5 pieces of advice from one women founder to another

5 pieces of advice from one women founder to another

Life for any adult is not a bed of roses, but for an entrepreneur, it is a high-velocity roller coaster ride. The fundamental essence of startups is that they are always in flux and subject to change. For founders in such a dynamic landscape, small wins could send them over the moon, and minor roadblocks could stress them out. This is especially true for founders who have just started out. 

This International Women’s Day, we reached out to women entrepreneurs to talk to them about their learnings and ask them for some nuggets of wisdom that they want to pass on to young entrepreneurs, especially female founders. Well, buckle up because we're about to ride through the experiences and knowledge of some incredible women who've been there, done that, and are rocking it!

Anvi Shah, the co-founder of Hyuga Life, an e-commerce destination for health and wellness products, says, "Irrespective of gender, I would say entrepreneurship is not rosy - it's 24 hours of having 100+ tabs open in your brain and an endless loop of problem-solving, so if you're doing it for any reason apart from having a strong passion for building then don't do it". 

Katrina Kaif and the founder of Hyuga Life

Anvi sternly warns you that starting a successful venture takes at least three years of unrelenting work, and one should only do it if they are ready to see it through. 

In a recent YouTube podcast, Radhika Gupta, the CEO of Edelweiss Mutual Funds, shared a striking thing about entrepreneurs or, for that matter, any career-focused individual trying hard to strike a perfect balance between personal and professional lives. 

She said, The term "balance" can be complicated and overwhelming for many people. In reality, it's impossible to have a perfectly balanced life where work and family are equally important every day. Instead, striving for harmony and prioritising what matters most to you is important. Create a list of priorities and focus on what truly matters. By doing so, you can learn to say no to things that don't align with your priorities and avoid wasting your time on activities that don't bring you joy or fulfilment”.

On the same lines, Zovaine Pets founder Nishma Singhal shared the need for women to prioritise their work. She says, "As women, we often put our families first, but it's okay to prioritise our work, too. Saying 'no' without feeling guilty is fine".

Zovaine Pets founder Nishma Singhal

Speaking of families, 73% of Indian women leave their jobs after giving birth, according to a survey in 2018. Among those who return to work, 48% leave their jobs within four months. This is perhaps the most serious issue facing women in the corporate world. Maternity break often turns into quitting work altogether. 

But Nishma shared instances from her family wherein her mother, sister, and she did not restrict themselves solely to household responsibilities and childcare. Despite child-rearing responsibilities, work never fell off their priority list. Nishma encourages women not to limit themselves to household responsibilities after childbirth but to reclaim their identity and achieve success on their terms. 

You must have come across this interesting statistic from HBR somewhere: Men apply for a job when they meet only 60-70% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100%. 

The co-founder of Quirky Naari Malvica S. also agrees that while male applicants boast about their qualifications, female applicants constantly doubt their qualifications and skillsets. 

She adds, "I've noticed that women, including myself, can be less confident. We're taught to be modest from a young age. Whenever I attend public platforms where I am invited to speak to a large group, I often feel underconfident, constantly wondering if I am worthy or expert enough to give lessons to people on such a platform. But gradually, I have become better”.

Quirky Naari founder with Vineeta Singh and Aman Mittal on Shark Tank India

In such a scenario, supporting other female co-workers or employees if you are an entrepreneur becomes crucial.

Malvica S. shares that she never shies away from encouraging young girls to believe in themselves and not hold back. Furthermore, she readily goes out of her way to encourage the interns at her enterprise to pursue higher education and has even funded one of her interns' education. She commands, "Don’t be modest, and don’t be hard on yourselves”.

Nishma highlights here that female employees can be more loyal and committed to their work and companies if given the right opportunity, exposure, and mentoring.

Helping others while building your startup day in and day out is not a cakewalk. Entrepreneurs, although considered superhumans, might need help themselves. 

Anvi Shah from Hyuga Life stresses the importance of not being afraid to ask for help, saying, "Recognise your strength, and don't hesitate to seek support when you need it."

These women entrepreneurs have endured everything and come out stronger on the other side. Their stories remind us that success isn't just about luck—it's about determination, confidence, and knowing when to ask for help. 

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