Two Years On: From Job to Jobless to Business


Well, say hello to baxiabhishek & partners, a business entity (self-proprietorship) with which I’ll do business – offering digital consulting to clients – starting August 2013.

The Process
I’m as geeky in anything finance as Internet Explorer 6 users are in technology. Okay, maybe I’m a little better.  But I was all worried and getting things started in order to have registration et al. When I finally did it, I found it surprisingly easy for a proprietorship.

Just head to the Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax portal, fill the ST1 form for registration, head to the Central Excise and Customs Commisionerate of your region to submit your identity documents and proofs, and it’s done. You’ll get the ST2 form, which is essentially the registration certificate.

Opening a business (current) account, while I assumed would be simpler, was otherwise. Every bank would have different requirements. SBI had nine in total which included IT returns, business registration certificate from Municipal Commissioner of Gurgaon, and few other things. HDFC Bank asked for the minimum documents (although the highest minimum balance requirement), and so I chose it. I gave my PAN, Passport, and the ST2 registration. Sorted.

My primary savings account is Citibank, so I did not consider it for the business account. I know it would’ve been best though. The processes and ‘please visit the branch’ mandates of ICICIs and HDFCs are annoying!

The Journey
After leaving my fine job at Microsoft in June 2011, I’ve been treading the parallel road of being an independent digital consultant and technology columnist for a while now. Two years actually. While the former was the intended play when I decided to quit the ‘job’, the latter was always an indulgence which started to take more of my time. When the ZDNet offer came up, I knew this was a parallel profession rather than a laidback interest.

Anyway, I was lucky in the initial months of being ‘jobless’, picking up clients like SAB Miller, American Express, and Microsoft, and bagging more like PVR Cinemas, HP, and others on the way. Sometime I thought I was ‘getting there’ quicker than I hoped for, but knew that I had to work on consistency rather than flash-in-the-pan projects and campaigns.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It’s been good. I’ve got an exciting portfolio, have engaged with several brands, and travelled to several tech events with media credentials. I miss the water cooler conversations and the table tennis matches at Microsoft, and the ego boost of working at one of the best, and my favourite, technology brands, but being your own boss and working from home never killed anybody. Sometimes, I maybe broke, but I sleep contended. Or stay up in excitement.

The Next Step
I’ve already got my eyes on a proposition of renting an office space. Since I’m restricted in the need by size, I’ll go for the new-age shared/virtual office spaces and have, I guess, zeroed down on one. Soon.

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