CEO of Nomad Lounges, Ms. Anuradha Khoda speaks to Coherence Magazine on her entrepreneurial journey, how she maneuvered the tough business world and succeeded in bringing Nomad Lounges to life.
What motivated you to start Nomad Lounges?
It is a well-known fact that one should be prepared to take the turn in one’s career when life asks for it. I have been in academics for close to two decades, with a special focus on Information Technology and Sciences, being a high school teacher at the best performing international school – Hillcrest International group of Schools, and later to be a lecturer at the country’s oldest and renown university – University of Nairobi. I have enjoyed both positions to the utmost, while I also created life-long bonds with the students whom I taught over the years.
In 2016, my career led me to found the E-Learning department at a school that has a student population of 3000. My efforts yielded in taking the school from using black boards to fully fledged multi-media led classrooms in less than a year.
When one is at the helm of accomplishment is the right time to move on to the next challenge that awaits your expertise. After accomplishing this mammoth task single-handedly, it was time for me to move on to the next challenge after training a team that would successfully continue with the project.
In 2018, time had come when I wished to be self-employed. After researching the local and international markets, I realized that the world had been slowly switching to being service rather than product-oriented. So, I took the leap of faith, hired a space in one of the quaint buildings in the prime business district of Nairobi. The neighbouring landmarks comprise the likes of Villa Rosa Kempinski, J.W. Marriot, Global Trade Centre and Avic properties, several prominent banks, and the Nairobi Stock Exchange. I transformed the space to offer short-term, shared office and desk space. Here at Nomad Lounges we offer working space with all amenities included – from furniture to house-keeping as well as Internet. We have plug-and-play boardrooms, ready for presentations and video calls. As the serviced office model is catching up in Kenya, it would be prudent to be part of this growing sector.
How did you make it feasible single handed?
An entrepreneur is either born to be or not. One cannot be taught entrepreneurial skills, they can only be honed and made better. To be an entrepreneur one needs to be brave, confident and have faith in the creator as well as in oneself. They also need to see the path that they take leading clearly to success.
One has to be a visionary by birth and have a clear vision, communicate it well to their team and see it coming to fruition. So, the project that is started by one is then taken forward by a team that is led and molded by the single entrepreneur.
The art of delegation also becomes paramount. An entrepreneur needs to carefully select a team, train them and let them carry on with their respective responsibilities and see the enterprise grow.
What difficulties did you face and how did you overcome them?
Business is not a fair game where the female gender is concerned. One needs to be thick skinned to survive and to succeed. It takes time to prove one’s worth.
At the same time, bringing forth a vision to reality is a task on its own. There are many who do not support your vision. There are others who see you as a competitor and try their best to dissuade you and to get you off-track.
The key to success lies in persistence and determination combined with a clear focus.
Talk about your final goal!
My company Nomad Lounges Limited was founded in late 2018. The three founding pillars being Communicate, Collaborate, and Create. I have created the working space where a digital nomad may feel free to be, and to communicate with others around him/her. Through this communication they can collaborate their ideas and create a new relationship, friendship, or even a new business venture.
I wish to see Nomad Lounges becoming a household name as far as serviced working spaces are concerned. I plan to have various centres in diverse locations. I have gone through the initial baby steps and the associated teething problems. Now it is time to strengthen the foundation and see the enterprise grow.
@nomads254 on all social media platforms
*This article first appeared in the Coherence Magazine