Meet Arpita – a mental health professional and an inspiration to her students. Read her interview to know more about what goes on in her insanely creative brain, things that influence her work, her faith in her dreams, and a lot more.
Tell us a little bit about your journey, please.
A post-graduate in Chemistry but absolutely no Chemistry for the jobs that it had to offer; my journey began with the quest to find what do I want to do. Born to academicians and a family of chemists, I felt like a misfit. But had to find a job to sustain and that’s when I asked myself – what kind of job.
Fresh out of college, I thought with a flair for traveling and a love for interacting with people – Sales & Marketing would be a great option. Thus, began a series of jobs with various sectors – home appliance, office automation, institutional selling, industrial selling, and finally concept selling. I did not last in any of them for more than six months. What stayed with me is my passion to travel. One of my best experiences was my 21-day solo trip from Guwahati to Sikkim in 2015. Solo travel is a liberating experience.
What next? Back to square one – I took up a stop-gap job with Ask Me Services where I realised the potential of my voice. Gave an audition at AIR, got selected and then there was no looking back. From Radio to Advertising, Television, Corporate film making, and Journalism acted in a film too – a good 7-minute presence with dialogues. I enjoyed every bit of my work – the creativity and freedom of being the boss as a freelancer. Being a media professional was happening for me but on the home front, the late hours created a lot of issues.
My turning point in life was when I lost my mother in 1996. Seeing death so closely changed the way I perceived life. I volunteered with Aasra – a helpline for suicide and depression, and that’s where I discovered the counsellor in me. Did my diploma in Personality Development & Counselling. Freelancing continues, now with assignments in training and counselling sessions. The journey of life, death, self-discovery began then. What kept me going was my clarity of what I wanted to do and the love for what I was doing. I kept upgrading myself so that I could continue to add value to what I had to offer.
How did the idea for your business/startup come about?
I could not fall into a routine job pattern and monotonous humdrum that kept me egging on to pursue as a freelancer – establishing myself as a Voice artiste, copy-writer, corporate filmmaker, Journalist – being my own boss concerning time and what I wanted to work on. What I learned from these years of freelancing was – it is an individual’s choice and decision to earn and be contented with how much – after all there is no end to our wants. While in media – I came up with my radio productions – Radio Ga-Ga on AIR – Mumbai – a weekly western music slot. The other initiative was creating a 30-minute audio content to be aired in running local trains which cater to thousands of passengers daily. We had submitted the proposal to Western Railway, Mumbai but then we all know, how many hands need to be warmed before one gets the project. An individual of principles and values – I let it be as I had no financial backing then. I had an offer from producers too for a teleserial, a film but again my integrity and values kept me grounded. Media gave me the freedom of ideating and creating and that’s what kept me going till 2005.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Very simple – self-belief, my dreams, and faith in the cosmos that I will be led to align my life purpose with the work I do.
How did you come up with the name for your business/startup?
Being a freelancer – just my name Arpita Ghosh but I added a tag line Empowering Individuals, Touching Lives. That’s when I learned about personal branding too.
What service(s) or product(s) do you offer?
I am a full-time Counsellor with CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Lavasa. As a creative Facilitator, I offer various expressive arts-based modules for effective training in Personality Development
Why should people choose your product/services?
It is personalized and customised as individual/organizational needs. Non-judgmental and patient validation during coaching n counselling sessions. Most importantly, operating from the heart-center.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Word of mouth has worked best for me. When an individual has been impacted, they talk about it.
What are some of the challenges you have dealt with?
Lack of support from surroundings, inability to hard sell and competition to a certain extent.
Have you considered any alliance/partnership/funding?
Many a time for partnership and that’s how Mindshakerzz and Me Space happened, but for whatever reasons, it never took off the way we wanted to and finally went our respective ways.
What are your responsibilities as the business owner?
As a freelancer – everything – clerical, accounting, creatives, execution, and operation.
How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?
My typical day starts in the morning around six with leisure warming up to the day while listening to some chants in the background. Sometimes words just flow in the form of poetry or just some random thoughts. 9 to 5 is working hours and post that, connecting with family and friends, and sometimes counselling sessions. Reading something inspirational and playing with colors too when time permits.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?
Fear! There was a time I was scared of darkness, lizards, death, ghosts. I have overcome all of these. Have worked on fears of uncertainty, loneliness – well it’s a long journey and a continuous work in progress. Today I live alone in Lavasa and none of the fears bother me. Guess that’s when we know – we have grown – you know the psychological growth.
What comes first for you, money or emotions?
Emotions for sure – have always followed my heart and that’s the reason, I am where I am today. I can completely relate to the song – Dukhi Man Mere, Sun Mera Kehna – Jaha Nahi Sehna, Waha Nahi Rehnaa……….
Tell us about your early life. How has being a professional affected your family life?
Being on my own worked very well for me. It helped me manage my time at home and work. There were times I would be working till late hours and my parents would be so upset with me. It wasn’t easy dealing with frictions at home but when you believe in your dreams and know that one day when the dream comes true – these moments of friction will be overshadowed. Keep the faith and keep working.
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs/mental health experts??
There is no short cut to success. Sincerity, hard work, self-discipline, values, and integrity will take you miles ahead in life. Build on your presence by working on yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Working on self is very important for mental health workers as, only when we have understood ourselves inside out, can we help others. So, first, help yourself and then reach out to help others. Lastly, whatever we tell others, listen to your own words as it is said what we tell others, first applies to us.