Name: Chinha Raheja
Business: The Image Manager
Location: Visakhapatnam, India
Industry: Other Professional Services – Image Consultant and Styling Coach
Reason for starting? I had this vast knowledge of grooming and etiquette because of my background, and I was at a point in time where being a housewife and a mother was not enough any more. I did not want to get back to corporate life. The opportunity to share my knowledge with people who need it was too lucrative to let go, and so I started The Image Manager. It has given me financial independence, while pursuing something I really believe in and love doing — helping people enhance their appearance and make great impressions in personal and professional life.
How do you define success? My idea of success is multifold. On one hand, it is focused inwards: how I manage to grow and develop myself as a person, while doing what I love and being happy.
On the other hand, it is also focused outwards: When I am happy and passionate about what I do, I make sure that it translates to happy customers. It is a personal high when my clients achieve that “WOW!” moment or when they refer me to others.
Biggest success: I have had many people come up to me to tell me that I embody my profession. As an Image Consultant, if I have managed to apply all my learning to myself first, before teaching others about it, it is a huge moment for me for people to acknowledge that. It enables and empowers me to make sure I give back to my customers for all the faith they invest in me.
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What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? There are so many roles to play when you decide to go on an entrepreneurial journey. Besides being a mother, wife, daughter, sister etc., now you are also doing everything for your business right from the grassroots level.
That has been my biggest challenge: how to manage it all! Every morning I need a daily boost of persistence, patience, planning and oodles of courage so I can achieve all that needs to be done to find the best of both worlds. There are days when I wake up exhausted. I take time off to take care of myself. I also have an extremely supportive family, be it my husband or my parents, and they all continuously encourage and empower me to find my rainbow. I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything at all if they didn’t have my back at all times. Entrepreneurship can never be a solo flight. You will always need wingmen!
I am married to a military man, and we change base every couple of years. Military wives have a challenging life, especially when it comes to career and profession. When I got married I knew I would have to cut short my corporate career even though I was climbing the ladder quite swiftly. After motherhood, boredom set in and I realized there are ways of achieving some sort of professional satisfaction even though we move so often.
Who is your most important role model? There are many! But if I have to talk about just one, it has to be my father! A military doctor, he taught me everything about life and, along with it, how to deal with its ups and downs with patience, perseverance, integrity and, above all, humility. Since the time I was a child, he has encouraged me to follow my dream. In the times when I didn’t have a dream, he imagined one for me in a language I could understand. That has brought me out of many downward swirls, and I can’t thank him enough for being my support and model.
Edited by The Story Exchange