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Welcome to today’s podcast where I’m excited to have Mangla Sachdev join me. Originally from London, UK, Mangla has an impressive global footprint, having lived and established businesses in Australia, Malaysia, England, Scotland, and now Singapore. 

A lifelong entrepreneur, Mangla started her first venture at 17 and has been self-employed ever since. Mangla now runs Expat Business In A Bag, where she shares business coaching and strategies for expat entrepreneurs and digital nomads. Mangla shares her experiences with product businesses and valuable insights on starting a business, especially in a new country or community. 

In addition, Mangla is offering a special gift for our listeners: her ’27 Essential Tasks for Every Entrepreneur’ marketing checklist, available via the link in our show notes.

  • An introduction to herself and her businesses (01:35)
  • Her first product business at 17 years old (03:23)
  • Her second product business, t-shirts (05:29)
  • How she combines running a product business with travelling (10:34)
  • The differences between running a business in Singapore and the UK (13:35)
  • The inspiration for setting up Expat Business In A Bag (17:33)
  • Spotting business opportunities when travelling (20:19)
  • Using your travel experiences as inspiration for starting a business (26:08)
  • Advice on how to niche (26:57)
  • Her number one piece of advice for product creators (30:56)

The Bring Your Product Idea to Life Podcast  – Best Business Podcast Award, Independent Podcast Awards 2023

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Transcript
Vicki Weinberg:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Idea to Life podcast. This is the podcast for you if you're getting started selling products, or if you'd like to create your own product to sell. I'm Vicki Weinberg, a product creation coach and Amazon expert. Every week I share friendly, practical advice, as well as inspirational stories from small businesses. Let's get started. Hi, I hope today you will join me in welcoming onto the podcast Mangla Sachdev. While originally from London, UK, Mangla has moved around the world more than once, and she's lived in Australia, Malaysia, England, Scotland, and she's currently living in Singapore. She set up a business in almost every city she's lived in, she started her first business age 17 while on a gap year and has never ever worked for anybody. She's been self employed her entire career, which I found absolutely fascinating. So she has ran lots of different businesses, some of those product businesses, which is what we're going to mainly focus on today. But she has lots of great tips on starting businesses, particularly, um, if you're new to an area or a country and you're looking at what you could do and how you might fit into that community. She has some great advice on that. She also has a free gift for listeners, which is the marketing checklist, 27 essential tasks for every entrepreneur. And you can get that by the link in the show notes. And now I would love to introduce you to Mangla. So hi, Mangla. Thank you so much for being here.

Mangla Sachdev:

Thank you for having me. I'm super excited.

Vicki Weinberg:

So can we please start with you giving the brief introduction to yourself, your businesses and what you do?

Mangla Sachdev:

Sure. So I'm Mangla and while I'm originally from London, I have moved around the world a couple of times. I've lived in Australia, in Malaysia. North of England, um, Edinburgh, Dunfermline, and now I'm in sunny Singapore. So, my journey started, um, many, many years ago. In each place that I moved to, I started my own business. But every time I had to leave because of my husband's job, um, I'd have to stop that business and then start all over again in a new place. And in 2020, um, I started this t shirt printing business with my dearest and closest friend in Singapore, seven days before the world locked down, but we did extremely well. And, um, we were selling to, uh, international schools. We're doing t shirt printing and hoodies. And we managed to pivot very quickly and sold 4, 000 masks and, um, Facebook Singapore heard about us and they contacted us and we also work with the U. S. Embassy here. But, I mean, that went really, really well the first, you know, couple of years and it's still going on. But, um, I realized that if I were to move again, I'd have to start from scratch. And this was such an amazing business that just kept getting recurring revenue. And so I started my latest venture, which is expat business in a bag where I help other expats like myself, digital nomads, as well as people who love to travel to monetize as they move. So they never have to start from scratch again.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing. Thank you for explaining all of that. So, was your t shirt business your first products based business or had you sold products prior to that?

