. ‘Go discover the world,’ she said to me. ‘Make your dreams come true. Do not expect others to make them come true for you.’ When she was in her late sixties, my grandmother went on a group trip across India on a train. At that time that was a very special thing to do. I lived with her during that period and heard all about her experiences when she came home. From that moment on my biggest wish was to explore South India.”

Inditales

It would be too simplistic to say that her blog Inditales arose from her love of traveling, though. “Inditales wasn’t a preconceived plan.” She had a degree in computer science, a new study at the time. “I love technology and I liked trying out new things. When I heard there was a tool for online blogging, I wanted to experiment with it.”

Entrepreneur

“As an entrepreneur I have two working modes. One mode is the one I’m in when I’m traveling: I focus on where I am and what I’m experiencing. I can only be contacted by telephone if there is an emergency. The other mode is that of an entrepreneur. One mode feeds the other: thanks to my travels, I have stories to tell.”
The blogging landscape has changed dramatically since Anuradha started blogging fourteen years ago. Every day new travel blogs pop up on the scene. On Instagram selfies of bloggers are hugely popular. “Inditales is different. On my blog you won’t find lists of ‘10 things that you absolutely need to see in India!’ My readers don’t expect that either. They want depth.”

‘I decided that my goal was to be financially independent at the age of 35’

It was to take ten years before Anuradha started earning any money with her blog. She was able to keep going anyway because she had a secure foundation that many entrepreneurs can only dream of: financial independence. “When I started working as a 22-year-old ICT consultant, I decided that my goal was to be financially independent at the age of 35. And I succeeded.” Her career progressed rapidly at various organizations including Infosys, and as planned she quit her job as an Enterprise Business Consultant at 35.

She had saved enough money to provide herself with a stable basic income for the rest of her life. “Where does my urge for financial independence come from? I think my grandmother played an important role in this also. She always said: ‘You have to make your dreams come true yourself. You must take responsibility. We do not take responsibility of making anyone else’s dreams come true, so why would someone else do that for your dreams’.”

‘I’d rather keep my life as uncomplicated as possible’

“Financial independence has given me so much freedom. I have the luxury to say ‘no’ to jobs I’m not interested in and I can focus entirely on the things that I love: Pioneering and innovating. Learning through trial and error. Working in an environment where not everything is fixed. I love it, and I try something new every year. For example, last year at Inditales I started working with guest bloggers and interns. And with some of the interns I now want to continue working in the future. Do I want to hire them?” She laughs: “I’d rather keep my life as uncomplicated as possible.”

Sweet spots

“Traveling, business innovation, and books are what I call my sweet spots. They are what I always will be focusing on, now and in the future.” Besides her travel blog, she also writes book reviews on her blog Anu Reviews. She has published a book about Indian digital pioneers, Mouse Charmers. And she is often hired as a business consultant. “When I’m not traveling, I spend my time juggling my three sweet spots.”

Innovative start-ups

She likes working as a consultant for start-ups in the travel industry. “I think there are huge opportunities for innovative start-ups in the travel industry. Tourism is still overly focused on the well-known highlights, but India is so much more than the Taj Mahal. Start-ups could focus on tourism in smaller cities, for example. India has an ancient civilization, and even in tiny towns you will find layers and layers of that civilization. What is needed to develop tourism there is a good infrastructure and good stories. Tourists love to discover stories.”

‘Finding your own sweet spot is crucial’

“Do I have any advice for starting entrepreneurs? I don’t believe in ‘one size fits all’ advice for entrepreneurs, but if I try to think of something to say anyway, then it would be that finding your own sweet spot is crucial: what is the essence of your own personal talent, passion and personality? I am convinced that you should aim to do more with your company than just making money. Experiment, fail, and then do it again, and finally you will discover your own sweet spot.”

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