Giving a K.I.S.S. of life to your home-based business

K.I.S.S= Keep It Simple ,Silly!

Shalini had always had a flair for cooking. A true qween at kitchen, she could be seen experimenting with dishes, making her family and guests drool.But she wanted to do more. With the encouragement from her friends and family, she decided to join QWEEN. After completing a few trainings with renowned chefs ,  she was ready to launch on her own.

Soon, her venture was born. Initially, she started with simple home cooked food for which she would take orders a few days in advance.She was happy and so were her customers. Enthused by the response, she decided to increase her portfolio. Now she was thinking of offering baked products, ready to eat meals, and a lot more. Very soon, she was working almost 18 hours a day, sometimes, pulling in late nights and early mornings to give her best to her clients.

But one day, a rude shock awaited her. She got a call from a friend. “Shalini, have you checked your Facebook page lately?” Wiping her hands off her apron , Shalini replied “What happened?” The friend , trying to not divulge much over phone said “Check it right now, someone has complained about your food” Shalini was devastated.

What exactly went wrong? She wondered. When she approached us, our panel of experts explained to her what she could do.. here is what happened at the discussion panel.

Having more bells and whistles on your product doesn’t necessarily make it better. If you complicate your offering, in your case home cooked food, you could end up in a lot of trouble, even loose your reputation and,worse, business!

The lesson here is that while Shalini was envisioning her offerings as a multi-cuisine no holds barred home based restaurant, it was getting overly complex and confusing to customers. And to keep up with the varied demands, she was forced to cut corners, sometimes decorating of cupcakes as an extra flair took so much time that her snacks suffered the brunt.

What should have been done-

Our experts laid out a 3 point agenda for the problem-

  1. Let simplicity reign.

Having too many frills and features doesn’t mean your product may not be up to the mark always and doesn’t do you customer any favour. In order to simplify and improve your products, first identify who you are as a company. Ask yourself and your team a simple question-“What are we good at?” Your firm’s identity gives roots to each product offering  and allows you to let them grown from a focussed origin. For Shalini, who is from North India, we suggested to go with North Indian cuisine. She could manage it well , had ideas to introduce fusion dishes and was her core strength.

Paradoxically, having a specific niche can allow you to reach a broader customer base.By understanding her own identity and isolating a certain area of expertise to build on, Shalini could attract  higher share of customers. In time, her dominance discouraged competitors from entering her segment!

  1. Don’t pigeonhole yourself

This step follows through on step one. Now that you  ave asked yourself what you and specifically your business is good at, its time to determine all the pain points that your expertise can solve. Though you are supposed to find your core strength and stick to it, if you do offer a hyperspecific product, you are cutting yourself off, and customers will use your offering only in a single setting.  Some businesses will take the above advice and run with it, aiming for an as-niche-as-possible product. But if you do offer a hyperspecific product, you’re pigeon-holing yourself, since consumers will believe they can use your product only in a single setting. A niche should be your foundation, not your ceiling.

For Shalini, we suggested that though she was offering North Indian Home cooked food at really affordable price, she could look beyond her own brand and tie up with other home chef services where her food could be sold at a margin. We suggested that she approach services like UrbanClap where she could get catering assignments for north Indian food.We also encouraged her to have workshops on teaching North Indian Cuisine and experiment with fusion foods which are becoming hugely popular.

  1. Think simple, not small. 

Simplicity does not mean small thinking. You don’t have to limit your company to one or just a few products, nor do you have to resist the entrepreneurial urge to innovate and re-innovate. As long as Shalini could keep her focus on making  good food, and maintain her quality standards, she had the freedom to invent new recipes or reinvent old ones.

“Simple,” does not mean boring. Simplyfing your business means sticking to its core purpose and making it easy for customers. Simplifying your product means distilling it to its core purpose and making it easy for customers to order . And that’s exactly what everyone wants: simple.

 

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Manage your inner critic

Save yourself from getting hijacked by negative thoughts!

Whether we realize and acknowledge it or not,most of us are reasonably doing well in our lives. Despite the struggles and problems that we face, all women know how to find their way out and are giving their best in all circumstances. But most of us have a few negative “sound-tracks” playing in our heads in background.

