My Journey & My Learning:

1. How I got my first client? How could I establish my credibility quickly?

I realized that I was fortunate to have gained deep domain knowledge and hands on experience of industry first deliveries, learnt from the Regulator's perspective, formed strong personal and professional bonds in the BFS industry over the years. It was time for me to broaden my canvas and spread the wings to tap opportunities within India and other similar developing countries. It was relatively easier to tap my network and explore opportunities outside the bank. As the new age Payments and Small Finance Banks were taking root it offered a welcome chance to help them embrace digital adoption from the early stage of their life cycle. On the other hand several fintech startups are setting their sail to offer innovative solutions to the BFS industry. I mentor a few Fintech startups and help them navigate the complexities of the highly regulated banking space.

2. What habits and mindset helped make me the successful transition from being an employee to an entrepreneur?

I consider my "clients" as my partners. I also hold myself personally responsible for the success of the projects I work on. I am a team player and can work across the hierarchy of my partners' organisations from their CEOs to their field staff. I also have ability to zoom out and see the big picture or zoom in fix the nuts and bolts.

3. How do I distinguish myself from what the market offers?

I believe that a successful Sherpa is the one who has climbed the Everest first. I am not an expert consultant who has never put a foot on the mountain and is content at remaining ensconced at a base camp. I believe my hands on experience, practical knowledge, significant deliveries have earned me the right to be that Sherpa. I walk with my partners in lockstep and help them realize their dream.

4. What was my biggest mistake, if any?

Some partners want to use Digital Technology to look different amongst their peers. I have learnt to avoid these traps. There are no easy short cuts to success. I now insist on defining the problem before setting on to find a solution rather than letting them get enamoured by the solution and running around to find a problem.

5. How did I deal with failure and anxiety?

Leaving a secure job in a big bank was a risk. However it was a calculated wager. I was confident of my abilities, potential of this sector and a great network who reposed their faith in me by signing me up.

6. What was unexpected and turned out to be a good event for me?

Though I set out to operate within India, I quickly learnt that far bigger opportunities are available in other developing countries. They can benefit by the successes India has achieved by adopting digital technology and laying interoperable payments infrastructure.

7. What was more rewarding? Making my start up a success or Establishing my individual identity outside of that of my previous employers?

It is combination of both. I didn't want to prove anything to myself or to the world at large. I just felt that the sky is high and I should spread my wings to soar into the unknown. To explore and to feel the sheer thrill of the wind on my wings.

8. What are some of the important lessons that impacted the way I work?

Knowledge is not finite nor exclusive. One needs to be open to learn all the time. To be ahead of the curve it more important to use the tools correctly than just using the right tools.

9. What are my non-work habits that help me manage a work life balance?

Actually when you enjoy what you do that becomes part of your life. If you work to earn a living when your heart is some place else you struggle to find a balance where none exists. You check the office mails on a vacation and worry about children's exams in office. I enjoy what I do and that's part of my life.

10. What was the best advice I received when I started out alone and that I still follow?

That focus on what you want to do rather than what you want to become