What happens when you think you’re cut out for a job and life throws lemons at you? Well, if life throws lemons, then just make lemonade, that is what an entrepreneur does. This conversation will inspire you to open the other door when one closes just like Dhruva Arya did.
In this episode of The Balls of Steel Show, our host Sarthak Varshey gets in conversation with Dhruva Arya who shared his entrepreneurial journey of The Organic Beauty Shop and his breakthrough after he gave up Tennis.
WHAT BUSINESS ARE YOU RUNNING BECAUSE OF WHICH WE CAN SAY THAT YOU’VE GOT BALLS OF STEEL?
I had started two years back with my own cosmetic retail business named The Organic Beauty Shop. We sell essential oils, body butter, soaps etc., and our products are 100% pure. The best thing about our products is that they are unisex and can be used by anyone and everyone.
I have my stores online and offline wherein we sell organic products but before that, I was a professional lawn tennis player.
I was in the top 10 in India and played internationally. It was due to some injuries that I had to give up Tennis because of a knee injury.
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR JOURNEY OF BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR WITH THE BALLS OF STEEL SHOW?
To begin with, I was clueless about business on the whole. I have been playing tennis since last 15 years and I went to school just to sit for my examination. I grew mature because I travelled around the country on my own from an early age. It is because of Tennis that I had grown mature early in lofe.
An ACL injury was detected in my knee which is a major injury. This made me discontinue tennis professionally and I turned to business. I also wanted to become an entrepreneur and now I had the chance to become one.
Since my father is also into business, I had a chat with him about my passion. So, I started with working and learning things from a basic level and even went on to make the products on my own. I slogged my way throughout the year there and my father gave me a shop, to begin with.
I expressed that I want to pursue a different business and he suggested retail business to me. Positive results in my first shop made me believe in my product. This led me to open another store.
Right now, I am running all my stores on my own. I have also gone online with my products and has occupied a digital space.
SO DHRUVA, WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED AND KEEPS YOU RUNNING TO DO THIS BUSINESS?
So, money is a part of motivation, but a higher motivation is being the boss of your own. I have an independent lifestyle which makes me take control of my life and I wanted to keep things like that.
My independent nature is because of playing Tennis. I was my own master in my sport. I couldn’t work under someone that was one of the biggest reasons for me starting an enterprise. It gives me immense satisfaction to be independent and being my own master.
WHAT HAVE YOU DERIVED FROM TENNIS THAT IS HELPING YOU WITH YOUR BUSINESS AT PRESENT?
I learnt not to give up. In tennis or any sport, when you lose, you know that if you work hard you’re going to get there. So, I continue to work hard no matter what happens to me or how many obstacles I face I don’t give up. I don’t care how many times I lose; I know if I’ll work hard enough, I am going to become successful and satisfied.
Then, patience comes in as an asset. I lost a lot of things but my patience made me tough. Another thing that I learnt from sports is concentration. In tennis, you have to concentrate or you lose a point. You have to concentrate on your opponent in tennis similarly I don’t waste a single second of my life and I concentrate on details.
Team spirit is another aspect that I have learnt from sports. Even if you are playing alone you have a team of people backing you. Similarly, if you want your business to grow you need your team, you cannot grow it alone.
I have also learnt strategizing from tennis. You cannot play with the same strategy with different players. So, in business, you need to have different strategies to grow.
HAS YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY AFFECTED YOUR TIES WITH YOUR FAMILY?
My family feels really happy and proud to see me grow. My father too is a businessman so he feels happy on seeing me thriving in business.
Even I feel very happy and satisfied with being independent. I hate taking money from my father and when he sees me at this position today that makes both my parents happy. I took a three-year gap after my 12th std and pursued tennis professionally.
You know according to Indian mentality if you’re 21 and you’re not studying you’re not doing anything. On top of that, I came with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur.
So, I made my parents understand that I would get a degree from an open college and pursue entrepreneurship. This was because I would feel really bad about myself if I’ll be 22 and not earning.
I just wanted to be Independent. The three years were really hard on me and then a sudden heartbreak but then I gathered myself and moved on. That is what tennis has taught me.
WHAT ARE THE FAILURES THAT YOU HAVE FACED DURING YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?
I have faced a lot of failures. One of the biggest failures for me was when I hired inefficient staff. They worked bare minimum all day, withdrew salaries and I was befooled.
I didn’t understand on what basis should I judge them and went full-on. That was when it lost a huge chunk of money. Another problem was the consistency of the employees in the store. The staff was unstable, they would leave even if the other store offered them Rs 1000 more.
It took me a lot of time to get them to stay with me since they were the major factor in my sales.
DID YOU HAVE THE MONEY WHILE STARTING OFF OR YOU HAD TO SAVE UP AND THEN START YOUR BUSINESS?
When I started my father gave me money, but my first aim is to pay him back. Secondly, I am working on another venture which I have started on my own without any sponsorship.
