Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Army wife, life coach, NLP practitioner & business owner Priyanka Kumar shares her entrepreneurship story

Hello friends! Today we have Priyanka Kumar - Army Wife, Life Coach, NLP Practitioner & Co-founder of WINGS Team with us at The Brigade that Builds Brands - a series that turns the spotlight on fauji wife entrepreneurs. I first got in touch with Priyanka a few years ago, when I was interviewing her for an article about military spouse entrepreneurship for a national magazine. Over the years, we've followed each other's journey, and I've been looking forward to featuring her in this series. I admire the gumption and enthusiasm with which Priyanka and her business partner + best friend, Payal Mittal Talwar (you can read her story here) have grown their brand, while juggling their Army wife responsibilities. Let's dive right into her story on how she has built a brand with her best friend.

Fauji wife entrepreneur
Priyanka Kumar in action mode at a NLP workshop

CB. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji/military wife (and which service are/have been part of i.e Army/Air Force/Navy).

PK. Growing up as an army daughter was fun, and as an army wife, now it’s been nearly 27 years of even more fun.

I am a student of psychology (LSR, DU) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NFNLP, US and Neoway Academy, Bangalore).  I am extremely passionate about working with people. I am also an entrepreneur (now am running my second business – WINGS Team, with a business partner, Payal Talwar). The thrill of more people joining WINGS (by way of it expanding its impact and reach) keeps me motivated every day.

Today, WINGS is into Training (NLP practitioner level, NLP based trainings, soft skills and personality development), Life Coaching (where we support people achieve their goals, help them heal from allergies, traumas and phobias, limiting habits) and Content (creation, editing, proof reading – anything with the written word!)

military spouse entrepreneur
Priyanka - always a picture of grace 
CB. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your brand/business/creative career?

PK. I used to run a recruitment business for the telecom sector from 2006 – 2010, in Gurgaon, while my husband was posted elsewhere. Supporting all verticals of the industry (hardware, software, infrastructure, ISP, handsets, operators) was a learning and highly enriching experience for me.  During the period, the business grew to 7 times its original investment. 700%.

In 2010, I realized that my daughters needed a childhood of safety and adventure that the army provides. So, the girls and I went back to the army, to have a wholesome family life again.

In 2011, the entrepreneur bug hit me again, and with my business partner, Payal Talwar, we started WINGS Team. It’s been nearly 9 years since WINGS started.  WINGS, an acronym, stood for Women In Need of Grander Success.  

Payal and Priyanka - Business partners
Priyanka & Payal - Besties + Biz Partners
We wanted to equip ourselves, to be able to equip others.  We wanted to bring projects to fauji ladies for them to deliver those from home, so that they would never have to choose to stay away from their husbands to monetize their talent. We wanted to become a platform from where other ladies could leap off from. 

We wanted to become their wings – so that they could fly out and achieve their own dreams. And am proud to say, WINGS has become what both Payal and I dreamed it to be.

Priyanka at her NLP workshop
The sparkle of a fauji wife entrepreneur

CB. 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?

PK. At the cost of sounding cliched, I would say - an innate desire to not only enjoy being Mrs Vikram, but to also enjoy being Priyanka Kumar as much.

Also, the kind of people who joined us.  Every day we would see such talent around us in the fauj, but somehow most were complacent and not willing to push their own boundaries.  And the thought would not leave us - HOW else can we push these ladies to express their talents more. The ladies who joined us kept us on our toes!!! The bonding that comes with being a team – keeps the momentum going – for all of us.

What also helped me a lot was having a business partner who I pulled when she was slacking, and who pushed me to deliver what I was supposed to.  Because we both have common dreams for WINGS, there is never a doubt in our minds – that WINGS comes first.  And that helps us even now, to remain on track.

Military spouse entrepreneurs at WINGS
The WINGS Team

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

PK. Most of our work is online.  Coaching and Content.  Only training requires physical presence – and for that we travel.

We don’t have an office, but all of us employed with WINGS are dedicated enough to keep to our office hours diligently.  Calls to each other start at 8.30 am…and continue till late in the night. I secretly think we work much harder than any fauji!

Our clients know our strength – impeccable on-time delivery – and that keeps us in business.

Army wife entrepreneur
Entrepreneur & Army wife - juggling multiple responsibilities with elan
CB. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities + postings and stints of solo parenting that are an integral part of the fauji lifestyle, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

PK. Even though our support system in WINGS is mostly online, it provides us the foundation that keeps us all strong. When there are Raising Day functions being organized by one of the core members – the other pitches in.  When a senior General comes visiting for Adm Inspection – the lady responsible hands over the charge to another.  Because we all are in the knowhow of the projects in hand, each one can help.

While I say this…I also have to confess... many times Payal and I have received a call from a washroom – where a lady is hiding from the guests - to give a quick urgent update on something she wanted us to know. The commitment that WINGS enjoys from all the people involved – makes us a happy supportive team.

CB. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community?

PK. As part of the Army, all of us know how to stick by each other, and to pitch in for each other. The community teaches us, inculcates commitment and integrity in us…and that is what holds each of us in good stead.

military spouse entrepreneur
"We need to change ourselves some more."
CB. And is there something you feel must/can change for the better?

PK.The Army is changing, for sure. We ourselves need to change, some more. Ladies need to know that most barriers that they experience are coming from their own head. And the fraternity gains – even more - when you succeed, because a positive and confident person will always have the ability to give back that much more to the environment.

CB. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue a career in your field 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)?

PK. Know where you want to be, as a person. Get clear about image you have of yourself – living the life you want to lead.

And then take the first step. It’s may seem the hardest, but the moment you take that first step – new ways will automatically.

Thank you, Priyanka, for sharing your story and tips with us :).

Note: Read Payal Talwar's entrepreneurship story here.

Ladies, a call to action for YOU:

Are you ready to learn how to launch your own portable, work-from-home micro business on the move? 
I’ve got a brand new Online Course for aspiring military wife entrepreneurs called ‘Be Your Own Boss From Anywhere’ coming up soon. If you’d like more details, please sign up for my newsletter (I’ll be sending out updates and info via this): Sign up form (you can download my Free ebook once you sign-up)

VIDEO & AUDIO TIPS on crafting a Self-employed, Work-From-Home Lifestyle: Check out my my Youtube Channel here.

MY KINDLE BOOK: The Work-At-Home Military Wife (available at a HUGE 65 % discount till March 30, my birthday): Buy it here.

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