How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I am a doctor, so I never wanted to become a visionary entrepreneur, but the universe designed something different for me. Being a doctor, I realised that most people suffer from lifestyle, diseases, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancers, hormonal issues, acidity, body aches and pains etc etc. They never get cured since medicines can only act temporarily to alleviate symptoms. When I realised that lifestyle diseases can be prevented and reversed by simple lifestyle changes, I knew that I had to make this information public. People are totally unaware of because of our conditioning and culture.
I studied and read a lot. Since my methods were not mainstream, it required a lot of effort as I had to go against the grain, and in general nobody likes to change. I started doing talks, seminars, and cooking classes to teach people how to make simple changes to achieve huge results. I realised that the events had to be fun, and that the participants should taste the food, the food had to be delicious so that people could immediately understand that the new lifestyle was not one of deprivation but rather abundance and pleasure.
When people got results, my work grew, and I knew that I had to train more doctors, nutritionists, and even facilitators and cooking experts. So my work evolved gradually and organically without planning, but rather by understanding the need of people and seeing where I could fulfil that need.
Now, since many years, I also conduct 21-Day Health Retreats where participants have all the tests conducted in the beginning and end of the program so that they can see the results of lifestyle changes and peeling off of various medications in just 21 days. They also learn how to sustain this lifestyle so as to prevent future illness.
Throw some light on your business and its offerings.
My goal was never to run a business but rather to spread the message that everyone could reach their highest health potential easily, and that it could be fun. But I quickly realised that this cannot be done without funds and that it’s always better to have the beneficiary pay for the services rather than ask for donations.
However, recognising that not everyone’s affordability is the same, we have made sure that everyone can benefit no matter what. So we have plenty of free programs available and much of our work is available for free on our website and our YouTube channel. For example, we have about 600 recipes on our website for free, or our recipe book or healthy living book is available as an e-book for free. And of course you can purchase the hardcopies or cooking classes and even retreats. You can also avail of our consultations that are designed to help you prevent and reverse diseases. By reversal, I mean no more symptoms, no more medicines and normal lab reports. All our offerings can be seen on our website, sharan-india.org
How challenging is it for a woman to start/ or associate with any company? /Have you faced any unusual situations doing business in India as a female entrepreneur?
No, I did not feel that being a woman came in the way of my work. On the contrary, I feel that being a woman had less pressure to earn more or move up the ladder. I have always been able to align my work with my values and passions.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Since health is my priority, I always take care to shop for myself, cook my own food, take out time once, in a while for holidays, entertainment, and swimming and looking after my animals. This gives me pleasure, as does the work I do, most of the time.
Did you have a mentor to guide you through your professional journey?
I’ve had several mentors in my life, even though in some cases not directly. As a young doctor, I had senior doctors as mentors. After that, it has been life, circumstances, books, my own illness, various friends, and colleagues that have been my inspiration and guiding force.
How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India?
Entrepreneurship and working for women is very important for several reasons. In conventional Indian society, women are hardly free because they are unable to sustain themselves. They’re either dependent on their parents and family or their spouse, and have children to look after. In short, they become victims of their situation, even if they are educated. But if they’re working, then they have the possibility of moving out of the system and living according to their own values. They have the choice to get married or not and have children or not, simply because of more financial freedom. India’s biggest problem is over-population and it has been shown that countries with working and highly educated women, the birth rate automatically decreases and the standard of living improves.
Define a perfect business leader. What are the qualities you think a great leader possess?
This is hard to say but here are my thoughts –
- A thorough knowledge of the subject.
- Patience with and trust in other people, as well as patience to allow growth without too much pressure.
- The ability to understand the skills and abilities of individuals as well as their shortcomings so that they can be given jobs suitable to them and have the chance to grow and excel. The ability to allow them to make mistakes and grow from them.
- The ability to not take anything personally, and persist no matter what.
A brief description of the major awards won by your company.
While our company per se has not won any awards, awards have been won by myself and other individuals in the company, the most prestigious of which was the Nari Shakti Award for the pioneering work in health and nutrition.
What advice would you give to other businesswomen who want to thrive in a male-dominated industry?
Just consider yourself to be equal or better than anyone else. Don’t let your gender get in the way of your growth.
One word that describe you the best…
How would you like people to remember you and your company?
I would like people to think of us as the one stop shop for disease prevention and reversal in India.
What is your favourite metaphor for describing entrepreneurship?
Never lose sight of the cause for which we are working.