“There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.”
Gone are the days when women were made to believe that they are not capable of doing most things that men can do. From raising children to managing her household to being in leadership positions, women across the world have broken barriers and defied all stereotypes!
We have two very enterprising women entrepreneurs here, Roshni Prathap Singh & Akshatha Shekar. Roshni founded Corrin Wilson-Career Crafters in Feb 2015 with absolutely no experience in HR or recruiting and during her entrepreneurial journey she met her current partner, Akshatha. She says she was destined to meet her. While Roshni comes from the luxury industry background and has worked with the best brands in luxury retail, luxury hospitality and luxury automotive, Akshatha brings with her the much needed expertise in HR/Recruitment along with successfully juggling multiple businesses.
Roshni says that during the times that she was working with different companies, she learned that is is very important to build a strong professional network in the market. Especially for someone like her who had already made up her mind at a pretty young age that she wanted to own multiple businesses someday, believes networking has helped her expand her sphere of influence.
However, Roshni says there is a purpose to why she started this recruitment firm.
Let’s hear from the founder-director of Corrin Wilson-Career Crafters herself and follow her journey to success:
1. What is the Name of Your Venture?
It’s called Corrin Wilson-Career Crafters. It’s a recruitment firm.
2. Who is your target Audience?
We have been serving clients in almost every industry including Retail, Corporate, Education, Information Technology, Facility Management, Hospital / Healthcare, Hospitality, Insurance, Logistics, Media & Communication, Real Estate and Telecommunication.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, and country) & what are your target areas?
We are based out of Bangalore. This year we are focusing on targeting all the E-commerce giants and also currently working on serving the banking & financial services sector as well.
4. What problems does your venture solve? What are your products or services?
Recruitment is very much a numbers game where an employer often has to look at a lot of applications before he finds the right person for a role and within a certain time frame and budget. So we as a recruitment agency fill those specific needs so that the employer can spend more of their time interviewing applicants instead of going through several applications. Also, most of the candidates we place are through our own internal network as I strongly believe there is a certain power to WOM (word of mouth) advertising/Marketing.
We are purely into staffing right now. However, from next month we will be introducing professional resume writing services and background verification services thereafter.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to existence?
As a child I somehow knew deep down in my heart that one day I am going to have my own business. I don’t how I knew it but I just knew it. I started my career with a well known call centre and then moved on to working with India’s leading newspaper daily and then joined an adventure sports start up, after that I worked in the luxury hospitality/retail/automotive industry for a couple of years.
While I was working, I had started my own small little ventures. One was called ‘The BAG-The Bangalore Adventure Group’ where I used to take groups for trekking, rock climbing and also conducted adventure camps for a few international schools. Although it was fun and good money, I felt exhausted! I discontinued that and then started retailing fashion handbags which did quite well but I got bored of that too!! In fact I even sold accessories at a few flea markets but did so just to have a side income…Yet I felt no sense of satisfaction. So what next? I had become quite depressed actually and went on a binge eating spree and put on oodles of weight and that further depressed me! I had to figure what satisfies my soul and went through a period of what one can call an ‘existential crisis’!! I was trying to find some meaning or purpose to my life and how I could make a difference in the lives of others!
At first, I felt I should work with an NGO or maybe start my own although I had volunteered with NGO’s in the past. I sat down one night and did some ‘self-reflection’ and I also prayed to god with all my heart and soul, literally pleading for guidance. Ha ha! I figured that as much as I am a compassionate person wanting to reach out and make a difference in people’s lives, I first needed to help myself! Believe it or not, I prayed every single day asking god to guide me or lead me to an idea where I can earn a decent living and yet directly or indirectly help people in some way.
So one fine morning of February 2015, my prayers were answered!! Out of nowhere the idea of doing recruitments flashed me!! I was thrilled to bits! Although I had no prior experience whatsoever in HR or recruiting, I was super excited because I believed I would be able to help people or make a difference in someone’s life indirectly, if not directly, by helping them get a job. I also decided that once I make decent profits in the business, I will save up some amount which I can use towards a supporting a social cause.
Everything after that just magically fell into place the very same day. I immediately called a friend to help me with a name for the company and another friend to help me with company registration details. The very next day I got my first two clients and there has been no looking back ever since.
6. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
I met Akshatha through a very close common friend and we hit it off really well. As we got to know each other, we discovered that we are very similar in lot many ways and I felt I became a better person in her company. She radiates this incredible positive energy and you can’t help but be happy around her. It’s only months after hanging out together did I learn from her that she used to run a recruitment firm in the past and that too successfully. But she later moved on to other areas of interest. I instantly thought why not partner with her because she has the expertise in HR and various other industries as well and I have the network and come with my own set of experience. So we complement each other beautifully.
7. How did you hire your first team members?
I never hired anyone full time as I felt I didn’t really need overheads back then. But like I mentioned earlier, we have a selected team of highly experienced recruiters who are associated with us across all metropolitan cities. We are also on the verge of moving to a new workspace and that is when we will have full time employees on board if required.
