Name of your business:
Tell us about your business…
Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India is a first of its kind initiative to help the expat community learn about and engage with the Indian subcontinent without feeling handicapped due to a lack of understanding of the language. Locals don’t use English in their day to day lives as a medium of interaction– learning the Hindi phrases and expressions you need makes any experience with the country exponentially more rewarding.
What motivated you to start your own business?
Lack of realistic and feasible “student” jobs in India made me feel paralyzed as I wanted to study and work (I started teaching when I was 20 years old). This sort of pushed me into doing something of my own with time flexibility and decent money. I guess I never looked back…
Which have been the biggest challenges when starting your business?
A lot of people come to India thinking everything can be “bargained”. I used to get a lot of students asking for a “discount” as they assumed this is India (a cheap country) and hence they can always get a lower price than initially offered. Also, people not taking me seriously, arriving late, being disrespectful when it comes to honoring payment cycles. I mean; there are laws and rules which people follow more seriously back home (I intend to say the “West”), but its India; so it’s harder to convey your business etiquette with equal force and potency.
How did you overcome these challenges?
By standing firm on my ground; my services are professional, of high quality and competitively unique in the market. And inevitably have a price to them. It takes a while, but eventually, people understand the seriousness.
How did you find your first customers?
Initially through Facebook, then referrals.
What is the most effective way to sell your products/services?
Online presence and referrals.
What is the most exciting part of running your own business?
Definitely meeting new people and through them, vicariously, visiting new cities and places. 🙂
What is your least favorite part of running your own business?
Travelling in Mumbai, which is one of the most chaotic and unorganized cities ever. Travelling here drains you of your energy and the heat and humidity does not help either.
How do you stay motivated during difficult times?
By thinking of the bigger picture and seeing the amount of good the overall situation has.
Who inspires you?
A former student, a life+business mentor, a “go to” person in times of adversity. I would like to call him Mr. AAD (Adopted American Dad) 🙂 For sake of maintaining his identity, I cannot name him, but this person has been a solid inspiration for all the things he has accomplished and the sheer grit, intelligence and smarts he has.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?
Go, do your own thing and never consider marriage a final “resort” if nothing works out. Live “your” life. Identify who “you” are and capitalize on your strengths to make a name for yourself.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Pallavi!