Entrepreneurial Lessons from Actor Sunil Shetty

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Sunil ShettyMy professional journey has been long, wide & winding. I am Sunil Shetty, My life has it’s own ups and down.

By 21, I was a settled restaurateur and most people expected me to stick to that path.

At 24, I was drawn to fashion merchandising. To some, it seemed silly to give up a flourishing family business and start out in fashion, but that leap led me to building out my first baby, Mischief!

At 28, my closest friends thought it was ridiculous to give up being a fashion entrepreneur to pursue a career in films.

Restaurateur to Merchandiser. Retailer to Actor. NGO to Real Estate. Brand Ambassador to Mentor. Film Producer to Startup Founder 🙂

While it was uncommon back then to make career switches, things are different today. Education today has become specific to interests, and ultimately careers.

I’ve met several young professionals who have upskilled, reinvented themselves, pivoted to different industries, or made a big switch in their careers, especially in the post Covid world.

What hasn’t changed though, is what one needs to do in order to succeed at making such changes and transitions.

These have been some of my guiding principles whenever it came to making those transitions.

1. Family

Always take your family into confidence. If there’s any resistance, work through it. My parents, my sisters Suj & Sumi, my wife Mana and now my kids, are always a part of any key decision. My dad always said, ‘One life to live, give it your best’, and knowing I had his blessings did magic for my confidence.

2. Plan

Make a roadmap, with little milestones. Identify areas that need special focus. Speak to people, gather intelligence and prepare well. I did a whole lot of homework about the real estate business before we broke ground with our first project.

3. X Factor

Figure out what it is that you can bring to the table that most others can’t. When I opened my first fashion store, I was sourcing stuff from international markets way before anyone else did. Midnight sales were a huge hit @ Mischief, probably because it was unheard of in the early 90’s.

4. Network

Build connections, and maintain them. Don’t do this with the hope of gaining something. Do it from a genuine place, and add value to their lives. Yes, be genuine in your approach to networking. Some connections, I’ve now nurtured for close to 40 years.

5. Improve, consistently 

Keep finding ways at getting better. Upskill. It’s simple, there’s no way around this. When my team & I started our content company, I could not afford to think like a film actor or producer. I just HAD TO think and act like the Founder of a bootstrapped venture. And it meant having to reinvent and learn a lot of new things.

Most importantly, be HAPPY in whatever you do.

For all of you who’re in the process of making a change, I truly hope these will help.

Good luck, and keep going 🚀

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