Ritesh Jain, co-founder of Flexiloans, a digital lending platform for MSMEs, is avid self-taught. With the sea of ââcontent available online on any subject, Jain spends time every day browsing to improve his knowledge. Since the pandemic, it has become a sort of habit of self-improvement.
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A former student of ISB Hyderabad, Jain launched Flexiloans in 2016 with three others from the same institute. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Jain worked in various industries, at companies such as Citi Group, Tata Teleservices, Starwood Hotels and Housing.com. Last year, Flexiloans partnered with Google Pay to provide instant loans to small business owners.
Mumbai-based Jain talks about what it means to be a mentor, his productivity principles, and what running has taught him about productivity. Edited excerpts:
Who do you consider to be your mentor and why?
I don’t consider a single individual to be a mentor. I believe you can learn from everyone around you. I look for unique traits in the people around me, including my colleagues, and I learn from them. For example, as a startup you are constantly solving problems day in and day out, and everyone’s approach to problem solving is different. I look at others’ approach to the same problem and if it’s better (than mine), I change my approach.
A major idea / change that you worked on with the guidance of a mentor?
One of the most important things I have learned is to focus on little. Instead of trying to do multiple things – and as a startup you’ll be tempted to solve multiple issues – pick a few and do them right. This is the only way to be successful. Previously, I thought we had to seize every opportunity that presented itself and take advantage of it. But I’ve learned that doing this takes a toll on the organization, as resources are limited.
It has also become a personal productivity mantra for me. If you focus on one thing when you start your day, you (will reach completion) at the end of (time of day). But if you have 10-20 things, chances are you won’t complete any of them.
How do you supervise your colleagues at work?
I always remember the adage âWith great power comes great responsibilityâ when I think of being a mentor. You are in a position of great power when you mentor someone. I am careful not to give direct solutions when guiding someone. I cannot claim to have the best solution or a solution that would best suit the person’s need. Instead, I give a framework on how to make decisions and try to convince them to use that framework.
I realized that people are resistant to the change in mentality. I remember that a member of the team asked for advice because she wanted to change industry. I gave him my take on the business and the industry, whether there will be any growth in this industry, the chances of the business being successful, etc. This decision-making framework could help him make decisions that could help him in all aspects of his life in the long term. Course.
What time do you wake up and what’s the first thing you do after you wake up? Basically, what’s your morning schedule after waking up?
I wake up at 4:45 am to 5:00 am. At 5:30 a.m., I leave the house to go for a run or do yoga. I’m back at 6:45 a.m. After that I spend an hour concentrating and planning the day and answering all the emails so that I don’t have to spend time on it when I’m on the job. I then have breakfast and spend time with my family until I start work around 9 a.m.
What is the positive work routine you developed during the pandemic?
Since there were no clear lines between personal and professional boundaries when working from home, I consciously took time, in half-hour increments, to learn something that had nothing to do with the job. job. I realized that if you want to learn something new, you have to start working on it continuously for three months in order to develop (the learning) into a habit. For example, I developed an interest in nutrition and spent 30 minutes a day listening, watching or reading about the subject.
Any books / podcasts / apps / videos you would recommend on mentoring and growth in the workplace? Why?
One book I would recommend is by Jack Welch Jack: Straight out of the gut. It’s kind of like a mini MBA because Welch explains how to build an organizational culture or an organizational way of doing things, in an engaging way. It would be useful for people who are in the early stages of starting a business.
Do you have productivity tools and why is it working for you?
Although I use the usual productivity tools, what I find useful are the principles of productivity. One of the principles that I respect is to take notes when I am in a meeting. The role of the brain is not to memorize but to analyze. When you take notes, your mind is free to analyze. Otherwise, the brain begins to memorize what is said.
Another principle that I have learned comes from running. The hardest part of the process is getting up early in the morning every day. There is always inertia in starting something; it’s not that we’re lazy, it’s fear. Instead of considering (something like a) big project, look at the first activity that needs to be done and start it. Once you start, eventually you will finish it. But it is important to take this first step.
When was the first time you took out a loan and for what?
I took my first loan to buy a house when I was 27. The next one was a student loan to do an MBA from ISB Hyderabad. It was the best decision I made. Looking back, I would recommend investing in yourself rather than borrowing money to buy a property.
How to overcome an afternoon crisis?
It is important to understand your body. I don’t organize a problem-solving meeting between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
How to relax on weekends? Any serious hobbies or family routines that you have started since the pandemic?
Saturday night I watch a movie, especially an action movie. Later that night, we have a family game night. My daughter loves making games and we spend an hour playing together. And on Sunday morning, I do a longer race.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders, and creative people who tell us about the people they admire and their work ethic.
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