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Who will you meet in founders circle?

In my previous article, I spoke about the reasons why an entrepreneur should consider joining founders circle and my personal motivation for building out this program.

In short, entrepreneurship can be a lonely and stressful journey. I wanted to create a space where founders can let down their hair and truly be present with the people around them. And who better to understand founders and provide them with help than fellow entrepreneurs?

Now you may be wondering about the type of founders that you will meet at a circle so I have come up with a list of personas that are inclined to join our program. In my experience, this will help you select if founders circle is the right program for you :)

Please note, these personas are not real people. We have a strict policy in founders circle to not share whats happening in a circle with the outside world. Everything you share in a circle, stays in the circle.

1. Priya, founder of a marketing agency

Name: Priya Age: 35 Location: Goa Occupation: Founder of a Marketing Agency

Priya is a successful marketing and branding agency owner based in Goa, India. She has been running her agency for the past 5 years and has grown to a team of 10 employees. She works with clients across various consumer industries and has established herself as a respected name in the business. At the start of her career, Priya learnt the ropes while working in marketing at various lifestyle brands like Wildcraft and RedBull.

As a business owner, Priya enjoys engaging with her clients and the exciting projects she gets to work on. Being in her line of work has given her the opportunity to build a large professional network across industries. However, while her circle has expanded, it has been hard for her to find and maintain deep connection with people who can relate to her and the work she does. Ironic isn’t it? How she works on platforms initially designed to increase connectivity but finds herself increasingly disconnected from the world around her.

Priya’s work consumes most of her time and energy. She has a limited social life outside of her professional network and finds it challenging to take time off to pursue hobbies or actively relax. She lives alone and does not have a significant other in her life.

Owing to the nature of her work which requires extensive use of her laptop, she has developed a slightly hunched posture which has weakened her upper back. She knows she should get it checked by a therapist, but with everything on her plate, “one day” she tells herself.

While professionally she has achieved much of what she set out to do, Priya often finds her mind wandering off to an island with pristine blue waters where she sees herself sipping cocktails by the beach. She can’t remember the last time she took a break!

2. Rohit, Chef and owner of a vegan cafe and bakery

Name: Rohit Age: 45 Location: Bangalore Occupation: Chef, Owner of a vegan cafe and bakery

A trained chef who has worked in Michelin starred restaurants in Europe and upscale restaurants all over India, something changed inside Rohit when he visited an elephant rehabilitation centre in Kerala and decided to become an elephant rescue activist.

As he got more involved in activism, he realised it did not make sense for him to fight for animals while eating them during meals. This prompted the shift to veganism. He also realised he no longer enjoyed preparing grass fed beef or atlantic salmon for patrons at his job as it no longer aligned with his beliefs and lifestyle.

Rohit is now the proud owner of a vegan cafe and bakery in the heart of Bangalore. He started it as a place for vegans to gather, eat good food, and get to know each other. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience which allows him to feed a discerning clientele a selection of plant based savouries and bakes made from quality ingredients sourced ethically and often grown on his mini farm which he tends to on the outskirts of Bangalore.

While he revels in the experience of being at the epicentre of veganism in Bangalore, he realises he is still running a food establishment — a business with notoriously long hours and delicate operations owing to the perishable nature of his ingredients.

After late nights at the cafe, he comes home to his wife of 10 years and 2 dogs. They walk the dogs, cook dinner together and relax over a glass of wine while they fall asleep in each others arms on the sofa.

While this has been his routine ever since he started his cafe 3 years ago, he realises time is slipping away and he has little time to himself and even less time or space to talk about his problems with someone who can understand him. While his wife has been uber supportive, as an IT professional with a steady career, there isn’t much she can relate to when it comes to his journey.

He has often sought to reach out to other founders in the F&B space but he finds that in a cut-throat industry with new eateries popping up everyday, the general vibe is “every man for himself”. It’s really hard to make friends when you’ve got guns pointed at you from every direction.

When he does manage to steal away some alone time, he distracts himself with Netflix (when not worrying about what’s going on at the cafe). He tries the odd hand at meditation using Headspace, but his own headspace makes it hard for him sit still and just watch his thoughts pass by without engaging. Rohit is a man always on the go and he knows it.

Being a creative person, he is quite proud of the tattoos he designed himself and which now act as timestamps across his body. While he is generally happy with his life, he still hasn’t figured out how to actively relax when on his own, and how to find and reach out to the right people with whom he can relate to. Rohit needs to step out of his cocoon and he knows it.

3. Naina, Co-founder of a sustainable sneaker company

Name: Naina Age: 25 Location: New Delhi Occupation: Co-Founder of a sustainable sneaker company

Naina is a driven entrepreneur who co-founded a niche B2C startup based out of New Delhi. Her company is a fashion brand focused on providing sustainable and eco-friendly sneakers made out of discarded plastic directly to consumers. Naina has always been passionate about sustainability and the environment and decided to start her company to create a positive impact on the planet.

This is her second venture and she is quite excited as this time she has an experienced co-founder and knows which mistakes to avoid making this time around. 2nd times the charm!

Recently, they took on some funding from a VC firm and a large branded-fashion marketplace, which means they’re now running on a treadmill for which they don’t control the speed. Their investors have been a huge value addition to the company as they bring with them the expertise and resources to scale the business and strengthen the brand. Where Naina finds the vacuum though, is in autonomy and moral compass. There are decisions she must make which aren’t necessarily what she thinks is best for her partners and stakeholders but best for the company. And she finds herself outvoted on many of these decisions, often by her own co-founder.

Constantly having to compromise on her beliefs is taking a toll on Naina, the solution for which she believes is to just swallow her pride, put her head down and keep working. “Trust in the process” she tells herself. The process however is starting to give rise to resentment, fatigue, and dangerously — even apathy.

Naina is generally a chirpy person with a healthy social life outside of work. She has a great relationship with her super-supportive boyfriend with whom she shares a flat. They have a common circle of friends with whom they spend time at least once a week, and it’s a great escape for her but she finds that when she goes back into work afterwards, she still hasn’t resolved her challenges from the week before and instead has just kicked the can further down the road.

While her friends are great at helping her destress and make her feel better in the moment, she realises she lacks the contextual advice she might receive from a fellow founder going through a similar journey. She finds that there are things she isn’t comfortable talking about even with her own co-founder.

She is seriously considering therapy and is currently evaluating a few options referred to her by friends. In her spare time, she likes to fire up her Kindle and catch up on a chapter from the book she is reading right now. Life is alright at the moment, but she knows its a matter of time before she needs to seek help and create a support system around her.

If you are a founder and would like to register for a circle, click here. Check out what we do at build3 here.
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