8. What expansion plans are you looking at for the next 5 years?
Gradually, but eventually we plan to expand our operations in India and overseas over the coming years and also aim at creating more employment opportunities within the organisation.
9. Where do you want to see yourself in the next 10 years?
I would like to see myself successfully running multiple businesses, with my current partner of course and creating new employment opportunities for the under privileged youth. Also, successfully running programs/projects for the empowerment of women in our country.
10. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We are not looking at funding at all.
11. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
I used to be quite disorganized back then so I had issues keeping track of all staffing requirements and in the bargain, lost out on a few potential prospects. Also, meeting client’s deadlines proved very challenging for me since I was a one woman army and had to do everything by myself like source candidates, post jobs, meet with clients for tie ups, raise invoices, interview the candidates and then the follow up’s which I was very bad at. In fact, there were many times I never even got back to some candidates because it all became too much for me to handle alone. Also there were times when candidates suddenly vanished into thin air after confirming their joining and I wasn’t prepared for that. Eventually I got a bit more organized, learned the tricks of the trade and then business started rolling again.
12. What have been your biggest challenges and learning so far?
My mother was extremely sceptical about my idea to start my own recruitment firm since no one in my family had ever ventured into business. They all have high paying jobs and are happily settled abroad and doing very well for themselves. So even the term ‘business’ seemed alien to them. So convincing her was quite a challenge.
What I have come to learn from my personal experiences in life so far is that when you follow your heart, the universe guides you exactly to where you are meant to be and provides you with all the necessary resources you need to help you serve your purpose!
13. Are you married, single or are you in a relationship?
14. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I am an avid reader, so I spend a lot of time reading novels, autobiographies of eminent personalities and a lot of spiritual books. Apart from that, I indulge in creative art & crafts as it is such a stress buster!
15. What’s your favourite food & holiday destination?
I love Italian food. Holiday destination will always be Goa no matter where I travel.
16. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
As a kid and even now, I look up to Oprah Winfrey! I have been following her stories and speeches and shows ever since I came to know of her existence and still remain completely in awe of her. She has made such an impact in people’s lives and it’s just incredible. I also follow Indra Nooyi of Pepsi Co. and Kiran Bedi who is now the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry. I find these women to be extremely inspiring, powerful and yet so grounded. Apart from that my biggest motivators have always been my girlfriends and my current partner, Akshata. My mother, sister, niece and nephew also play a major role in my journey so far as they have always been supportive, but my niece, all of 9yrs, makes sure to keep me grounded at all times.
17. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Life is a bit simpler when you are working for someone else because you have a fixed salary that comes into your account every month. As an entrepreneur, it’s like a gamble where you have certain risk factors involved, there is no guaranteed monthly income and you alone are responsible for the failure or success of your business as it is not an easy task to get a another person to share the same vision as you.
But like they say, the grass is always greener on the other side.
18. if you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would take all my previous jobs more seriously.
19. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Oh! Don’t even ask! I don’t think that it has affected them in any way. The only person affected is me! There have been times when I would go for two months without a pay cheque and the first thing my mom would say is please go join a regular job, business is not for us. I would just ignore her. Lol. Social life remains pretty much the same, except that now I am a bit more cautious when it comes to making friends or networking.
20. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
All I want to say is please follow your heart and believe that the universe will guide you. It might lead you to a few struggles in the beginning which is perfectly fine because in the end it leads you exactly to where you are meant to be. As long as what you desire is not going to harm anything or anyone, trust that the universe will provide you with all the necessary resources, physically and materialistically. And when you receive what you have asked for, don’t forget to thank the universe!
Second, if you want your business to grow, you can’t do everything by yourself so you have to learn to delegate certain responsibilities and trust that someone else can also do an equally good or better job than you.
Third, work on building your network right from your very first job.
21. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I come from a highly educated family. We used to live as a joint family back then and my grandfather was the only earning member. My dad was an IITian from IIT-Madras as it was called back in the days. He also went on to study homeopathy later and was a very successful homeopathic doctor. My mom and my elder sister chose the tougher route of becoming homemakers. My mother has four sisters and one brother. All her sisters are double post-graduates, settled in Canada on their own merit and working in very high and respectable positions. My mother’s brother is also doing very well for himself over there. And I must mention that my grandmother is also an educated and intelligent woman. All of us in the family put together can’t beat her intelligence. I can’t say much about myself as I am the only black sheep in the family who chose to do my bachelor’s through correspondence, much to the disappointment of my family.
22. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
What makes us different is we are a small and simple, but yet effective organization. We personally take care of every clients staffing requirement and our biggest strength is our personal and professional network that helps us in attracting quality candidates and quality clientele.
23. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
I believe it’s your team! Especially when it’s a start up, one should not ignore the business process and issues of the company just because it is not their job or because they haven’t been hired to carry that particular responsibility. It can cause a lot of damage.
24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I will only consider myself successful when I succeed in transforming people’s lives in some way or the other.
25. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Roshni Prathap Singh/Akshatha Shekar