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Swati Rawat, Podcast Host and Brand Partnerships Manager, on building a successful side hustle

Finding Your Vision

More often than not, when we hear of a success story, we assume the person came out of the womb knowing what they wanted, pursued it, and found the success we see on our screens, or in Swati’s case, hear on our phones.

It is thus comforting to learn that Swati didn’t always know what she wanted to pursue. She allowed herself to identify her key strengths and then matched them with her interests.

She kept asking herself, what do I love to do that I’m also good at doing?

She heavily relied on the process of elimination. Finance and HR were two industries she didn’t think were a fit for her and so she leaned towards marketing. Within the broad scope of marketing, she tried and tested various subjects before she dialled in on branding as her niche.

After a long tenure at Launchora as Head of Product and Marketing, Swati now manages brand partnerships at Futurebrands consulting during the week where she functions as a custodian of India’s leading consumer brands across multiple domains. And on the weekends, she successfully runs the podcast, Vision Nari.

How was Vision Nari born?

Swati herself was an avid podcast listener, especially consuming content in the non-fiction genre. She was also personally going through the most common dilemma of a girl in her 20s – the dreaded ‘tick everything off your list before thirty’ timeline.

When will I get married? When should I have a baby? Must I go abroad to study further right away or wait?

These are questions that bother most girls within this age bracket and Swati was no exception. In those moments of uncertainty, Swati yearned for a mentor - an Indian woman who had hopefully already answered the questions that were keeping her up at night.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) she could not find her in the podcasts she diligently consumed. And in that moment of personal need, she identified a market gap and bravely decided that maybe she could be the one to fill it.

She already knew a lot of technical nuances on how to run a podcast because of her experience working at Launchora. And that gave her the first building block, to build the rest of the tower on.

Behind the scenes:

Having interviewed over 38 women from so many different facets, we wanted to dig in to learn what the voice behind the 185,000 listens had learned through this incredible journey.

As a parent can’t choose between her kids, Swati wasn’t able to pick her favourite episodes but on gunpoint (or extreme persuasion) she confessed her favourite episode was the one with Neeti Goel, a restaurateur and co-founder of Khaana Chahiye , an NGO started as a relief operation during the COVID-19 #pandemic in Mumbai. Neeti is also the co-founder of the Ghar bhejo campaign with Sonu Sood and she’s started a new #initiative called Raahat chahiye to help people with #oxygen.This woman chose to rise to the occasion at our deepest hour of need.

The episode that performed the best in terms of data was the one with Upma Kapoor, founder of Teal and Terra, an organic beauty brand. The story of a single mother who lost both her parents in an unfortunate accident but overcame adversity to become a serial entrepreneur. She leads an all women team with an incredible vision for her company.

What we loved hearing was insights into the demographics of the listeners. We had assumed an almost 100% female viewership but we were thrilled to learn that the ratio stood at 70:30 for women:men. While this is far from equal, it is still very heartening to know that men are curious about the stories of these incredible women. At The Pink Thread, we strongly believe in the participation of men to bring about real change and so this was satisfying data.

Swati also shared that through her interviews, she found younger women to be more experimentative and restless, which is both a good and a bad thing. This enables us to jump into new things more headfirst, but we aren’t as patient with the slow results.

Advice on how to run a podcast:

If you are someone who has been toying with the idea on how to run a podcast, then you are going to want to read ahead.

  1. Learn during the process: There is a time to plan your content, guest list, structure but then there is a time to take action. Research will tell you a lot about the technical aspects of running a podcast, but there are some things you only learn on the job. For example, Swati truly learned how to navigate conversations well only once she started having them.

  2. Be in the moment: It’s very easy to get wrapped up in your list of questions and the time on the clock, but Swati reminds us that the best conversations are those you were truly present for. Allow a natural rhythm to flow and make room for some back and forth.

  3. Be Curious: As simple as that sounds, it’s important to be curious about your guest in order to have the fruitful discussions. Some guests will open up from the first minute while others may take longer to let you in.

Message from Swati to the girls who want to start a side hustle:

  • Don’t wait for permission. If you want to do something, get up and do it. Whether it’s a podcast, a YouTube channel or a venture. Just do it. The worst consequence would be you fail at it. Even then, you learn.

  • The other practical approach to keep in mind is that there is nothing like a free lunch. In Swati’s case, what she gave up on was a lot of personal time since the podcast ate into her weekends. The collateral damage was that she attended fewer parties and watched lesser Netflix. Are you willing to make that trade?

  • Consistency is key. There will be good days and bad days. It’s during the latter that you have to ensure you still show up.

  • Continue pushing, after the honeymoon period is over. The first month is exciting as is the case with anything new but you’ve got to love it as much, long after the first few days under the sun.

Thank you Swati, for sharing your story with us, and the story of so many women, who just like you, continue to inspire and lead.

Swati Rawat manages brands at FutureBrands Consulting and is the Htost and Producer of The Vision-Nari Podcast, where she discover visionary Indian women and invites them to talk about their life and aspirations, in an attempt to understand their impulse, inspirations, and vision.

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