Cash & Career > Home Is Where the Heart and the Work Is
Home Is Where the Heart and the Work Is
February 13th 2012
Work From Home (WFH) vocations are increasingly becoming popular as more women are able to multitask and manage their time effectively through flexible working hours. A WFH vocation is not a cakewalk. One must be willing to work hard, persevere and always approach matters with a positive frame of mind.
We, at IndusLadies, thought it would be best to understand this trend from an expert and here is the story of Mrs Pushpa Jaypal, as she shares her experience with Piya Jayarajan.
Pushpa Jaypal, a housewife from Chennai with strong business acumen and a never-say-die spirit, has been working from home for close to ten years. Prior to this, she was a preschool teacher and later moved onto to become a manager for Tupperware when it was first launched in India. This experience equipped her with the required marketing skills which proved useful for her own venture. Pushpa makes moulded dark chocolates in various flavours and shapes. Her business is dependent on festive seasons, and special orders round the year, and storage of these chocolates during off-season is vital to maintain freshness of the product. Her other passion is block printing on fabric. She prints on Kerala Kasavu cotton saris, Kasavu duppattas, and salwar suits. It gives her immense satisfaction to mix and match exotic colours and use the patterned wooden blocks to create designs of her choice. Special care is taken to ensure that no two products are identical.
Did you take up these activities by chance or have they always been your hobbies?
Chocolate making started as a solution to my family’s needs which evolved into a hobby and later graduated into a commercial activity. Fabric printing has always fascinated me. Experimenting on Kerala Kasavu saris has been rewarding.
Apart from the initial hiccups, have you faced any other hurdles in your journey so far? How did you overcome them?
Starting hiccups were never of any large magnitude, although minor problems do crop up now and then. But, there are no serious hurdles in this line of activity. Sticking to the schedule when my printer does not finish work or the unforeseen delay due to rains are some concerns.
Did you have to undergo any specialised formal training when you were starting out? In your opinion, is formal training mandatory for anyone who wants to work from home?
I did undergo some formal training in chocolate making when I set out to make it a commercial venture. It taught me the importance of a good finish and attractive packaging. So, I feel some systematic training will certainly be useful to attain a professional approach to business.
Can you describe a typical day at work for you?
I do not observe strict working hours as I have social and family commitments. However, I do schedule my day in such a way that around 3 – 6 hours are set aside for chocolate making and sari printing. The number of hours varies depending on the season. I manage most of my work from home, though I do make occasional visits to my suppliers and artisans to supervise them.
Come Diwali, Christmas and I am sure the demand for chocolates must be at an all time high. How do you handle this pressure?
Systematic planning of work, customer meetings and getting orders in advance before the festive season matters in this type of work. Extra helpers do pitch in to complete the orders taken if required.
As for sari printing, I plan my exhibitions such a manner, so that they don’t clash with my other schedules.
According to you, what is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the freedom from fixed working hours. I get to spend quality time with my family and at the same time gain satisfaction from my job. I feel very happy to be doing something creative. The appreciation from my customers is also extremely satisfying.
Above everything, it must be immensely fulfilling to do something that you love. Can you throw some light on how this has this changed your life?
Of course it is exciting to do what one enjoys! It is a pleasure to make one’s own decisions, meet a lot of new people, see happy faces and get paid for all of this! This has boosted my self confidence. In the process I have learnt to manage my time fruitfully.
Can anyone who is interested to earn a living become a work-from-home entrepreneur? In your opinion, what are the absolute must-haves?
If you are entirely dependent on this income, some serious thought has to be given to the venture before you start. It actually depends a lot on the product. Market feasibility as well as the infrastructure (varies with the product) are very important. In short, adequate space to work, helping hands if required, and complete family support are of the essence.
Are there any other tricks of the trade that you would like to share with all those who are keen on joining this bandwagon of working women?
The ability to accept criticism and improve, based on feedback, does make a difference. And of course, a positive frame of mind, with a cheerful disposition, certainly helps. My school motto has worked for me, ‘To Strive to Seek and Not to Yield’.
Thank you for your precious time. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.
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