A passion for work and freedom led, Sneh Sharma, from her life as a leading marketer in the country to a dynamic entrepreneur. Here we bring you our conversation with this buoyant leader, Founder & CEO of the first ever only girls Digital Media agency, Ittisa.
We are different! No, we really are!
We are the first ever only girls digital media agency.
1. How you started your entrepreneurial journey?
You don’t choose to be an Entrepreneur, It just happens.
I was 23 when it happened to me. I was four months with a media house and very restless. I wanted to innovate, create, experiment, fall, fail, learn and most prominently, take charge and work and work more. However, I realized, in bigger companies it takes eons, to even fail. My intuitions urged me to experiment with my life and I realized if I wanted to start something, I should do it NOW. I was freshly out of college too! So in terms of lifestyle I was already in a start-up mode; before salary, comfort etc. spoil my routines, I should quit, I thought, and there began my journey as a budding entrepreneur starting my 1st company.
But Ittisa began with a provocation, and this time in the form of a book.
Winning and losing has never been a part of my big picture, but challenges have always been my driving force. Reading Sheryl Sandberg’s sensational book ‘LeanIn’ ignited my entrepreneurial journey. The intriguing narration by the COO of Facebook about new age women and her professional side of life sparked a striking thought in me, making me relive my 7 years of professional life with 7 start-ups and one multinational. I never could accept that women worked less or were less competent than men, because in all my recollection, the best performing from my school to organizations were always women.
So where are we as women going wrong? Blaming it on society seemed to be the easiest way out. Motivational content for women too were thriving at the time through ad campaigns and what not, but none walked their talk and that’s when I knew it’s actually time – time to take charge.
2. What were the initial hurdles you faced during your journey?
When it comes to starting a new business, there are so many things that could go wrong. But I have always faced every challenge as an opportunity. The idea to start an all girls agency received a lot of slack from various quarters. “That is a far-fetched and futile idea”, people would say. However, I stuck to my resolve and went ahead and started Ittisa. It’s been only 7 months into the inception and with only 10 girls on-board we have already successfully partnered with more than a dozen clients. From my past and present experiences I have realized that women are extremely hard working and have it in them to even outperform men. Provide them with opportunities is all you need to do.
Another hurdle-turned-opportunity was the general lack of trust in young entrepreneurs in the business world. But the resolve and the readiness to walk that extra mile has worked well for us. We started off by partnering with a renowned and distinguished firm like Mara Mentor and for any start up this is undoubtedly a dream start.
The hurdles that I faced never weakened my resolve instead they only further motivated me to keep striving.
3. What motivated you to make “Girls only digital media agency”?
As mentioned earlier, the idea of making it an all girls firm struck me when I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Her stories about how women take a back seat and face innumerable challenges in their work space were an eye opener. I decided then and there that mine would be an ‘all girls’ firm. From then on I have never looked back.
And did I ever complete the book? Never could I. But here I am, writing a completely different one.
Ittisa is now one of the youngest and fastest growing digital media agencies and I am constantly proved right in choosing an all girls space by my highly energetic and gritty team. They are my Super girls.
4. What is your message to young girls, as for them life is graduate->marry->kids->end?
You are your own architect, not what others make you. So make sure you follow your passion and put your heart and soul into achieving whatever it is that you have set your mind upon. Remember, ‘there is no force equal to that of a determined woman’.
5. What is your message to young and budding entrepreneurs?
These few lines etched by Lord Tennyson pretty much sums it up,
“To Strive, To Seek, To Find and Never to Yield.”