Vineet Barnwal is a trainer, consultant, coach & stand-up comedian. With a keen eye for details and putting his experiences and work to use, he is known to come up with radically different thoughts and ideas for his training programs and stand up scripts.
He trained more than 25000 corporates, teachers, and students over the last 16 years, Vineet comes with an in-depth understanding of how the interaction between a trainer and a trainee works. With a background enriched in quizzing, traveling, psychology, and a decade long career in the industry, Vineet is able to understand the roadblocks that students and corporates face in understanding and learning of various aspects. Today we got a chance to interview him, Let’s know more about him.
We hope this can inspire you to become a successful person too! It is worth listening to a successful entrepreneur or to people who share their success stories? We can significantly learn many things from the experiences of them, by listening to their story.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with him:
Q1) Tell us a little bit about your start-up and your journey, please;
I am Vineet Barnwal and I work as a trainer for soft skills and a stand-up comedian. An alumnus of IIT Delhi and BIT Ranchi, I spent a decade in the IT industry in different specialties like Quality Consulting, Pre-Sales, and Sales before taking the plunge as a freelancer.
I liked my work but always felt that it wasn’t my primary love professionally. I missed being on the stage and bring different perspectives using the aspects of psychology and humor. I had been conducting training and doing comedy performances ever since I was in college. Consequently, I decided to quit my well-established IT job a few years ago and move to work as a freelance trainer and stand-up comedian.
Q2) How did the idea for your business/startup come about?
I am in two highly different yet strikingly similar industries- Training and Stand Up comedy. Superficially, they are like chalk and cheese, but both require intrinsic knowledge of the human thought processes, behavior, and psychology.
Soft Skills Training- The Learning/ Training/ Skill Development industry in India is quite fragmented, unorganized, and still developing. One critical aspect missing from the current soft skills training industry is that even for reputed and established organizations, there is a lack of focus on psychology which renders the training ineffective. Also, most training is monotonous and boring, and participants lose interest after a couple of hours thereby impacting their ability to grasp and learn.
Comedy- Stand-up comedy is an industry that is nascent and taking baby steps. I personally feel that in India, only a few rare comedians come up with scripts that make you think from a different perspective, else the scripts of most are similar and predictable.
My endeavor is to bring in the psychology and intellectual humor angle to training and comedies to ensure they have fun and learn something worthwhile in the process. The feedback has been very encouraging and assures me that I am on the right track
Q3) What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Passion, Freedom, and an Inherent Desire to make a difference were my key driving forces. From my experience, becoming an entrepreneur is a lifestyle choice more than anything else. Whether you want to continue working as a professional for someone else or chart your own course is a dilemma that most of us go through sooner or later.
The passion you have for the field you are interested in, the amount of effort you can put in it to develop your skills, innovate, implement and have the patience to run the clock are critical to success. I always felt these emotions for Training and Stand-Up Comedy. Working on my own gave me the freedom to experiment and innovate to bring new aspects of psychology and practicality to my training and stand-up comedy which people have loved.
Q4) What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?
For training programs, I focus predominantly on soft skills training/interventions/facilitations and my key competencies are in the following topics:
- Sales & Pre-Sales
- Leadership Skills, Communication Skills
- Team Building Skills
- Customer Management/ Account Management
- Personality Development & Presentation Skills
- Behavioral Skills, Negotiation Skills, Conflict Management, Influencing Skills
- Campus to Corporate: Induction Programs
- Campus to Corporate: Building Impactful Resumes, Preparation for Group Discussions and Interviews
- Faculty Development Programs/ Faculty Training Programs
- Lateral and Creative Thinking
- Emotional Intelligence
- Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH)
Some of the clients that I have worked with are TCS, Wipro, IBM, Accenture, PwC, Oracle, Royal Enfield, Go Air, GoJek, Huron, Pearl Global, Reliance, UNICEF, Lighting technologies, start-ups, NGOs, etc. I have also conducted regular training programs at colleges like IIMs, IITs, NITs, BITS, NIRMA, Symbiosis, IIFM as well. Along with these, I am a guest faculty at IIM Rohtak and a Board of Studies Member for Presidency University.
For my stand-up comedy gigs, I perform for clubs, corporate, and events.
I also work as an author in the areas of Career Counselling, Psychology, Stress Management, Youth Issues, Motivation, Personality Development, etc. and have had several of my articles published in various online magazines and forums
Q5) Why should people choose your product/services?
