On International Women’s Day, women entrepreneurs share what entrepreneurship means to them and their recipe for success.
Have you ever looked up the term entrepreneurship on the internet? Interestingly, the answers you get tell you that it is the activity of setting up a business, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit. Entrepreneurship can often feel thankless, unforgiving, pushing entrepreneurs to the limits of their abilities — but the startup’s success can turn out be an unparalleled reward.
Entrepreneurship is not just a rocky road, but also a lonely one. This International Women’s Day, we reached out to a few women who have taken the rocky road, to understand what entrepreneurship means to them and the secret ingredient behind their success:
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
We asked women entrepreneurs what does it really mean to take up challenges and risks on a day-to-day basis and build something that is profitable? Here is what we learnt:
The CEO and Co-founder of JetSetGo — an online marketplace for booking private jets and helicopters — Kanika Tekriwal, is never the one to back down. As someone who survived cancer, she shares, “Being an entrepreneur is like heading out into uncharted territory. It's rarely obvious what to do next, and you have to rely on yourself a lot when you run into problems. There are many days when you feel like things will never work out, but you have to keep going and keep everyone motivated. You need an extra dose of grit, perseverance, with a willingness to embrace change every single day. You need to build the ability to recognise the bigger picture, find where there's an opportunity to make someone's life better, find solutions, and continually test your assumptions. It's experimentation: some experiments will work, some will fail. It is not big exits, huge net worth, or a life of glamour. It's hard work and persistence, it’s about leaving the world a better place once your time here is done.”
Shilpa Sharma, the Co-founder of Jaypore, an online and offline platform that sells ethnic wear, accessories, etc., says, “Being an entrepreneur is a matter of pride, a choice, and a lifestyle to follow. It requires a paradigm shift from your regular life and while we only have one life to live and endless avenues to explore, I decided to risk security for freedom. To me, entrepreneurship is all about visualising new ways to solve problems and bring success to a business. Being a female entrepreneur, I think that conventional conditioning has really confined women to certain roles. However, I feel nice to have set an example for a bunch of women out there who are juggling and managing the same kind of challenges between home, career, children, and are creating a balance eventually.”
“A lot of love, sweat, and tears. Not one over the other, but all of them. Sacrifices and happiness too,” shares Alicia Souza, illustrator and Founder of Alicia Souza, an e-commerce portal that has notebooks, planner, badges and other quirky stuff with Alicia’s unique stamp.
ElsaMarie D’Silva, CEO and Founder, Safecity, an online crowdmapping platform to track reports of sexual abuse and harassment, says, “Being an entrepreneur means always looking for innovative and creative ways to get resources and people to accomplish the task at hand. It is not an easy path but can be very rewarding when you experience success.”
For Aditi Gupta, Founder, Menstrupedia, a friendly guide to periods, entrepreneurship is “to keep learning, unlearning, and relearning.”
The woman in tech, Manisha Raisinghani — CTO and Co-founder, LogiNext, a logistics solutions provider — believes that “being an entrepreneur means having an agile and accommodative mind while backing your own instincts and insights. It is important to sustain your ambition with perseverance, underlined with patience and prioritisation.”
Samara Mahindra, Founder and CEO, CARER Program, a post cancer recovery program, says, “To me, being an entrepreneur is about having the vision to look beyond what is considered the norm. It is the gift to turn a problem into an opportunity and create products or services that solve these problems in an innovative or more efficient manner. It is the integration of intuition, vision, perseverance and an insatiable passion to learn.”
That secret recipe for success
Each entrepreneur brings her own principles, learnings and style; however, there are a few things that remain crucial for success — hard work, persistence, and the ability to accept failure.
For Aditi, its perseverance; for Alicia, its persistence. Alicia says, “I think that’s the only thing I know. Trying and trying some more and something works out at the end.” For Kanika, it’s, “honesty, perseverance and being true to yourself, your team, and your customers.”
“My secret recipe for success is never giving up. I believe Difficult is easy, Impossible just takes a bit longer,” shares Elsa.
According to Manisha, “success is the eventual result of hard work, persistence and an intelligent application of your knowledge and talent. You must be ready to back yourself with a healthy appetite for risk. You shouldn’t be afraid to go into uncharted territory and leave your mark.”
So, this International Women’s Day, as you continue to write your entrepreneurial story, do remember that you are not alone. Your story resonates with so many who are in the same boat, and one day, it could become a source of inspiration for others as well.