“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s a moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough” – Marissa Ann Mayer
Nikita Gulechha, an intellectual woman entrepreneur of India, comes with an inspirational story to share. With her love for cooking and obsession to be perfect, she describes herself as a simple woman who believes that a change in the society comes with a change in yourself.
The start of Nikita’s journey
Born and brought up in Andhra Pradesh from a Jain Marwari family, Nikita represents herself as a woman who aspires to achieve respect and equality on the business front as well.
For Nikita, shifting to Mumbai was to open and extend her box of knowledge, also allowing herself to understand the aspects of the real world. This decision wasn’t planned, everything happened over the night, and Nikita found herself getting into one of the famous colleges of engineering in Mumbai.
The first two years weren’t easy for her, she had to get used to the city (Mumbai) that never sleeps, and works day and night.
Coming from a place where people always greet you and are continually there to talk to you, I landed up in a place where people are incessantly busy and have no time for anyone, everything needs to be quick and better, getting used to the same was a tad bit difficult for me.
After meeting different kinds of people, Nikita started accepting Mumbai as it is, for its ferocious character, it’s uncanny situations and anytime rains.
She soon transformed herself into someone who was ready to be on the battleground and fight like a warrior, because she knew in order to survive and live her dreams, an actual struggle awaited her.
After college, the problem of relocating for work
Soon after getting her engineering degree, Nikita started getting offers from some renowned companies of India. But the biggest issue was that most of them asked her to relocate.
Women, majorly face problems when it comes to relocating, more or less it stands like a wall between their vision of success. It’s not an option they can easily agree to, mostly because they are bound to their family, they might be asked to leave opportunities that come in their way.
It’s easier for a man to relocate than a woman (generally). Lucky enough, she managed to fit into a perfect profile for her job. Just two hours away from her residence, in a well-known management consulting company. This job was accepted on the basis of an assurance from Nikita to her parents that she would work only for a year.
Being trained in SAP, she was placed in a North America pool doing back-end coding. Her colleagues would get a chance to move or visit abroad for work purposes but she was restricted to do so, due to her family bonds and boundaries.
She managed to take over quality activities and team activities, which made her even more confident and good at what she does. But after she started her work, the project had to shut down for official purposes. Nikita was asked to work on another project, which shifted her area of work, now that was four hours away from her residence in Mumbai.
She was constantly looked down upon by her colleagues and managers in her new project as it was a general perception that employees who stayed late worked more.
But Nikita never gave up, she continued her work efficiently even though she faced issues, she would make sure that she’s there to work and not entertain problems.
Nikita (left) with her colleague from Capgemini
When Nikita quit her job
During her course of work, Nikita was obliged to meet boys in order to get married, but somehow she was never attracted to someone that way. What mattered to her most was the acceptance of whether she will be able to work post marriage or not. She wanted to be equally accepted by the person she would want to live the rest of her life with.
Such complexity becomes an issue for a woman as she is constantly questioned about marriage and asked to make major sacrifices compared to the other partner. If a girl says no for the marriage, society blames her for being influenced, or being selfish, when none of this is true.
As promised, Nikita had to quit her job after about 2 years. But she convinced her family to allow her to continue with the job as she was doing good at it and mostly because she needed to do the job for herself. Her family gave her the permission to work, but after two and half years, she was finally asked to quit her job. But she had hope, which kept her going. All she could think that time was that there’s always a light after the dark.
Grabbing every opportunity
Nikita still wanted to work. She continued working from home so that she is always engaged in some or the other thing. She started freelancing in order to keep herself sane, which she did for more than six years. Dedication to work came from the core of Nikita’s heart, she knew that she wanted to work, if not from the office, at least from home.
She managed to work from home for other companies which were situated in other states. From Mumbai she would work for companies in Delhi.
She would adhere to the directors and organisations, also train employees over the calls and got the work done with complete efficiency. Nikita was respected by both her bosses and colleagues, that’s how in-depth Nikita was as a manager and as an employee.
Nikita knew that her work is what defined her. Hence she kept working regardless of the restrictions and the criticism.
It was the woman in me, which kept me going. I kept grabbing every opportunity that came even if it was not my forte or field
Such an outstanding quality took a while to get recognised, but it finally did. Nikita’s parents ultimately understood her ambitions and goals and absolutely started supporting her.
Finally, the first taste of success
Nikita came across one of her own cousin’s, Kiran Bafna, who pitched her, his own idea of starting an online platform for Chartered Accountants known as VeriFirm.in, Nikita was approached to look at the marketing and sales segments, because of the diverse work experience she held. Later, she started working for the company and soon, was offered a stake in it.
Nikita, with Kiran (center, behind) and the team at Verifirm.inThe company grew, became successful and eventually was acquired by a US-based company Confirmation.com.
All the struggle has led Nikita to develop her skills and apply them when the time was right. She was the only girl in her family to stand out and work which encouraged many girls in her own family, giving them the knowledge they required and explaining how a girl can support her family in ways a man would.
When it comes to assessing the power of a woman, you can’t possibly measure it. It’s the strength within that keeps a woman awake and aware. Entrepreneurship is not just about business, but it’s also about knowledge and a way to overcome your own hurdles in such a competitive world. Women entrepreneurs are leading their respective nations, into mass development and giving rise to a revolution, creating their individual identities in a world full of billion people, transforming the way people think about women. Nikita didn’t reach where she is by wishing or hoping for it, she worked for it!
I would like to tell every woman around me to keep trying and keep going, take chances and let the world believe that we just don’t balance the life, we actually master the juggle
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