Mangla Sachdev:

Um, it was my first product based business and I had done, yeah, all services previously. Um, actually, no, sorry, it was my second product business. The first product business I did was when I was 17, when I was traveling in a gap year.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, amazing. And what were you selling then out of interest?

Mangla Sachdev:

So I was traveling, um, I'd taken a gap year and I was traveling around Asia and I, we have family and friends around here and I brought these little trinket pieces that I just found in one of the stores in London and I brought it as gifts. And everybody loved it so much here that I had, um, someone asked me that if I could, you know, source 300 pieces because she was getting married in a couple of months and she just wanted a gift everybody one of those. And so I left all my clothes and everything that I had in where I was. Rushed back to London, bought 300 pieces. They were only tiny, these little trinket boxes, came back and made 3, 000 in one day as a 17 year old.

Vicki Weinberg:

That is amazing. I can't believe, well, I can believe because I've heard, you know, now I've learned a bit about you that you just at 17 got on a plane and flew, you know, was there much of a thought process that went into that or was it like, oh, this is something I can do. I'll just do it.

Mangla Sachdev:

I, I think it was, you know, when you're so young, you're so naive and you kind of think, Hey, this is brilliant. I'm just going to do it. No thought of consequences or anything like that. And then once I realized that I could make 3, 000 in a day, to me, it was like, I wasn't going to uni after that. I'm like, I could make business work for myself. And it's just, that's just happened.

Vicki Weinberg:

And so back then when you were 17, did you carry on with that business?

Mangla Sachdev:

Um, well, no, because then I went back to London and it was always, I was always looking out for opportunities. So it was kind of like a one hit wonder at that point, I was looking for an opportunity and sometimes I did sort of just mail things across and made a little bit, but nothing on that scale for, for a couple of years.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay. So your t shirts business you started in Singapore was your next kind of full time product business.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah. Yes.

Vicki Weinberg:

And is that a print on demand service or are you designing your own t shirts? How does that work?

Mangla Sachdev:

So how that came about was, um, the two of us were partners in business. We were on the Parent Teacher Association board at our children's school. And so we did everything from baking cupcakes, bake sales, painting sets, and getting, um, sourcing t shirts for drama productions. And we did that for a number of years, but every time we had to order these t shirts, we just faced awful customer service. Sometimes, you know, there would be really late, sometimes the printing was wrong, quality of t shirts kept changing. And so, one day when we were rushing to get an order ready, we were just sitting at this, you know, this dinky little mall in Singapore, I think one of the oldest malls here. And we turned and looked at each other and said, we could do this. And so we just decided to set it up and so it's more, sometimes it's the children who design it, sometimes it's us. So they use it for fundraising, um, or particular events. So, but it's, it's really good because it's recurring business. So if they've got an, you know, a design ready, they'll just be like every couple of months. All right, we just need new sizes.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, that's amazing. And so I take it that you've had to sort of source the t shirts and other products yourselves. And what about the printing? Have you found someone to handle that for you?

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes, we do it. So, um, Singapore things are quite expensive here and just next door in another country, but Malaysia, I think it's a lot cheaper. Plus the currency works in our favour. So like a dollar there, it's divided by three for us here. So it works really well. And so, yeah, we source the printing from there. The products come from sometimes Canada and US and even manufactured in Malaysia, there are some factories there. So that was, yeah, quite an experience.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah. And it sounds like you got off to a, you know, a really good start. So, and it's also the impression I'm guessing is you sort of got that business off the ground quite quickly too.

Mangla Sachdev:

Very quickly. We had a first t shirt order within seven days. Which is like a hundred or some hundred over pieces. Yeah within seven days we were in business and making a profit.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing. And how were you getting those first orders?

