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CashKaro Co-Founder Swati Bhargava On The Power Of Patience & Persistence In Business

Tanya SharmaTanya Sharma  |  Apr 22, 2021
CashKaro Co-Founder Swati Bhargava On The Power Of Patience & Persistence In Business

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Five years into her first job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in London, Swati Bhargava, now Co-Founder of CashKaro and EarnKaro, was itching for more. One day, while booking her tickets with her husband (and now co-founder) to the Maldives for their honeymoon, an idea struck.  “We received a substantial amount of money as cashback while booking our tickets. Looking for the best deals when shopping online comes so naturally to online shoppers. So we researched thoroughly about the cashback industry,” she says. Soon after, their first venture Pouring Pounds was born.

Hailing from Ambala, Haryana, Swati had always harboured big dreams. From a young age, she knew she was good with numbers, and honed her skills in mathematics—topping the Class 10 exams in Haryana. Her academic excellence earned her a scholarship to complete her senior secondary education (Class 11 and 12) in Singapore, and that paved the way for a sea of opportunities. Today, she has won several accolades, including a place on the Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 List.

Two years after the astounding success of their venture in the UK, Swati and her husband started to look at similar options closer to home, and they set up CashKaro in India. Today, the company is the largest cashback and coupons website in the country and works with over 500 brands. Swati attributes a lot of their success to her team. “It’s not possible to have a good business without a great team. Being able to put together a team that is happy and also delivers is probably the achievement I am most proud of!” she says.

Running an extremely demanding business and working long hours may sound stressful, but Swati exudes positivity and confidence. She also makes sure she passes her infectious energy on to her team. While most companies get straight to business in their morning Zoom meeting, she starts the day by hosting a virtual event called ‘#TheCKMorningShow’ for her employees. It’s her way of ensuring her employees start the day on a fun note, and keeping them motivated during a global pandemic. Her drive, confidence and empathy make her an awe-inspiring leader, and perfect for POPxo’s Women Who Win series. We caught up with her over an email interview about her morning routine, the turning point in her career and her advice to budding entrepreneurs. Lightly edited excerpts below:

How do you begin your day? What’s a typical day like for you?

My day usually begins around 6 am. I like to start my day with some stretches followed by a morning walk, pranayama breathing exercises and aum chanting. This helps me stay active and gives me energy for the day ahead. Work from home begins at 9 am with our fun morning team meeting for all CashKaro and EarnKaro team members. In fact, these virtual get-togethers have helped us tackle the work from home barriers and stay connected with one another. We discuss plans for the day and keep each other updated on the progress of the various projects that are going on. The positive vibes and energy exuded in this time help us all start our day with great motivation and some laughs. I host a member from our team every day on #TheCKMorningShow so that everyone can have some fun before the work begins. I try to wrap work up by 7-8 pm and get some fresh air with a late evening walk. I’m a big believer in the power of positivity so I like to start and end my day with positive affirmations. If a day is hectic and I’m feeling too tired, I just close my eyes and remember all the things I’m thankful for. This rejuvenates me mentally and keeps me positive and happy.

How did you land your first job?

My first job at Goldman Sachs began as an internship that turned into a full-time offer after completing my B.Sc. in Mathematics and Economics from The London School of Economics (LSE). I grew up in Ambala, a small town in Haryana, with no idea of what is investment banking, so it was a matter of pride for my family that I started my career in such a prestigious organisation. Thanks to my academic excellence in school, I got offers from Oxford University and LSE, but since LSE offered me a scholarship, I decided to go there. Goldman Sachs would often come on the LSE campus for recruitment and I’m glad I started my career there because it was the best possible place for me to train.

What was a turning point in your career?

The turning point in my career was when Rohan, my husband and Co-Founder, and I decided we wanted to start a business together during our time in London. We were booking tickets for our honeymoon to the Maldives when we received a substantial amount as cashback, and the idea struck. Looking for the best deals when shopping online comes so naturally for online shoppers. We researched thoroughly about the Cashback industry and started our venture, Pouring Pounds in the UK. It received an amazing response which gave us the confidence to bring this concept to India as CashKaro.

What is a mantra that you swear by in your professional or personal life?

I heard this quote once by Rumi–Live life like it’s rigged in your favour. This is my mantra because I believe we must always live knowing that the universe has our back, and then it will!

What are the key skills or qualities that have really helped you succeed?

Running CashKaro and EarnKaro has given me many learnings. Being dedicated, compassionate, driven and tactful are the key qualities (one needs) to succeed. One of the most important things is the ability to evolve. You must be open to change and evolution since that is the only way you can allow yourselves to grow. My most important transformation has been from a manager to a leader. The difference is that one gets tasks done, and the other inspires a whole set of people who can in turn create a legacy.

What has been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

Well, technically there is no bigger professional achievement than having a thriving business! Because it’s a growing business, we have investors, and the team also enjoys seeing the results of their efforts. I have to say though that it’s not possible to have a good business without a great team so being able to put together a team that is happy, and also delivers is probably the achievement I am most proud of.

If you were to give a piece of advice to people who are just starting out, what would it be?

One important piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs would be to stay driven and do whatever they are pursuing with absolute conviction. It’s going to be much harder than you could imagine, but if it was so easy, wouldn’t everyone run a business? Work with patience and persistence, the saying “all good things take time” definitely has merit to it. Don’t let the stressors stray you from your goals.

Top 3 books that changed your life?

In 2010 I read The Secret. It taught me that your thoughts can become things and I learnt that if you visualize what you want, see things you want as already yours – they will actually become yours. This changed how I went about my daily life. In the same vein, I also enjoyed Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein. Lastly, Jim Collins’ Good to Great remains a favourite as well.

And lastly, how do you unwind?

Spending quality time with my family, travelling, and shopping are the best ways I get myself to unwind and relax. Just playing with my nephew Rio and niece Aneira works like a charm! A getaway once every few months helps me stay productive. And of course, everyone needs some retail therapy from time to time and given the amazing Cashback deals on CashKaro, I enjoy shopping from different brands!