So when someone compliments us, instead of feeling happy and recharged, we hear in our mind “ i am not that good” “I’m not doing that well/I didn’t do that well”  “Other people are judging me poorly”

These negative thoughts are like your own Evil DJ, playing the negative soundtracks in a loop!

Slowly, we lose confidence in our own abilities, and the seemingly easy tasks suddenly feel impossible to do, and also come with their own negative thoughts, self doubt and hopelessness.

Next time, you have negative thoughts playing in the background of your mind, try these simple tricks-

  1. Use a Show Stopper- The moment you start feeling negative- use a prop to stop the drama! It could be a poster, a motivational thought, a talk with a friend who wont put you down, or a picture of you achieving something-like maybe trekking up a mountain! Stop the background negative music using a show stopper and ask yourself-

Am I stuck in my head right now?

Is there any evidence to support these thoughts?

  1. Ask When You Think About the Past

When something doesn’t go as well as you hoped, don’t waste time repeatedly criticizing yourself or dwelling on what went wrong.

It’s important to avoid lingering regret. Research shows that, if you only focus on regret and self-blame, you are more likely to perform worse in a similar situation in future.

Instead, create a problem-solving and growth mindset by asking yourself questions about what other, additional actions you could have taken to improve the outcome. Try to ask open-ended questions, especially those beginning with ‘What’ or ‘How’. This is called ‘counterfactual’ thinking.

  1. Be your own favourite and your own best friend!

Okay, so you just lost an assignment or an opportunity to competition. The next thing that you do is go in the brooding mode, tell everyone to lay off till you feel better, keep thinking about it, and tell everyone from maid to the stranger in coffee shop how bad you are. Relax, drama queen! Tell yourself to snap out of it. Treat yourself with some respect and same friendliness that you would an old friend. Love your grit, ability to do so much, and appreciate the fact that you are still able to do it.

Remember that your thoughts are not always the facts, and sometimes, it helps to keep out the noise and keep doing what you are good at. Sooner or later, the results will show, and you will be in a position to have happy tunes playing up in your head!So instead of becoming a drama queen, be a QWEEN!

 

Resources-

Full Potential Labs Inc.

Image

Dreamstime.com

 

 

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THE ONLY MOVE THAT MATTERS IS YOUR NEXT ONE

If you could suspend all fear and practicalities, what would your next big move be?
How would you structure your days? Your income?

If you are one of those women searching for an answer to the question, “What’s next?” Consider yourself to be pretty normal! Instead of brooding whether you have hit a plateau in your career or this is some midlife crisis, think of this phase as a pivot, a knot in your career path which will help you relaunch yourself in a different direction.

Whether you have hit a plateau in your perfect-on-paper job, or considering taking on a new role in your current job, or thinking about starting your own business, or you want to move into a new industry altogether, one thing remains clear: your career success depends on your ability to determine your next best move.

Careers today  are not linear, predictable ladders any longer; they are fluid trajectories. No matter our age, life stage, bank account balance, or seniority, we are all being asked to navigate career changes much more frequently than in years past. The average employee tenure in India has shifted from 15 to 20 years to just 4 to 5 years, and add to this the dynamics of a working woman whose career path has been crisscrossed by life milestones like marriage and motherhood, it is even lower.

Our economy now demands that we create businesses and careers based on creativity, growth, and impact. In this dynamic world of work, the only move that matters is your next one.

In her path-breaking book, Pivot,  Jenny Blake—a former training and career development specialist at Google  draws from her own experience and those of other successful pivoters, and  has created a four-stage process that teaches anyone how to seamlessly and continually:

  • Double-down on existing strengths, interests, and experiences
  • Find new opportunities and identify skills to develop without falling prey to analysis-paralysis and compare-and-despair
  • Run small experiments to determine next steps
  • Take smart risks to launch with confidence in a new direction

When you pivot, you double down on your existing strengths and interests to move in a new, related direction, instead of looking so far outside of yourself for answers that you skip over your hard-won expertise and experience. It empowers you to navigate changes with flexibility and strength—now and throughout your entire career.

But how do you evaluate options and move forward without getting stuck? Jenny Blake’s solution: it’s about small steps, not big leaps—and the answer is already right under your feet

Her advice to potential pivoters?

