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Home grown joint venture

How direct selling brought the Chaurasias fortune and more.

By Rajshree Kukreti | Print Edition: November 16, 2006

It’s doing the daring that gets my adrenaline racing. In 1992, I drove a scooter non-stop for 30 hours covering a distance of 1,603 km; a ride that took me straight into the Limca Book of Records. The Red and White Bravery Award and National Youth Award came my way too. What keeps me rooted now are my family and my job as assistant accounts officer with a bank in Lucknow. But a fixed income job has little or no rewards for raising the performance bar. That made me look for means to supplement my salary. So 10 years ago when my sister asked me to check out a direct marketing option without quitting my current job, I grabbed the opportunity.

Flexi-hours, no boss and returns proportional to efforts—I was thrilled at the prospects. With an initial investment of Rs 1,800, we started selling beauty products of a global cosmetic giant in March 1997. We converted one of the three bedrooms of our house into an office since retailing could be done from home with no overhead costs.

My wife Aarti became the face of the biz. Selling involved a lot of networking and meeting new people, which, fortunately, both of us enjoy. The first month earning of Rs 540 disappointed us. But the company encouraged us to understand more about the products and the plans. In the second month our earning jumped to Rs 7,108. But the roadblocks weren’t over. Networking was a new concept.

We were ridiculed by people who compared us to door-todoor salespersons. It was some social stigma to overcome. We decided to make a few calls every day. Within three months of working six to eight hours a day, returns started pouring in. This motivated us and we stuck to our schedule of calls and visits.

Within three months the paybacks had doubled. Even for Aarti it was a dream job. Today she puts in six hours daily in product marketing and has enough time for our four-year-old son.

Working together does wonders to your marriage too. I discovered Aarti’s amazing team building spirit, ability to negotiate and keep partners motivated. For the company’s annual meets, we have travelled to seven countries in nine years. My bank job is still my focus, but it’s direct marketing that’s my passion now.

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