Pinal Didwania works on Community building with our homepreneurs. She tells us how she is constantly inspired by these women & men. Even in these troubled times she continues to draw on their tenacity, sense of community and embodiment of “Mein se Hum – the essence of Frendy.
Pinal Didwania is the Community Manager at Frendy. She lives by the motto “If you are strong, focused and passionate about what you want to do, everything falls into place.”
It has been nine months since I joined Frendy and started handling Community building. During this time, I have met and interacted with some amazing home-based entrepreneurs. They have taught me so much – especially the lessons of hope and resilience. Both Lessons that I have drawn upon countless times in these last two months of lockdown.
I remember the day I informed my parents I was dropping out of college. Very few middle-class Indian parents would be happy, however, they were supportive. They had seen that I had made up my mind to learn about the world of business through practice rather than in a classroom. I came from a family of entrepreneurs and had seen my father and my uncles run businesses from a very early age. While I may have wanted to emulate the male members of the family in the business field, my inspiration has and continues to be my mother who constantly encouraged me through my working life and gave me the wings to fly. In the last 15 years I have worked in various fields like Gaming, Investor Relations, E-commerce, Corporate Sales. When I joined Frendy I was particularly interested in the role of Community building and to help other people build micro-businesses.
At Frendy I got the opportunity to see another kind of entrepreneur – most of them were housewives who like me did not have any formal business education yet they ran their small businesses with pride and passion and were extremely savvy. If ever I doubted not having completed my studies – talking to these women entrepreneurs and seeing their confidence has removed all my doubts. I find myself drawing more confidence from them than I have been able to give them.
The other thing I notice is the power of networks. Their networks are perhaps as strong as those of Silicon Valley that I recently learned about in Blitzscaling. Some of these ladies help each other, teach each other and they are not shy about either asking for help or offering their help. God knows how many of them have tried to find me a “Suitable Boy”. Someone is holding a class on Facebook Marketplace or someone has just learned the latest tricks on making TikTok videos from their teenage son. When one of them is unavailable they call on the other to take over their responsibilities. One of our community leaders who live in an informal housing colony has built up a strong community in a neighborhood and is more interested in the savings he has generated for his community than the commissions he has made. They already live and abide by the Frendy Mission of “Mein Se Hum”.
The most important lesson I have learned from them is that of hope and resilience. As independent entrepreneurs, they have gone through several highs and lows. Some of them have also experienced a lot of hardships in their personal lives. Yet they carry on, determined to succeed, one step at a time, willing to learn, willing to take risks and willing to fail. And each day when I call and speak to them on zoom despite all the difficulties of the current time, they all are smiling, exchanging recipes, exchanging notes, motivating each other, and staying positive.
It could not have been better summed up by one of our Community Builders, a single mother who has balanced bringing up her son and supporting the home by working multiple jobs and businesses from home.
“Mein se Hum –Kyuki Sirf Jab Hum honge to Hum Honge Kamiyaab Ek Din”