“What makes people think that women can only be passionate about their work but we won’t replicate the same passion when it comes to our families?”
From being an investment banker to building a Cashback & Coupons site, Swati Bhargava has done it all. Cashkaro, launched in 2013 in India was started up when Swati and her husband saved INR 25,000 via a UK cashback site. “We booked flight tickets for our honeymoon to Maldives and loved the cashback. Back then, we realized that there was a gap in the market and not many people knew about it. So we ventured into the world of entrepreneurship in 2011 with Pouring Pounds – a B2B Cashback and Rewards website in the UK before launching CashKaro.com in 2013 in India,” says Swati.
“People often differed with our decision & questioned why we wanted to leave a well-paying job and start a Cashback venture, a concept which did not even exist in India two years back,” she adds. However, Swati and her husband Rohan believed that this very reason, combined with the burgeoning Indian ecommerce market would in fact be the growth factors for their business! “Our parents were supportive and understanding and they have really been a big pillar of strength for us,” she says proudly.
When they launched CashKaro.com in India in 2013, the idea of Cashback and to some extent the concept of Affiliate Marketing were quite new. “So one of our biggest challenges was to educate the market about this concept and how it has been super successful in the West. There was no set preamble hence, we had to build everything from scratch,” she mentioned.
Swati starts her day usually by 6:30am. Since, she has two operational websites (PouringPounds.com and CashKaro.com) in different time zones, the first thing she has to do is open up her mail box.
“Having an online business means that while you were sleeping your ‘SHOP’ was still open, so it’s important to quickly check how things are in the morning,” she laughs.
After an hour of Yoga, she is back to work and strategizing the next steps. “The constant change in the world of ecommerce and our vision to make Cashback a way for every online shopper keeps me motivated & going,” she adds.
Her husband Rohan has been very supportive throughout this. “As husband-wife working together, we spend a lot of time with each other and I think it’s the friendship and mutual understanding that makes this work so well,” she adds gladly. Both their families have been very supportive and respectful of their decisions to go down a riskier entrepreneurial route. Little did we know that the husband wife duo came from family of entrepreneurs themselves.
“My father and father-in-law both are very inspirational. They are both entrepreneurs and have built successful businesses all by themselves. They have truly supported me in all my choices, let me make my mistakes but been there to help when I needed it. Even now they are the first people I call when I have a tough decision to make or need advice!” says Swati proudly.
She advises other husbands and fathers to be to a part of the solution, not the problem! “Very often husbands/fathers don’t recognize that women also have a right to a career of their choice; that having a baby does not mean they never want to or never can work again. Provide women the right support because you have no idea how much latent talent & skill lies underneath,” she adds.
Prior to starting the business, Swati did not know anything about social media, digital marketing or affiliate marketing. She feels that entrepreneurship is a steep but really fun learning curve.
“Forget that you are a woman! Don’t worry about stereotypes or gender bias of any sorts. If you have an idea you are passionate about – which can be scalable and profitable, just go out and execute! Get a good team around you, network & get to know your industry, use social media – and just don’t give up.”