The Other Side Of Entrepreneurship with Ashutosh Garg

Mr. Ashutosh Garg, founder of Guardian Pharmacy and a successful corporate professional, speaks to Arani Chaudhuri, founder of iarani, about how it has become common to hear young professionals and entrepreneurs complain about how busy they are or how tired they are all the time. He analyses the ways in which each one of us can battle high stress and stay on top of our game at all times.

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Work is something which is going to be a part of our lives. I'm a great believer in work-life balance as well but I think there are certain dreams and aspirations that we all set out for ourselves and we've got to do everything that it takes to achieve those.

Ashutosh Garg

If your health is not okay no matter what you do your dreams your aspirations will not be not be met. It is important to have a regimen of exercise which you do every day.

Ashutosh Garg

It's important to have a strong mind and not give up. Keep going because that is what will help you reach your ambition.

Ashutosh Garg

We need to factor in the personal time and the time with family within these 18 hours and not the remaining six hours that we really need to sleep.

Ashutosh Garg

There is a difference between accruing your salary and paying yourself because accruing your salary affects the profit and loss account paying yourself affects your cash flow.

Ashutosh Garg

Entrepreneurship is not a vocation that can be recommended for the faint-hearted. While being a founding member of a brand new entity is an exhilarating idea, the path that ensues is not paved with rose petals. On the contrary, an entrepreneur’s life is in many ways akin to a rollercoaster ride. You may be soaring up and touching the skies one moment and in the very next you may find yourself plunging head first into an abyss with no end in sight. Dealing with such high levels of stress and ambiguity without taking adequate steps to counter the side effects can lead to an early burnout.Although entrepreneurial pursuits as well as plum corporate jobs do tend to extract their pound of flesh, it is still possible for the job holder to follow habits and practices that give him or her the energy, the will power, and the courage to power through the long work hours, the stressful situations and the lack of clarity. These habits, if inculcated on time, will ascertain that you are on top of things for the most part of your life.

Essence

What are some of the things that you should never fail to do even if you are very busy?

As an entrepreneur, irrespective of whichever age you may be at we tend to use the word busy too often. Another word that we use a lot is tired. I remember when my children were growing up, I used to tell them that two words are not part of your dictionary. One is tired and one is busy. When they began working and were spending 18 to 19 hours a day in their respective organizations or as entrepreneurs, I never felt sorry for them. I always said if you're not going to work for 18 hours a day now when are you going to work. So, work is something which is going to be a part of our lives. I'm a great believer in work-life balance as well but I think there are certain dreams and aspirations that we all set out for ourselves and we've got to do everything that it takes to achieve those. When we are running and working so hard I have seen a lot of people compromise on their health and that is a big no-no. If your health is not okay no matter what you do your dreams your aspirations will not be not be met. It is important to have a regimen of exercise which you do every day. You should have a routine. Keep your phone away an hour before bedtime. By following such a schedule you're giving back to your body the energy and all the other chemicals that your body produces to be able to keep running faster.

How does an entrepreneur maintain good mental health?

Very often in your entrepreneurial journey you have the desire of just throwing in the towel and saying to hell with it. However, as we all know that you can't duck any problem. You have to face it so, therefore, you know it's all in your mind. As entrepreneurs, we need to be very strong mentally to be able to confront our daily challenges. You want to make sure that you are strong enough to be able to face your daily challenges. They could come from any direction. In addition to your problems at work, you could be confronted with all kinds of personal barrages in terms of problems every single day. It's important to have a strong mind and not give up. Keep going because that is what will help you reach your ambition.

If you are working 18 hours a day, how do you take out time for yourself and your loved ones?

Let's define 18 hours. Most of us unless we make a conscious decision are constantly checking our emails, our Whatsapp messages or are on our personal devices even when we are at home. Every time I see someone doing this I ask – ‘will the world come to an end if you don't respond to your whatsapp message within a few seconds and invariably the answer is 'No'. So, I ask then why do you do it? The 18 hour workday is self-created as most of us just assume that without us our organization cannot run or without us our organization will come to a halt. Nobody created us to work 18 hours a day. We have to have time for ourselves. We have to have time for our family. We have to have time to be able to sleep and so it's a mindset issue. We need to factor in the personal time and the time with familywithin these 18 hours and not the remaining six hours that we really need to sleep.

Should entrepreneurs pay themselves a salary? If so, how much?

Most entrepreneurs feel, in the early days of their venture at least, feel that since the company is making losses, they should sacrifice their own salary to offset the losses. This is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make. I think you are short-changing yourself by not paying yourself anything. You are short-changing your family and in some way you're also short-changing the company because it is important for your company and your colleagues to know that all the efforts that you are putting in have a price to it. There is a difference between the work that you are doing as an entrepreneur and the ownership of your company. The ownership of your company is you as an investor in the company and therefore your returns from your ownership have to come through dividends and valuation and whatever else but the long hours that you put into the company every day have to be remunerated. Often a very common problem with most new companies is that they don't have the money to pay the entrepreneur. My advice to everybody is that there is a difference between accruing your salary and paying yourself because accruing your salary affects the profit and loss account paying yourself affects your cash flow. Your cash flow may not be good enough to be able to take money out but you are the CEO of your company and you are the entrepreneur so therefore your company has to charge what is rightfully due to you and as and when you start making large enough profits that's the time you should pay yourself. Finally the question how do you determine how much to pay. There are enough tools available in the market today to be able to determine what kind of salary you should be getting by comparing yourself with similar people in the industry.

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