Digital platforms for desi women have largely been of two categories—masala/popcorn lifestyle content websites, or those that drive conversations about niche roles of being female (mother, activist, influencer, homemaker, and more). The Channel 46 came to be to represent the many faces of the Indian woman. From knowledge and skill-sharing through practical workshops to growth and development to-do lists for self-use, the enterprise encompasses the collective interests of desi women from across the board.
In conversation with Founder Akshita Gupta, we learn about her passion and conviction for such a business, strategies that made her brand launch a success, and key tips for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
1. What’s your educational and professional background?
I’ve had the good fortune to study Management at the University of Warwick followed by a masters in Integrated Marketing Communications. I’ve worked in advertising, media and my family business before this.
2. What prompted the idea for The Channel 46?
I always felt most content platforms catering to women were high on gossip, instead of speaking about issues that related to the real-life tensions and aspirations of Indian women. It’s the reason I set out to build TC46.
The idea was to match intention with expectations. So for example, growth may mean something different to a housewife than it does to a working woman, but they both want to grow and they both deserve help when charting a path to success. TC46 is that help, that assistance, that perfect +1 for the desi woman.
3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?
Yes, because I was always passionate about content and the word-of-mouth space. In many ways, this venture is the perfect intersection of my passions—content, women-led issues, and the art of doing business.
4. What was your first milestone and how did you get there?
The first milestone, I would say, was getting The Channel 46 site live! For this, it took a really good team that worked on different aspects of the site—from content to design to technology. For an entrepreneur, there’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when your ideas and vision are realised. And so many startups struggle to execute and get stuck in strategy and ideation and pivoting. A ‘Go-Live’ was representative of our ability and confidence to put something out into the world for consumption and feedback.
5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?
A digital content business isn’t just about creativity; an equal amount of strategy and execution is important. So start cautiously but don’t overthink, and certainly, don’t forget to take stock of your progress periodically. Business growth needs to be measurable and quantifiable against your monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. Your performance metrics may vary but they shouldn’t be subjective, they should be result-oriented in number, percentage, engagement, revenue, or brand equity.
6. What were the best financial decisions you made?
Invest in the right team. It really takes a village to get there! In the early days, it’s important to adapt to being lean and frugal without compromising on the quality of your key team members. These are the people who know how to extract the maximum from any situation. Because, while it’s always easy to exhaust your resources with inflated budgets for growth, planning our finances wisely and frugally is what helped us sustain and thrive even during the pandemic. We had the right team who found innovative ways of driving goals even with fewer resources.
7. What are some challenges you faced as a woman entrepreneur?
Fortunately for me, because the nature of my business is very women-centric, I was relatively luckier. However, I’ve had my own share of challenges. In the beginning, many people thought that this business was a mere hobby. I really had to let my work speak for itself and convince the same people that this was a very real opportunity and I was very serious about the business I was getting into.
8. Are you looking for funding for your business?
It is technically still early days for the business, so not completely sure on the route the business will take. However, I would say both bootstrapping as well as external funding have their own benefits and disadvantages.
Bootstrapping could mean your business grows relatively slower, but allows you to have closer control over your business. Gaining external funding is great if you plan to speed up the business growth rate and also get external advisors to the business. But that also means you will have to share the stage with other stakeholders, especially when it comes to key business decisions.
9. How do you intend to expand your business in the next 5 years?
The main goal would be to increase our user base, diversify into video content, and possibly do regional language content as well.
Think you’re a Self-Starter or know someone who is? Drop us an email to be featured on The Channel 46 at [email protected].
We spotlight inspiring women who are entrepreneurs or have skill-based passion projects and are willing to share knowledge, advice and tips about getting started in the space. Each Self-Starter’s story will be highlighted in a prime slot on the Homepage for a whole week, after which their story will appear under the ‘Work’ category on The Channel 46.