By Chavi Agarwal
I was all of 7 when my mother dressed me up as a “Business Woman,” in my Show and Tell on “What you want to be when you grow up!” My entire childhood I was encouraged to do more, take more risks and think out of the box. But when I started my graduation at Warwick, all that energy and the power was channelized on finding the perfect job, influenced by everyone around, my sole aim and goal became to find a way to the 6 figure salary. During the process, I realized I was too driven by perception and was focusing on people’s goals to be mine rather than having a vision or a plan for myself. This left me demotivated, under confident and confused. I kept on looking for that one million dollar idea or an innovation I could possibly work on because for some reason we are constantly told to innovate something unique, be disruptors and create new markets to be called an entrepreneur. I never thought that I would find a unique value proposition to address an existing problem in the market.
Only a few people had a strong influence in my life and these patriarchal influences kept on guiding me to follow paths they carved out for me or they wanted me to follow, without realising my own sense of vision. I personally think that I made a lot of very bad decisions due to personal insecurities which I had built since my very childhood of not being good enough and always having been called irresponsible, dumb and confused as a child. Due to lack of recognition, support and belief in my abilities, I started underestimating my own self and became lost. During these times, there were people who demotivated me, called me names like “rich kid with no vision, bimbo, fat” and due to an already low self esteem and confidence, I would think of these things to be true. For instance, one individual, due to his own inferiority complex started making me believe, that I could not get into the college of my dreams, or could never be an entrepreneur, become fit or be successful on my own and just due to not being confident in my own skin, I believed all of this and wasted a year of my life. But that was a blessing in disguise as 2018 was the year I started loving myself for the very first time.
I believe half my journey towards where I want to be began once I understood what I could do. I believed in my abilities bit by bit and miracles started happening and this where my confidence increased. I do not think it’s possible for any one individual to let you down or demotivate if you are not ready to be. If there is enough conviction in your own self and your abilities, there is absolutely no one who can turn you down, whether it be a friend, partner, parent or colleague.
I would never regret that job application process and securing one because that is where the idea or the germ for CView began. In noticing the issues recruits and students all around the world face during their application process I was determined to alleviate the problem of lack of right Job-Person fit and awareness of ATS compliance. These issues leave them unsatisfied and unmotivated as they settle for suboptimal opportunities, just like I did. The fire to be an entrepreneur and the urge to create something tangible for people around me led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Innovation Entrepreneurship and Financial Technology from Imperial College, London. I simply did not know any other way to move forward to achieve my dream. It was at the Imperial College that I finally honed the idea of doing something for the students and recruits seeing the issues students face while applying for jobs globally. I went on to gain numerous offers from organizations like Deloitte, Accenture, Lloyds Bank, RBS, and Grant Thornton in the field of Mergers and Acquisitions, further validating my learning’s and understanding of the system.
I combined my knowledge from personal experiences with my learning in artificial intelligence and machine learning from my masters at Imperial College London in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This gave birth to a software development company that combines AI and Human expertise to guide students with their first impression into a firm- their CV. I cannot stress enough on the fact that I did not really need high investments or a million dollar plan. I leveraged my interest in career planning, existing platforms and tools available to create value and establish something I enjoy doing. I literally had a 0 INR investment and today have an 87% profit ratio and an average of 37% Month on Month increase in sales through bootstrapping efforts.
My team is my ultimate support and for me CView is synonymous to my team at CView of 7 divisions and 23 members. I have carefully recruited and trained my hardworking and compassionate team. We have a system of open suggestions, collaborative efforts, cross divisional activities and opportunity to get valuable feedback. Its this dynamic team that I owe CView’s success to.
The biggest learning I had was the power of hypothesis testing; I used modern methods of digital marketing and online business models to test the demand for my offering. On getting a positive response, I further fleshed out my offerings, ideas and technology in accordance with customer demand, queries and issues.
As a woman entrepreneur in Technology, I face the following two challenges. Firstly, people, investors, partners and collaborators keep on second-guessing the commitment and hence the longevity of your business. As a woman entrepreneur you see yourself constantly working harder to showcase your passion, ambition and your long-term vision. I find myself explaining my vision and the enormity of it more than any male counterpart would ever have to. Secondly, people expect women to be working in women oriented businesses and the challenge then is to constantly face an on-going perception battle. Although, what keeps me going is the fire and the urge to provide a new and improved value proposition to the youth, globally.
Apart from that, the organisation has to continuously educate customers about the ATS as most people do not understand the importance of it and thus, this results in a high customer acquisition effort and cost which is quite a challenge.
All of my close ones were very happy and motivated until they realized it was not just a CV service but also way more than that. Everyone supported me in the beginning as they did not see any potential and saw it as a “hobby” or a “freelancing/petty money making” work. Every person has been a supporter or a demotivating factor according to their convenience and CView’s growth. As we are growing I see strangers wishing well and close ones feeling threatened. It is all a matter of time and how we are doing. However, really no tree can grow under other trees shade and hence one has to make their own roots and grow separately.
I believe that there is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in the lives of people and I, myself am a huge propagator of Women Empowerment, which is why CView donates 30% of its proceeds toward Women Education in India. We choose a different organisation and initiative every month and help in any way possible. I personally make sure, we understand individual issues and cater to them.
Along with this I also host various pro-bono webinars on the subject of women entrepreneurship for organisations as well as universities.This encourages the momentum and creates motivation among women. There are so many women who come up to me and ask me about how to deal with parental pressure and societal woes after these sessions, hence I take small sessions over weekends and help these young girls out in whatever little way I can.
I would also be hosting a ‘back to school’ webinar for students of class 12th as well as for over 500 students studying in different Government colleges to educate them about the importance of an ATS compliant effective CV.I genuinely feel that there is so much talent in the youth globally, however in countries like mine there aren’t enough available resources and awareness and hence its imperative to contribute to the society in any way possible.
Today, as I am living my dream of being an entrepreneur, It seems surreal for me to be able to say that I am the founder and CEO of CView, India’s first end-to-end ATS compliant CV Service!
Chavi Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of a Global Career Technology firm called CView. She is Bachelors in Finance from Warwick Business School and a Master’s in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Financial Technology from Imperial College London. She is a propagator of Women education and hence her company puts 30% of all their proceeds toward women education and back to school programs to provide free of cost CV service to underprivileged college students in India.