A few years ago I was really passionate about starting a business – any business – just for the pure experience of it. But I had no idea what to set up a business in, until one day when my cousin came to visit from India. She brought a beautiful gift for my mum, called a Jharoka – a wooden carved frame that you hang on the wall – and the moment I saw it, the inspiration hit me to create a home interiors business selling pieces that make a home even more beautiful.

But how would I make that idea into a reality? My cousin and I decided to set up the business together, which gave me a lot of confidence to move forwards, but shortly afterwards she got so involved in family life back in India that she didn’t have time to concentrate on our venture. But I so strongly wanted to make this idea happen that I decided to move ahead anyway.

It had been a dream of mine to have a stand at the Ideal Home Show, the largest consumer show in the UK, and the next one was only three months away. And so I took one of the biggest risks of my life and I booked my stand at the show even though I did not yet have a business set up! That gave me exactly three months to figure this out and so the adventure began!

I really had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I booked my flight to India to stay with my cousin for a couple of weeks and source my products, but she was busy working on a movie project so still wasn’t available to help me. But one day, as I was naively going about my business, she stopped to ask me how things are going and after a brief conversation both she and I realised that I had totally underestimated what was required and miraculously she put aside her film project and we teamed up again to make this idea a success.

I ended up staying in India for two months! That’s how much work was required, from sourcing products, to arranging shipping, creating my branding and logo, printing marketing materials, purchasing decorations for my stand etc. It was an exhilarating experience but at times a stressful one too, especially because the concept of time in India is so different to the UK! But as a team, and with the help of other family members, I had my business up and running at the Ideal Home Show and it was a blast!

Looking back on this experience, I know I learnt a lot! More than what anyone could teach me in business school. For example, I truly appreciated the value of creating a plan rather than just blindly moving forward with an idea. That way, I would have been better prepared and would have managed my costs a lot better.

I also realised that we cannot accomplish anything worthwhile in life alone. We always need the help of others. If it wasn’t for my cousin and all of our family, I wouldn’t have succeeded in creating my business. On the contrary, it probably would have been a mess!

But above all that, I truly appreciated my confidence and belief in my idea because if it wasn’t for that, none of this would have started in the first place. It’s our belief in our ideas that sets things into motion and our confidence to make them work that keeps us moving forward. I would never advise starting anything without those two ingredients.