Mangla Sachdev:

I think some relationships were, were built. I think that it just came down to that because we were in the, on the PTA board for very long. And, um, we knew a lot of people in other schools as well. It was just reaching out to people we knew. And I think everything since then with Singapore being such a small country, it's all relationship marketing. It's referrals. We've never had to advertise.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, I can imagine if you're providing a great service and it sounds like you weren't, um, probably other people weren't getting a great service or great quality before and you are, I'm sure that word of mouth is spreading.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes, yes, that works a lot in our favour and it was just referrals, which is referral after referral. We've never had to go out and source new business.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing. And you also mentioned that you started selling masks, um, into the pandemic, which must have been weeks into your business. How were you able to make that pivot so quickly? Because that's also super impressive.

Mangla Sachdev:

I think we, we had an order. The school asked that, um, you know, could we do masks? How quickly can you get them? And what about printing with the school logo? And so we managed to source out. Um, we had the first order was 2000 pieces and we managed to get that quickly. So that, that probably took about a month or two into the pandemic. And then in Singapore, we were in lockdown for far longer than most other countries and masks were compulsory for approximately, gosh, I'd say 18 months to two years. So again, recurring.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow. And it sounds to me like something I'm really picking up from you here is how adaptable you are.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah, I think you got to think on your feet really quickly and not second guess it. I just think if an idea works, right, we've got to go with it. And then also, I don't even know whether I spend enough time assessing the risk or I've kind of thought, all right, you know what, if it doesn't work out, we'll figure it, we'll, we'll either make it work or it'll fail and I'll have a story to tell.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's a good attitude and say you've been based in Singapore ever since you started this business. Is that correct?

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes.

Vicki Weinberg:

And are you doing much traveling now or why do you tend to be based in Singapore?

Mangla Sachdev:

Um, I think we're, yeah, we're based in Singapore. We've been here for about 10 years now. We were coming for three initially. Um, I think it's such a beautiful part of the world to be in because we're next to Bali, Malaysia, Thailand. We just came back from Australia. We were there for a week and we're in England every year as well for the summer because of parents and my sister so.

Vicki Weinberg:

Okay. So are you finding that, so when you're traveling, are you finding that it's a business that still, you can still run when you're not physically in the country, or are you sort of taking holiday when you're, when you're leaving? I'm just, I'm just curious because obviously you've had up until the past 10 years, quite a nomadic lifestyle. I'm just wondering how the business fits in.

Mangla Sachdev:

So I think because we work with majority schools and we take school holidays off, that works really, really well for us. And it's also something that now with so many things being online and just child, we are able to run it while we're not in the country.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I was curious about that because I mean, I definitely, and this isn't a leading question, because I'm genuinely curious, but you mentioned before that when you'd moved to different countries and you'd been running services business, you'd have to wind those businesses up as you moved on. I mean, and it sounds like you're very settled in Singapore, but hypothetically, do you feel like if you were to move on again, this was a, this would be a business that could continue without you physically being there or not?

Mangla Sachdev:

Well, I think we've both thought about because we're both, both, you know, both of us as business partners, we're both from the UK. So, you know, either one of us could leave at any time. Um, we initially thought that we might be able to run it. We might be able to employ somebody, but then it's the relationships that we've built. It's a networking that we do continuously here that attracts people. And I think ideally, we'd like to bring it to a place where we'd be able to sell it. Because we'll have the business model already, customers ready, suppliers ready, um, that somebody who didn't want to start from scratch could just take it and run with it.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really interesting. Thank you for sharing that. I was genuinely curious because I haven't travelled. But from my experience, products businesses can be a bit more adapted. Obviously it depends on your business model, but they can be a bit more adaptable. You don't have to physically be there. But of course, as you've said, you've built this relation, you've built the business mainly on relationships and people knowing you. Um, and it sounds like, and I could be wrong here, but it sounds like you're quite a big, you and your business partner are quite a big part of your business. So people are choosing to buy from you, not necessarily just a faceless company that actually the people behind it. Is that fair?

