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Use Your Day Job To Launch A Portfolio Career

Indy Hothi

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Use Your Day Job To Launch A Portfolio Career

Indy Hothi


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Indy Hothi
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About Indy Hothi

The BAE HQ welcomes Indy Hothi, the co-founder of Future Arc, Behind The Netra, and Masonwood Group. He's also the President of ICAS and a former emergency director/COO of Khalsa Aid.

Indy got his love of entrepreneurship from helping his dad on a market stall but initially went down the corporate route at EY. Here he was an influential intrapreneur particularly around diversity efforts and arts patronage. After marrying his wife (and previous The BAE HQ podcast guest!) Jaspreet Kaur, he decided to become a full time entrepreneur.

Indy talks about the importance of working with amazing people to amplify your ability to impact in the areas you care about. He manages to juggle so many different roles he loves because of this ability!

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Show Notes

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Indy Hothi Full Transcript

Indy Hothi: [00:00:00] My youngest self could see me now. He would be perplexed. He'd be like, what the hell are you doing? And it's definitely what I call a portfolio career. So Carl's a director COO to help run, run the charity consulting business. So future art consulting, the president of ICAS, co founded a business with my wife, patron of the arts, and we've worked on many projects and I've worked on many projects at EY, Masonwood group is a real estate

Indy Hothi: group. And again, it was just working with some fantastic people. It wasn't me on my own. They'll add my sort of co leads with me. If you're thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, go out and actually do it.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ podcast, where we interview inspiring British Asians from all different fields about how they achieved their success and what they're up to now. Today, we have with us Indy Hothi, who's the president of ICAS, the founder of FutureArc. Masonwood Group and BTN Media. Say hi to everyone.

Indy Hothi: Hi, lovely to be here. I'm looking forward to the [00:01:00] conversation that follows. 

Amardeep Parmar: So that introduction there was quite difficult because you've done so many different things and I had to try to make sure I didn't mess anything up. And you didn't start this way, right? You started at EY and then you moved on to doing different things.

Amardeep Parmar: But when you were a kid, when you were growing up, did you ever believe you'd be doing what you are now that you'd have such a wide experience? 

Indy Hothi: Really good question. And, uh, very well done on getting all of the organizational names right first time. A huge kudos to that. Um, if I go back to when I was a kid, and my younger self could see me now, he would be perplexed.

Indy Hothi: He'd be like, what the hell are you doing? I think my scope, my aperture of ambition back when I was a child was quite narrow. And that was a product of my own thinking and the environment I was around. So I think my younger self would just be mind blown in terms of everything that I'm, that I'm doing currently.

Amardeep Parmar: What was  that mindset you had? Obviously you went into EY, so you went into a professional background. Was that, when you were growing up, that's what you thought, okay, this is the path, this is what I [00:02:00] have to do? Well, where did that come about from? 

Indy Hothi: You know, it's very much a, you know, it's a first generation migrant mentality that many South Asians and many British Asians could probably relate to.

Indy Hothi: But my family very much focused on education and education being a driver of social mobility. So it was always around a big focus on education as a young kid, I just realized I was very good. at, you know, maths. I was very good at economics. So that's starting to lead me to a career down finance. But I also always had a creative and entrepreneurial streak in me.

Indy Hothi: I mean, I spent most of my evenings and weekends with my dad on market stalls. You know, he was doing markets and car boots and always laugh and say, you know, we didn't even fit the traditional Indian stereotype of corner shop, right? We didn't have a corner shop. But for me, that was quite pivotal in my upbringing as well, because it's a very sort of, entrepreneurial or wheeler dealer or Antiques Roadshow esque environment and I grew up in that and that was quite formative.

Indy Hothi: And so naturally progressed [00:03:00] into sort of finance, financial services, accounting, that felt like a very stable career. It's a very A very common career route for many Asians, right? You've got the element of stability, you've got the element of structure and I very much went into, went into that space. 

Amardeep Parmar: So do you think you grew your confidence from working on this market source and being able to put yourself out there?

Amardeep Parmar: Cause obviously as you're growing up, you have to talk to customers all the time and like promote what you're doing and like close the deals. Did that give you that confidence that you then took on to? 

Indy Hothi: Most definitely because it's always about engaging with people and I remember, you know, I was a little bit of a shy kid, but that that very quickly got that shyness out of you because you're constantly engaging with people and you're engaging with different types of people and people from all walks of life.

Indy Hothi: And so it just instilled some of that confidence. I had many other sort of part time summer jobs as a kid as well, and all of them involved human interaction, which are hugely valued. today because it's a sort of cornerstone of my personality in the way I operate, but sometimes very easily forgotten of terms of where you've accumulated or [00:04:00] built those skills from. 

Amardeep Parmar: With my story. Right. So I started writing when I was 28 and I did pretty well pretty quickly and people will see it as like overnight success story, but I didn't believe that at all because what it actually is, all the skills I built over that were seemingly completely irrelevant. Turned me into the person I am today, or I was back then, that enabled me to do well quickly.