  1. One pivot pitfall is stretching too far, ending up in one’s panic zone, paralyzed by fear. Instead, focus on small career experiments first that help you test the waters of a new direction. A strong experiment should test Three E’s: Enjoyment, Expertise, and Expansion.
  2. Don’t take your pivot personally, like there’s something wrong with you. Plateaus are a good thing! They signal you are ready for something new.
  3. Embrace fear, insecurity and uncertainty as the doorways of opportunity that they are. Build first, then your courage will follow (not the other way around). Just start taking small steps, rooted in your strengths.

If change is the only constant, let’s get better at it!

Resources-

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2016/09/06/jenny-blake-how-to-pivot-your-way-to-your-dream-career/2/#56495d687f58

http://www.pivotmethod.com/

http://www.jennyblake.me/

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What does success mean to me -Success is a Journey- Not a Destination

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” –Hunter S. Thompson

After ushering in the New Year, my husband and I were taking down our Christmas Tree and other decorations done in the spirit of holidays. As is always the case with me, this year too I had gone a little overboard, and we were busy sorting out jingle bells, twinkly lights, pine cones etc and putting them away (of course) in their neatly labelled boxes for next year.

While we were removing the ornaments and the lights, it occurred to me that it felt like just a few days before that we were putting up the tree. Time goes by so quickly these days that it seemed like just after putting the tree up, we were there taking it down. And a thought came to my mind…

Why did we spend several hours putting the tree up only to take it down just a short while later? If we’re just going to put it all back in the box, why do we get it out of the box to begin with?

The answer to that silly question came rushing into my mind– it’s for the experience.

It’s for the experience of feeling the joy when it’s dark outside and the tree is lit up and beautiful and the joy it brings in the eyes of my child.

It’s for the experience of the feeling we get when we are anticipating something wonderful that we know is coming, like when my child wakes up to see what Santa has left for him!

This same principle holds true in so many other aspects of our lives.

If I’m going to plan a trip, pack up our clothes, get on an airplane and travel to a mountain, only to get back on the plane again, come home and unpack all those same clothes – why get on the plane at all? Why not just stay home?

It’s for the experience. It’s for the relaxed and peaceful feeling I get when I sit in peace at the resort, breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sound of my own breath and generally wondering why I don’t do this more often.

That’s what happens when we decide to change the course of our lives and take a new training course. Or attend a mentorship programme, or a Seminar.

The point of this diversion and getting into learning mode is that we learn in between the time that we start attending the session and finish the session.

The point is that you open up to a new part of your inner self which you didn’t know existed and once you do, nothing is the same.It was for the experience of the change and growth and insights along the way.

So , why should we go through all “this “ trouble of honing new skills, meeting like-minded people, learn a few new things?

The point of all of “this” is the experience of life; to feel good, happy and whole every day.To live in a place of appreciation and wonder for the experience.

The joy we feel in any given moment usually has very little to do with achieving the goals we set, and so much more to do with the experience we’re having on our way to achieving that goal.

The measure of success for your business is not how much money you make, but enjoying the experience of “this” we call life. A Life full of constant learning, gaining new experiences and most importantly useful insights within your true self .Something that you can’t do if you get yourself stuck in the rut.

So, to me, success is defined as-

How I decided to take a new route instead of the old beaten path,

How often I was ready to take on something that I had never done before and started with a bang

How often I lost track of time doing something I loved,

How regularly I really experienced joy and wonder and….yes, also accomplishment?

What if the point of all of “this” was about enjoying the ride? (my list of “this”, which many would call “trouble”, “effort” etc etc)

The more you enjoy the messy and magnificent ride that is life and the life as an entrepreneur, the more success you have.The more pleasure and joy you feel on any given day, the more your bank account shows you that you are living on purpose.The more fun you have, the more money you make.

We are complex and whole people.Why wouldn’t we want to have a thriving business, healthy relationships and a great life?
Why can’t we pour love into our businesses, careers and livelihood as much as we do to the most important people in our lives?
Why can’t we have a career that lights us up, a love that makes us feel alive and have a life that leaves us with a feeling of “Wow! What a ride!”
I believe we all can.
Want to learn more? Join us at our Work-From-Home Seminar Today!

Image courtesy-www.dfiles.me

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9 ways social media marketing can change your business

There was a time when social media was considered by some as a passing fad. Something that “the kids” were using that businesses could never really benefit from. Over time, the skeptics were proved wrong. Many believe that social media marketing is just as valuable as televised advertisements without the hefty costs. It’s all about reaching a large number of people in a cost-efficient manner.

