WanderBug is a travel service dedicated to designing beautifully curated travel experiences for wanderers all across India. Kritika Batra spoke to us at the Digital Women Awards 2019 about how the idea came to her and how technology has helped her in her journey so far. Here's what she says:
How did the idea of curating travel experiences come to you?
Sitting on the deck of my houseboat in Srinagar, looking up at the sky, listening to the beautiful voice of a man as he went by on his shikara, I thought to myself how beautiful India is and how wonderful it would be to combine my passion and my work and be an independent travel planner, specialising in sharing the best kept secrets of India by planning holidays for the discerning traveller. I never really had a job before this, neither did I have the experience of running a business, but with complete faith in my path, I started The Wanderbug in 2012 and couldn't be happier!
I think what women entrepreneurs need, more than any government funding or venture capitalists (while that is important too) is social support - their families, friends and partners to encourage them and make them believe that their dreams are possible.
How has tech and digital media been an enabler in your entrepreneurship journey?
As a starting point, my website was essential for my business as it gave fellow travellers the confidence in my service. I built my website as a catalog of destinations I had personally visited and through my own photos that I used on my website, Facebook and Instagram, I was able to inspire wanderers to reach out to me so they could experience the same magic I did in these destinations. I have never used paid ads on any platform to push my business, and only used authentic and original content to inspire travellers organically. That is how the digital space has helped me build my business and create a solid network of travellers. Seven years later, I have to do no marketing at all as my travellers spread the word about my service and the work keeps coming :)
At any point in your journey were you stuck with self-doubt? How did you deal with it?
Yes, various times. But I always reminded myself to believe in my path and that I was exactly where I needed to be. Having faith in myself and my journey is what has kept me going! And now that I look back, I smile and thank the universe for not letting me lose faith in those moments of self-doubt. Persistence and optimism are my mantras.
What have been your greatest challenges in your journey?
At first, my biggest challenge was discipline. When you don't have a boss or deadlines, it can be very tough to bring discipline in your work and get things done. I was terrible at scheduling tasks and time management and wasn't able to accomplish all the things that I wanted to do. As I pushed myself, I found myself getting deeper and deeper into my work and that's the second challenge - knowing when to NOT work. Through my entrepreneurial journey, I realised that a work-life balance is essential and while my work keeps me fuelled and happy, there are other reasons to live - going for a walk, doing yoga, reading, spending time with my family, etc. It took me a few years, but I am happy to say that I have overcome my challenges and found an excellent work-life balance, which keeps me completely fulfilled.
As a woman entrepreneur would you say you have faced discrimination in your journey?
No, not at all!
What do you think women entrepreneurs need more of, from venture capitalists, government policy makers, start up support programmes and others? And why?
I think what women entrepreneurs need, more than any government funding or venture capitalists (while that is important too) is social support - their families, friends and partners to encourage them and make them believe that their dreams are possible. This encouragement goes a long way because when you're starting out, although with all your pride and confidence, there is that little part of you that requires validation and that comes from the support system!
At first, my biggest challenge was discipline. When you don't have a boss or deadlines, it can be very tough to bring discipline in your work and get things done. I was terrible at scheduling tasks and time management and wasn't able to accomplish all the things that I wanted to do.
What would you say have been your greatest learning?
I have learned many great lessons about the nuances involved in running a business, but my greatest learning has been that you have to put your best to get the best. In effort and persistence, lies success and happiness.
What advice would you share with other women looking to become entrepreneurs?
Just go for it! Don't over-think, don't doubt yourself and just do it.