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes. I think because it is such a small country and the expat community here is amazing and very encouraging and you, you get to know people very quickly. And so a couple of names are thrown around and you immediately have somebody asks, you know, is there a copywriter around, you know, we have three names that just keep getting thrown about all the time. And so I think when it comes to printing and, um, you know, anything with products like that, um, corporate gifts, our names are always brought up, which is, which is a lovely feeling.

Vicki Weinberg:

That sounds really different from, I guess, if you'd started up the same business in the UK.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Are there any other differences you see between, because obviously you've ran businesses in so many countries. Are there any other differences you see, you see particularly, I guess, between Singapore and the UK in terms of how you've had to approach your business?

Mangla Sachdev:

Um, I think here, because it's such a transient society, so you know, we all have friends here. I mean, every year we have people who leave. They you, you know, move on to other countries, either go back home or just start up somewhere else. So, the community that we've built here, the friendships, um, the network, it keeps changing every year. So, networking in person is absolutely a must. And it's, it's constantly, I mean, it's my business partner, myself, we attend, um, at least one networking event each week.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow. And you're right. That is really different because in the UK, and I'm sure you experienced this. If you attend networking events, often 95 percent of the people are the same, whether it's weekly, monthly, however often you go, it's, it's much rarer, I think, to see new faces.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah. And, and I think you, I suppose you're competing with people who've already been established. And so if you're coming in as a newbie, maybe it's a bit more trickier to enter the market.

Vicki Weinberg:

Possibly. I mean, it sounds like in Singapore as well, the markets may be a bit smaller. Is that fair to say that the market is a lot smaller?

Mangla Sachdev:

A lot smaller. A population is, um, gosh, maybe just over 5 million.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, wow. I had no idea.

Mangla Sachdev:

So very small, very small. And there's no area that you can't go to. So even if, you know, there's nothing which would be like a networking event, but it's too far out, the furthest out will be a 45 minute drive away. That's it.

Vicki Weinberg:

So that makes everything really doable, I suppose.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes. Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And in terms of what you do, are there many other businesses around doing the same thing? Because I would assume that there's go, there's only going to be so many competitors you'll ever have because of the size of the market.

Mangla Sachdev:

I think there are a lot of competitors who are serving local businesses and, um, they're sourcing everything from China. So I think because our children attend international schools, um, there's also an expectation of quality items. We want it to be sustainable, eco friendly, just because the kids are taught and we've been educated on it a lot more. And so they're willing to pay a little bit more for the quality that they're after.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh yes. I guess that gives you some, a way to differentiate yourself.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's interesting that there are lots of competitors though, because I, in my head, as we've been talking about this, because obviously I know nothing about Singapore, I, I kind of thought, I wonder if there's less competition because there is less of a market to sell to, but it sounds like your competitors are maybe targeting other types of, you know, there, maybe they're not working with the schools, for example, they're working with different organisations.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And I think China with everything being sourced from there and it not being very far, um, that's just where most people are getting their products from. So when we say that we're not sourcing from there, we stand out that way as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really interesting. And was that a conscious decision that you made at the outset to stand out?

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes. Yes. A niche is, I think every single, I can think back of a few different businesses that I've had. It's always been a success because of, I've niched out.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really great advice. And, and speaking of advice, so now let's pivot a bit and talk about the business you're running now. So your business, expat business in a bag is helping expats start and run their own businesses. So what advice do you have for anyone who's perhaps found themselves in a different location and is thinking, right, what, what can I do here?

Mangla Sachdev:

I think a lot of people have set up businesses here and they've been very successful very quickly because they've brought something new to the market. And it's normally, it's like a three year churn and then they're off to the next, um, country. So when they come to me, it's like, all right, I think I'm moving in six months time. Um, you know, I'm not only am I going to have to stop the business early because of packing and getting the kids settled into a new country, going back and forth. Um, but it's also settling there and starting from scratch. So I think the first thing that I tell people is that build that audience right now. Build that worldwide audience where you're going to start networking online. And even within our own community, when we network here, if we say like I'm moving to one particular country, do you know anybody? Can you introduce me to someone? There's always someone out there who knows someone, and so I think that's the first part of it, but also if you've set up a business here and it's worked really well, um, while you're settling into a new country, I also encourage them to teach others. That could be a digital product, a digital course. They can write an ebook, training materials, tell somebody your entire journey. Everybody wants to know, like, what did you do first? Where are you at right now? How did you get there? Where did you get your first five customers from? So it's really, sorry, for somebody, sorry, for someone else, it's, it's a shortcut instead of making their own mistakes. Learn from somebody else who's been there and done it.