There are over 3 billion internet users—and over 2 billion of them have active social media accounts. Popular social platforms have become marketing giants, offering businesses valuable data about their customers and a (mostly) free way to reach them. The jury has spoken: social media for business is no longer optional.

If you’re wondering how social media can benefit your business, look no further. We’ve outlined key points below.

  1. Social media marketing helps build a brand’s reputation –

More than 75% of shoppers today  research a company or product  online before making a purchase. Online reputation is where many businesses have the most impact from customers. Social engagement, customer reviews and other aspects contribute to someone’s decision to make that initial purchase. Part of the importance of social media marketing centers around cultivating that trust on a more personal level. It’s a platform that allows businesses to directly interact with consumers. This interaction contributes to building a strong online reputation.

  1. Social Media Marketing is the easiest way to drive consumers towards businesses

In August ,2015, Facebook reported that it had almost 1.5 billion users who log in at least once in any given month. According to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the popular social hub, approximately one in every seven people on the planet use the site to connect to friends and family. With each post that is shared or interacted with on Facebook, there is potential to drive traffic to your website.Add to this other social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube, the impact is huge.

  1. Social Media Marketing is Cost efficient compared to traditional methods

One of the key components that drive companies to use social media marketing is the overall cost for upkeep. As most profiles on these sites are free, engaging potential consumers has no expense other than time. It takes less than a minute to respond to an individual or post a link to new content on your website.Advertising campaigns on social media sites may also be more cost efficient than methods you may be using today.

  1. Gain valuable customer insights

Social media generates a huge amount of data about your customers in real time. Every day there are over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram. Behind these staggering numbers is a wealth of information about your customers—who they are, what they like, and how they feel about your brand.

  1. Generate higher converting leads

Social media increases sales and customer retention through regular interaction and timely customer service. In the 2015 Sales Best Practices Study from research institute MHI Global, world-class companies rated social media as the most effective way to identify key decision makers and new business opportunities.

  1. Provide rich customer experiences

Even if you aren’t on social media, most of your customers expect you to be. Over 67 percent of consumers now go to social media for customer service. They expect fast response times and 24/7 support—and companies that deliver win out.

  1. Share information faster and easier

In the past, marketers faced the challenge of ensuring their content reached customers in the shortest possible time. With the help of social media, specifically when it comes to sharing content about your business or for content curation, all you need to do is share it on your brand’s social network accounts.

  1. Keep a tab on competition

With social media monitoring you can gain key information about your competitors. This kind of intelligence will allow you to make strategic business decisions to stay ahead of them. You can improve your business to offer product enhancements, service, or content that they may be missing.

  1. Build relationships

Social media isn’t only about blasting your company’s sales pitch, it’s a two-way channel where you have the opportunity to enrich relationships with your customers. For example, social media allows tourism brands to create dialogue with travellers, therefore creating relationships with customers before, during, and after they have booked a trip with the company. This kind of social media dialogue between brands and customers is something traditional advertising cannot achieve.

Social media has a treasure trove of benefits to help you grow your business. By using it to learn more about your customers, engage with your audience, and extend your brand reach, you’ll be converted before you know it.Are you ready to start reaping the benefits of social media for your business?Join QWEEN at Social Media Marketing Workshop on 8th November 2016.Limited Seats, Regsiter Now!

 

Resources –

www.greengeeks.com,www.jeffbullas.com,www.hootsuite.com,www.wishpond.com,www.instagram.com

 

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Top 5 things to learn from Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

The world around us is changing, more and more women are coming to the forefront and asserting their independence. A case in point is Hillary Clinton, who is contesting the U.S. Presidential elections.The media has been focusing only on the fact how one woman has been able to achieve the previously inconceivable. But what about so many things about her campaign, and things she has said tell us about life and principles to live by and relevant to women entrepreneurs?

Here are 5 life lessons to take away from  Hillary’s extraordinary life and  nomination and show how her story is , in many ways, a model well worth following.

