“We the Prosperous” – Meet Padmaja, a Software Engineer Turned Digital Content Rockstar

Customer Stories, Self-Employed 9U9A9247

Every Intuit customer has their own story. Along each of their journeys, they find passion, share advice, take risks, celebrate success, and form a community of their own.

From small business owners, to the self-employed and those simply seeking ways to be more financially savvy – we’re here to be a part of each story and champion our customers as they take steps forward on their path to prosperity. Hear how the power of many comes together to support the business of one with #WeTheProsperous.

Meet Padmaja – she uses QuickBooks to help her manage her digital content company, Clearly Blue Digital. She’s powering prosperity on her own terms, while working in a profession that allows her the creative freedom to do something that she is passionate about: storytelling.

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Intuit: Padmaja, tell us about your business!

Padmaja: Clearly Blue is a digital content company that has two main practices: content marketing, and creating e-learning courses. We do everything from scripting and storyboarding, to shooting and post-production; and we work with a variety of clients to create custom content. The company has been around for about three years, but I’ve been creating content for over 10 years.

Intuit: Why did you choose to start your own business/become self-employed?

Padmaja: I used to be a software engineer at Intel in Santa Clara, and returned to India after living in the U.S. for a decade. I wanted to focus on my children for a few years, and I dropped out of the formal workforce to go the freelance route. There were many freelance technical content jobs out there, and spending time in this space led me to digital content marketing. About three or four years ago, I returned to a desk job, but didn’t enjoy the corporate life. So I decided to create a space for myself where I could have creative freedom and create quality content that I was proud of and passionate about. I wanted to work on something that I actually loved.

Intuit: What do you wish someone told you before you started your self-employed journey?

Padmaja: Starting a small business has so many surprises. No one can fully prepare you for the small and large responsibilities that come with running a company. Everyone starts with a passion, or a longing to make a difference. And despite all this positive energy, what I realised very quickly was that the game was to be careful about my bottom line, and to focus on ensuring my business makes money. That would have been lesson #1 if I’d gone to entrepreneur school – not just figuring out how to channel your passion, but to do it in a way that is good for your business and the company’s bottom line.

Intuit: What would you say was your main obstacle to becoming successful? How did you overcome it?

Padmaja: The content industry is quite fragmented, with large groups aligned to technology companies, marketing agencies or learning companies, with a whole host of freelancers and consultants, all of whom are working on different facets of content creation. The biggest thing for Clearly Blue has been trying to get customers to take us seriously as a niche business that is focused solely on great content.

For me, it has involved making the transition from being a solo entrepreneur to establishing a real company with a staff and proper office. It involved a lot of paperwork, but it was worth it!

Intuit: Starting a business and becoming self-employed isn’t easy; what has made the journey worth it to you?

Padmaja: Building a team of people that I really enjoy working with! We are an all-female team with similar backgrounds. A number of us have backgrounds in the corporate world, and technology in particular. Our common passion for writing, creative design, and wanting something different than our previous jobs drives Clearly Blue. The flexibility we offer makes it a great place to work – I really enjoy being able to work anywhere, anytime, and others on the team do too. It’s very satisfying to see people giving their best and doing what they love.

Intuit: Who are you inspired by?

Padmaja: I am inspired by many people, but especially my family. My dad worked in marketing, and growing up I would tag along with him as he travelled across the country meeting his customers. My mom is an author, and taught me everything I know about writing and communication. I think I got the entrepreneurial spirit from my dad, and my creative ability from my mom.

Intuit: What drew you to Intuit’s products? How do you use them?

Padmaja: I use QuickBooks for Clearly Blue’s payroll and accounts, and really like it! I remember evaluating a few different options for our company once we figured out we needed a payroll system. I was most attracted to QuickBooks because I wanted a software-as-a-service package. QuickBooks was the easiest to use at the best price. I was also familiar with the Intuit name and products because I had lived and worked in the United States.

Intuit: What are your goals for the year?

Padmaja: This is year three for Clearly Blue right now. The first year was a trial to see if this could actually work as a “real” company. The second year was one of validation, where we were really proving to ourselves and customers that we had what it takes. For our third year, our focus is stabilization. We are actually quite large for a small company, and we want to continue to build out new systems and processes. I’d love to double or triple our sales this year, as well as work on bigger and more satisfying projects.

Intuit: What does prosperity mean to you?

Padmaja: Prosperity means doing good work that is satisfying. At the end of the day, making money is not always satisfying if you don’t like what you are doing. For me, building great teams with passionate people ultimately leads to greater prosperity, and greater happiness for everyone.

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