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Saturday, February 4, 2017

A successful, young solopreneur describes her journey: Hiti Rangnani, Founder of U-COACH 360˚

An open chat with Hiti Rangnani, a Strategic Consultant, a #solopreneur, who for almost 9 years, has been leveraging her work experience, knowledge base, talent and skills through her not-for-greed consultancy firm, U-COACH 360˚ based in Mumbai, to deliver impact and thereby, help her esteemed clients transform and succeed even within the most challenging environments and timelines. With degrees and certifications in Strategy, Business, Management & Finance from premier institutes in India & USA, she has worked and gained several years of rich work experience at prestigious financial institutions in India.

Q: Thank you for taking time out for this interview given your busy schedule. Tell us how and when did you decide to quit your settled professional life to begin your journey of a #Solopreneur?
I believe my desire to be at service to others and yet be my own boss, ran deep and emerged early on. As a student, I participated in my family business and undertook assignments in my community in varied industries - having collaborated in their growth and transformation,  I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of fulfillment through my work.
But during my first job at a Fortune 50, despite being one of the most successful management associate’s in my batch of new joinees; despite having a great team; despite working on world-class projects and having a steep learning curve, ‘satisfaction’ evaded me and soon the passion in my work fizzled out - after beginning to feel like a laborer part of a white-collared factory, I quit my job after a couple of years for further studies and used the time to also expand my consultancy work single-handedly.
However, the lack of clarity and vision brought me back to the professional world. Fortunately, I landed myself with an independent role at yet another Fortune 50. This time around, having scaled enough of a height that brought me personal satisfaction and after having gained rich experience with improved clarity and confidence over the few years, I received a strong internal signal - you may call it Intuition guiding me, that it was time to move on. AND THAT WAS IT.
Continuing at the workplace or making the switch to a more reputed firm would have got me a bigger title, an expanded role with larger responsibilities, better pay and so on but none of those would help me gain any more satisfaction per se. Ultimately, I quit the settled job-life forever and after a stirring-three hour dialogue with my Mentor that altered my approach to work, I pursued the life of an entrepreneur, by launching my firm U-COACH 360˚ more formally, with utmost dedication and determination, as I pursued my goals of inner-upliftment alongside.
Q. What has been your learning in the journey in terms of planning and funding, and what has been its impact on growth through the business cycle?
A solo entrepreneur plays the role of an-allrounder in business analogous to the game of cricket by seamlessly playing all roles at once- leading like a captain, self-motivating like a coach, delivering high-quality performances like a batsman and bowler and supporting the business like a dynamic fielder.
Nonetheless, creating and sustaining a robust business requires a great deal of strategic planning with clarity and overall vision being good precedents but a fixed plan is no plan – it ought to dynamically adapt to the current scenario, even more so during uncertainty as it is easy to get wiped out by the disruption. In my specific case, the planning for my business was an ongoing process that began a decade ago but the arriving at an overall vision took a while, as I sought more clarity and confidence from within. I am glad I drew the courage and attempted to re-start on my own for the second time -  better late than never!
With respect to funding - as an entrepreneur, I had the option to grow my own knowledge base, hone my talents and skills and gain experience or outsource them all to a team by having the necessary funds in place; I chose the former as I decided to start small, to begin with. Secondly, the decision to set up my firm was not a rash one –  it was a tried and tested formula that had worked well within its limited scope and could be easily scaled with little or no financial risk. Lastly, my entire focus was on delivering impact on a large base of people through a wide scope, rather than charging higher fees by signing up fewer clients.
More so, I was not harboring any expectations to become a billionaire overnight.
Given my approach and the nature of my work, I was not heavily dependent on capital infusion to grow my business – all I needed was a decent office with basic facilities that I rented out to begin with. I re-invested my income in the firm and slowly expanded my team. Now each team members contributes to their own and the firm's growth and thus, with this strategy I have been able to play safe and grow as well.
Fortunately, I have never worked for money in my life; every decision about work starting from the first job I took up to every other assignment, project or client I work with, till date, has never been influenced by the colour of money but is based on the nature of work. I focus on ‘real work and real people’ and money is my reward that comes by – big or small, it doesn’t matter in the longer run.
Q. How did your seed funding and provision for contingency funding come along?
As I said, my requirement for funding was negligible. Nonetheless, the backup of my personal savings boosted my confidence to take the plunge. Acting as a safety net, I believe savings are an absolute must for the current generation of young professionals in today's times, when it is relatively easy to succumb to the temptations of consumerism, instant gratification and upgrades.
Q. What was your biggest strength in the journey?
My biggest strength is the ‘Knowledge of the Self’, which was imparted to me by Mentor - a highly successful marine veteran, who holds a leadership position at one the most prestigious public limited companies in the country. The intensity of His powerful message, on the rock-solid foundation of truth, integrity and righteous action has transformed my entire outlook towards work and life. There has been no looking back, ever since.
It is through His guidance that there has been seen a natural convergence of my experience, passion, talents and spiritual foundation over time and now I have a single pointed focus to serve and give back to others what I received. I have gained an unwavering confidence to face any and every situation in my professional life, with my head held high.
                                   Watch Book Trailer, Free Extract & More  Preview on Amazon
Q. You have also taken up writing.  Please tell us something about your it and your upcoming book.
I always had a strong interest in mystic sciences - to know about and understand the purpose of life, particularly in human birth. Given my deep spiritual foundation built over time, I have been leveraging the vast platform of U-COACH 360˚ to apply and spread the principles of Spiritual Oneness, wrapped around the theme of professional, business and inner-transformation through my passion for coaching by conducting exclusive speaker programs for select audiences and through my writing of blog posts, short stories and my first book - all of which, deliver the simple message about the art of living, to create passion in every activity, fulfilling responsibilities with happiness, optimizing mind power and putting one’s best foot forward in every task without being attached to the results thereof.
My first book is a contemporary, coming-of-age, thriller, titled, ‘Lost & Found in Ranthambore’ which explores the unbelievable journey of fifteen-year-old Frank Huber, who loses his personal identity and gains his Real Self amidst the wild and dense jungles Ranthambore in India.
In order to follow the righteous path in one's professional decisions and endeavors, all leaders, entrepreneurs (new or experienced, young or old, male or female) require a strong spiritual foundation that works like an inner compass. And what better way to explain this, than through a story of a lost young boy?
The book will be beneficial to all, particularly such readers, who unknowingly seek inner guidance. Here's an excerpt for your readers, on this theme:
“Embarking on a journey to Know the Real Self is most fundamental, as it is the basis of this physical world and all other knowledge is dependent on this Higher Knowledge. Only after gaining this, one can formulate a correct perspective for oneself and truly understand where one stands in the cosmic scheme of things. So even if you choose to get anything else done in your life, you will be off-track if you first do not Know the Real Self”
"Moreover, if you pursue your worldly goals after Knowing your Real Self, you will be far more successful and ever content in their achievement, as your worldly goals will effortlessly align to your life’s responsibilities and will positively contribute to your overall prosperity including that of your family and the society to which you belong."  

