Joshin Varghese – An entrepreneur by need

    By Meryl M
    Exclusive to The Times Kuwait

    When you spend a day with an entrepreneur it just simply blows your mind off on how much passion and effort is required to be one. It definitely is a lot of hard work and dedication to lead a team and even harder to have the courage to lead a start-up business, especially when you do not choose to be one but life leads you to take it up when you are not ready. That is Joshin, a young growing entrepreneur leading a small team next to his father, but someone who I would define as a very fearless person.

    Oldest among his three brother, Joshin was born and brought up in Kuwait. After his 6th grade he moved to India where he completed his schooling in Kerala and later pursued his bachelors in Pune. When he got the offer to work with KPMG, he continued to stay in Pune living the life every youngster would, before eventually moving back to Kuwait to join his dad’s building and construction materials trading business.

    Growing up in a business family did you always want to get into your family business, or did you want to live a 7-5 job?

    I’ve always wanted to be a businessman like my father. That was always my dream. But I wanted to start something of my own after getting enough experience from working with many firms.

    But I guess God had different plans for me and that has brought me here today; well, I am very happy where I am now.

    I have worked in a 7-5 job, but today I realize the kind of satisfaction you get from that is nothing compared to this.

    Would it be right to say you are an entrepreneur by need and not by choice?

    Yes, actually you can say that, it was by need. What I had planned and where I am today is indeed on very different paths. I really wanted to see what it feels like to climb up the corporate ladder and then slowly get into business.

    After working for KPMG for two years I did get that opportunity to climb with a job in Bangalore, but one day I got a call from my dad saying “I know you might have plans but is it possible for you to come here and help me?” He knew I was excited for my new job and it was with a heavy heart that he called me that day.

    You see the person who was handling my dad’s business took it to the ground and we were on the verge of shutting down our operations in Kuwait. My dad wanted to move back to India and start a new business.

    That one phone call changed everything for me. It was definitely not even a question and I didn’t have to think twice for my dad and my family. So that’s when I dropped everything in Pune and came back to Kuwait. Today, I’m very proud to say that in the past two years, we have grown as a team and as a family; and I definitely could not have been able to do it without the support of my family, my uncles and cousins.

    How does your day start?

    Honestly, my alarms don’t wake me and my mom doesn’t wake me, it is usually my clients and workers from the site who wake me up with urgent material requirements or problems. After attending 3-4 calls of problems and issues, after mentally preparing myself to face and sort out those issues is when I get out of bed.
    So then, that is how my day starts, but I always say a small prayer before I start my day and get off my bed with a smile. Because I know for a fact that it’s all going to be okay at the end of the day no matter what I have to face or go through.

    Tell us about some of the challenges you face at your work every day?

    I have learnt from the little experience I have gained as an entrepreneur that, no business is smooth and perfect. Things go wrong. So the main skill you need is problem solving. So my role is to solve problems that come up during the day. And most of the days are never smooth, every order or every business we do is crucial.

    But making sure to solve each problem that comes by and taking such crucial decisions is quite scary and this is definitely the biggest challenge I have to face.

    The smallest challenges are the most crucial ones. Such as making sure the materials are delivered on time, mobilizing my staff, winning a previously lost order, etc. The biggest of them being competing with the well-established trading companies in Kuwait.

    Being an entrepreneur does not usually give you a day off. How do you do that?

    Having your own business is like looking after a child. It’s very scary to let it out of your sight. So, naturally you would want to be as involved as possible in the day to day activities. So time doesn’t become a factor. But then of course we all need a break and that’s when I try to take a short trip or a few days off as and when possible to recharge myself. But sometimes I end up working when I am on vacation. But I manage to take it in the right spirit and work away.

    Talking about your day to day activities, would you call yourself a planner through the day?

    Honestly I never plan my day and I mostly take it as it comes along because no day of mine is the same and every day is a new challenge. Hence I cannot really plan my day as things usually go very fast.

    If your family was not into business, would you have had your own business by now or do you think you would have continued at your 7-5 job

    Actually if my family was not into business I really don’t know what I would be doing right now because the main reason I always wanted to have my own business was because from the time I was little, I have seen my dad giving his life to his business with so much passion and hard work. He has inspired me a lot.

    What are some of the best and worst moments in your day?

    Well to start, I can wake up late and I don’t have any fixed timings. This is definitely both a good and a bad thing as my day at work can end at any time sometimes even 12 am.

    But most importantly it’s having the opportunity to create something new every day, that’s the best part. I get to build my own system I am never limited to just one part of that system. I get to create and also explore every part of it, and therefore, it helps me work in the part I am good at. And for the parts I am not good at, I can hire people who can get the job done better than me.

    My worst moment is often not having any time for my family and friends. For example, I miss out on most of my nephews’ birthday parties. Its small things like this, but things that are very important that I wish I did not miss out on.

    How does your day end?

    I try my best to go to the gym or at least go for a run even if its 12 am. That usually helps me de-stress and prepare for the next day because after a point you get frustrated and you need a vent to let it out. Then of course before I hit the bed, my mom makes sure to gather the whole family around for a family prayer.

    One advice to other young entrepreneurs out there in Kuwait?

    Well, I’m not so experienced enough to give advice but this is what I would like to say is that there is never going to be a right time to start something and there will always be ups and downs. The success and the failure you face are momentary. If you feel like you are at the lowest point in your life, remember, it will change. I will get better. So don’t worry. And even when you are at the highest point of success, remember, even that’s temporary. It could be lost. So be grateful for it, Keep working hard. I believe this applies for both business and in life.