“Somewhere between the right and the wrong, the past and the future, there lies a now. Don’t let it go. For now often leads to an open road”. – Stuti Changle
In this edition of Startup Sunday, The Entrepreneurship Cell of IMI New Delhi features a best-selling author, entrepreneur and an inspiring personality, Ms Stuti Changle, who is an alumnus of IMI New Delhi.
Stuti, at the age of twenty-three quit her first job to pursue her dream of being a storyteller. She packed a rucksack and left Mumbai, in search of her true self. She’s an avid traveler and a minimalist at heart. Her first book- “On the Open Road, got published in March 2018 and is currently a bestseller on Amazon Kindle.
She co-founded her first startup, ‘Spotlight’ in June 2018 and is currently working on the same. Her book was recently nominated in the Gurgaon literature festival and literary awards and her work was recognized in the field of literature as a debut author.
Recently, E-Cell had an opportunity to interview Ms Stuti Changle.
Following is the transcript of the interview :-
E-Cell: Please tell us something about you and your background.
Stuti: My hometown is Indore and I have completed my schooling from various schools across India. I am a post-graduate in management from the prestigious B-school IMI, New Delhi and a graduate in Computer Science and Technology. I dreamt of being an author since childhood and one day, I packed a rucksack and left Mumbai, in search of my true self. I met people with extraordinary stories – travellers, entrepreneurs, artists, visionaries and saints, who gave me the revelation to take steps in a new direction. A minimalist at heart, I find myself moving farther from the never-ending quest of owning material possessions and a step closer to owning a vast ocean of experiences. I feel glad that my first novel, ON THE OPEN ROAD – Three Lives, Five Cities, and One Startup is receiving a phenomenal response from the readers. It draws from my real-life experiences and I wish to inspire my readers to follow their heart and live their dreams!
E-Cell: So, an Engineer and MBA, the most common combination among the aspiring professionals now-a-days. What made you break the shackles of rat race and take the road less travelled?
Stuti: It was a usual life, comfortable with all the perks you have while working for a corporate. After work, I used to stroll around and find comfort in the cafeterias where I would scribble on my diary or type my experiences on my laptop. I would wonder what my true purpose is. Why does writing comfort me like nothing else does? Why am I even running after security? Until one day, these thoughts became obsessive beyond my control and I started questioning my existence. Yes, existential crisis is rare at such a young age, but when you feel you are not meant to be the person you are, you make a move to become someone you truly believe in. I always wanted to be a storyteller. I was making money – a lot of it – but somehow felt empty on the inside. My heart would tell me to pursue my long lost dream of becoming a storyteller whereas my mind would warn me about the risk and its consequences. Eventually, I gave in!
E-Cell: Please share something about your first novel: ON THE OPEN ROAD – Three Lives, Five Cities, One Startup.
Stuti: On the open road is a heart touching and inspiring journey of three souls who resolve to pursue their dreams and battle against all the odds to startup a company. Myra, Kabir and Sandy, the main characters of the story are 20-somethings from young India who battle the societal taboos and their inner demons to live life on their terms. The story is about breaking free from the old routine lives to be able to embrace the new. It encapsulates the emotional journey that one has to take to be able to live their dreams. Through my novel, I want to say it out loud that we, the youth, are the future of the nation, and it is the time that we boldly pursue our choices. Let’s build the India of the future through entrepreneurship, because each one of us, no matter where we come from, has that one idea that holds the potential to touch a million lives.
E-Cell: The story covers all the aspects of entrepreneurship, from breaking the barriers while starting up, teaming up with right people, to trying hard for getting that seed funding. What according to you is the biggest challenge and your advice on the same?
Stuti: The dream of becoming an entrepreneur is buoyant; but the truth is, the road is filled with more challenges than celebrations. Starting a business whether big or small requires carrying out certain processes that might decide the fate of the business i.e. the success or failure of the business. In the enthusiasm to start a business what most entrepreneurs forget is practicality of the business. A lot of entrepreneurs have great ideas and their businesses are growing rapidly year after year, but finance and raising money to get started is a major hurdle. Then there are some market forces and government policies which can leave an entrepreneur’s plans outdated or even obsolete. The failure rate for entrepreneurs is increasing, and a prime reason is because many give up at the first sign of a major roadblock. They see big challenges as signs that they should throw in the towel, and when the going gets tough, they forget what it was they were really working toward in the first place.
E-Cell: How has your journey been as a storyteller, traveller and an entrepreneur?
Stuti: To meet entrepreneurs was an enlightening and empowering process for me. I believe that entrepreneurs are full of life when it comes to their everyday presence and highly resolute when it come to their ambition and dreams. Either way, they light a spark in you. They teach you to find happiness in the everyday challenges that one has to handle and persevere to achieve the dream nonetheless.
When I started out as a writer, I was young and naive enough to believe that my dreams could become a reality someday. That’s all! It gave me the initial push to make a move. As and when my life’s journey moved forward & I became more confident about my choices I embraced the opportunities that came my way & gave my 100% to it. I eventually started enjoying the bumpy road & hustling became a part of my life.
E-Cell: Tell us something about your entrepreneurial venture, “Spotlight”.
Stuti : Spotlight is like a boutique business right now. We’ve just started few months back and we’re very young. In Spotlight, we do visual storytelling for brands because we believe that visuals connect quickly and any kind of storytelling from a marketing perspective which happens, should happen very visually. So, we design social media campaigns, we make videos, AV/DV, presentations with the whole crux of everything being, that we have done it very differently and we have focussed a lot on the visual part of it and we keep the content very minimum because we believe that visuals is something that stays with the people for long and we think that it could be the next big thing in marketing, especially social media marketing.
E-Cell: At any point of time in your life, did you wish to give up? How did you overcome this challenge?
Stuti: I would be honest and say that – many times! The highs and lows of an entrepreneurial journey could be overwhelming for those who come from a corporate background and are used to a rather steady life. Failures, and when I say failures, I suggest a lot of them, would be a part of the journey. Entrepreneurs need to keep that in mind and make sure that they don’t lose focus on their long term goals owing to some short term failures.
E-Cell: What suggestions would you give to the young and budding entrepreneurs who are going to shape the future?
Stuti: A message that I would like to give to everyone is, don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. A lot of us have a misconception that to pursue our ideas, to startup companies, we need to be super rich, or blessed. It’s absolute nonsense. I come from a middle-class family, and yes, it is hard to convince your parents at times, but in the end, nothing is impossible. It can all happen. Just believe in yourself and your dreams. Work hard. Work every day. You can and will do wonders. In the end, everything that does not work out sums up to the things that do. The idea is to never give up, never give up. Believe in the beauty of your dreams. Follow your heart with courage. There’s no shortcut to success. The only way to explore one’s full capacity is to keep at one’s inner calling. The journey is much more crucial than the destination. Enjoy the journey! Hustle.