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Name: Sonal Singh

Business: Rian Placements 

Location: Mumbai, India

Industry: Professional Services 

Reason for starting? I commenced on my entrepreneurial journey in 2007 with my venture Rian Placements. I was then a mom to two pre-school daughters and although life was quite busy, it was not fulfilling. I felt a vacuum in my professional life, as I was then a stay-at-home mom. I tried my hand at several things, but the constraints of living in a nuclear family with two small kids depending on me kind of tied me down. Hence, I decided to start something of my own.

Rian was initially a work-from-home venture which has today grown into a women-centric consultancy operating from 2-3 locations in India. Today, Rian is a chain of ladies, all working towards a common goal. We have both full-time employees and also work-at-home moms who work for us on a flexi-time basis.

Related: Read about another Professional Services entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? My motto in life has been: you have but one life, so live it to the fullest! And, that is exactly what I do and preach. I have one life in which to learn, to adapt and to accomplish so I make the most of it with a positive attitude. Yes, I admit that it’s not easy to be upbeat all the time. Running a business is exceptionally hard work, and there are moments of frustration, anger and depression. However, it is out of such very moments that is born faith, resolve and the attitude to succeed.

I measure my success by all the moments where I have felt content and satisfied with the body of work that I have accomplished. It is immensely gratifying to receive a “thank you” note or a heartfelt phone call from a candidate who has benefited by our services. Such moments make the labour, frustration and pain seem worthwhile.

Biggest success: My biggest success so far has been to see my idea blossom to fruition. Starting out, I wanted to make Rian Placements a women-centric platform so that more homemakers like me could be benefited by it. Today, we have achieved that to a large extent. The body of work that we have accomplished and client endorsements are proof that our efforts have not been wasted. In retrospect, I feel content with the body of work that I can account for in my name. But, the milestones that we have achieved are still on a road that is being travelled and we do have many more miles to cover still. Women are born creators, and if only they had the faith to embrace this natural talent we could have so many small businesses enriching our economy and motivating others.

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What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? The biggest challenge as an entrepreneur is not just setting up business operations but having clients that have faith in your ability to deliver. When I started out most of our clients were companies in shipping and logistics. Not coming from such a background, it was a huge challenge for me to understand the mandates given and to source appropriate manpower. Gradually, I adapted. It was nerve wracking as I had to spend hours online studying and learning about the shipping and logistics industry. I interviewed innumerable people before I got a grasp on the metrics of the industry. Happily, we were able to expand, and today we have clients in consumer durable goods, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, hospitality etc.

I do feel that the biggest challenge in my line of work is to learn. We need to constantly keep ourselves updated about industry dynamics, changes and trends. We need to constantly study the innovations in various industries in order to source manpower for them.

Indeed the most difficult question that many women in India face is how to kick start their career after a sabbatical! I believe that instead of asking “What should I do?” we need more women to ask “What could I do?” There are innumerable opportunities out there and not all of them involve 9-5 office hours or even venturing out of the house. Over the years via my articles and my venture “Crafts Nook-on Facebook,” I have tried to encourage more women to embrace entrepreneurship. There is so much more that a woman can contribute to society and economy if she is not limited by worries about her kids and family.

Who is your most important role model? It would be impossible to say that I have just one role model. I grew up believing that I was capable of achieving whatever I put my mind to. That I could reach out and touch the stars, fly to the moon and back, if that was what I wanted and worked towards. Indeed, such was my upbringing! Among the many things my parents inculcated in me was a sense of belief in my own abilities. That is what I depended upon as I ventured into entrepreneurship. My parents, by raising me the way they did, have always been my chief motivators. Apart from them, I am lucky to have in-laws who are constantly supportive and a husband who understands and supports my need for freedom and creativity.


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Edited by The Story Exchange