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Arunima Shekhar turned Entrepreneur with Tell-A-Tale, a start-up in the business of telling children stories. She shares with readers her life as an entrepreneur.
The Sanskrit word for Entrepreneurship is Antarprerana. This sums up the essence of the entrepreneurial journey that I have recently embarked upon.
My decision to turn into an entrepreneur was a carefully thought out one, one for which I prepared 3 years in advance, mentally and financially. The drive or the prerana were the gaps I saw in services around me. After listing out these gaps, I narrowed down to the one I would work on, in the field of education and social awareness – the one that would be the basis of my first start-up. And then after 8 years of corporate life, Tell-A-Tale was born.
The concept of story-telling for imparting knowledge is as old as the history of mankind. Traditionally, knowledge was passed from one generation to another through the medium of stories. As kids, we would gather around our grandparents in the evenings, waiting for the story sessions to begin. As we grew up, we started realising the wisdom those stories contained. Our kids today are exposed to a different lifestyle than the one we grew up in. Schools are racing with each other to adopt new technologies.
I started Tell-A-Tale with the vision of bringing back the tradition of teaching through storytelling.
My day begins at 6.15 a.m. My husband and I are both particular about eating home-cooked food, so cooking, packing lunches and house work takes away the first couple of hours in the morning. The work is shared by both of us, ensuring that by 8.15 we are both free.
My work hours begin at 8.30. Half an hour is dedicated to reading – news, articles, interesting posts on social media, etc. Then I jot down the tasks I need to complete on that day in the order of priority.
The first half of my day is dedicated to the routine, everyday operational work – editing, site maintenance, handling the social media channels for Tell-A-Tale and planning events. I prefer to make most of my calls between 11 a.m. and 12.30 p.m., since that gives the other person a bit of time to reach work and settle down.
12.30 p.m. is when my 4 year old son returns from school, so the next couple of hours are spent with him. 2 p.m. is when the second half of my work day begins.
I am at my creative best in the afternoons when everything is quiet. So I do most of my writing work during afternoons. Most new ideas also strike me during this time. Afternoons are also the time when I set up any face-to-face meetings.
My work day ends around 5.30 p.m. The evenings are spent with my son, helping out with school-work, followed by an hour in the park, followed by cooking and dinner. Post dinner is story-time for all of us. We all read or we take turns to tell a story. On days when I have pending work, I squeeze in a couple of hours after my son is asleep.
Living in a joint family meant it was essential for me to segregate my work area from the main part of the house. Even for those living in smaller units, it helps you focus better on work if you have a separate work desk.
Work life balance was something I never tried to achieve, even while in a corporate job. I have always loved my work. If I didn’t, I never invested too much time in it. So work was always as much a happy part of my life, as family or friends were.
Turning into an entrepreneur meant that ‘getting work home’ was that much easier. Thankfully, my first entrepreneurial venture is something where my family is as involved as I am. My son is the first audience for any kids’ stories that go up on the Tell-A-Tale website. My son and husband are my assistants for all workshops that Tell-A-Tale does, helping out with preparing the props, getting craft supplies for the activities, helping out the kids during the activity sessions in the workshops.
Sundays in our family are strictly ‘offline’ days – no social media, no work related calls, no television. If the weather is good, we go out of doors for some physical activity, else it’s indoor games and crafts. This helps in rejuvenating and providing the much needed adrenaline for the rest of the week.
Entrepreneurship is like an infant’s journey, each day there is something new to learn, each day one discovers new things, and absolutely no chance of stagnation. Like a child learning to walk, there are many times you stumble and fall, but that fall definitely teaches you something new. And for now, I am enjoying every bit of this learning.
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Founder @Tell-A-Tale - I gobble stories and spit out new ones everyday; travel addict,
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