My Journey from Corporate Job to Entrepreneur: What I Wish I’d Known

By Aakash Chaudhry

Not every great story begins with a boom; sometimes there are early disappointments and other times
there is some soul-searching before the grand picture begins to take shape. But as they say, all’s well, if
the end’s well.
My life before stepping into AESL was quite structured. I completed my engineering degree from MD
University Rohtak and enrolled in a three-week executive program at the National University of
I absolutely enjoyed the program as it gave me some life-changing concepts, but it also made me realize
that I needed an MBA because there was still a lot to learn. So I went on to pursue my MBA at ISB
Hyderabad. In the middle of all of this, my family was taken aback as I was on my way to campus
employment, but as a teacher, My father recognized that each child forges his or her own route in life. I
started my career with Infosys, where I worked in both Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Because it was a massive organization, it had structured management as well as well-defined systems
and processes. But when I joined Cognizant in Chennai, I found a very different atmosphere because
Cognizant was still a startup at the time and had highly flexible processes and systems to match the
rapidly evolving market. I consider myself lucky to have experienced both types of work environments in
such a short period of time.
My path took an unexpected turn in 2005. My family had different plans for me while I was going to
travel to Australia for a four-year project. My father asked me to stay with him and support him in
setting up his franchise in one of the most significant cities, Mumbai.
When my father approached me with this proposal, I was skeptical since I had tried working with him
before ISB but we couldn’t because of different methods, and I had also struggled in my own start-up
owing to a lack of complete knowledge and management.
But this time was different, since he was entrusting me with a whole new location and project. It was
like starting from scratch. I’d seen established enterprises before, but now was the time to start
developing one of my own.
I, like every other person, was afraid of what had happened in the past. But at least this time, I was
familiar with processes and systems. So I dived in and saw it as a challenge.
In contrast to other fathers, my father expected a franchise fee from me. This move of his did not feel
justifiable at the time, but looking back, I believe it was one of his most sensible decisions to get me
back on track.
During my journey from a corporate career to being an entrepreneur, I gained many lessons that I
believe are crucial in the lives of all entrepreneurs.

  1. It is never easy: Whether it’s your family’s business or your own, realize that it will never be
    simple. You must experience ups and downs to determine your route to success. Instead of
    complaining about difficulties, one should prepare for the roller coaster ride as it helps in
    learning and experiencing the best possible way.
  2. You need support: We often think we can handle everything on our own. But that is humanity’s
    greatest blunder because you will need people to join you on your journey to make it better and
    bigger. You may choose who you want to accompany you, but if you want to go far, you must
    always have a support system of family and friends.
  3. Passion is your fuel: You can’t drive a car with only the keys and GPS; it needs petrol or a battery
    to move. And the passion of employees and executives is the energy that drives any
    organization. When passion is directed, it becomes a superpower. Remember that nothing
    incredible happens when you use ordinary energy.
  4. Failure is inevitable: Failure is like that weed plant that grows when you are not mindful with
    your plant. Failure is inescapable, but you can manage it and strive to avoid it by staying ahead
    of time and technology. However, keep in mind that it is that level of the challenge that must be
    completed in order to understand ultimate success.
  5. Flexibility is survival: I am glad to announce that we at Aakash not only survived but also offered
    a 10% return even during those difficult times, and the only reason we were able to do so was
    our quick response to the pandemic. Surprisingly, we had been prepared for it for the past 7
    years, though we had no idea it would happen in this manner.
    The road is not just from being a corporate employee to being an entrepreneur, but also from working
    for a firm to starting one. The journey is about all of the intriguing learnings, moments, and experiences
    that form a part of his life, not simply the titles that one receives over the process.

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