Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian
Gopalakrishnan Subramanian
Enabling Ventures Private Limited
Bangalore, Karnataka

Name of Business

Enabling Ventures Private Limited

Size of Business (Annual, US $)

USD 40,000

Number of employees

2 – 5

Uniqueness

We offer holistic self-development (S – Spiritual, E – Emotional, L – Logical, F – Fitness) through a combination of tools, techniques, and alternative therapies like graphology, hypnotherapy.

1. Hello! Who are you and what expertise-based business do you own?

I am Gopalakrishnan Subramanian (Gopal) representing Enabling Ventures Private Limited. We are into holistic self and organizational development. We help individuals with their self –transformation by focusing on their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. We help organizations to achieve their growth by focusing on people development and cultural change.

We focus on both B2C and B2B markets. On the B2C side, while we can cater to the need of anyone 16+ we primarily focus on people who are around 30 – 55 years, someone who is likely to be in mid-career levels and/or going through a midlife phase

We help people to be more self-aware by helping them understand the reasons for their behaviors. This helps them to explore their inner self and help them create a life path they enjoy, help them make their own decisions and stop leading a life like a football, getting kicked around by others and maintain a balance across life areas.

2. What were you doing before starting this business and what is it that you wanted to accomplish in life?

I was admitted to the hospital in 2010 after suffering an ischemic attack. One of the questions I kept thinking about while lying in the hospital was, “How do I want to be remembered when I’m gone?” I had no idea how that encounter was going to change my life path.

When I was in school I wanted to become a doctor. However, due to a change of school, I could not get into Biology and hence ended up being an Engineer.

I started my career as a Software Engineer in 1993. I then moved to the States for my master’s degree and stayed for another 8 years. During this time I worked as a Programmer, got married, and had my first child. However, I just could not see myself settling down there and in 2003 I surrendered my Green Card and came back to Bangalore, India. I continued to work in the software industry, designing telecom solutions. Life was as “normal” as it could be. We had our second child and I was heading Engineering for a couple of products. In addition, I was handling Quality Assurance, Project Management, and other portfolios. About 2010, I started feeling this internal conflict and was not thrilled with the way things were. I felt something was missing in life. This was when I went through the health issue and this occurrence altered everything for me. Thinking about it now being a counselor, coach, a therapist is probably what I was meant to do to help people. 

I was lucky that my wife saw the symptoms and took me to the doctor. Following treatment, I was told it was due to stress. I didn’t understand it at the time, but my body was telling me otherwise. At this point, I was thinking about how I wanted to spend the rest of my work life. I could not see myself in the Engineering space dealing with the same products, customers, issues, etc. My organizational cultures also taught me a lot of things in terms of people and behaviors. I was wondering if I could help people develop a better understanding of themselves and reach their full potential. What is that potential though? 

Armed with these thoughts I moved into the field of behavioral science. I did my master’s in Psychology and a bunch of certifications to build my knowledge and skills in this space. I moved out of Engineering and all other portfolios and took up Organizational and People development. I did various certifications and programs in counseling, coaching, NLP, Life skills, Organization Development, Psychometrics.

Not wanting to deal with corporate politics and wanting to help people in a larger way I left the corporate world and became a consultant in the behavioral space. I now counsel and coach people and see how I can make a difference. This is giving me far more happiness than earlier and I feel I am living my purpose. 
I am a voracious reader and during the last 2 years, I have been studying a lot about behavioral and spiritual science. This has helped me explore myself. Why do I behave the way I do, what are my internal fears, what stopped me from doing what I wanted, how can I be in touch with my intuition? I am also fascinated to know more about life after death, parapsychology, and related areas.

By nature, I am a bit more reflective and when I now look at all my life experiences with the knowledge I have gained I am able to see the pattern, beliefs, assumptions. “What happens to you is because of you” is a quote that resonates more now than ever.

3. What problems were you facing in achieving your dreams before this business even started?

As mentioned earlier, even though I appeared to have a regular life from the outside, I felt as if I was lacking that inner contentment. I was feeling frustrated and agitated

by the way things were going. Perhaps this may have caused the stress that resulted in the health issues. Whatever it was I am thankful that it happened since it helped me gain new perspectives. Coming from a conservative household there is always this dilemma of should you move out of a well-paying job and take the risk of being a consultant, that too when you have loans to pay, children’s education to take care of, especially when you turn at the age of 45. I had to go through a lot of anxiety and frustrations, conflicts with myself and others. I had to explain why this decision made sense.

