She heads one of the largest online chat shows in the career and education space, with special focus on education. In a conversation with www.lifeandmore.in, Chetna Vasishth talks about setting up ChetChat two years ago as a pro bono initiative with the goal of helping youth take the most informed career choices as she believed the youth across the country and in several other countries do not have the most accurate information to take their decisions, parents are limited in their knowledge and counsellors are either expensive or misinformed.
When did the idea of an online chat show, that too in the career and education space, hit you?
I did my post graduate from XLRI, Jamshedpur and became a corporate banker. Thereafter, I worked with some large global banks for the first 10 years of my career. The birth of my son saw me take a break from the corporate world. I taught at several business schools like IIM Bangalore, NMIMS and IIPM and later founded a training company which trained bankers, both within India as well as overseas. Along the way, I was convinced that I should reach out to youngsters not only when they are established in their careers but earlier as they are about to make the choices that would then define them. I wanted to provide them authentic guidance since it was apparent the students were hungry for information, parents were not informed of options available and counsellors either had vested interests or were expensive. I wanted to provide free videos for students across the world to help them make informed career choices. Soon, I realised that not only in India but students in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Nepal too were looking for genuine guidance and they all started reaching out to me. Eventually, this spread and we were fortunate to meet with and interview over 150 inspiring people who were leaders of their fields, celebrities, students, start-up founders and CEOs.
How easy or difficult was it to get people to know about ChetChat?
Reaching out to the right people on social media takes time but once you have good content and right intentions, it slowly works out. What was more difficult for us at the beginning was convincing people to agree to be on the show and talk to us. They would avoid calls, even people I knew well didn’t want their children to be interviewed since they were worried about how this would turn out eventually. I had to pour out all my passion into every phone call and every meeting to convince them. Of course, there were several friends and family members who readily agreed. We’ve come a long way and now, it feels great to periodically get messages from PR managers wanting to get their clients featured on ChetChat.
What is the model of ChetChat?
This is largely a pro bono effort since the revenue model of a YouTube channel is very low. I am committed to this cause since I am passionate about it. My husband helps me with most of the shoots whenever he can spare time. On our team are an editor and a digital marketing manager. Ours is a small team and we all multi task.
How many people touch base with you in a day?
Across all the platforms of YouTube, Instagram, twitter, FB and email, I get over 100 messages each day. The most satisfying part is replying to individual messages and comments. I make it a point to reply to every message. I value this relationship. I feel blessed that they write in from all corners of the world and that they are always appreciative of my work.
When do you get the most number of chat invites and how do you handle the surge during admission procedure?
Usually, the peaks are spread out since the school board exams come first, then the medical entrance exams follow, then most of the law, IIT, UPSC exams come up in the summer. Once all those get over, students start applying to international universities. So, there is a steady flow of traffic across various topics.
Given the vast base you have, do educational institutions try to influence your suggestions or advice to students?
The biggest strength of the channel is its authenticity and unbiased information. Even if we collaborate with educational institutions, the central vision is to ensure the information is true and genuine. Our commitment is towards students and in their favour.
Plans for future…
My goal is to make ChetChat the No.1 talk show in India and impact the lives of millions of young people in a positive way. I want to be on television and take ChetChat beyond careers. We have recently launched a new series called MasterClass with ChetChat which features research based analytical information. Soon we will involve entrepreneurs and experts to conduct sessions on MasterClass. I am working on a plan to build a discussion board for students where experts could answer the students’ questions directly.
For more, visit: www.youtube.com/c/ChetChat101