Vicki Weinberg:

I find that really interesting. And do you find that people tend to move their businesses with them or start afresh everywhere they go? Um, I'd actually, I'd love to know as well. So this is two questions, but if you could answer that one, but then I'd actually love to know if you don't mind telling us some of the businesses you've ran as you've travelled around the world and just, I think I'd be fascinated to know your full background if you don't mind sharing that.

Mangla Sachdev:

Not at all. So the first question, I think people who have done, say they're really good at copywriting. I think that will, that will usually go with them. Um, but I know some people who here have started social media management. And so, you know, they go around and they do the videos and the reels. They know that if they're moving to a country like the UK or the US, that the competition is going to be too great there and it's not something that they're going to stand out in, in that new country. And so it comes to like figuring out, right, so I'm going to start from scratch, but what can I do? What, where, what have I learned here or in my travels that I could take along with me and start from scratch, start a fresh.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really useful. And I think I liked what you were talking about before when we were talking about, um, when you were on holiday and you came over to the UK to get the trinket boxes. So what that's kind of sparked is that I guess you saw that there was a something that you could easily get from the UK that wasn't ready available there and there would be a market for that. So I guess there's a thing about looking for that kind of opportunity as well. So what I liked about that, I know you weren't, you know, trying to set up a business. You just took the opportunity, but I think that was a really good example of how you found a gap in the market and you were in a position to be able to fulfill that.

Mangla Sachdev:

I think when you're an entrepreneur and I'm sure you've had the same experience when you're, when you're out and about, you kind of find opportunities. You're always looking at it. You went into someplace and you think, ah, that's a really great idea. And then you can kind of think, oh, they should do that here. Well, while we're not consciously working all the time, but our brain is. And so it's always fun to look at, especially in travels, what's working in other countries and what, what we don't have or what's lacking in our own country or what, what would be different.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's really interesting. And what I like about that as well is that you've actually gone ahead and done it because to be honest, I think a lot of us come up with these ideas. I can't tell you how many business ideas I come up with, but I haven't executed a lot of them, um, for various reasons that I think, yeah, what I'm finding really interesting about our chat is how you've been great at finding opportunities and then actually going and, and trying something because I don't think everyone, in fact, I'm not, yeah, I think very few of us actually do that.

Mangla Sachdev:

I think it's because of the moves and you know that it's such a short period of time you want to make it count. So it's just, all right, I'm just going to go, you know, both feet in, try it out. And I'm very conscious that I'm not going to spend a lot of money at the outset. Like, I'm not going to go and get the fancy logo straight away, the big website, I'm going to start small, because I need to test the waters, and a couple of them, you know, haven't done well at all, and it's just been, alright, I know what doesn't work, let's see the next idea. And so going back to your second question was that the couple of ideas I had, when we were living in north of England, my husband was working at the hospital, and it was a small community hospital. And I thought, well, there was a tiny little gift shop with flowers people could take. They didn't really do gift baskets. And so I thought I could, you know, do flyers around or just approach the gift shop and say, I could prepare a few gift baskets for you. And so they had agreed and I did a few of those, but it didn't take off as much. And I thought, okay, maybe it's just not the right market. But then when you move somewhere else, I tried it again and it worked there. So that was one idea. Another one was when we were in Scotland. Um, I, PR was, you know, it was something I think Richard Branson had come up with, where he just published a book about publicity and I studied marketing and PR extensively. And so I set up a sort of like a publicity workshop, um, for businesses, for small businesses. How do we get in the media, how to spin certain articles and how to piggyback on what's happening in the news. So this is a couple of businesses that I've tried.

