This is the story of Tara, a 34 year old spa therapist and beautician I met when I booked a home appointment with an online beauty services provider recently.
So here I was, expecting someone to be a thorough professional ‘in a hurry’ as we normally are, in the city! Surprisingly, Tara set her stuff up relaxedly, almost meditatively and started me on a journey to release my nagging symptoms of body pain. In thirty minutes, I was engaging with her therapy completely and feeling relaxed. Over a tea break, we talked about her life.
Her parents are no more. The only family is maternal relatives doing farming and driving jobs in the hills of North-eastern India while she has chosen the Information Technology city of Bangalore to make her living. Forsaken twice in love, she seeks no security or dependence externally.
After being sponsored for a diploma in hotel management, she worked as a trainee in Singapore and returned to India when her mother was on her deathbed. Tara then worked as a stewardess with an international burger chain in Bangalore and rose to being manager of the outlet in less than a year. I thought that was remarkable growth amid solid competition and office politics. The down side was that she became a heavy smoker.
Soon Tara was tired of the role and moved to learning beauty and spa treatments from a well-known Indian brand. Having completed her certification in less than 6 months of the scheduled course, she made it her goal to be an independent business woman.
Tara says she thought only about this goal and tirelessly worked towards it, never giving up even when faced with challenges.
A boyfriend had, by now, used up the loan approved in her name, to launch his career in the Middle East and blocked her out of his life. Tara continues focusing on paying the EMI’s, while telling me with confidence that she will close the loan this year.
Some of the lessons I learnt from Tara in that first meeting are:
1. When you set your mind to a goal, you have to do everything to make it happen.
Tara ate, drank, breathed, lived and dreamed her goal to be independent. She worked tirelessly. During this time, she heard of a small one-room beauty salon business that was up for sale near her rented accommodation. She worked day and night to gather funds and make it hers!
She gave up smoking.
As a mom who is short on energy more often than not, I asked her where so much energy came from? Her answer was, “from the goal itself!” She looked inward for determination, motivation and making her intent come alive and it did!
2. There is no substitute for hard work
Tara told me about working 7 days a week and partnering with online beauty providers apart from her independent appointments to make enough to pay the loan EMIs, rents and enable saving to send back home.
She is looking forward to light a thousand butter lamps and offer food to the Buddhist Lamas at her mother’s upcoming death anniversary, something that has fructified after careful budgeting of her expenses over many months.
3. What goes around comes around
A firm believer in karma, Tara has no resentment for the boyfriends who used and left her. She remains focused on building her inner strength through reading Buddhist books and practicing the teachings of Lord Buddha.
4. Help others even if you don’t know them
At the Doctor’s one day, Tara saw a mother with a sick infant. Holding the feverish child over one shoulder, the mom was phone calling her husband for the credit card PIN and unfortunately, the card payment was not going through. Tara immediately offered to pay the bill with her own credit card and in some time, the child’s father arrived.
The couple thanked her profusely and promised to visit her and pay her back. She told them she had only done what they might have done had they seen someone else struggling in a similar situation and that she wished the baby a speedy recovery. In a couple of days, the couple had returned the amount to her.
5. There’s no compromising on customer service.
“Customers come to you as they rely on you to make them feel better.”
Tara’s customers wait for up to 2 weeks when she is on her annual visit home and complete even the simplest of beauty services with her when she returns. They could easily go to another salon as there is one every 0.5 km in most Indian cities so what makes them wait?
According to Tara, they love her interest in their lives and what makes them happy and sad. Added to that, her passion for making them look and feel good. She also does not compromise on the time required and the energy and product investment that goes into catering to each customer and that gives them the relaxation and confidence that they come looking for!
When Tara comes to my place as she does every month now, my 3-year old son tells her – ‘Please make my mama more beautiful!’ Tara is the only person who can wash my son’s hair without him bringing the house down. She built a rapport with him from day 1, playing baby games, tickling him and cracking jokes. Talking about customer service, my son now tells me he will get his hair washed only by Tara!
When I offered to pay her for his hair washes she said ‘Madam, he is friendly with me and it makes me happy to see that his hair gets cleaned without much crying and fuss.
Why do you make it a business deal?’
I am thankful for having discovered this precious gem Tara. I feel lucky to learn and be enriched by her life’s lessons and high energy, faith and trust in the Universe that everything with positive intent will work out, if not today, tomorrow.
Life & Money in collaboration with the Garrett Planning Network has launched Asia’s only Women Financial Advisers Network (WFAN) with a vision to empower Indians to lead a ‘Rich’ and ‘Balanced Life.’ To know more, please see the Introduction video and go through our Online learning courses.
WFAN is now also on SHEROES, a women’s social and economic empowerment community platform. If you have a question, you could contact us through our website or WFAN on SHEROES and we will be happy to provide the answers.
Cover pic by Reka Roman – https://unsplash.com/photos/jBZEQrdwVJk