  1. Perseverance Pays

Clinton is the poster child for the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”   Her perseverance has been one of her most important character traits over the course of her adult life.  When she took on as First Lady, the thankless, impossible job of tackling universal health care and failed, she could have given up and retreated into a more traditional role.  Instead, she worked with members of Congress to find common ground and enact the Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health care insurance to millions of children.   When she lost the nomination in 2008 to Barack Obama, she could have thrown up her arms in despair and lived out the rest of her life in comfort.  Al Gore did just that in 2000 when he narrowly lost the election to George W. Bush.  Instead, Clinton picked herself up, dusted herself off, and returned to public service, working directly for the man who had defeated her.  And then, put herself through the same grueling schedule and withering criticisms by running for the nomination again four years later.  Lesson taught?  If you give up, there is no chance at success, so why not persevere and try again.

  2. Nobody Is Perfect But That’s OK/Own Up to Your Mistakes 

Clinton has been in the public spotlight since the early 1990s and, as a woman ahead of her time, has endured a particularly harsh, brightly lit, and cynical spotlight at that.   Could anyone come out of that without making some mistakes? Do we never make mistakes ourselves?  Of course not.  Clinton has made her fair share of mistakes and her political enemies have always tried to make hay of those mistakes.  However, Clinton has also been unusual on the political scene by keeping an open mind and when she sees she was indeed wrong about something, she will admit it.  She will grow and learn from her mistakes and change either her way of thinking or try to make things right.Changing one’s mind in the face of reason or admitting you made a mistake and sincerely apologizing for it is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength

  1. Ignore Naysayers and Stand Up to Bullies

How is it possible that Clinton holds her head up every day and forges ahead despite people yelling “Lock her up!”How can she work towards making a change to a deeply entrenched idea (like, disabled children can’t be educated in the public school system, or a woman’s place is in the home with her husband) when people all around her are saying it’s impossible, it’s not worth the effort, it’s just plain wrong?  Her ability to do what her heart says tell us that we should be secure in our values if our heart knows  we are doing the right thing.Clinton spoke during one of her speeches about how her mother―herself a tough cookie who had to fend for herself at a very young age―taught Clinton always to stand up to a bully.  When you’re relatively small, or weak, or female, it’s easy to be intimidated by those who seek to shut you down through force―physical or emotional.  Clinton’s defiance in the face of men―most recently, Donald Trump―who seek to bully her is another great life lesson for all of us.

4. Listen to & Learn from Others

While Clinton can block out a lot of unfair, politically motivated noise, she somehow maintains her ability to let in voices of reason and constructive criticism.  She also has never become so powerful that she forgets to listen, or has stopped listening, to those people who are weak and powerless and downtrodden.  Those who are closest to her and her advisors marvel at how she can truly listen to the plight of individual men, women, and children while on the campaign trail and immediately try to help solve their problem.  She does this by listening and not just hearing what they have to say.

5. Have Confidence in Your Abilities/Dare to Be Different

To be a college woman in the 1970s, the first student commencement speaker at your school, a student at an old boy’s club like Yale Law School, a political activist that poses as a housewife and mother to uncover school segregation in the South, and a First Lady that pushes the envelope like no one before her, etc., etc., etc., you have to be both very confident in your own abilities and also willing to go out on a limb and try another pathway.  Girls and women have always struggled with these things.  We allow ourselves to be talked over at meetings, needlessly apologize for our words and actions, doubt ourselves at every turn.

Clinton’s life history teaches all of us that we shouldn’t psych ourselves out and rather to trust our instincts and values to make change when we feel something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

QWEEN believes in the latent power of all women, and we stand by Hillary Clinton’s motto – “Stronger Together”

#strongertogether

Image copyrightREUTERS

 

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4 checks to apply when you wish to attend an event

Planning to attend an event? Read on to know if it is worth your time and money

Imagine going for deep sea diving.You have to prepare for every dive as if it were your last. All checks, oxygen levels to your safety gear have to be done time and again. After all, you do not wish to come out empty handed or injured, do you?Attending an event is exactly akin to this experience.

In this day and age of social media, events are everywhere. You can see scores of events targeted at different audience. There are art events, events for social causes, and networking events. As a first timer, it could get a bit daunting to know which events are good for you and are worth your time and sometimes, money.

How do you know if a particular event you are interested in is good for you? After all, you would be taking out precious time out of your busy schedule, and you should be able to get something out of it. To ensure that, we have prepared this amazing checklist where you can see what will make an event tick for you.

