Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Army wife Shreya Sharan Pawar builds two businesses on the move

Hello everyone! For every #militaryspouse #entrepreneur I meet, I meet 10 other talented #military wives, who tell me that being their own boss from military bases in boondocks is impossible. Today, I speak to a young Army wife, who shows us how you can not only build one but multiple brands on the go. Meet my #bizbuddy Shreya Sharan Pawar and let's find out how she does what she does.

Shreya Sharan Pawar

 C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

S. I was an army kid and became an army wife in 2012. I am currently based in Wellington, Tamil Nadu but we will be shifting once again by mid April. As of today, I don’t know where I will be 6 weeks later.
I am a solo entrepreneur and have 2 business ventures which are very different from each one.
My first venture is“Burst of Happyness”  - a brand of vegan, handmade & natural bath and body products.
My most recent venture is Business Mentoring for creative Indian women where I help them build a business around a passion or a hobby.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

S. I have always been a creative, DIY kind of a person and my first experience of entrepreneurship was at the age of 11 when I tried to sell handmade trinkets and cards to a local store in Panagarh, West Bengal. Unfortunately, my dreams were dashed coz I sold none.

I never thought of entrepreneurship again till I got married (while studying for my MBA), ditched a high paying corporate job offer post my MBA  and moved to MamunCantt, Pathankot with my husband.

 That's when I started Burst of Happyness as a hobby  from a Captain’s kitchen. It was a result of my own struggle with severe acne and hormonal issues which prompted me to follow a sustainable, green and a natural lifestyle. Soapmaking was a hobby I had picked up along the way to avoid hormone disrupting chemicals present in most bath and body products. I combined my background in adverting + my MBA in Marketing and my soapmaking hobby to build a business.

I started my other venture - Business Coaching - 2 years back. The reason for launching this was because a lot of women started to approach me seeing my progress with Burst of Happyness. So, I use this platform to share tips, tricks and all the lessons I have learnt as a solo woman entrepreneur in India.

Juggling multiple roles as an Army wife & entrepreneur
 C. Were you in a different profession and re-trained for the current one? If yes, can you share how/where you learned the skills required for your current profession?

S. As I mentioned earlier, I have a background in advertising and marketing – so yes those were the strengths from the start. Along the way, I have done short course to hone other skills. Udemy and Coursera are a great platform to learn basic skills on various topics like digital marketing, content writing etc.

C. Fauji wives make their home in an assortment of obscure places across the country. Our lives are about living in the moment and doing what we can, when we can. Can you share how you stayed creative or found work that satisfied you while moving across the country?

S. I believe that the travel and the destinations themselves contribute to our creativity. I think only a fauji's wife has the expertise & the creativity to convert a single room tin sheet OP shelter into a home.

I believe in tweaking my work to suit my phase of life - so when my location makes it difficult for me to work - I choose that time to study or ideate my future biz plans.

C. How do you market your business and products while moving from base to base, place to place, and often to remote areas?

S. I have different approaches for both the businesses as they are at different stages in their life cycle.
Burst of Happyness: I took a very conscious decision to restrict selling of BOH product online and not have any physical presence so that I could be free to move with my husband. So, I sell through my website, amazon and other major leading online portals.
The manufacturing and order processing is carried out at my workshop in Pune by a small team.
I handle all other aspects of running the business virtually with a team of freelancers working on different aspects like content writing, social media management, advertising management etc.
Business Coaching: Since this venture is in a nascent stage it takes up most of my time. I offer digital products and virtual services, so it is easy to manage where ever I am. I enroll the services of a virtual assistant to help me with time consuming tasks like social media scheduling, video transcriptions etc.

C. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities that are an integral part of the fauji community, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

S. I ensure that I have ample flexibility in my deadlines and that’s the biggest advantage of being your own boss. I have also been lucky to have very supportive first ladies who have always encouraged me to work.
But most importantly, I follow a rigorous goal setting practice with yearly goals broken down into monthly objectives. I ensure that I organize myself every day to make the most of the time available to me. This is a lesson I learnt as I stumbled along to build my first business and follow it till date.

C. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community? And is there something you feel must/can change for the better?

S. I feel more fauji wives should pursue work-from-home entrepreneurship and chase their passion.  And NOW happens to be the best time to do this with all the encouragement from the government and the growth and acceptability of digital platforms - this is the entrepreneurial renaissance. Only your imagination is the limit to what you can do with your skills and strengths.

C. What challenges have you faced in balancing work and fauji life?

S. I do think the challenges faced by entrepreneurial fauji wives are very unique and unlike what other women entrepreneurs might face.
1.      All my campaigns and product launches have to be worked around our postings + annual leave :-P.
2.    Internet connectivity is an issue. We were posted in a field location a few years back and the internet was very erratic – I owned 4 different internet dongles + 1 WIMAX dish. But things are much better now as compared to 2012 when I launched.
3.     I also miss the benefits of a city like attending networking meets, conferences and programs.

C. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue their dreams while living at small and busy bases (many still believe or led to believe that you can either be a fauji wife or a professional, and that’s not true)?

S. Oh, that is so not true in these times. It is possible to be a part of both if you manage your time and have your priorities right.
Of course, there will be times when your work will take a back stage due to major official commitments but with the right attitude - all is manageable.
So, enjoy both the roles that you play.

C. A parting quote or philosophy that helps you stay calm and do what you do?

S.One of my favourite quotes is - "What you focus on grows."
It helps me keep my priorities right and get back on track whenever I digress.

Thank you Shreya, for answering these questions! J

A note from me: I recently released a #KindleBook called ‘The Work-At-Home Military Wife’ for Armed Forces ladies and anyone who desires to create self-employment for themselves on the move. Check it out here:

A gift: And hey, if you’d like to explore work-from-home career ideas that you can pack and carry, download my FREE ebook '25 Work-from-home Careers for Military Wives’ by signing-up for my email updates, here.

Connect with me:

Twitter @ChandanaMilSpo
Instagram @chandanamilspo

#thebrigadethatbuildsbrands #milpreneur #MilSpouse #smallbusiness #workfromhome #workathome #selfemployed 


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