BLOGS

September 20, 2020

Four Years On – Part 4 : Early days of Nishe

A reflection on our entrepreneurial journey as we are about to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Nishe.

“The relationship between work and time is similar to the relationship between air and space. If you have less work relative to the available time, work spreads out to fill it. You can keep on adding more and more work into the available time until a point beyond which it might explode.”

 

This, my friends, is my own quote:).

At PwC, there was no dearth of things to do and no shortage of deadlines to meet, sometimes one felt being treated like a genie. But this also gave me the mastery of compressing a lot of work into the available time. So when I left PwC, one of the things I was most scared of was getting used to working less and losing this valuable skill of compressing a lot of work into a day. (Yes, I truly think it is a valuable skill).

So what did I do? As soon as I left my job, I started working on Nishe. Meanwhile, I also enrolled for a bunch of classes including an MSc in Professional Accountancy from the University of London.

Nishe took off pretty quickly. The Professional License came within 2.5 weeks of quitting my job. Through persistent follow up, I managed to open a bank account within less than a week of obtaining the Professional License. Due to months of researching and reflecting, the idea of Nishe was fairly clear in my mind. Hence making decisions on branding wasn’t difficult. And what is more, I got a great branding mind to work with in Sajith Ansar from #Ideaspice.

I was lucky to get a good client as soon as I started. But obtaining subsequent clients took quite a bit of time and effort. The extreme emotional ups and downs that I experienced with the initial few proposals – from getting a request to drafting and sending the proposal, the agonized wait and eventually the final outcome – are simply too hard to describe.

Another thing I struggled with was stepping down several levels below my position. I managed all aspects of Nishe alone for the initial months, including performing client work. As an Assurance Director at PwC, I was a second-level reviewer and decision maker. Stepping down from that to being a preparer was incredibly hard.

Eventually I hired the first team member, after about 3-4 months of starting the firm. I have to say I got very lucky with her as she quickly grasped the versatile roles that are required in a startup and supported me well very patiently, diligently and enthusiastically – thank you, Deo😊. This made my life a lot easier.

The cramming of all my available time with multiple activities also created problems for me later when I had to juggle completing a tough (but rewarding) project for a client at the same time as my assignments for my Masters Programme (which I have to add, I managed to complete with a Distinction:)).

With certain other decisions such as arriving at the right pricing strategy, we had to grapple for a long time before we could find our balance.

 

“The first couple of years of entrepreneurship will be extremely hard. You will keep hearing the word “no”. But if you persevere and persist, there is no doubt you will succeed.”

 

This was the advice that I received from a successful serial entrepreneur when I was about to set up Nishe. And the effect that advice has had on me is powerful.

It won’t be an exaggeration if I say that if not for this golden advice, I may have become disheartened long ago, possibly even folded. The pressures of early days of entrepreneurship are such, that only the knowledge that it is a normal part of entrepreneurship and that I am not alone in this, and the comfort earned from that knowledge, helped me keep up my cheer.

 

[For Part 1, please click Four years on – Part 1]

[For Part 2, please click Four years on – Part 2 : Why did I walk away?]

[For Part 3, please click Four years on – Part 3 : The Idea of Nishe]

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