Chasing your dreams will take you to your destination. This is what happened in my life. Born in a middle class family in Chennai, at the age of 15, I always wanted to become an entrepreneur. It was my dream and this dream never allowed me to sleep. Today, I am an entrepreneur not in India but in the United States of America. I now run three successful startups. Royal Builders Group Inc., Smart Drafting and Expediting Inc. and Royal Asbestos Inc.
I along with my younger siblings grew up in Madhavaram Milk Colony area of Chennai. Like every middle class family my parents too were struggling to make both ends meet. My father was a Tamil teacher and my mother worked as an office assistant in a private company. We were a happy family with whatever we had. My parents’ only goal was to provide us with good education and they did a fabulous job. Without any qualms they sacrificed all their happiness to shape our future.
I did my schooling in Bentinck Higher Secondary School in Vepery, Chennai. My school along with valuable education, encouraged me to involve in extra curricular activities like participating in sports, drama and other competitions. I chose basketball which taught me never to give up and keep pursuing my passions no matter what.
This attitude of mine kept me focussed and I achieved my first big goal. I was the University topper in my college and was awarded by the then Governor of Tamil Nadu Fathima Beevi. Having seen my parents struggle to provide me and my siblings with quality education, I was hesitant to take up further studies.
But sometimes certain decisions you make change lives for good. One such decision that changed my life was to continue post graduate courses on the insistence of my father. I am glad I made that decision then, because it changed my life completely.
Post Graduate atmosphere was completely new to me. It was a culture shock for me. almost all my classmates were from upper middle class and making friends with them was next to impossible. I was often subjected to teasing and taunting. Some of my classmates used to tease me for having just four sets of clothes for college. The insults and humiliation that I underwent during my PG days just made my resolve stronger and stronger – to study hard and succeed in life.
My hardwork started to bear fruit. I was one of the first student in the entire college to get placed in a campus interview. A new chapter opened in my life and I started working as a software programmer. After 3 years, I was selected by my company to work in Peoria, Illinois.
After marriage, I moved to Queens, New York and it was time for me to make yet another round of decisions. This time it was one of the toughest decisions of my life to leave software industry and join hands with my husband Srinivasan working in the Design and Construction Industry. It was a relatively new industry for me and since it was a start up we had to build everything from scratch. From outside it may appear start-ups are easy, but it’s easier said than done. Developing a start-up in a foreign land without any support is as good as walking on fire.
My husband Srinivasan was my pillar of strength, who taught me everything about the Design and Construction Industry in US. Srinivasan and I put our heart and soul into our new endeavour to make it work. Our family conversation would always revolve around our business and in a way this helped me in establishing a strong bond with Srinivasan.
To be honest, being a mother of two it was not easy at all to manage family and business at the same time. But as I mentioned earlier, my dream of becoming an entrepreneur never allowed me to slow down. I kept chasing my dreams and I started handling the business all alone. To passion to learn something new ensured that I updated myself with the industry techniques and I acquired valuable licenses such as Asbestos Investigator, Insurance broker, Construction Superintendent and New York City Women Minority Certification.
While I was handling the business all by myself, it helped my husband to venture into new avenues. He explored the real estate industry and we made considerable breakthrough into the field. Our clients would enjoy working with us because we had incorporated technology as part of our business module. Use of advanced products like Zoho, Google drive etc. paved way for the offshore teams to assist the business remotely from any corner of the world.
As we expanded our business, we built a dedicated team of professionals and utmost importance was give to employees welfare. This ensured that we brought some of the best minds into the US from India and our business moved into next level.
Now our business needed a lot of capital and since my husband had decided to explore real estate industry, we decided to sell our house to raise funds. Even though it was a tough decision I stood by my husband to support him in raising funds. Our decision to sell our house to raise capital was seen as a bad and risky move by many. A lot of family members warned us, but we stood out ground because we believed in our hardwork.
In a few years, our gamble paid off and the investment into real estate helped us to venture into new areas such as in the concrete ready mix, plumbing, electrical, HVAC supply, NYC City and state contracting jobs.
And today we have earned the confidence of many clients and the people of United States…but I continue to chase my dreams.
Like any other woman I too had my pitfalls. I too had several bad patches. But, my passion kept me going on. Looking back I can categorically say that I don’t bear any grudges against any one. Thanks to my dreams.
“To become successful; all women should fight for vision,dreams,ideas and destiny.”
– Ramani Mariappan