Making the jump from a salaried job to a business venture
MUMBAI: Any kind of change can make you uncomfortable. When there is change in lifestyle, owing to lower income, it can hurt you emotionally as well.
At the peak of their careers, Pratik Chhadwa, 26, Tarun Nainani, 27, and Surabhi Raghavan, 26, quit their jobs to launch Pentableu, a Mumbai-based creative marketing agency. Chhadwa, who worked earlier as a social media optimiser, and Nainani and Raghavan, who were into client servicing, were friends since college.
They had a faint idea of entrepreneurship that did not materialize until Nainani’s resignation from Lowe Lintas in May 2016. “The idea of becoming entrepreneurs struck us first when I resigned and told the others it’s either now or never,” said Nainani. He resigned in May 2016 and Chaddwa and Raghavan followed him by resigning the next month. “We were definitely at the peak of our careers and taking the decision to start a business was difficult in terms of finances,” said Raghavan.
Since it was an impulsive decision and not a thought-out process, they did not have any targeted savings for their venture. So to begin with, all of them put their lump sum savings in a single bank account, along with the provident fund money.
By July 2016, Pentableu was up and running. “In the beginning, we were earning less but we subsequently invested in fixed deposits and mutual funds through systematic investment planning (SIPs) which helped us sail,” said Raghavan. “At times we did feel the money crunch as we drew our salaries out of our business last after paying for the rent, employee salaries and other expenses,” said Chhadwa.
The founders had to cut down on lifestyle expenses. “At one point of time, we used to go out at least 15 to 20 times a month. After starting our venture, we went out only once a month. We stayed on the outskirts of Mumbai, in areas like Thane and Kalyan, to cut down on rent and travelled by local trains every day. There were times when we could not pay our rent either. Initially, we had hired only two employees and increased that eventually. We kept 15% of our annual income aside for any emergency situation that may arise,” said Chaddwa. Nainani’s uncle gave them financial advice.
For Mrunali Bane, 31, founder at Mumbai-based Vision International, overseas studies consulting firm, the shift from salaried income to entrepreneurship was emotionally draining. Bane worked as an HR professional with a number of companies till she finally resigned in April 2017.
“Becoming an entrepreneur was not an impulsive decision. I started building my corpus for the venture since 2015 and saved my money in bank accounts,” she said. From 2016, Bane invested in mutual funds through SIPs and fixed deposits. “I hired a financial advisor in February 2017 because of the thought that taking care of a house and the business at the same time would become difficult with abrupt salaries after I quit my job,” she said.
After she quit her job in April 2017, she went into borderline depression because of the absence of regular salary. She had to visit a psychologist for a morale boost.
“The psychologist counselled me on how to overcome the fear of change. For me, it was more of training myself about the change in income. He helped me realise this and bifurcated for me the structure of a salaried income and business income; that the former was a regular flow and the latter comes in lump sum. I joined social media groups on entrepreneurship to read other’s stories and with time, I overcame the fear of change,” she said.
Bane started working as a part-time consultant in the meantime and set up Vision International in May 2018. “My only advice to new comers is that passion is important but you cannot put yourself in trouble to become an entrepreneur. You need to look at the money you have, if you have financial backup from your family and it has to be a well thought-out process,” Bane added.