Last week, the team here at The Zen Media Group was thrilled to receive word that company CEO Shama Kabani is included in Inc. Magazine’s elite list of ’30 Under 30′ young entrepreneurs for 2013. This year’s class, which includes a who’s who list of the nation’s top rising stars, all under 30 years old and across a variety of industries, is already bringing in millions of dollars in revenue and building highly-successful companies. In fact, the publication went so far as to dub Shama, “The Queen of Social Media.” So, in an interview we asked her what it takes to achieve that level of a success at such a young age. Here’s what we learned:
1. Go hard, or go home
Shama knows about hard work. When her family immigrated to the U.S. 18 years ago from Bangalore, India, she was put in charge of her younger sister while her parents worked. She knew then that she’d have to pay for college and she worked to make that happen through good grades and scholarships.
But the real challenge came after graduation when, in spite of being a successful student, she wasn’t having any luck landing a job. She’d studied social media and was a whiz at it, but in 2008, corporations were still trying to figure it out, and didn’t know exactly where these emerging practices fit into their business models.
Unable to find the work she’d expected to get, in 2009 Shama started her own social media consulting company, which eventually evolved into The Zen Media Group, the Dallas-based online marketing firm that she’s grown to more than 30 employees around the world with 2013 revenue projected to reach the $2 million mark. The bottom line here: Hard work, hustle and an unwavering commitment to deliver the results that help clients reach their own goals is a primary reason why she’s experienced such a meteoric rise to the top.
2. Choose smart, creative teammates
Shama also figured out that in order to be successful, she’d have to surround herself with the right people. “The success of Zen Media really rests with the outstanding team of smart, creative individuals that we’ve assembled,” she explains. “When you get a group of talented marketers together, that eat, sleep and breath SEO, PR, social media and content marketing, and you give the autonomy to be great, great things happen. It’s that simple,” she says. Shama’s employees are based all over the globe and work virtually. A culture where everyone is trusted to do their work without being micromanaged is also key, she says.
3. Never stop learning
Shama will also tell you that she’s an academic at heart and is always on a quest to learn new things. And as a leader in the world of digital marketing, which is changing at the speed of light, this appetite for knowledge is priceless. As CEO, Shama is compelled to stay well ahead of the trends, issues and challenges that keep CMOs up at night so that she can anticipate their needs and concerns and be ready with solutions. Making Zen Media’s clients heroes in their respective capacities is her ultimate goal.
The Zen Media Group is an award-winning, full-service web marketing and digital PR firm dedicated to providing turn-key services for businesses and organizations looking for more leads, higher online visibility, and a better brand reputation. For more on how our company can help your company develop a results-oriented marketing strategy, talk to one of the inbound marketing experts at The Zen Media Group, or check out how Zen Media’s CEO Shama Kabani is using video at Shama.Tv.