How to evaluate if you should attend an event

  1. Examine the content -Before you sign up for an event, check out the sessions and speaking topics available to attendees. Strive to choose events with a mix of high-calibre speakers you know you can learn from, and topics that address pain points for your business (or your own job). Depending on your reasons for attending, you may also want to look for opportunities to participate in hands-on workshops or different session formats that align with the way you absorb content best. Don’t be afraid to ask the event planners questions to make sure the content jives with what you’re looking for.
  2. Check attendee profile- Depending on your need- whether you wish to learn a new skill, know about a new business or simply network with other like-minded women to grow your horizons, do check the attendee profile. The best way to do that is to join the event related activities on social media. Join the group where event is being promoted, you would know how many people are going, what are they looking at etc. You can also engage yourself in lively discussions on these event forums and come out enriched even before the event has started.
  3. Consider networking opportunities- Some events focus on the content, some focus on the networking opportunities – and the best ones focus on both. If you own a business, or plan to start a new one, you would be hugely benefitted with the opportunities a well balanced event could present to you. You can not only get your hand at trying out new things, but also get a chance to interact with other entrepreneurs, businesses and companies in the field. This will surely help you in further enhancing your business prospects.
  4. Check associates profile- Check which companies are participating in the event. Good ,recognisable brands with sturdy reputation and presentation by their teams is what makes for a successful event. The presence of these companies backing the event should assure you that it is not just another marketing gimmick, and you can come out getting richer in knowledge and experience.

One of the most valuable takeaways you can get from a live, in-person event that you cannot get from other remote forms of education is the opportunity to meet others who are in similar positions to you – or, positions totally dissimilar to yours. Both scenarios are rife with learning potential, and it’s one of the most fulfilling parts of attending events.

 

 

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The Father of the Nation who put women on Forefront

From Abala(Weak) to Sabala( Strong)- Mahatma Gandhi’s views on Women Empowerment

“When woman, whom we all call abala becomes sabala, all those who are helpless will become powerful”- Mahatma Gandhi

80 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi spoke these words at All India Women’s Conference.

If by strength we do not mean brutish strength, but strength of character, steadfastness, and endurance, she should be called sabala, strong.

Any tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the Great Soul, would be an empty one, if we were to take no cue for our own guidance from his words and from his life; for him ideas and ideals had no value if they were not translated into action. He saw man and women as equals, complementing each other. And he saw himself not as a visionary, but as a practical idealist. If then, men and women work together selflessly and sincerely as equals with a faith like Gandhi’s, they may indeed realize Ram Rajya, the perfect state.

Gandhiji’s devotion to women began with his devotion to his mother and Kasturba, most particularly to women as mother. Motherhood became increasingly his model for liberation of India and his own life, a mother, having brought forth a child, selflessly devotes herself to his care till he grows up and becomes independent. Even after children are grown-up her constant desire is to make herself one with them. Unless we have feeling and devotion for our motherland many countries will be lying in wait to crush us down He saw no hope for India’s emancipation while her womanhood remained un-emancipated. He held men to be largely responsible for the tragedy. In the course of his social reform work the realization came to him that if he wanted to reform and purify society of the various evils that had crept into it; he had to cultivate a mother’s heart.

Gandhiji believed women could do much to transform India on all levels. He believed that equal rights for women and men were necessary but not sufficient to create a more just social order. What good does it do to us to have equal rights if we are divided within ourselves and unable to attend true unity with others?
In a letter written to RajKumari Amrit Kaur from Wardha on 20-10-1936, Gandhiji wrote, “If you women only realize your dignity and privilege, and make full sense of it for mankind, you will make it much better than it is. But man has delighted in enslaving you and you have proved willing slaves till the slave and holders have become one in the crime on degrading humanity. My special function from childhood, you might say, has been to make women realize her dignity. I was once slave holder myself but Ba proved an unwilling slave and thus “opened my eyes to my mission.”

Gandhiji did not like Indian society’s preference for a boy and a general neglect of a girl child. he said: “I fail to see any reason for jubilation over the birth of a son and for mourning over the birth of a daughter. Both are God’s gifts. They have an equal right to live and are equally necessary to keep the world going.”