Amardeep Parmar: And I think a lot of people discount that. They think it's only a matter of your experience in the particular thing you're doing. Well, actually, it's not that at all. Because of what you did at Marketstool, that built the interpersonal skills that you then use in everything else you do. Once you started at EY, you're obviously doing other things on the side.

Amardeep Parmar: So there's caster aid. There's all these other things you had going on. How did you find the time for that? Was it something you wanted to do? Or was it just you fell into all these different other projects on the side? 

Indy Hothi: Sure.  I think once I got into the working environment, I realised I was a little bit different.

Indy Hothi: The way I used to think was very, very different. I was always entrepreneurial in nature, so always had many different side hustles at university. When I got into the working world, I realised very quickly, a lot of people were siloing themselves to a very [00:05:00] specific career trajectory. or sometimes would hang up their authentic selves and bring their sort of work self to work.

Indy Hothi: And I felt to myself, you know, life should be much more holistic. So there were two, two main drivers. One of them was around wanting to give back. And, you know, I lived with my grandmother and the principles of selfless service in our home was very, very strong. And so one of my ideas came about around helping other graduates.

Indy Hothi: I got into EY or got into the big four environment. I feel like I stumbled my way through into that environment. It was very, very challenging. I was at university doing a great financial crash where all of a sudden you had, you know, no job, no, no graduates, uh, graduate programs or firms weren't hiring anymore.

Indy Hothi: So they went from, we're taking on 30 to now we're taking on two, we're taking on 60 people. Now we're taking on four and all of a sudden it's very, very competitive. And I had no awareness of applying to this kind of roles for my parents. It was always, their ambition was you'll be a manager of [00:06:00] something like in a factory or something like that was the, that was the, the scale of their ambition because that was the environment that they were in.

Indy Hothi: And so. Once I got into that environment, I thought to myself, it was really challenging for me. I went to a Russell Group university and I still struggled to just navigate the application process or even have an idea of what I wanted to do. So it was a very simple seed of, I want to do something to give back.

Indy Hothi: So I spoke to our graduate recruitment team, said, look, I want to reach out to, um, non target universities and I want to reach out to societies and networks that you're not reaching. So, you know, South Asian societies, black, Afro Caribbean societies, and try and communicate with them, uh, around opportunities in this, in this space.

Indy Hothi: If they wanted to go down this career path, I then connected with one of our, some of our diversity networks, Sikh networks, et cetera, and held a number of these events. And it was something that was just, I was passionate about. I felt that the firm could help me with that. So that was one area. And then another area was the arts.

Indy Hothi: I was always very passionate about the arts. I mean, I spent between university and working at [00:07:00] UI, I spent a year, um, competing in martial arts and doing other, many other things traveling. 

Amardeep Parmar:  Which martial art did you do?

Indy Hothi:  It was in Muay Thai. So I lived in Thailand for quite some time, competed there.

Amardeep Parmar: My  background is in karate.

Amardeep Parmar: So I just say. 

Indy Hothi: Oh, okay. Yeah. Nice to meet another martial artist.

There's a, there's a foundation of the way we operate, right? And then I was in America doing the same thing. But one of the things when I was in Thailand, I lived with a local family. One of the, one of the young kids in that family, long story short, was an artist.

Indy Hothi: Sadly, the family didn't appreciate arts as a viable career. And it's a very typical story amongst many immigrant families, uh, especially here in the UK. But it's also, you know, cognizant of many other cultures that don't always value arts and culture. And I said to my, I said to him one day that, you know, I'd find a way to help you.

Indy Hothi: So that was a sort of another seed that was planted. And when I was in EY. They were the largest art sponsor in the UK, so they sponsored the major galleries, et cetera. And again, I said to myself, if you, if EY sponsored, sponsors arts at this macro level, what are you doing to support emerging artists? [00:08:00] So again, went through my passion.

Indy Hothi: So a very long way of answering your question. I had other interest areas, which I try to then bring into the fold of my workplace, my environment, and try to understand how could I link them in. To what I was doing. How could that be relevant for the organization? How could that benefit society? And how could I kind of learn, learn in that environment?

Indy Hothi: So it's a win win for all, all stakeholders and parties. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And it's something which I think a lot of people don't consider enough, right? Is that especially for one of these massive companies, they've got so many resources, sometimes it's not that they to do with them, but they don't necessarily know what some of the problems are out there that their money could help and their time and their, their reach, right?

Amardeep Parmar: And. If you are at a big company right now, why don't you think you can think about these kind of problems rather than think I need to do this by myself. You think, Oh, I can get my employer involved. I can get people from other companies involved because obviously what you did for the EYC network, you're also [00:09:00] talking to people from other companies and other backgrounds and building that society in that community that was helping people.

Amardeep Parmar: And you were there for several years, right? And then eventually you decided to go off on your own and do your own thing. Well, not your own thing, your own most multiple things. What was that triggering point? What made you decide, okay, now this is the right time for me to leave. And become a full time entrepreneur?

