At this point the story would become a bit predictable. The story of a fiercely independent girl who struggled past everyone, fought patriarchy and rose from rags to riches. Except it isn’t.
I have enjoyed the challenging process of getting past my obstacles so much that it has come to a point where whenever I’m asked about my journey, I cannot complain about the thorns. No one just exists; if you’re alive, you are bound to combat hurdles. I’ve lived the corporate life and have also lived the entrepreneur’s life. IfI were to juxtapose the hurdles, responsibilities, risks and consequent stress are exponentially, not just incrementally more for an entrepreneur.
Yes, you have to be all – sweeper, client servicer, HR and accountant as well as the CEO in the first few months of starting up. Since I enjoyed and still enjoy doing all of it if required, these hustles don’t scare or scar me. But as you scale up a business, you have to let the team take over under your supervision. A lot gets eased by the kind of people you get on board. I have been blessed to have a responsible senior management at 1702 Digital.
I’ve always been a jack of all trades, taking a conscious choice to be master of none. I believe in hiring those masters. I’ve dabbled in a lot of fields like English literature, LLB, journalism and capital markets while academically mastered them with gold medals too. But I don’t intend to settle in my journey of exploring new fields and building viable businesses which brings me to the next point of what I love doing apart from being hooked to reading business journals. This one’s a cliché, but a well warranted one: trekking. Taking a solo bike trip around the Sahyadri or Himalayas and hiking with family whenever I can escape from work on weekends tends to clear up the mind well. The kind of people I generally like being around are the people whom I can learn new stuff from. While there are industry peers and seniors, I like chatting with the younger lot. Any company hiring graduates would vouch for this – millennials are notoriously impulsive in their stability and judgements. Yet, I continuously keep picking up the best from them. It keeps me ahead of the human engineering curve.
Amongst the things I can’t appreciate is the lack of ambition in people. Even if a lot of people are seemingly ambitious, they aren’t ready to pay the price for distinguished growth. When circumstances, bosses and deadlines push them, they break. There really is no shortcut to success.
Another movement that I dedicate my time to is that of urban feminism. While rural women may need assistance, a lot of urban women peers of ours actually don’t. I attend panels with chic women around talking about inspiring and ‘empowering’ women in the audience or otherwise. I don’t think I can empower anyone, man or woman. There’s only one thing that can truly empower anyone – it is called your willpower. Once your resolve is strong enough, you will find ways to fight poverty, to protest against patriarchy, to stand like a rock in the face of attrition, to not get distracted by naysayers, and to prove the non-believers wrong. At your job and in your business, there are no cookie cutters and there are no magic recipes. What I have learnt from my experience is clearly that working on the right thing is as important as working hard. Also, keeping a balanced head and believing your gut can be rewarding.
The mantra should be simple - Get out there, stay as close to the market as possible and be flexible to make changes on the go. Success will follow.