Vicki Weinberg:

They're great. And what I like as well, they're so different from each other. I mean, they all sound like they're within your skillset and experience, but they're all quite different. Do you think that because you know, or up until now, ofcourse, you've always known you were going to be somewhere for a relatively short period of time. Does that take a bit of the pressure off in terms of whether it, I don't want to say fails or succeeds because obviously we all define, we, you know, I think we should make those definitions ourselves, but, um, do you see what I mean? Does it take a bit of pressure off because you know that actually whatever happens, you're only going to be running that for a limited time period?

Mangla Sachdev:

Do you know, I've never thought of it that way, but when you say, I think, I think that maybe gives me a little bit more guts to do so because if it fails, it's okay, I'm not going to be here that long. You know, even if nobody will remember it, I'm moving on. So yeah, I think that's probably helped me with taking bigger risks and trying new things rather than analyzing it, coming up with a big fancy business plan. And I think I just kind of go in like straight away because I think, okay. Couple of years. Let's figure it out. Let's see if it works.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah. Thank you. I just wonder because I was thinking to myself, I think when you know, it's not the thing forever. I wonder if it makes you more inclined to take risks and try new things, because if you don't enjoy it or it doesn't work, it's okay. It's only going to be a very short percentage of your life.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that definitely helps a lot, but I didn't expect to be here for this many years. Um, that would, this is probably one of the. Gosh. Yeah. As at one stretch, probably the longest I've been in one place.

Vicki Weinberg:

So it's actually really good that you enjoy what you're doing now.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yes. Yeah. And it'd be really sad to leave whenever I do, but yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And do you have any other advice for anyone who wants to, or who either wants to, or, you know, due to circumstances is finding, you know, their, their, their lifestyles a bit more nomadic, they're moving around. Do you have any other advice for people in those situations who want to create and grow a business?

Mangla Sachdev:

I think I've, whenever I come back home every summer, I will meet people who will say, I have no idea how you do that. I don't think I could leave the security of my home place. I know how everything works, my family, my friends. And so while there's a part of them who wants to explore and almost, I wouldn't say envious, but just sort of wonder what it's like. There's a bigger part of them that just won't do it. So thinking of those people sitting at home, they want to explore some parts of the world. And so if you've traveled, whether you've been in the jungles of Vietnam, you've learned authentic Thai cooking, or you've been to Bali, if you've had those experiences, you could always find a way to take that to other people who can't have that. So whether you teach, you could teach online, now everything's become so easy. Teach, if you've mastered one Thai dish, teach that online. Sell it for seven pounds, seven dollars. But there is a market out there. Just need to, need to market yourself really well. But there's always a market out there, there's always a niche, and don't be afraid to niche down.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really interesting. Thank you. And I've just got one final question, question on that, because I think this is something that people can struggle with. What advice do you have on niching? Because it sounds like you've always done it extremely well. You spoke about every business you've had has had a niche. So do you have any advice of maybe how people can identify a niche even to begin with?

Mangla Sachdev:

