Entrepreneur Rajan Singh reveals how habits and a 'solid' morning routine can make or break a person
No two days are the same for an entrepreneur, and resilience could be the key to succeed in this demanding profession.
For IIT Kanpur alumnus Rajan Singh, who served as an IPS officer in Kerala, became a consultant at McKinsey in New York, and private equity investor before venturing into entrepreneurship thrice, a solid morning routine helped when the going got tough.
“I discovered that even in the toughest of moments when I had to pull myself up and find that energy to push through when everything was falling apart, an early morning routine of regular workout and meditation changed everything when done consistently and methodically,” Rajan shared in a conversation with Siddhartha Ahluwalia, Founder and Host of podcast.
This was especially true when COVID-19 forced his previous startup to close in June 2020.
“It struck me that ultimately building these great habits helped me – and it’s not easy because it takes a lot of energy and one has to be really driven. But if it worked for me, then why don’t we think of offering it as a product,” he said.
From this experience, he decided to build HabitStrong, a Trivandrum-based startup that provides live online programmes to build strong habits and morning routines.
Before formally incorporating the startup, Rajan tested the idea by going live for 10 minutes at 5 am every day for 100 days and found the product-market fit when people joined religiously and saw the difference.then kickstarted with two programmes: Become a Morning Person and Deep Work & Flow.
While meditation, focus and attention are age-old ideas and practices, the startup helps translate them from abstract ideas to practically incorporate into one’s life.
Happiness and financial independence
As an entrepreneur, Rajan does not believe in burning cash for growth at the cost of peace of mind for the founder and team members.
“Companies should not make losses just for the sake of growth - so you can show this to other investors to get more money and continue to show more growth and losses. That’s not something which appeals to me,” he said.
His belief as a founder is that a startup has to be profitable – and not necessarily skyrocketing – to remain sustainable. “That brings in financial sustainability and my team and I find peace of mind. We are all able to exist and go about our lives without getting a panic attack,” he added.
Not having to chase big growth numbers allows him as an entrepreneur to genuinely provide and suggest things that are in the best interest of the customer, even if it means advising customers who are opting for multiple programmes at once to drop off some.
Personally, Rajan values money and financial independence just to cover his needs and not wants.
Ranjan’s formula for happiness is keeping it simple; he relishes being able to keep time and attention for things that matter. But simplicity is not easy and comes from eliminating things that are not required and avoiding expenses that bother one.
“When you have more money, you’ll probably start expanding. But if you want to go to the next level of spending, ask yourself if you really have to, because upgrading is very easy. Coming down is very hard,” he said.
“I really feel bad for those people who have to put up with the pretence of living it up…you probably want people to see that you’re flying business class and instead of living at cost of an x, it becomes 3x. When that happens, there is stress of where do you get that money from,” he said, adding that the solution lies in caring less about what people think and more about what you want.
He emphasised that if one can afford and wants a good car, they must buy for themselves and not to impress others.
“The point is, if some expenses are bothering you, see if you really need to do it because peace of mind is so much more fun than having these things to show off,” Rajan says.
To know more, listen to the entire podcast here.
01:18 – Journey to starting HabitStrong
05:02 – “Things that sound the simplest are often the most powerful and most overlooked.”
11:15 – Why did he make the choices he made?
19:48 – Current scale of HabitStrong
29:15 – What does financial independence mean for him?
33:33 – His definition of happiness: “Ability to step back from what is not making your life meaningful.”