How this IIT Bombay graduate became a life coach with Magnificent U

Based in Mumbai, Anamika Chawhan offers group and personal coaching services through her startup Magnificent U. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, her show Magnificent Mornings gained traction from people across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, among others.

Anamika Chawhan was not academically gifted as a child. She flunked her 9th grade and Maths subject during her board exams, which took a toll on her mental and emotional well-being. 

Post this, Anamika decided to take things at her pace and completed Bachelors in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and an MBA from Mody Institute of Technology and Science in Rajasthan.

Aware of the fact that education and mentorship can go a long way, she worked as a college lecturer before starting her PhD journey at IIT Bombay. In fact, she even ran a pre-school in Mumbai.

“Teaching and entrepreneurship made me realise the importance of setting short-term and mid-term goals, but I wanted to break away from the monotonous routine of teaching the same curriculum,” Anamika shares with HerStory.

This led her to pursue a career as a life coach, where she got trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), TIME Technique, and Hypnotherapy. In 2013, she started Magnificent U— her own coaching company — with an initial investment of Rs 5 lakh.

The journey

Based in Mumbai, Magnificent U offers courses in life coaching, team building, corporate and executive training, among others. 

For years, before COVID-19, the startup primarily worked on sessions focused on organisations and colleges, which shifted online amidst the pandemic. 

Anamika also designed Magnificent Morning — a live group learning programme — every weekday at 5:30 am over Zoom to help its clients frame their mindset and practice meditation. 

Priced at Rs 499 per person for a week, the programme claims to help in every aspect of life for holistic growth, including moving away from toxic relationships, as well as career growth. 

With uncertainty looming large during the times of Coronavirus, the programme gained good traction as demand for self-reflection programmes increased. 

Targeted at the middle-class and upper-middle-class population, Magnificent Morning has nearly 400 people from across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Singapore, joining every week. 

As the founder and chief coach, Anamika works with a team of 50 employees. She also offers a one-year, internationally recognised license coach trainee programme, priced at Rs 1.85 lakh. In fact, she has trained over 15 people to become a life coach.

Having researched knowledge management and the impact of social media on tacit knowledge sharing in NGOs, she also runs Dr Anamika Chawhan Foundation, where people from economically backward conditions are offered coaching services for mental and emotional well-being for free.

Challenges and the way forward

As more and more people seek to pursue self-consciousness, according to Grand View Research, the global personal development market — valued at $38.28 billion in 2019 — is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.1 percent between 2020 and 2027.

In India, Anamika says there are few life coaches in India, and often in competition with salespeople donning the coach’s hat without certified credibility. 

“I am in competition with the salesperson because the majority of people who claim to be coaches are actually marketing people trying to influence people,” she says.

For Anamika, making people understand how life coaching is different from counselling or psychological consultation was the biggest challenge. 

Moving ahead, the bootstrapped startup aims to build online communities, expanding her clientele for the coach training programme in Europe and the US while continuing the cohort-based learning through her NGO. 

To aspiring women entrepreneurs, Anamika advises them to be prepared to be challenged. 

Edited by Suman Singh


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