Shachee Swadia is a young woman entrepreneur. She co-founded Exzealient Technologies in 2012 with her friend Ashish Singh after finishing her MBA. She is comparatively new to this entrepreneurship community. She shares her experiences, challenges and achievements from her journey so far and how it has changed her life.
G (Geeks): 1. What prompted you to be an entrepreneur?
S (Shachee): Passion in life was the stepping stone for me to be an entrepreneur. Right from my childhood I was always passionate about everything.
My parents made sure that I had all the things I needed and yet not everything so that I could realize the value of each belonging and understand the principle of life. This made me an independent girl and voracious reading shaped my ideas. In a family of doctors, I took up IT as my graduation subject. Initially, I wanted an office job with fixed working time (which doesn’t exist in realityJ) and a relaxed lifestyle. But as I matured, I realized that I wanted more from life than going to office, shopping and gossiping. I wanted a greater challenge and superior aim.
I decided to be an entrepreneur mainly for 2 reasons. First and foremost, to spend my life the way I wanted to; which includes working on what I like and in the manner that I wish. Second motive was to go beyond the routine lifestyle and experience the thrill of a scarcely trodden path.
“the best part of being an entrepreneur is not having “Monday blues” since office is as much fun as weekends.”
G: A few lessons that you would like to share from your journey so far.
S: Since every journey is unique and I consider myself too much of a novice as of now to give lessons, I will just share my individual journey and what I believe would be motivating for all entrepreneurs, especially women.
“A journey of thousand miles must begin with the first single step” This Chinese proverb is my favorite and gives me strength when I have to start something new and unknown.
To describe the entire journey with what, when and how of starting up, I would end up writing a bookJ. So I will just walk you through some glimpses of this eventful and amazing journey. After completing my engineering in IT, I decided to pursue MBA IT-Systems to get an idea of how the corporate world works. I entered MBA with the decision of starting up on my own right after the course.
But as it happens with everybody who dares to do anything different from the regular way, I also had my share of confusions and complications. Most of my classmates and friends at the B-school advised me to take up the lucrative jobs coming my way since I was the topper. Many of the relatives and advisors (friends and acquaintances working in the industry) opined that I should work for few years and then take a decision since I was a woman, too young and very inexperienced to be an entrepreneur. I had endless discussions with my parents, my elder sister and friends. But I knew that ultimately I was the one who had to take the decision. I stared at the stars for endless hours from the terrace of my hostel and decided that if I wanted to reach them I had to take the leap.
There was no looking back once the decision was made. I completed my MBA and started planning. In my grad college, my best friend, Ashish shared a similar vision.
G: So, how did the founding team come together?
S: Ashish, one of my best friends was the most intelligent programmer in college and a gem of a person; so I knew that he was going to be my partner in my venture. While I did my MBA, he worked with Tech-Mahindra for 2 years. We are both very different in lot of ways and yet united by the same vision. While I obtained managerial skills, he got the technical experience; I am dynamic and impulsive, he is calm and composed; I am efficient, he is creative; I have vision, he has focus; these contrasting, yet complimenting qualities make us the perfect team. It definitely helps to have a great partner in any venture.
G: And, when did you take the leap for Exzealient Technologies?
S: After all the preparation and funding, we started our venture – Exzealient Technologies Pvt. Ltd. on 1st February 2012 (1-2-12). I love special dates J One year down the line, there have been numerous varied experiences, some good, others not so good. Some days bursting with excitement of new projects, some days full of apprehension about prospective clients, yet few days occupied with worrying about payments and most of the days packed with working and having fun. Overall, what I remember today is that every day of the past year has been an incredible learning experience filled with fun and contentment. I have evolved not only as a professional but also as a human-being.
G: Being a young entrepreneur, how hard was it to convince your loved-ones/family about your inclination towards entrepreneurship and starting your own venture?
S: It’s always difficult to go against the tide. Fortunately for me, my family and close friends were my biggest support. My parents in spite of being doctors and ever so busy, always took interest in what I studied and they were the ones who motivated me to follow my dreams and become an entrepreneur. My sister, a surgeon, being a woman in a man’s world herself was an inspiration for me. My close friends were the encouraging forces in this decision and my partner, Ashish is the support pillar who respects me and makes me believe in myself.
G: What were the common challenges you faced when you entered this whole new world of entrepreneurship?
S: I believe that we as women need to show the world that we are not just beauty and grace; we are brains and grit too.
There are numerous challenges for every entrepreneur, more so if you are very young and further more when you happen to be a woman. Lot of people including men AND women don’t take you seriously; many clients just talk to your male partner, whereas some others think that you are just whiling away time in the business before getting married. What people don’t understand is that there is more to a woman’s life than marriage and kids.
G: How would you motivate the women out there, to start something of their own?
S: Today there are 2 motivating things for us. Firstly the world and attitude towards women are slowly and gradually changing with more and more women working and making their mark in their respective fields. Secondly, we as women ourselves are getting more confident and assertive with better education and greater opportunities.
Also, it is proven that women are better managers and great leaders. I have seen my mother being an excellent administrator, balancing work and family. Planning, multitasking and handling day to day affairs, which is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s life, is second nature to women. This, in fact, gives us an edge over men in the corporate world and it’s only our own imagination that can limit us.
With ideas in our mind and belief in our heart, there is nothing that can prevent us from achieving our goals.
“Let us not get bogged down by the societal pressures. Let us lead a life that we desire because we truly deserve the best”.
G: Anything else that you would like to tell us.
S: As J.K. Rowling says “It is our choices and not the chances that determine who we truly are.”
Every woman’s circumstances are different. However, the problems have a common thread of biases and prejudices. Pitted against these is the fact that every woman definitely has in-numerous dreams and many aspirations.
“Let us not get bogged down by the societal pressures. Let us lead a life that we desire because we truly deserve the best”. Let us make the world a better place by contributing to the society and not only to our families. Let us not be afraid and let us believe in ourselves.
We are wonderful the way we are!
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