He said “A daughter’s share must be equal to that of a son. The husband’s earnings are a joint property of husband and wife as he makes money by her assistance.”
In short, I admit no distinction between men and women except such as has been made by nature and can be seen with human eyes.”
Gandhiji represented a crucial break from the attitude of many of the leaders of the reform movements of the late nineteenth century.The main contributions of the Gandhi to the cause of women lay in his absolute and unequivocal insistence on their personal dignity and autonomy in the family and society.Gandhiji preached and practiced sharing of housework by both men and women of the family. He encouraged women to do intellectual work and men to help in cooking, cleaning and caring, conventionally ‘women’s chores’.

The only factor that would enable women to come out of this situation was the determination and strength of the women themselves. Though men should help in the cause of women, ultimately women will have to determine their destinies.In Gandhiji’s philosophy, the women of India found a new identity. His words and deeds have inspired thousands of women, and will continue to do so, in their struggle against injustice and inequality.

QWEEN pays tribute to the father of the nation, and pledges to further his dream of making women self-reliant, independent and an important contributing workforce to the progress of our country.

 

Resources
-Book 'Meditations on Gandhi'
http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org/activities/essay_breakingshackles.htm
http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/womenempowerment.htm
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Direct Selling made more direct

Read this if you are a Direct selling Agent or plan to be one!

We are talking about an industry whose size is about Rs 7500 crore, and generated Rs 40-45 Crore in Tax Revenue for the Government last year

What is it?

Direct Selling is basically selling of goods and services to consumers at their homes or workplaces, and not at a fixed retail outlet. Started in India in 1982 with Eureka Forbes, today direct selling is model is adopted by world renowned companies like Amway, Oriflame, Avon and Tupperware to name a few.The job though sounds easy, as it is a part time work from home opportunity offering unlimited potential to warn, and is actually a bed of thorns.

economic-times-direct-selling-1

image courtesy- The Economic Times

Direct sellers often claim that their business is often wrongly confused with pyramid or ponzi schemes. There were no clear guidelines about direct selling companies and agents. The Consumer Affairs Ministry of India which formulated guidelines for regulating direct selling companies is being applauded by all direct selling companies.

What is the size and potential of direct selling business?

Globally, direct selling market is worth around $183 Billion, employs 100 Million people, of which 75% are women.

Direct selling industry in India is estimated at Rs. 7,500 (2013-14) According to the FICCI -KPMG report, the industry has recorded high growth rate of about 16 per cent over the past four to five years.  The industry has a potential to grow to Rs. 1 lakh crore by 2025 much beyond the FICCI-KMPG report projection of Rs. 64,500 crore , up from the current Rs 8000 crore.

direct-selling

The growth in India has primarily been driven by rising income levels, high rate of urbanization and growing consumerism in the states. That direct selling will have to be given a great thrust as it empowers women, MSMEs and promotes manufacturing in India.

The market has grown to become a key channel for distribution of goods and services in the country, especially for health and wellness products, cosmetics, consumer durables, water purifiers and vacuum cleaners.

What are these guidelines-

The key provisions of the guidelines favouring the agents and customers are as follows

  • The guidelines forbid firms from exaggerating the benefits of products or charging a fee from their agents.
  • There are provisions that will protect consumers and disallow ecommerce platforms from offering their products without consent.
  • The agreements between a company in this business and its agents should comply with provisions of the Indian Contract Act, 1872,
  • The agents should not be asked or induced to buy more products that what can be expected to be sold to consumers.
  • The agents should be allowed to withdraw their participation and get a refund for goods and services.

Industry experts feel that this move is going to help weed out fraudulent players, and help serious companies grow.So if you are considering this route to work-from-home, the time is now!

Resources:

https://www.kpmg.com/IN/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/Direct-2015.pdf

www.ficci.in 

www.economictimes.com

http://consumeraffairs.nic.in/

 

 

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Clarified Better- A career in cooking

From the gluttons to gourmets, fitness freaks to people having jaded palates, all of us would surely love to pamper out taste buds with some amazing tickling flavors.Do the exotic spices and the colorful sight of food fascinate you? Do you often find yourself deconstructing a dish while eating it at a restaurant and constantly feel you can do more? If yes, then “Chef” is the career for you! you can try out the specialized and amazing art of cooking.  It is all about ingredients, nutrition, techniques, recipes and flavors.

