When the mind, body and spirit are healthy and in sync, that is when you achieve true wellness. This is what Pooja Bedi, actress turned entrepreneur believes. The multi-faceted personality is the founder of Happy Soul, a health and wellness focused lifestyle brand. With many a plan for expansion up her sleeve for the holistic wellness brand, the relationship columnist, talk show host and achiever delves into her ideas of entrepreneurship and growth.
Where/How do you get your best ideas?
I get my best ideas when I am filled with passion. So, any time I am enthusiastic about a project and what I’m doing next, my mind is buzzing with things to do and what I should be researching or what comes next. All these incredible, inspirational ideas just pop into my head. I think it is all to do with having a sense of wonder, passion and excitement. All of that generates so many dimensions to what could be and it allows all the ideas to download.
What’s something they don’t teach you in University that you should probably know?
I think the one thing that they don’t teach us in life, in general, is to simply be different. To be unique. We are so busy always being told, from the time we are a child, that there is a pattern to be followed. From the time you get your diapers changed, to the time you go to school, to going to university, to getting a job, to getting married, having children, retiring, having grandchildren and then dying; we are made to conform to society’s rituals, rule and patterns. We are so caught up in doing all of that, that we forget how beautiful it is to simply be alive and to be on this planet with so many dimensions around us. We forget how many amazing meta sciences exist in our realms that we are just never exposed to and never thought about looking into or experiencing. The world is so much bigger than this little tiny bubble that we create for ourselves. The one thing that they don’t teach you is how vast this world, how life is, what this universe is like and the energetic sciences that are an integral part of our life that we negate for modern medical sciences. It is really sad that conventional knowledge and conventional schooling systems do not encourage, allow or even talk about the realms that exist around us.
First thing you do as soon as you wake up?
My morning ritual is to set a positive intention for a fantastic day and smile before I open eyes! This is something I truly believe everyone should incorporate into their lives so that they start the day off on a good note.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses in the country?
The one thing I would love to see in the near future for all small businesses around us is a revision of tax laws. The one thing that will actually kill all the businesses is the amount of taxes, GST regimes that are such a nightmare to navigate through and the entire processes that you are put through in every possible way. What I really wish for businesses, not just big or small, would be complete relaxed taxation laws and to have a much more simplified GST structure. That is when businesses might actually have a chance of surviving.
What was your biggest stroke of luck since the launch of your company?
Strange as it may sound, my biggest stroke of luck since the launching of my company was the hacking of my website. It showed me what an absolutely incompetent website team I had, it showed me that I was just pumping money into a bottomless well and I decided to put stops on everything and put the focus on different verticals of my business that were expanding simultaneously. Thanks to that I got an incredible opportunity to get investments into my company and develop new tech for my new website which is going to be B2B2C website and it is absolutely phenomenal and exciting and way beyond what I could have ever imagined for my company. Also striking a 50-store franchisee deal enabling access to wellness goods and services pan India.
If you had one piece of advice to give someone just starting out, what would it be?
Research, research and research. Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel. Learn from people who have already been there and done something successfully. Most importantly, create your own niche. You do not want to be a clone of somebody else. Go out there and think about what you could do to create your own identity by learning from the mistakes and successes of others. And that only comes with research.
What do you typically read?/Favourite book?
I love books that inspire, books that make me think, books that teach me something. I think one of my favourite books of all time is Blink which is all about trusting your intuition. Another one is Who Moved My Cheese, largely used in corporate circles, cheese being an analogy of something precious to you and how it is very important to invest and put back into something that is your main source of joy or nourishment and sustenance. Apart from that, I have read a lot of books based on meta sciences and a lot of thinkers and philosophers but I have to say in terms of quirkiness and fun, I really enjoyed Roald Dahl’s books while growing up.
Best boss you had and what did you learn from them?
I have never really ever had a boss. I am very used to taking charge of situations and being I control of things. In general, I am always the boss in my domain. As far as work-life goes, I have worked in units on sets, and I have worked in teams but I have never really had a boss.
What question do you ask at interviews?
When I am interviewing employees, I ask them to tell me what their strengths are, how they see themselves contributing to this company and where would they like to see themselves grow within this company. It gives me an idea of whether the person has a long-term vision, what attributes they bring, where they should be placed. If they’re extroverts, they shouldn’t be in the backend and if they are introverts, they shouldn’t be in PR, Marketing or frontend of the company. I ask questions to assess their personalities, thinking, skillset and sense of vision.
One thing you learned about yourself?
If I could be my successful best through lockdown, well there is simply no stopping me.
How do you keep your team motivated & engaged?
Teamwork makes dreamwork and Happy Soul consists of the most amazing team. Any business is only as effective as its team. I motivate my team through a point system. I believe in rewarding employees who are dedicated and work hard. They get plus points for coming up with ideas, performing their duties effectively and achieving over the scope of their work. They get rewarded with salary raises and promotions. I also believe in governing with an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Employees get negative points for issues such as lack of diligence, delays in a job, or slackness. Negative points lead to red flags which results in salary cuts, demotion, or termination of the job.
New Year Resolutions?
This is the first new year where I have not made any resolutions. I have surrendered and allowed the universe to lead me down whatever path it wants in 2021.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
I feel like Durga Maa with ten hands, doing a million things at all times. I think it is just positivity, optimism and a happy headspace that keeps me sane while juggling all the different avatars, roles and schedules that I overwhelm myself with every day. It is very important to me to have a job done well and to give it my 100 per cent. Yes, it can be completely exhausting, but at the same time, it is absolutely exhilarating. Also, I have my priorities very clear. It is my priorities that determine what I end up attributing my time to in a day. If ever something needs to be pushed forward to the next day it is done very effortlessly because of the priority structure that I have assigned to my daily routines.
A childhood memory that shaped something you do in your business today?
When I was in my teens, my mom moved to Bangalore to create her dream and the vision that she had for a dance school. She literally pitched a tent on a barren 10-acre land with no doors, windows or locks and firmly planted herself there till she realized her dream. Whenever I am confronted with obstacles and situations or even the starting of a brand-new venture in my life, all I do is think about her sheer courage, integrity, wit and passion that she embodied that took her project from scratch to phenomenal success. I am always motivated by that. I always think that if she could do it out there in the wilderness with no help, support or safety measures in place, what am I complaining or fearful about? I have so much more to start with than she ever did, so I count my blessings and work even harder.
I love tea, all different kinds and flavours! I start my morning with a steaming hot cup of my favourite herbal tea. I try and skip the usual sugar by opting for a healthier option like palm sugar.
Favourite clothing item?
My favourite clothing item is jumpsuits. Whether it is formal jumpsuits to go out in or lounging jumpsuits to be at home in or jumpsuits to sleep in or short jumpsuits to galavant in, I just love them!