Women Entrepreneurs

Janoo Motiani – Reed and Willow

Women Entrepreneurs: Janoo Motiani Interview

1. Tell us about yourself and your venture

After spending more than a decade in the Talent Acquisition & Management Space, I was able to see the gap in the basic hiring process and majority wasn’t happy with the situation. A Mettl report once published said that it takes almost 63 days to find the right person for a Job in the mid-management layer & it really hit me! 

I mean the number of consulting agencies available was alarming. This became the reason to start Reed and Willow; A talent Advisory Group! At RW we focus on making Talent Acquisition cognitive with the right humans at work & blend of best practices which are aided by Technology. Our services have had an impact on time to hire, cost of hire & quality of hire.

2.What does it take to be a women entrepreneur?

Honestly, a lot! 

Reed and Willow were registered when I was in labor with my second son. It took 3 weeks of maternity before I got to work! Fortunately, our industry is led by women; however the feeling of missing out lingers on! 

I had my fears of missing out on raising my son(s) while setting up a full-fledged business.  This was not my first; I had taken 5 weeks of maternity break during my first one’s birth instead of 12 approved weeks. There are days when I leave work at 4 & start the next day at 9 and practically miss meeting my sons. The fear that my younger one will be distant also hangs but luckily he isn’t.

My source of inspiration was when my elder one came to me & said “Ma, one day you will get a golden cup (Award he meant) because you are working very hard for us.” 

Also, as women, I feel we continue to get a lot of unsolicited advice on how we should conduct ourselves, how emotional we should be & we are expected not to know finances, for me it was knowing about everything as a founder so that even if we hire experts I know that I’m not been taken for granted for my lack of knowledge.

3.What have been your accomplishments as an entrepreneur?

The way I look at it the first year was building momentum backed by data to see if we can survive on our terms as we don’t operate like a typical agency, however; the data says we have been profitable from the first month. Which I believe is my biggest achievement so far!

We have been able to make a team of more than 30 people who are thrilled about changing the way companies hire!

We have been able to impact careers of more than 150 candidates & helped them move closer to their dream jobs

We got recognition as the most upcoming HR startup by silicon India in 2020(we will get the award & recognition by Feb 19th, 2020)

4. What were the challenges when you set out to establish your entrepreneurial venture?

I started this business with savings to buy a house, I was at crossroads when my younger one was born, I was in high paying and comfortable job could’ve enjoyed 7 months maternity. But I took a leap of faith and started RW

Our model & services are very different so acceptance in the market is still low because people are used to working in a way with recruitment agencies operate & we are challenging every rule possible!

Fortunately, we always had the appetite to say “no” to everyone who didn’t see value in what we were doing, so there was a risk of missing out on all biggest & made us worry if we can survive.

5. Please throw light on the challenges that you faced in your journey.

As we were focusing on finding the right talent for our clients, we realized our team should be like US navy Seals; People with Purpose who hunt in pack and have individual strengths too!

In the industry that we are in, people don’t become recruiters by choice, in fact, that is their last choice! So building in a team that was willing to look at a traditional business in the most non-traditional way was our biggest challenge!

As I mentioned earlier, Clients were used to working at fixed commissions, paying in a fixed manner and we challenged all of that & none of our services our standard, in fact, everything we do is bespoke based on an organization’s need

To overcome this we have built a team of “budding minds” right out of college & we are training them to become RW recruiters.

6. Is there any hardship or challenges that you feel are more for women entrepreneurs than their counterparts?

The biggest challenge for a woman entrepreneur is the image that sees in the mirror daily. We don’t have plans for our career, we have grocery shopping lists, plans for our kids, family but we don’t sit & plan our career. 

Likewise, we don’t take risks. A study by Whitehouse research shows a man applies for a job when he is 60% fit while a woman applies only when she finds herself 90% match! It’s purely the way we are wired.

The biggest challenge that I have noticed is we don’t own our finances. We earn 6 figure salaries, but our finances are planned by our father or husband. 

As an entrepreneur it’s important we take every aspect of our role seriously just like we do with our kids, we don’t only focus on their education & let the father manage overall wellbeing. We ensure we take care of everything associated with them! if only we can do the same with our business.

7. Who do you consider as your role model and why?

Personally, I was raised by 2 women, my mother who was a homemaker & my aunt who was a banker & so very early in my life I realized I want both the worlds. So, everytime I’m worried about the balance I look upto them for giving me the strength to carry on  

I have always looked upon Marissa Mayer for who she is, Sherly Sandberg for making Facebook what it is today! I look upto Malala Yousafzai for her fearlessness & my leadership style is very similar to and influenced by Steve Jobs.

8. What opportunities does globalized world throw to women entrepreneurs? Are they making use of these opportunities?

The sheer amount of focus on women empowerment is enough for us to capitalize on the same. Today there are focus groups, forums, investors, incubators and none of them was available till about 10 years back. So basically everyone is working hard to make us empowered, except maybe us. 

We will be able to make use of the resources once we stop making operating out our defined rules of the 18th Century.

9. What according to you is the requisite qualification to become women entrepreneurs?

We have all that is needed to be an entrepreneur. Look at any homemaker today

  • The Budget
  • Network
  • Unlearn & Learn (for kids, from their maternal home to their homes)
  • They are self-motivated 
  • They don’t give even when they should

Aren’t these qualities of any successful entrepreneur?

10. How do you strike a balance between home and career?

I don’t strike a balance I try to integrate. If I must be at home for a function, or any personal commitment I’m at home, I ensure everyone at work knows, my work is delegated, and I’m present in the moment

I personally believe balancing is overrated if only we can focus only focus on prioritizing & being present where they are needed.

11. What would you like to say to the budding women entrepreneurs or those who want to become entrepreneurs?

-Start Early-Don’t wait for midlife to release that you must do something for yourself. 

-Work hard– treat all your jobs as your ventures, work harder than your male counterparts, spend the hours, read, travel, don’t restrict you because you are a woman!

– Don’t feel guilty– when you are at work you are doing something meaningful you are not ignoring your kids & partying so why feel guilty?

Finances– Get your money in order; even if you make some losses you will know how to turn them around. 

– Network– If you want to do something you are going to need an army of people, people who look upto you, your mentors, sponsors- find them & leverage your network.

– Ask– Ask & you shall get, don’t hesitate, assume or be shy & most certainly don’t think you will be taken care of; because you won’t be

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