Having a solid supporting cast is always important, and the people you surround yourself with can be a major key to your development and success. From the fundamental lessons of our childhoods to top tier business professionals, those who influence us help dictate the direction we are heading in life.
Minal and Shahil met as undergrads at Berkeley and are both award winning choreographers. They built their business around their love for dance and exercise, and even made it to the semi-finals on America’s Got Talent. Minal went to Harvard Business School and worked at Amazon prior to founding BollyX, while Shahil actually dropped out of his MBA program at MIT to join Minal on founding the project. They now have over 300 instructors and trainees spreading the BollyX love all over the country. You can check out their website to find a class near you!
This episode is deep in the process and mindset of believing in yourself and working with like-minded dreamers. We get into the motivation and tactics behind designing a team that will allow you to turn your passion into a business.
The road is never easy, but Minal and Shahil are certainly helping us skip a few grades with their experiences. 🙂
To defeat Godzilla with their talents…
- Minal: “I would rally the powers of teamwork and build an army. We would go out there and conquer this beast together.”
- Shahil: “With BollyX-ing. We will get Godzilla to dance BollyX with us.”
- A great success is basically a bunch of small, unglamorous tasks that you do everyday.
- Passion can only get you so far.
- Surround yourself with people who lift you and encourage you.
- Every failure is one step nearer to the big win.
- Biopage in BollyX Website
- Media: Team Aao Na from UC Berkeley’s Hindi Film Dance Competition (2005)
- Media: Performing Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho” on NBC’s America’s Got Talent
- Ishaara on America’s Got Talent
- 7:40: Minal grew up in a big Indian community in South California where cultural dances were popular. She tells of how, at age 3, she was already dancing and how at a very young age she was already joining local dance competitions. She talks of how Bollywood became so big when she was in college. Bollywood is to India as Hollywood is to America. Listen as Minal gives an astonishing description of a Bollywood film.
- 10:55: Shahil talks about how he, a two left feet guy, good in singing, better at sports, became outstanding in dancing. In fact, he excelled so much in dancing that he became the team captain and led his school team into sweeping 7 big wins in 2 years.
- 13:02: Shahil talks about how he fared in America’s Got Talent 2009. This was also the year when Slum Dog Millionaire, a Bollywood film, made it big. This was a record of sorts for Bollywood dance. This was the first time it gained international recognition and Shahil was a part of it. Being passionately involved in sports also, Shahil tells of how he integrated Bollywood dancing (an Indian heritage) and fitness (an American preoccupation) into BollyX – a modern dance form that creatively incorporates all the exercise moves necessary for fitness. Minal explains how her love for sports also (she was into synchronized swimming for 10 years) drew her to BollyX .Listen to her talk and hear how she totally sees Shahil’s dream and get to understand how good they are as a team.
- 18:02: Listen as Shahil and Minal tell about the phenomenal growth and acceptance of BollyX .They talk of the totally surreal experience of seeing a dream become real because of their passion and hard work. Listen to how they differentiate an idea from a business plan. They also tell of how they built BollyX into the business it is today. Understand how the correct brew of right contacts, knowledge and preparedness can turn an idea into something as solid as a business venture.
- 23:02: Shahil tells of how he makes a viable business model. He has a vision and from that vision he goes down into the nitty gritty details of its value to people, how many people and how will the execution of it go.
- 26:00: Minal explains how to get ideas off the ground. She advises to first surround yourself with supportive people. You will realize just how these two complement each other: Shahil with the previously two left feet explains how Minal’s positive attitude worked for him.
- 31:00: Listen as the three of us share our daily habits – the ordinary but absolutely energizing and great pick-me-ups that we three practice and find soworthwhile as we go through the daily grind.
- 35:00: Shahil shares the hardest part of putting up a business. How do you convince people to get onboard with you? It is always good when we already have a track record with the numbers showing profit. But all businesses have to start somewhere – with no track record yet. Shahil shares his experience of how it was for them when they were starting out. How they were constantly second guessing themselves every time someone says, “No.”
- 40:57: Minal talks about importance of establishing a trend and the role of feedback and data gathering. She talks about the key of expanding a business. She explains how the core values of BollyX have been the one positive point that people see.
- 44:19: Listen to Minal as she goes down memory lane and narrates how they started out. How exhilarating it was to start BollyX and how the small number of people they were able to convince to attend for a dollar just kept on growing. Contrast it to Shahil’s view of how it was then at 35:00 and see more evidence of how these two complement each other.
- 51:53: Shahil shares details of how it was in “America’s Got Talent”. Do you know how many applicants there are initially? According to Shahil about 200,000 and the first elimination narrows it down to 200 or a measly .01%. Listen to Shahil’s amazing perspective of the grueling competition and you will respect the analytical mind behind the passion for BollyX.