Can you be a chef?Ask yourself these 5 simple questions and evaluate if you have it in you to cook up a storm, and endure it!

  1. Do you really love cooking? And if Yes, How Much?

Seasoned chefs will tell you that cooking at home for your family and cooking for 100 people is much different, and they are right. Ask yourself what aspects about cooking you really enjoy. Is it the satisfaction of a job well done? Is it the chance to impress your friends, or show them your culinary abilities? Job satisfaction from a commercial cooking career comes from completely different places. You must get used to the idea that you won’t always get recognition for your hard work from your customers. A cooking career is a very humbling profession where you must internalize your own success.If you love cooking on a fundamental level, or have no qualms about the nature of the business, then you might be of the right cut to be successful at a cooking career. But professional or not, it’s important to remember that just because you love cooking does not always mean you should devote your life to it. If cooking is a hobby, then turning it into a cooking career means turning it into work!!

  1. How well do you handle stress?

One of the biggest factors that determines a good cook is their ability to manage stress. Cooks and chefs deal with short term stress on a regular basis. The chaos that arises on any given day can fluster even the most prepared cook. Your ability to adapt to an ever-changing set of circumstances is vital. While you may not have that skill set as a beginner, it is something you will have to develop as you get better. One should be prepared to experiment and explore varied food ingredients. You should have enough knowledge about the different kinds of cuisines not only of your own country but globally. Most importantly, a good chef must be able to deal with criticism from the customers.The good news is that cooking stress is a short term problem. It only  lasts till the preparations and will go away once order is completed and delivered. That means that you won’t be taking the stress to bed  with you and it is easy to leave work stress at kitchen counter.

  1. Are you a multi-tasker ?

A home chef must understand the importance of timing and multi-tasking is the only way to keep up! Not only do you have to multi-task incredibly time sensitive dishes, but there ends up being multiple layers upon each multi-task. If you have these skills, then you may be right for a cooking career.multi-tasking is not just about managing one or two things at once, but coordinating them so they all work as a harmonious whole. The personal attributes to become a good chef lies less with cooking and more with management. You are expected to be familiar with labor cost, food cost, fire code, public health regulations, interpersonal skills, planning and organizing the kitchen work, developing new and interesting menus, catering for those customers having food allergies and many more.

  1. Are you creative enough?

A famous chef once said that no recipe is original and that everybody steals recipes from everybody. The truth is that creativity plays an important part in whether that statement will ring true for you or not. Yes, a lot of recipes are taken, modified, and called someone else’s. But if you have the creativity to develop your own recipes and methods then you define your own career. One, who desires a bright future in this field, should have the ability to adapt to varying food habits and culture of the people. Further, one should keep oneself updated with knowledge and skills, cooking technologies and methods etc. As you develop your skillset, creativity becomes easier as you draw from experience to fill the gaps. As a cook, you will notice that the right time for creativity continually rises. Not having the creativity to develop new and exciting dishes will disqualify you from a cooking career.

  1. Can you work at odd hours?

Going for a career as a chef, is a good move but only when you are prepared for standing for long hours, enduring cuts and burns, working under pressure, working in the hot environment amidst fumes .Working –from home, you will find that you do shift work and you tend to have regimented schedule of prep time, service time, and clean up time. But it is important to understand that the more time you spend cooking, the faster you’re going to become better. If you have any desire to become a great chef, you have to put in the hours at the best training under the best chefs. Your training is only as good as whoever is teaching you. If you’re in a situation where your career is stagnant, you have to move and go somewhere you can learn more. How far you go in your cooking career is up to you. If you put in the hours needed to become a professional. Love and passion for food, service mentality, sincerity, and calmness are among the other pre-requisites

Career options

As a home chef, you could be any of the following-

  • Hospital caterer
  • School/ college caterer
  • Wedding/ event caterer / party
  • Railways /Airline/cruise ships caterer
  • Base kitchen caterer
  • Cookery show host
  • Recipe book writer
  • Restaurant reviewer
  • Food Blogger

..and many more!!

So explore an amazing career as a chef, spice up the palatable and luring dishes and make your fortune out of it. If the desire to win the hearts of the people is nurtured, by serving the mass with quality food, then a career as a chef happens to be the ideal one.

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