I have known Swami Ji Balendu for sometimes now, having been introduced on Facebook by a mutual friend. Since then the interactions have grown. I learned that Swami Balendu has an not only excellent knowledge about life and the ways of living but also excellent knowledge on concepts of blogging ( such as SEO, keyword research, Google and social media).
I am a regular reader of his blog and I love the way he writes about issues in life and his solutions to them. He has written a few post on maintaining motivation for businessmen who are stressed out because of their business.
The best way to know him was to conduct a short interview with him and here are the questions and his insights and answers to them.
Please tell me something about yourself. Though I am aware of your occupation , but for benefit of the reader, please tell me more about your primary occupation.
I am a simple human person who wants to live with honesty and in love. This is the main message about me. I was a guru once, I have taught yoga for several years in different countries and now I give seminars, workshops and lectures, in person worldwide and also on my blog online. And whatever I do is for a good cause. We run a charity school for poor children in Vrindavan, India.
How long it has been that you have started your blog? How much success have you achieved in your objectives from your blog?
I have started writing my blog on 1st January 2008 and have been writing daily since without a gap of even a single day. There are thousands of entries on 96 different topics. I actually started writing my blog without any objective at all. I just wanted to stay in touch with friends all over the world by writing about my daily activities. It turned to a big blog on which everybody can read everything about our projects, my philosophy and who I am. There are no numbers to measure the success of such connections but it is always nice to meet people who have read the blog and already know what we do. Many people who want to take part in our activities, in India and in our travels worldwide, have a better introduction and feel more secure to actually participate as everything is so clearly described online. This has played a great role in our growth.
You are definitely not a technical person, how did you cope up with the terminologies and nuances of the cyber world? Do you remember any interesting incidents on your blogging journey?
I may not have any academic degree for technological training but I was always interested in technology. I always did learning by doing. I experimented and tried new things and so I steadily learned to cope with the cyber world, too. And it is amazing how many possibilities there are in this new world.
I remember one day on which we had problems accessing the internet with our computer. The internet was down and we did not find any other alternative than typing the whole blog post on a mobile in order to upload it. I have committed to uploading one blog post per day and felt that I had to do it. It took a while but it worked!
How easy it is for you to reconcile spiritual life which may shun materialism and the online world that thrives on self promotion and hype?
I do not see spirituality as a hobby. I don’t separate the material world from the spiritual world. In my opinion, being honest is spiritual. You are living in this world and whatever work you are doing, if you are doing it honestly and while being convinced that you are doing good, it is spiritual work. Spirituality is not limited to rituals and ceremonies. It is about love and compassion. Being and living in the normal world can be spiritual, too. Problems start when we categorize people into spiritual people and materialistic people. You can be spiritual, honest, loving and compassionate also while being in this world.
Many of the readers for my blog are entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur, what do you think should be the primary motive? Should it be money, doing things new way or just self satisfaction?
A big problem is that many people only have one intention: to earn money. They start writing a blog and from the first day on they think about how to monetize their blog. They see others and how much they are earning and just want to be as successful as they are. This is however not how things work. You have to bring your heart into your work. You have to have patience and you have to bring quality into your work. Whatever you do should make you happy while doing it, not only when you get a result. Do what you enjoy.
You have written some posts on maintaining healthy practice for a businessman. For every entrepreneur there comes a point when things are not going in his way. What do you think in those time an entrepreneur needs to do keep his motivation up?
First of all, have patience. I mentioned before that not everything works on the first day. It takes time, especially in the beginning, when you start a new business or project. If you have serious doubts about what you do, change something. But most important is, not to give up hope. Don’t lose your self-esteem. Life is a cycle, sometimes it goes down and sometimes it comes up again. Keep faith in your work and don’t compromise with your principles.
You have learned a lot about social media as I have to come to know in my interactions with you. How do you think a business should utilize social media to attract more customers to its business?
People like a personal approach and that’s why they love social media. Do something that they can recommend to their friends, post interesting, new and maybe funny ideas and texts. Build your network there and don’t focus only on promoting your business. Be social. That is the meaning of social media. If you only post one product after the other, people won’t even read your posts anymore. Keep a variety to stay interesting. And another point: there are applications that post your status on all kinds of different social networks. I would not suggest using them. Take some time and do it manually, maybe adding a word or two of your own experience. I tell you, we have got amazing success in this way.
There are times, when business suffers from negative publicity because of some negative remarks or difference of opinions. How do you think an entrepreneur should cope with the negative publicity about his product?
As the internet is a very transparent platform, you really cannot do much about it if there are negative remarks about your product. But in the same way that people see negative feedback, they also see positive feedback. So make sure, you have a lot of positive publicity. Focus on the positive side and bring it up. Then any negative remark will vanish in a flood of positive remarks of your loyal and satisfied customers.
In your opinion, is there a way in which a business can co-exist in the society and also contribute to it. For e.g. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have given their wealth to charity. Do you think it really helps?
Of course it does. Running a charity myself, I know that each and every amount, even very small donations help. This means that every one of us can contribute to make this world a better place. It is great that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will donate most of their wealth to charity, I even wrote a blog post about that. But even the small business owner can make a difference.
In times of stress and trouble, an individual often becomes victim of unfavourable circumstances. How do you think, it is possible for a person to carry his duty and also enjoy life at the same time?
In one of my blog articles I mentioned this kind of situation and how you can prevent a nervous breakdown due to such circumstances. Take it easy. The world has seen more than that and it is still turning. Don’t take your misery too important but see that there is much more going on out there. Yes, I believe that it is possible to still enjoy when you realize that there are people who are far worse off than you and that you are actually still fine, even if you just had to take a blow. Live life in love.
What are the few important things that we need to know when we start a blog in your opinion?
First of all you need to know about what you want to blog. Take a subject that you love, which is your passion and close to your heart. Write about that which you anyway love to talk about. It will make it easier.
It is great, if you can find a domain that relates to this topic.
Make sure to write quality content, something that is special in the way you write it or something that only you write about. You cannot copy from anyone else, why would anybody want to read that? Stay yourself and put your heart into your texts.
My personal experience is a little bit different from the standard advice that you might get. I know people focus on a certain keyword, write a title and then write an article about that topic. I do it the other way around. I note down my ideas and then write an interesting article which just naturally contains the keywords. In the end I add my title about the topic that I wrote about. In this way you get 100% natural content, not stuffed with keywords and nice to read.
What according to you is the most important reason for a blog to be successful?
Again, quality content. And the presentation of this content is important. Maybe you know the saying ‘Everything has been said already but not by everyone’. Of course you get inspiration from everywhere but in the end you put it into your words and present it in your way.
What are your future plans with you blog? How would you take your blog to the next level, any thoughts on that?
In my blog, many people get answers to questions that they have asked me in emails, comments and social networks. I answer them and try to make my point of view clear. We want to further engage people actively by giving them the possibility to ask questions which I will then answer in my blog. In this way, people will get a direct answer in one of my blog entries. I know there are questions that many people want to get answered and in this way, they will get a personal reply from me. This is our plan and it will be implemented, soon. Whatever will come after that will come and I am looking forward to more in the next years of my blog.
Thank you Swami Ji Balendu for such enlightening words