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Interview : Chetan Soni

chetan soni
Chetan Soni is an Engineer-MBA turned entrepreneur who founded Half Baked Beans, a publishing and book marketing platform. 
He also co-founded The Big Bang Trip , a curated road trip platform and greenrockstore.com , an e-commerce website with his friends. 
Previously he worked with a couple of startups in real estate and online education industry. In its close to 5 years of existence, HBB has published around 94 books, conducted 15+ writing workshops and organized 5+open mics. Starting out as a publishing company they have slowly ventured into book marketing and offline events. 
He has given the story concept for two published books, Wild Card and The 23rd Girl. In his spare time he likes to solo travel, write about food experimentation he does and observe the world. 
A quick interaction with him.
  1. "What gets you out of bed in the morning?"
Mostly previous day's pending work but the opportunity and ability to bring a small change in my life.
  1. What do you love about entrepreneurship ?
Everything has its own pros and cons. Things I like about entrepreneurship are doing what you like, ability to take decisions and not waiting for Boss to approve leaves. My personal favorite is that I can wake up late and sleep late.
  1. Inspiration of your Half baked beans?
HBB has been a product of my wish to work in an industry related to media and existing gaps in publishing industry.
  1. How did you managed the initial capital and are you planning to go the usual funding way?
Initial capital was provided by my family who have been supportive from day one. We do not plan to go the usual funding way and getting funded is a different ball game altogether. But we are surely looking for partners who have genuine interest in books as it is a mostly community driven industry.
  1. Who you find the biggest competitors in publishing industry ? How does HBB stays strong in times of stiff competition?
Personally I don't think there are any competitors as each publishing house has a different modus operandi. The market is huge and everybody can have their share. Therefore we are building a writing platform than a publishing house per say. The competition comes when there is misinformation spread in the circles. During those times it's better to stay silent. HBB believes in being transparent in their communication so that there are no misunderstandings later on.
  1. What comes first for you- money or emotions attached to HBB?
It would always be emotions attached to HBB as it is a niche industry and it is something started from scratch by us. A lot of people say I am not a good businessman and I think that is true. Having said that there is lot of opportunity available in this industry to make good money as well.
  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Churning out more stories through different mediums and hopefully to make HBB a little known brand.
  1. If you had the opportunity to start this business again what would you do differently?
When we started out social media was at nascent stage and it was difficult to gauge how it would shape up but now we have some idea about it. So that would be done differently. Forming a team earlier would also be a change from how we started. A lot of hit and trial methods were used as publishing industry is very disorganized. May be that could be changed.
  1. If you sold your company today, what would be the tone of the conversation? What would you want to gain? What would you want to avoid losing?
Well , I haven't really thought about it but if I were to then I would want to know what the buyer wants to do with HBB later. I think it would depend on the type of offer we get. I would want to avoid losing the good name HBB has got in short span of time.
  1. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the publishing industry?
Have a genuine interest. And have patience.

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