It has been some time now since I did my last piece on what Brown can do for you so I am definitely pleased to bring this next one to you for sure. I first learned of Raj through a good buddy of mine Robin Skrzypek whom I met at Ad Tech a few years ago. Any thing web related – we always tried to model after his claim to fame site DMV.org.
Fast forward a few years and while waiting for an appointment at one of the restaurants at the Wynn Casino during the Affiliate Summit, I ran in to Raj and had a very pleasant conversation. Wise beyond his years, I wanted to find out a bit more about him so now I bring you – Raj Lahoti.
1) Hi Raj, tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started in this industry.
I’m the CEO-Cofounder of OnlineGURU, owner/operator of DMV.org: The DMV Made Simple and I’m also a Co-founder, and Director of AffiliatePrograms.com, empowering websites and entrepreneurs to learn how to earn online.
I am currently living in Santa Monica, CA, and focused on the creative direction, design and architecture of my web businesses while looking to incubate new sites and businesses with a focus on helping people and creating real value.
Started in the online space at 14 years old with my interest in designing websites and graphic design.
The interest in designing websites combined with my two older brothers’ interest in investing in domain names, lead me right into the industry of performance marketing and online media.
2) Do you think being an Indian in this industry has hindered or helped you achieve the level of success you currently have or anticipated?
I’m not really reminded of this within my work. Perhaps being born in the United States has allowed me to identify with an American culture.
But being of Indian descent does have its perks. I can joke around with Indian Programmers and break the ice a little J.
3) What are the top 3 factors that you feel contribute to your success?
Honesty and Authenticity –- striving to come as I am and express myself truly as opposed to mask my identity and live a lie.
Persistence — staying committed to my goals, even if I am knocked down, and knowing that I will make IT happen, whatever IT may be.
Community — having the right people around to help to bring out the inner self and creativity.
4) How important is it to you to communicate with your readers? Is there a particular message you want to convey?
From a personal standpoint, the particular message that I like to connect with people is my genuine and authentic self. I have gone through phases where I was pretending to be someone I didn’t even know… and now, I find that it is so much easier to be me and share myself with the world. There’s a lot more value being offered to readers when they can truly connect with me.
As far as our products go, we want to convey our brand purpose and ensure that our users can find what they are looking for and for what their intended outcome was. We’re not able to help every single person that visits our site, but ultimately, our goal is to help as many as we can in a way that is sustainable to our long-term objectives.
5) Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with people in the industry.
People in performance marketing can be a little distant from the products, that they forget really what they are selling, and break everything down to #’s – clicks, impressions, actions.
Sometimes, I have to ask a representative – is there any value to the customer? Exactly what is this product? Sometimes, it’s interesting when they don’t even know what they are selling, but they “know it converts!”
I’d like to promote things that I can stand behind and products and services that sell themselves, as opposed to something that is sold on a fluke
6) You are well known in the industry, who has been your motivation or inspiration, in other words, who is your driving force?
There aren’t any specific people in the industry that I would mention. However, I do enjoy the works of those in the personal development arena. I think each person that is trying to help focuses on a specific, or specific sets of angles. By learning from multiple gurus, I’ve been able to create new perspectives by cross-pollenating information from one another. Each has given me a lot of perspective on how to manage myself more effectively.
I like to follow people and topics ranging from: entrepreneurship, online marketing to health, wellness and yoga. I find that a good balance of information the keeps me balanced and sustained will be better than just focusing on one area and losing perspective on the bigger picture… that I’m a human being and need to take care of myself first before I can take care of a business!
7) What do you think is the impact of the “new” media on today’s generation? Are they leveraging it effectively and more importantly – are they leveraging it for the betterment of our industry?
Tough to answer this. New media is moving so quickly and there are always new ecosystems being created within existing systems. So I think where there are people and eyeballs, there are opportunities.
For example, I remember when Video was just starting out online. So many people were not sure how they would monetize. Now, there are many ad networks coming up to support the monetization of video through pre-rolls and contextual ads…
Same thing goes for social media… It’s so hard to keep up with it all… and I’m not even going to try. I’d rather just spot specific opportunities within each and FOCUS. “The Riches are in the Niches”… going after everything just keeps you looking like a clown at a circus juggling all the balls in the air.
8) Being a minority myself, there are constant stereotypes that I have to overcome, have you ever experienced this?
I haven’t experienced many issues with this. Or at least none that I’m aware of.
9) What are some effective tools and products that help you keep your life organized?
Eating healthy, staying active, and connecting with good role models is some of the few ways I sustain myself. In terms of technology, I pretty much use an Android Phone, MacBook Pro, Google Apps/Mail/Calendar/Docs, and offsite data storage. Ultimately, there are so many tools that are coming up for mind mapping, project/time management, etc… I try to keep it simple and use only those systems I need.
10) If you had a money tree in your back yard and could purchase anything for your business tomorrow, what would it be?
Can’t really answer this question… any ideas for something I should buy? Send them over.
11) Any words of wisdom for my readers looking to get into this space?
Keep it simple… focused… And although there are tons of opportunities to succeed, sometimes it makes sense to start somewhere that is proven instead of throwing darts and hoping something sticks. The more you enjoy the subject matter and material you are dealing with, the longer you can stay committed in it.
Persistence will ultimately lead to success, — but start with something you can see yourself sticking with for a while. Good things don’t usually happen overnight, they, like a plant, take some time to grow and there are multiple stages of growth that you can see to know you are on the right track.
Trackbacks and pingbacks
No trackback or pingback available for this article.