Q. We wish you the best with your book release. Where do you see yourself in next five years?
I see my work expanding to cover a few more geographies and segments within the scope of my current team strength, as I believe in sustainable growth and would like to be closely involved in most of the work undertaken by my firm. I see myself having written at least a dozen more short stories and one more book. And most importantly, I see myself in a positive light (laughs), which is infectious and contagious – I hope to rub it off to as many people as possible.
On a serious note, my personal ethos is – even though we do our best to make the most elaborate plans for the future, we must and can live, only one day at a time. I aspire to live each day to the fullest, contributing towards my vision with passion, so that the path that unfolds over next five years is on track to meet my desired destination which is that of satisfaction, fulfillment, contentment and gratitude.
                                  Watch Book Trailer, Free Extract & More   Preview on Amazon

Q. Would you like to share some advice for the fellow businesswomen, who have just started their journey?
Set your goals as high as possible and never doubt how they will work out or how things will fall in place; constant contemplation over your goal with strong positive intention makes the Universe work for you.

Plan in accordance with your goal and execute with wholeheartedness, hard-work, honesty and faith. If results are not in your favour or as per your expectation; it is a signal to you to review your approach, go inwards and find out the means to improve your efforts, accordingly change the method or the path, rather than getting disheartened and giving up or changing the goal.

As it is said, there is no failure in life, unless you give up, since every so-called failure is a valuable experience in the journey of life.

#solopreneur #entrepreneur #author #consultant #women

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