I haven’t taken any money for the other venture from my father or as a matter of fact from The Organic Beauty Shop as well. I am using my brain to do that. The important things you need to become an entrepreneur is brains, courage and consistency, money comes later.
SO, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHT ON THE FACT THAT MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING TO START A BUSINESS. CAN YOU SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS?
There are many of my friends that have started from zero and they have become huge now. You don’t require money to become an entrepreneur.
I have seen them working so hard that they are reaping their rewards today. I have seen them sleeping in offices. Even though my father funded my business doesn’t mean someone who doesn’t have the support of a funder cannot do anything.
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR MONEY?
Every individual be it an entrepreneur or not, should have rules in life. I have written my own rules and I follow them religiously. I don’t spend much on myself. For instance, I don’t buy clothes from a mall or a big brand.
I go to Lajpat Nagar and find the cheapest clothes for myself, the only criterion being that it should look good. I try to limit my spending in terms of leisure as well. Saturday nights are the only nights I eat outside my home. That is the only day I venture out to enjoy.
I lead a very strict and disciplined life. That is how an entrepreneur should try to lead their lives to limit their liabilities.
WHERE DO YOU RATE YOUR SUCCESS AS AN ENTREPRENEUR RIGHT NOW?
I have huge goals in life and I think I have achieved 5% of what I aspire. I want to make it big in life and I am not willing to go back on that.
WHAT ARE YOUR MONEY MANAGEMENT PLANS EFFECTIVELY?
I agree that it’s all about growing your money and it adds to your benefit when you grow your money wisely. At present, I have no plans for investing money in different sectors but say, 2 years from now I might do that. Investing and growing my money in various fields has always been one of my goals.
AN ENTREPRENEUR’S DAY IS ALWAYS HECTIC AND STRESSFUL SO WHAT IS YOUR RELAXATION TECHNIQUE?
Again, I would give credit to tennis here. Music is something that can change lives. For me when I listen to music everything inside me heals. I have learnt this in tennis. Discipline is so necessary for tennis that even if I ate an extra portion of food that would harm me in the longer run.
I have trained in a way that discipline is a major part of my life now. This is I have controlled myself and I think it becomes very important for an entrepreneur to do that.
WHAT WAS THE BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT IN YOUR JOURNEY AS AN ENTREPRENEUR THAT HAS CHANGED YOU COMPLETELY?
There is this one moment that happened with me when my store was about to open, a lot was going on at that time. The store that I have right now has a huge rent since it represents and caters to the luxury market. It took us 3 months to open that store because of various circumstances. That hit me so hard when I had to pay extra rent for a month.
I promised myself to work for every bit of that loss the very day that store opens. When the store opened, I worked hard for it. I usually don’t take a leave for four months I worked dedicatedly for the store.
Occurrences like these make me dedicated because it hurts me to lose a single penny. So, I make sure to work hard enough to earn for my business. Organic Beauty Shop is the only thing I have and I treasure it.
WHAT IS A DAY IN YOUR LIFE LIKE?
My day starts at 4.00 a.m. and I begin my workout till 4.30 a.m. which stretches up to 6. Next comes my breakfast and then I study since I am still pursuing my degree. I make it a point to take out two hours a day to study so that it doesn’t become a burden on the 11th hour. Also, it might affect my business if my attention is diverted.
I go to my shop after that and I spend my entire day in the shop. Whenever a customer comes in, I talk to them and ask about their whereabouts. It is very important to converse with the customers that give you valuable feedback.
I go back home around 6 and I perform a hawan every day. I was 3 and a half years when I became a Limca book of World Record holder for learning 4000 Sanskrit Shlokas. Since then I know how to perform a hawan so I do that. Again, in the evening I go for a workout and finally I spare some time for myself.
IN YOUR OPINION BEING MONEY MINDED IS A GOOD OR A BAD FOR AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Well, it varies from person to person and It depends on situations I would say. In my case, I have been conditioned to be independent. I have been travelling in Metros since I was 11 or 12.
I started to travel in shared Autos along with my tennis kit in a lesser amount. That is how I have conditioned myself, so saving money has become a habit. Since my perception has shaped that way, I find it difficult to spend money recklessly.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MANTRA AS AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I would only suggest one thing, make sure you work hard, be consistent and don’t give up. If you have a balance of these three things then you can reach wherever you want to reach as an entrepreneur.
Just love what you’re doing, follow your dream and don’t live others dream. You should go after what you love just do it don’t hesitate.
IF GIVEN A CHANCE WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO PURSUE AS A CAREER AGAIN?
I think I would pursue modelling because I have knack for it. I like it; it makes me feel good about myself. I am even trying to do something with it.
Now that is what breakthrough transitions sound like. Dhurva’s journey and aspirations have enthralled BOSS altogether. For more unheard, unknown and inspiring entrepreneur stories tune into BOSS.