I think it's figuring out where you hang out. So if you have teenagers or you have toddlers, and if you were, say, a health coach or a coach, you know, for perimenopause, it's very different when you speak to mums with teenagers and mums with toddlers. But when you choose where you're at and who you want to speak to, they pay attention. So apart from calling our names, there's, there's not a lot of things that get our attention online. So if you say mums for teenagers who are feeling the fatigue, you know, your children are, you know, off to university or something like that, you're immediately sitting up and paying attention to what you're putting out there because you're talking directly to them. Whereas if you just say mums, it could mean anybody. So I think niching is always, always a really good idea. And I think too many people are afraid that, um, it would just, they won't make a lot of money because if, you know, the pool's really small, how will I make a lot of money? But the difference is you will stand out in that small pool.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that makes a lot of sense. And I think there is a saying, and I may have got this completely wrong, but it's something like if you're talking to everybody, you're talking to nobody.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I agree because I feel like, yeah, if you, unless you know exactly who you're talking to, it's, it's actually a lot harder. I think with your marketing, your communications, everything, if you're not sure exactly who it is you're trying to reach. Personally, I always find that a lot harder. Whereas if you have a really clear vision in mind of this is the kind of person I'm speaking to. And I'm not saying you have to go as far as avatars and things like that. But I think just knowing, as you've said, you're talking to a mum of teenagers rather than a mum of young children. Just making that distinction really does help.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah. And it's also when you start sharing your stories, you know, if they're looking through the UCAS form or something, and you just take a little story or a little video about that, and you explain how it feels for you. Other people are going to get it. They want, people still buy from people. It's not like you said, like a faceless corporation. So if you understand what they're going to, they're going to want to buy from you. They're going to want to learn from you and you speak their language. So that makes a huge difference.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that really does. Thank you. Because I wanted to talk about that because you mentioned niching and I do know as you've probably experienced as well in the work that you're doing, that sometimes people are a little bit nervous about sort of narrowing down the, you know, the pool of people that they're trying to reach.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah, there's always pushback. Whenever I talk about niche, there's always, but, oh, but then it's not, you know, what about the somebody else who doesn't, who, oh, I can also help, you know, am I going to leave them out? And I explained to them that while we marketed the printing business for international schools, PTAs, Facebook Meta Singapore and embassies still contacted us. We didn't say no to the business, but because we had established a name for ourselves in that niche, somebody paid attention.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes a lot of sense. And of course, as you've said, that's a really good point that you're not necessarily excluding people because of course, if those people approach you, then, then that's great, but you can't with your messaging target everybody.

Mangla Sachdev:

Everyone is not your customer for sure. Unless you're Amazon.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well yeah. That's great advice. Thank you. And speaking of advice, well, thank you for everything you've shared first of all, because you've shared a lot of advice with us, but what would your number one piece of advice be specifically for anyone wanting to create and sell products rather than the services?

Mangla Sachdev:

So you start small. Start what you're comfortable with and you don't need anything fancy. Nowadays with social media, you know, we have this free platform to share what we've produced. Um, use that, use that, find your market, find your people and keep asking for referrals. Keep saying, share it with a friend or ask for feedback that you really do not have to spend a lot of money starting your first product business or even your next product business. You can always start small, test the market.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good advice. Thank you. Because of course, I think cost is something that can stop a lot of us from, from doing anything. So I think it's really good to remember that you don't have to have the fancy website and the, the anything right at the, right at the beginning, I think you can, you could definitely achieve a lot, um, by starting small.

Mangla Sachdev:

Absolutely. And I think that's where it takes a lot of pressure off as well. And so even if you're like, you know, like I said, you have so many ideas where you could test so many different ideas. If you start small, but allocate, you know, this is the amount of time I'm going to spend and test this out and this amount of money. And then you're, you're comfortable with that. You're not pushing yourself. And when I think when you take the pressure off, you enjoy your business because I think you've got to enjoy what we do. That's why we're in business.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah. I mean, we spend such a lot of time on our businesses and in our businesses. Yeah. You're right. If we don't enjoy it, then yeah. That's quite sad actually. Especially if you're working for yourself, I think if you're employed, obviously we don't always have that luxury, but I think when you're working for yourself, you need to build a business you're happy to go to every day because it's yours.

Mangla Sachdev:

Yeah. Gotta have fun.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you so much for everything that you've shared. It's been a great conversation. I found it really eye opening and hopefully listeners will find it really inspiring as well. So thank you.

Mangla Sachdev:

I've had so much fun. Thank you for having me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode. Do remember that you can get the full back catalogue and lots of free resources on my website, vickiweinberg. com. Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next week.