However, something in me told me that I have to go through this change. Maybe it is my calling. I spent some sleepless nights even after I moved out. The first couple of years were anxious. The “what if” bug caught me and made me wonder if I should reconsider.

When I started I had no idea of how to go about my consulting. One day I was making good money and the next day I chose to come out of work and felt like staring at a blank slate.

4. What insight led you to starting this business?

 One of my strengths is to observe, analyze and see how things are emerging, solve problems, find patterns. While still in Engineering, I noticed the behaviors around me. People tend to have a bias when it comes to how they see themselves as compared to how they see others. When I made recommendations it was not taken up but the same would be taken up after six months when they realized the importance of it. Some people undervalue their potential and tend to see only the negative aspects of themselves. Others are just reluctant to express themselves. There was a team of developers who were technically competent but lacked the confidence to express themselves confidently, which limited their growth. I could tell there was some emotional distress, which affected their performance.  The collaboration will happen only if it is as per their rules and not ready to accept other views.
Outside of work, I used to hear stories about how parents had their own way of parenting styles and as a result, ended up having conflicts. Apart from this the changing lifestyles, societal norms.

In my own family, I observed the various thought processes and approaches.  It just felt the right thing to do was to be there for people and help them be more self-aware.
I felt if only someone was available to enable me to make my own choices when I was in my teens that would have helped me define my own life path.

With the help of my mentor,  I explored what drives me and found out that helping or enabling people (hence my company name is Enabling Ventures)  to make their own decisions and choices gave me a lot more satisfaction. 

Irrespective of the industry people are everywhere and will continue to face various situations in their life. Some positive and some not so positive. I always believe all of us have a story to share and need someone to listen. Someone to help us realize that stop living like a football getting kicked around.
I thought why not be that person who can listen.

5. How did you acquire your early customers, and validate your market?

Initially, my focus was more on B2B clients and I got my clients through my network. I consulted along with another consulting firm and understood the behavioral landscape. I reached out to my connects in linked in and got my first client. Around this time I also joined BNI, the referral platform. I am still a member and happy to be part of it.

I started off as an organization consultant and helped organizations with finding answers to 3 important questions – Why, What, How. I then helped them to translate this to goals, strategies, and action plans. In this process, I learned about their beliefs and mindsets and coached or counseled them to help them improve their performance.

By this time I also had been volunteering as a counselor at an NGO as part of my Individual Social Responsibility (ISR). This helped me see a whole world that I was not seeing earlier. This helped me to build relations and better bonds with people.

I continue to get my clients through referrals and only recently resorted to social media marketing to reach out to a larger audience. I did join a couple of programs to help me with my marketing and business development.

6. What were some big setbacks in your early journey?

Initially, I felt the need to have others help me out. Perhaps I felt safe in the knowledge that someone was on the way to assist me. These friendships, however, did not last. I was doing all of the work, but the revenues were getting split. Promises were made but not followed through on. This did a little to dampen my spirits. It took some time for me to gain confidence in my ability to complete this task on my own, and I eventually chose to break ways with the other stakeholders. Another similar attempt also failed, so finally, I decided that my wife and I will team up and be partners.

My first client assignment almost turned out to be like full-time employment without the benefits. While this gave me a sense of security in terms of revenue I also realized that if this client pulls the plug, I don’t have any other clients. I then reduced my time commitment with this first client and on boarded another one (got through a personal connect)

There were times in the first two years that I was very anxious and wondered if I made a mistake. However, I did not want to go back. The freedom and the satisfaction that I got doing what I did I wouldn’t have got it in a corporate. So I just persisted with what I chose to do. Sooner or later, I realized that I was able to manage my life with the revenue I was generating. I got time to do what I want, enjoyed whatever I was doing, seeing the impact of what I was doing. This is what I wanted and this insight gave me the confidence to stick to my decision.

7. What were the big achievements after your early journey?

My biggest concern was the revenue that I would be able to bring in each month. While in corporate jobs I had the security of having a monthly salary, going out on my own left me feeling anxious about that. What if the project gets over?  Together with my wife, we examined all our expenses to see what was essential and what could be avoided. From this exercise, we determined what I need to bring home to maintain our lifestyle. This clarity helped me to gain some confidence. I would say getting over my anxiety was my biggest accomplishment. My wife is a certified yoga pilates instructor. We started looking at how she can conduct online classes. Through her friend’s network, she got a few referrals based on which she generated some additional income.We did not dip into this revenue but knowing that it was there gave us a sense of security.

This was the time I also extended my coaching to student guidance and once again through referrals I got a few requests. 

