Once an Entrepreneur, Always an Entrepreneur

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Passionate, obstinate, pachyderm, scary risk taker- this is how people knew me twenty years ago.

In an era that loved engineering and medicine as a profession, I chucked the plan to become an engineer after reading ‘The Republic’ by Plato. After securing a gold medal in Philosophy, I enrolled for a MBA program because I wasn’t old enough to appear for Indian Civil Services which was my parents dream for me.

The entrepreneurial bug bit me in the beginning of MBA Program and I took two simultaneous risks against wishes of everyone – marrying the guy I loved and starting a venture.

Both the risks paid off and the civil services dream got sacrificed.

As my academic interests synced well with my entrepreneurial venture, I worked for others as Founding Director of two Management Schools.

Balancing both the careers was exhausting and exhilarating for a few years. Then working for someone else started troubling my entrepreneurial soul and I got completely engrossed into my entrepreneurial shell.

As a woman entrepreneur and a very passionate parent, life threw more challenges when my husband moved to Mumbai. After three years of long distance experiences, I finally moved to this cosmopolitan five years ago. The newness of this city unsettled me for a while and I could not gather courage to start something on my own. I took the safe route and started working for someone else.

I experienced the same emotions again. In the name of a stable career, I executed hilariously foolish whims of the owners, wasted my time in repetitive, meaningless administrative tasks before I decided to wear my entrepreneurial heels again.

I turned a solopreneur this time and I am loving every inch of my new avatar. The passionate, obstinate, scary risk taker is back.

Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur…

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read her best articles here!

A Start up called Marriage

MarriageEveryone is raving about startups as the new poster event to cling to.

We have always been aware about our problems. As we are running out of options, we have to try find smart, new solutions to the weary, nagging old problems.

The new start up Gods are emitting gyan – Be passionate about your idea, give it everything and take risks. If you fail, laugh at yourself and pine for more passion next time.

A start up is defined as an undertaking that has recently begun operation, is working to solve a problem where success is not guaranteed.

A marriage is pretty similar to a start up when two cofounders walk down the aisle or take saath pheras. The cofounders try to find the solution to the oldest problem – how to find love, how to keep falling in love with the same person over and over again, how to stay happy & enriched as scaling up happens with children coming and expectations rising.

The startup called marriage has cofounders who are the main investors and prime customers too. With passion, perseverance and patience, the cofounders can reduce the failure rate of this startup.

This startup is unique as the success rate is highest in the first go. Roughly, 40% of first marriages go kaput in the US, while nearly two third of second marriages and three fourth of third marriages fail. Interestingly, in business start ups, likelihood of a second startup to succeed is more than first and a third start up has more chances to succeed than the second one.

Though it is difficult to get this data in India, it would certainly be a pleasure if the success rate of first startup in marriage remains high. (According to www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12094360 the divorce rate has doubled in India in last five years)

Borrowed from Business start ups, some mantras for success of this startup called marriage are:

  1. Team First, Ego Last: Both the Co-Founders need to remind themselves that they are a team with collective interest and individual egos need to be cut to right size. Every individual is opinionated and self contained these days. If they are marrying late, the personalities are rigidly chalked out and there is little space for flexibility and adaptability. As they are high on financial independence and low on time and patience, building up team spirit is difficult. Unless a marriage startup decides to work as a team, the failure is round the corner.
  1. Innovation and Vision: Before starting, the Co-Founders or Partners need to ask themselves – what makes them click together? Can they visualize a long term future?

The stereotypical marriage in India with strict role boundaries like a homemaker woman and a breadwinner husband needs an overhaul. Excessive expectations from one partner in a marriage do not work anymore. A serious innovative upbringing is required by parents especially for boys who cannot expect their would –be- wives to look after them as kids. A balanced upbringing is needed where the girls and the boys are taught to shoulder domestic and professional responsibilities equally, where parents of both cofounders are equally respected, where aspirations and ambitions are equally welcomed. A change in the mindset regarding expectations from marriage will be a bigger innovation than an uber or a flipkart.

  1. Conscious Scaling up: Though businesses consider speedy scaling up as a customary sign of growth, we see quick cash burning and a super quick folding of businesses too. It is very important to scale up after putting conscious thought into it.

To scale up a marriage is to have children or start a business together or getting into activities that require complete involvement and investment into each other.

Both the partners should ponder:

  1. Do we want children and are we ready to become parents?
  2. Are we ready to pool in our financial and emotional resources to build something for lifetime?
  3. Are we ready to meet new challenges everyday which might try our patience and mutual trust?
  1. Meet the Mentors: Incubators, accelerators, angel investors, venture capitalists guide the start ups through their immersion programs and investment. They provide significant help in energizing the start up ecosystems.

Similarly, it helps to take guidance from counselors, like minded groups, parents (if their startup was successful) and senior happy family owners. It is always better to prepare for the new roles – of a spouse and eventually, perhaps of a parent. When we prepare for every test, every interview, every start up meet, why not prepare for these roles that we would play for lifetime.

Observe the veterans who have been betting successfully on the marriage pitch for years, talk to happy parents and content grandparents who have invested themselves consistently into their family accounts.

  1. Create a Culture: Culture refers to the ideas, customs and social behavior of a particular person / society / organisation.

Each organisation believes in some fundamental values, core principles and acceptable norms.

Each marriage should gradually build up a cumulative deposit of knowledge, experiences resulting into formation of beliefs, attitudes and values to grow into a family with valuable, dependable, social relationships to bank on.

It will be heartening to see more of these startups succeed.

Startup

References:

  1. http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/this-startup-bets-up-to-10-000-that-your-marriage-will-end-badly-1256309

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Dr. Swati Lodha is an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Come on get set go  &  Why Women are What they are, her book on Parenting will be published soon. Currently, she is running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with Dr. Swati Lodha on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook 

Also read her best articles here!