My Founding Journey In India: 4 Lessons I Learned When I Became an Entrepreneur

Image: Closeup of Map of India

Payal left the stability of a traditional profession to pursue her dream of entrepreneurship in her native country. Here’s what she learned along the way.

By Payal Gandhi Hoon (Founder, Tamarai)

In the pre-90s, Indian corporate work culture and the mindsets of those operating within it cherished loyalty. Firms became an employee’s second home. Hard work and integrity naturally ensured that successions up the ladder would follow. This was the great, stable “Indian Dream.”

It was unthinkable that people would jump from one job to another, even over half a decade. The danger of professional instability would sound on the radar. Eyebrows would be raised as others sought to understand the real reason behind the move. It really was the unthinkable, then.

The Dawn of a New Age

Soon after came an era where it became normal to move not only from job to job, but also from one career to another. There were brave hearts who moved from high-profile, white-collar roles to become business entrepreneurs in a scenic part of India whilst simultaneously working as a diving instructor.

Jaws dropped, eyes rolled and much to the resistance of existing mindset, there was the dawn of a new age India.

I, too, am a part of this new era. Being a female Indian entrepreneur today, I can reflect back on what was it like to move from a full-time, paid job to becoming an entrepreneur. It was pretty much inconceivable, as I felt I was “programmed” to be a jet-setting professional. I didn’t know anything about life beyond my corporate career. When I decided my working life should be more adventurous, I began to explore the unknown in me. I felt the thrill but also the fear of making the leap into entrepreneurship in India. Nevertheless, I did it. And I have learned four lessons along the way.

1. Love Your Choices

If you’re constantly going to long for your pay package, the perks and direct credit to your corporate bank account every month, then entrepreneurship is not for you. This will simply make you question your decision.

This decision is about knowing your true passion — whether it’s enabling other people, making a difference to your country, making the lives better or even earning more. The key is to fall in love with your decision and commit to it ruthlessly.

2. Hang on in There

Whoever said being an entrepreneur was a walk in the park? It takes plenty of self discipline — and more. You may be your own boss, but timelines and targets are vital to your success as an entrepreneur.

The journey will have its twists and turns, but you need to hang on in there if you really want to see your dream come true.

3. Embrace All Your New Roles

The synonym of entrepreneurship is creativity! Yes, you read that right. No one will lay out the plan for you. You are the director, producer, actor and the production assistant of the business. You design the business you want.

Clients love new themes and you have the chance to break the status quo and do what you think is right. You have to be the source of ideas, with new concepts ticking over constantly.

4. Appreciate the Changing Weather

Some days as an entrepreneur are going to be bright and sunny. Others are going to look and feel like damp grey rain.

You’ve just got to don a raincoat and walk through the pitter patter… And that is really what living life is all about. You may be swamped with prestigious projects, you may accept less-than-ideal work just to fund your passion or there may be months without business. Whatever the weather, you’ve got to keep at it and develop your flexibility!

This post originally appeared on The Way Women Work.

How have you found the move from employee to entrepreneur?

Payal Gandhi Hoon

About the guest blogger: Payal Gandhi Hoon has her own emotional wellness training company in Delhi NCR with special focus on enabling women to be independent in their thoughts and actions with the use of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). She is also an external committee member against Sexual Harassment with a Law firm. She has been an L&D professional in the corporate arena for over 13 years.