While my investments helped me take care of my children’s education, these assignments helped me to get recurring monthly revenue. In addition, I also took out my provident fund amount and used that to reduce my loan liability. I had a home saver account and hence could park the amount there. This way I could use that amount on a need basis.

By this time I was able to get 2-3 clients and all of the assignments were annual retainer programs. At this point, I realized a couple of things. One, I reduced my fee per month for clients and correspondingly reduced my time commitment. This gave me time to explore other clients. Second, My wife joined me as a director of the company.  I was not in a hurry to partner with others. I collaborated with clear terms. The fact that my wife could make time for the Pilates classes and this is aligned to what I had to offer made it easier for me.

I collaborated with another like-minded person who had a similar life purpose. This time, the collaboration was successful. We experimented with various offerings, packaging the services in multiple ways, building online platforms, webinars, etc. We also enlisted the services of a handful of social media organizations to create a bit more visibility. We continued to focus both on B2B and B2C, although we saw a movement towards B2C more.  This is an area that we are currently planning to construct. We also packaged our offerings to appeal to a variety of consumers, whether in the wellness space, coaching space, or consulting space.

Few testimonials that we got from our clients also helped us gain that sense of Fulfillment.

8. Which tools were useful in growing your business?

BNI is a platform that I am using to expand my network. BNI is a global platform and has been in existence for more than 3 decades. There are more than two lakh members across various professional categories. Initially, when I came out of the corporate setup I had nothing; no clients, no revenue, no active referral network. BNI helped me from that perspective. I learned to network better and reached out to members outside of Bangalore as well. I used the learning from BNI in my business too in terms of effectively presenting my services to my clients, making elevator pitches, etc. 

I also started writing blog articles and made youtube videos.  I started expanding my LinkedIn network and Facebook connections. I posted some articles and posts on both the platforms and also on Instagram. I could add more followers in a short span of time across all platforms. Being reflective in nature, I used to post these quotable quotes that helped people to reflect. I also posted some coaching questions

All in all these platforms helped me to grow my network, helped me overcome the mindset with respect to networking. (When I was in Engineering I did not see networking as essential. I can now say it is very essential to build and maintain your network)

Currently, I am focusing on social media platforms, mostly LinkedIn and Facebook. I am also using WhatsApp as a way of communicating and keeping in touch with my prospective clients.

9. What habits and systems did you build for your growth and transformation as an entrepreneur?

Lifelong learning is a core value of mine. I constantly reflect on my behaviors to identify what needs to change and how I can improve them. As I have stated, I am fascinated by spiritual science. In these areas, I’m doing some research. Udemy has also provided me with a few resources. I use my BNI platform to help me network more effectively.

I continue to read and make it a habit to read at least an hour a day. I practice meditation and progressive relaxations to stay calm and focused. Cooking and reading are two things I like doing on a regular basis. I have now ventured into some artwork. I draw and explore white cement-based artwork.

I make sure that Sundays are free for my family and me. I don’t take late-night calls or meetings unless it’s an emergency.

I am now much more satisfied with the way things are. I have that sense of fulfillment and doing something meaningful. I’m going to keep exploring my inner self and savoring every moment of it.

10. Which books, podcasts, blogs, or newsletters have influenced your work the most?

I read a lot of self-help, spiritual, and psychology books these days. I used to read a few management-related books too. I learned a few things from each one of the books I read. Although I won’t be able to pinpoint and say why these helped me here are a few books that I would like to highlight:

Leadership Challenge – Kouzes and Posner.
Fifth Discipline – Peter Senge
Sacred Contracts – Caroline Myss
Spiritual Dimensions of the Enneagram – Sandra Maitri

I don’t follow any influencer specifically at this point. I do enjoy reading quotable quotes of many – Marcus Aurelius, Victor Frankl, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Jiddu Krishnamurthi to name a few.

11. What advice would you give to a 5-years (or 10-years) younger self?

a. Professional advice
Have clarity on what you want to do and why. Get your priorities right and it is the level of satisfaction that you have that is more important

b. Personal advice
It is your life. You have the choice to live it your way. Don’t allow your fears and anxieties to hold you back. Once you step out and do it you will realize that you always had it in you.

12. Where can we learn more about you and your business?

a.Social profile(s)
www.linkedin.com/in/coach-gopal
https://www.facebook.com/gopalsub/
https://www.instagram.com/gopalsubram/

b. Your website
www.enablingventures.in
www.coachgopal.com

c. Social profiles of your business
https://www.facebook.com/coachgpl

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