HR Professional Turned Entrepreneur Talks About Her Venture Jungleadz.com
Rhucha Kulkarni, an HR professional by qualification and experience who is a photographer, writer, poet, travel enthusiast and avid nature and wildlife lover at heart tells us how (and why) she started Jungleadz.com!
Tell us about yourself
As a child I was always fond of nature’s beauty, having spent my childhood in the picturesque Doon valley. Having moved to Mumbai I quickly learnt to observe the nuances of nature amidst all the urban humdrum! The story of my association with national parks started a few years ago, when my husband and I discovered the joy of heading out to India’s wildlife havens - the national parks. Thus started an association between myself, my camera and India’s abundant fauna! When not travelling you can find me at my writing desk, gazing out the living room window and enjoying the music of twittering parakeets, as I mull over a cup of tea and weave some words for travel and wildlife forums!
How did the idea of JungLEADz come about?
Smitten by the peace and tranquillity of the jungle, my husband and I would literally take off to the national parks of India at the slightest pretext! Spending time tracking the tiger and other denizens of the forest, observing their behaviour and simply revelling in their splendour is what I enjoy best! Of course our combined experience in Human Resources and Training & Development helped us look at nature with a different lens- “What can human beings learn from nature?” I had seen many people who went to jungle safaris, but were not sure what to expect or they found it uneventful. Having made these observations, a thought struck- to combine our human resources skills and passion for wildlife! Create a model based on Engaging and Learning!
“Why not share the joy of nature with others, the same way we discovered it?
Why not get people to experience and learn from the wonderful world of wilderness?”
“Why not deliver a wholesome package to the novice wildlife traveller- one that can be enjoyed and understood?”
Thus was born jungLEADz through an intricate combination of wildlife and ‘connect and learn’, with an intent to provide refreshing wilderness experiences to people through experiential learning!
What is your core service offering and in the future what other services do you hope to add on?
The core service offering of jungLEADz is bespoke experiences in India’s nature havens through a fine blend of nature-connect and experiential learning activities. It combines the best of both worlds- the unpredictability and excitement of the jungle safari and carefully curated nature-experiences delivered in natural settings!
Our mission is ‘To share the joy of the wild by learning and connecting with wilderness through experiential learning.
We administer this through our unique LEAD philosophy (Learn, Experience, Appreciate, Discover) to help our travellers observe, understand and imbibe the amazing facets of nature!
Learn about the wonderful wild…
Experience the joy of nature sublime…
Appreciate the gifts of the greens divine…
Discover a new You, embrace the nature-life…
In the future we would like to extend this experiential learning to a more application-based benefit i.e. learning soft skills / life skills from nature.
In this sector of travel, when setting up what are the initial challenges an entrepreneur can expect?
Wildlife travel is a very niche field with not many people exposed to the concept of national parks. Many still believe a national park is similar to a zoo, or may wish to sight only the tiger and not realise the beauty of other equally fascinating species! We have many people asking us as to how can it be safe to enter the jungle in an open gypsy. Doing away with these pre-conceived notions and embracing the jungle for what it is requires constructive interventions by the tour leader and openness of thought of participants. These interventions call for extensive experience and knowledge about these places. Our experience and activity-based orientation for travellers shall help establish a level of comfort and introduce them to the multivariate world of the wild! This mind set change is the single biggest challenge for an entrepreneur in this domain.
Professionally, how does entrepreneurship change you as a person?
For me taking the plunge has been an eye-opener to an altogether different world. As a corporate professional I was accustomed to being handed over clear deliverables and constant guidance and support. Being all out there on your own calls for a totally different set of skills, I am getting to learn something new every day!
Direction: Setting your own direction (both short term and long term) in the midst of ambiguity is essential to carving the right path. I have learnt that you need to decide on a path yet be open to suggestions and flexible in approach. Ultimately you are the decision maker for your actions!
Discipline: With no one to bombard you with deadlines, it becomes even more imperative to imbibe discipline as a way of life! Jot down daily, weekly, yearly milestones and maintain consistency get into action mode even through you may not be sure about the outcomes!
Connect and Converse: The next business lead can come from the least anticipated sources! I learn this when I secured our first customer! So connect, connect and connect more! ‘
The most important change I have undergone from the outset is conditioning my mind to have confidence and belief in myself. Being resilient despite the situation and looking at the big picture shall go a long way in making the most of your talent and skills as an entrepreneur!
Any thoughts you would like to leave our readers with?
Starting out on your own is a very different ball-game. Security and comfort are thrown out of the window and it is an uphill struggle. You will find yourself being the one-man-army and competition and market being the opponents! You may find the need to reinvent your attitude, skills, priorities and outlook towards life before you take the plunge! It is also practically a good idea to evaluate your financial position and hedge your risks at the outset and intermittently.
Having said that, doing what you love is the stuff that dreams is made of! Work becomes life and you derive joy from your smallest of actions and achievements! Avenues open up- experimentation and exploration become your best friends! Sure there is never a dull day in the life of an entrepreneur!
The biggest reward of entrepreneurship is giving yourself the chance you deserve. The chance to fuel your passion, the chance to go after your true purpose in life. The sweet smell of satisfaction lingers in the air as you open up the windows to your dreams!