24 Aug 2016, 10:36 — 8 min read
The secret to entrepreneurial success is making your passion your profession. Meet Arjun Wadhwa, an amateur chess and tennis player, and a sports enthusiast. Besides a passion for sports, Arjun also has a love for technology. A natural culmination of these interests led Arjun to establish TheSportsCampus.com 8 years back. The Sports Campus is one of the first sports portals to be launched in India and aims to be a definitive source for all sports related news.
The Sports Campus was launched under the parent company Wadhwa Writing Services LLP. Arjun has been the Founding Editor of the portal since its inception.
In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Arjun shares his passion for sports, the challenges he has faced in establishing the business and his vision to further expand his venture.
GL: Tell us about your business and how it came into being.
Arjun: We are a sports news website. It’s called TheSportsCampus.com. It’s been running for about 8 years now.
I have always been into sports. I was an amateur tennis and chess player. I played tennis up to state level and played chess at university level. And I always wanted to get into a role which would excite me professionally and also be in a domain where I would find every day of work more fun rather than work. That was my primary objective - to try and convert my hobby or interest into a job. So I identified the things I was good at and what I was interested in and tried to find a match between my aptitude, my interest and my skill-sets and The Sports Campus was born as an amalgamation of the three.
GL: What are the challenges you have faced in establishing your business?
Arjun: To be honest when we launched the website 8 years back, things were a lot simpler. Things are a lot harder now from the perspective of revenue generation and there is so much competition. The market has changed considerably over the last 3-4 years in particular. Initially when we started, we were essentially a website. Mobile phones were still in their infancy. Now most of our traffic comes from mobile phones whereas in the early years it used to come from desktops and laptops, and the idea of a tablet didn’t even exist.
We have had to change rapidly with the times, it’s actually more challenging now than it was back then. When we launched we had a little bit of an early mover advantage, purely from a business perspective, things moved at a slightly slower pace. Now technology changes at such a rapid pace that if you are not in tune with what happened yesterday, you are already out of date.
Another challenge is that of threat from hackers. There’s always someone out there who is trying to hack websites and trying to completely destroy your reputation. So hacking is one massive challenge we face from time to time.
Obviously acquiring skilled people is always a challenge even in a country like ours where there are so many people. In fact to be honest, the issue is not ‘skills’, the issue is the integrity of individuals. Call it culture or the reality of students in a competitive system but a lot of kids who come out of colleges today, looking for jobs are brought up on a culture where they are not particularly honest. They’ve got through college where it’s ok to look at other people’s work during exams or take things from the internet and publish it in their reports. With the internet, so much information is so easily available now. At the end of the day it comes down to the personal values of the individual. And unfortunately, there are too many dishonest people out there who look for short-cuts in life. Finding honest and loyal people is therefore quite challenging.
GL: How do you gather information for your website?
Arjun: We have our own reporters and have also subscribed to news wires. When we started initially it was largely a team of our own reporters. But as we have grown we have been able to afford news wires as well. News wires gives us the ability to get a lot more news than one would be able to cover through one’s own reporters but it comes with its own challenges as well. The quality and speed of reporting is generally not the same as when you are using your own people to do a particular job.
Our readers are from an excess of 300 countries. One would not be able to believe that there were that many countries. You know when you look at your analytics report you wonder, is there really a country with that name as well and you can’t believe that there are people there who are interested in football or what’s happening in the world of athletics. It’s very much a global audience.
The fact that we are India based does make us slightly India-centric, even if we try not to be.
GL: How big is your team?
Arjun: The team size has varied from time to time. During our early years we started with 2 people, and then we grew to a size in excess of 100, with a lot of young freelance reporters across the country. Then we found that it made more sense to have wire services rather than such a large team of reporters. A lot of it is flexible, depending on what is happening in a particular year. For example, this is an Olympic year, so one needs to have a larger team to be able to cover an event like that. So we had someone on site in Brazil to do that. Similarly, for the European Football Championships you need more people. The team size varies and one does tend to in this industry use a lot of freelancers. So they may not necessarily be employees but the team size is generally variable.
GL: How important is marketing in your line of work?
Arjun: One has to market oneself all the time. If you don’t market yourself, you are basically leaving yourself to organic growth and organic growth can only take you so far. If you want to achieve exponential growth in any business, you have to go out there and spend money. We do things from time to time. The efficacy of online advertising versus other approaches may vary from time to time but, yes one does have to market oneself. Advertising is one small element of marketing at the end of the day.
GL: What is your big business dream?
Arjun: The dream is to be as big as ESPN one day but I don’t know whether I will get to see that in my lifetime or not. I hope the organisation survives that long. If we just exist beyond a decade and actually grow to a competitive size so that it is recognised in the industry as a major player who believes in honest news reporting, that in itself will be something that I will be satisfied with.
GL: How do you believe GlobalLinker is enabling SMEs to grow their business?
Arjun: I believe that GlobalLinker has a huge potential. There is an opportunity in this space to connect SMEs and provide them the same opportunities that big businesses enjoy.
GL: What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Arjun: Be very sure why you are starting a business. Do it for the right reasons. Choose something that you will enjoy. Don’t just do it for the money. Because if you just do it for the money, you may get rich but you may not enjoy the journey. Entrepreneurship is a lot harder than it looks from the outside...it isn’t a bed of roses.
Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the member.
Posted byGlobalLinker Staff
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