42% of college graduates in India are women. Yet, only 34.2% of them join the organized work-force. Even out of these, a huge number ‘drops out’ citing marriage or childbirth as reasons.
Stories of women quitting their promising corporate careers, taking sabbaticals in order to raise their young children to abound in India. This talent leakage, happening mostly when the women are in their thirties, is a pity considering the reports that say that women make better and more emphatic managers.
However, it is heartening to note that many women have found ways that superbly balance their emotional maternal pulls and their professional aspirations. They run businesses from home. And the formula for success lies in knowing the technical requirements of the product/service well, desire to ‘make a mark’, determination to carry on despite the everyday challenges.
• Consultancy: Who says you lose touch on your technical skills when you take a sabbatical? Increasingly, women from premier institutes, with professional qualifications are setting up their own consultancies based out of their home or nearby commercial complexes in order to ensure that they are able to manage both home and office.
Such consultancies range from personal development training to technical training to accounting and taxation guidance to marketing and others. Point is if you can pull it off in a big organization while handling a team, why can’t you do it from home too? Your determination and drive is the answer!
• Cooking Workshops/Catering: Is it wrong to say that women have a flair for cooking? No! Now give it a business touch and you will have a flourishing catering business in your hands. Perhaps the most popular form of business with women, these days you get to see such innovative ‘food entrepreneurs’ – baking, chocolate-making along with the traditional fare.
Once you start with your core expertise and spread the word around, you will find yourself busy catering to birthday parties, festive occasions, and even offices. Chef Gunjan Goela is a point in case.
• Creche/Play-Schools: Another popular business option, women who have a background in teaching toddlers/children or in Montessori education, can easily start their own crèche or play-school for little children.
All that you need are a place that is safe in every way for kids; a whole lot of child-friendly toys, play-things, books, furniture; a couple of helping hands to help you with the kids, cleaning, and kitchen; and loads of patience and creativity. You will be dealing with young, impressionable minds after all. Sensing an opportunity in tapping demand for toys, Prajakta Kapur founded Toys-On-Rent, a toy rental enterprise.
• Hobby Classes: And what about those women who are good in arts and crafts and in performing arts? Start your own school. More and more parents want their children to get multi-skill training. Hence, classes for drawing, painting, crafts-making are a huge hit. And then there is a whole section of people who like to stay connected with their cultural roots through dance, music, and theatre. Hence, if you are a trained singer, dancer or theatre artist, know that people will throng you in large numbers if you open a school. Runjhun Gupta’s ZipOut was born out of her love for dance and see where she has taken it.
• Beauty Care/Clothing: Unarguably their strong domain, women have more than made a mark in the personal care industry by setting up salons and spas, offering home-packages, starting their own boutiques for clothes and accessories.
Easy access to cheap labor and raw materials, the ever-increasing demand for fashionable and exclusive dress items, have spurred the growth in this line of business. Whatever be the line of business, remember, it will be fraught with challenges and hiccups.
But that’s the case with any business – be it from the home-turf or otherwise. Why then waste a skill by just sitting at home? Start-up and roads will open – make sure you have thought of the pros and cons, and have drawn up a business plan with a clear revenue model. Finally, your focus and determination will show you the way. After all, you are a born multi-tasker. Women are.