For a long-lasting impact and effectiveness. My programs are based on practical aspects of things that can be implemented. There is no unnecessary moral science gyaan which sounds good to hear but is not of any utility in real life.
For my comedy gigs, they are based on incorporating aspects of psychology which helps people look at the stressful things in life from a humorous perspective and cope with them in a better way.
Q6) How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
I believe that the best marketing is the word-of-mouth method which your happy customers do automatically-when you deliver what you have promised, be it training programs or comedy gigs.
I use regular marketing channels like my website, LinkedIn, FB, etc. I have engaged with a marketing agency called Vats Creations (www.vatscreations.in) which is helping me with my marketing outreach and it has been very successful in getting me new clients for my training programs and stand-up gigs
Q7) What risks are you facing?
Covid has changed the world in many ways, hasn’t it? It has had an adverse impact on both the training and stand-up comedy sectors. The ability to cope up with the fast-changing scene and adapting to the online world is a major risk, though it has opened new possibilities too.
Corporates, Start-ups, and universities were postponing all planned training programs till August. Slowly, the realization had dawned on them that this situation would continue for a few more quarters and they need to invest on their employees and students to ensure that they come out with a fighting chance to survive. There has been a sudden uptick in the training scene from August onwards and it is likely to improve further in the upcoming quarter.
Comedy as an art needs a live audience and will probably have to wait till the world returns to normal post the vaccine. I have seen a few artists trying online/video gigs, but the universal feedback is that it does not work.
Q8) Have you considered any alliance/partnership/funding?
I work in partnership with multiple training agencies and organizations. I am also an empanelled trainer/faculty for many educational institutes, start-ups and non-profit social groups. In this role, it is impossible to survive without alliances and partnerships. Developing and maintaining your network is critical to succeeding in any business you do on your own.
Q9) What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
It is an all-in-one role. I must discharge all the roles in running a business myself, except marketing, which as I mentioned before, I have outsourced to Vats Creations.
The good part is that I can do all of these at my pace and in the way I envision it to make a positive impact on my work.
Q10) What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
My greatest worry in life (whether professional or personal) was and remains becoming complacent. Becoming complacent with what I have right now and stop pursuing more or becoming complacent with my work or success and stop improving every day are death knells for me.
To counter this, I keep interacting with people across all age groups and understand their stories in the journey of life. That acts as a strong motivation for me to keep putting in my best efforts.
Having close friends and family members provide me unadulterated and genuine feedback on the aspects where I can improve by even a bit keeps me grounded and helps me improve.
Q11) What comes first for you money or emotions?
Life is not an either-or question for a professional. Both emotions and money are crucial to succeed, grow, and create an impact for our stakeholders. You can grow and succeed in your work only if you’re emotionally invested. Recognition and good financial returns act as motivation and pushing you to further stretch your limits of perfection. Both emotions and money are components that feed each other to enable you to perform a bit better every time.
Q12) Tell us about your early life & How has been an entrepreneur affected your family life?
My early life was not much different from most regular kids growing up in middle-class families in the 80s-90s. Probably, one aspect that made me a bit different was my insatiable curiosity about everything. This led me towards quizzing, and I became a seeker of knowledge and ideas. This particular trait has helped me in good stead all my life and still drives me as a person.
Being an entrepreneur has helped me form stronger bonds with my close family members and friends who have formed an extraordinarily strong ecosystem for me over the years. Quite often when things do not go your way, the encouragement and belief of your ecosystem in you and your ideas often make you make that additional effort to succeed. And they also act as the best critics and provide the best feedback for improvement without any fear. These factors have helped me immensely over my journey. Therefore, I ensure I take some time out regularly for interacting with everyone who’s a part of my ecosystem.
Q13) What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs??
The first step is Self-Discovery- find out what you enjoy doing and whether you enjoy it enough to pursue it as a career and make an impact.
For every singular thing that you want and love to do, you will have to do a hundred things which you do not like. The key to long term happiness and growth is to do the things you do not like well so that you get the chance to do things you like and excel in them. Discipline is a key ingredient in your work and goals.
Secondly, when you are starting out on your own, you need tonnes of dedication and patience. You need to think you are making a biryani, which will take hours and not fast food. A great biryani needs multiple ingredients at different times and must be cooked for hours for the flavors to come out. Similarly, success might get a bit delayed, but you should not lose your focus
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