Indy Hothi: Yeah, sure. I think I'll answer the first part of your question. I mean, in the context of EY, then went on to, uh, co run and co lead the EY Sikh Network, which was a diversity and inclusiveness network. And to your point, it's just an allocation of capital and resources to something that has a social purpose.

Indy Hothi: I ended up leading that network. It became one of the largest internal employee networks after the EY Women's Network at the time. And I remember people were just like, what's happening here? Because the Sikh community is a very small proportion of the employee base at EY. But what we were doing, we were looking at, we were looking at sort of the conversation on faith under the Eden Islands from a [00:10:00] very different way.

Indy Hothi: We're looking at arts and culture as a vehicle for communication. We're doing a lot of outreach, and it was quite unique at that at that time. And again, it was just working with some fantastic people. It wasn't me on my own. I had my sort of co leads with me and the wider team that we brought together that shared that values through values and purpose.

Indy Hothi: And the firm did too as well. It was all, it was all about creating a, an inclusive workplace and share and sharing arts and culture and using that as a vehicle. So that really, um, created lots of opportunities for me wider and really opened my, I guess my awareness to how you can link, um, initiatives within an organization.

Indy Hothi: So, and that all comes under the banner of intrapreneurship to ask, answer your question of then, you know, what was the trigger point to strike it on my own in the world of entrepreneurship? You know, that was really interesting. I ended up, um, I always knew I was entrepreneurial. And I always knew I wanted to build something.

Indy Hothi: I just enjoy seeing something [00:11:00] grow from an idea to something physical, something real or an output. Right. And I ended up doing a master's in entrepreneurship first. I think the South Asian that sort of leans in on education or takes comfort in education, thought to myself, I can get some grounding in this space.

Indy Hothi: And it's really interesting because sometimes you think, sometimes you, people ask, can you even teach entrepreneurship? But there's a whole body of academic research and thought behind that. So I ended up going to the Judge Business School and did a post grad course there in entrepreneurship that gave me some confidence.

Indy Hothi: At the same time, I'd met my now wife, Jasperie. Um, we had got engaged and about to get married. And one of the things we decided to do in that, that process was, instead of doing the whole big fat Indian wedding. Um, we wanted to focus on what was important to us. And that was the actual, the wedding ceremony or the Sikh wedding ceremony in Nandgaraj because we felt that was actually the focal point.

Indy Hothi: And we just felt culturally, sometimes our community had lost focus on that. [00:12:00] And the other thing that was really important to us, and this is the conversation we had on the first day we ever met, um, was around traveling. And I'd experienced it spending a year in Southeast Asia, in North America, South America, already after university and recognized the benefit it gave me of just opening my worldview and we both really, really connected on that point.

Indy Hothi: So what we ended up doing was spending 12 months traveling and backpacking around the world. In terms of the trigger point, I think that was really interesting because it took a sabbatical from EY, so I had planned to come back actually, but we spent a lot of time, you know, talking, discussing ideas. And one of the exam questions we had during that year was, you know, how will we integrate our lives and how will we create an intentional life that, that aligns to our values and what we want to do?

Indy Hothi: And what I found was really interesting during that year away, I had an opportunity to decompress, so I'm sure a lot of people will resonate, especially with those in a corporate environment, right? You're always on the go. You're always super busy. You're [00:13:00] dealing with things on a day to day basis. Um, you're always focusing on the next project, the next career move, whatever have you.

Indy Hothi: That's great. And that's very ambitious. But what I found sort of spending time away, especially after month three, your mind decompresses to a point where you start to think about things at a macro level at a long and have a longer term view without too many external influences. And then we start to think about ideas, what we wanted to build for ourselves in terms of our lives, the business ideas that we had and trying to think about in a holistic view in terms of the lifestyles we wanted to to lead and the kind of family environment we wanted to be in.

Indy Hothi: So that was a real catalyst moment. So as soon as we got back off that 12 months, we both knew we wanted to start a business, start businesses, actually a number of different areas and create this sort of holistic environment where we're working together. As a, as a team for the benefit of our families and our family environment, but also to the advancement of each of our own skills and leveraging each of our own [00:14:00] skills and strengths as well.

Indy Hothi: So that was the, that was a real, that was a real springboard for us. 

Amardeep Parmar: You touched  on a few points here as well. And it's like I said about the entrepreneurship stuff as well, is that sometimes it's like not everybody is right to be an entrepreneur. Sometimes it is better that they want to be inside a company and innovating there.

Amardeep Parmar: And not one is better than the other as well. And sometimes I think there's this, it's we're promoting entrepreneurship here and we're promoting people to go and do their own thing, but it can be on the side of work. It can be as part of work. It's about how can you do something different? That's going to help people and add value to people's lives.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's all this is about at the end of the day, right? Is how do you make other people's lives better? And that could be for your own business. It could be for charity. It could be at your company. And like we said, they're about that because you obviously showed that your work at EY and they supported you really helped.

Amardeep Parmar: So it doesn't need to be this idea of you need to quit your job and do whatever it's when it's right for you. And I'm very jealous of you traveling for 12 months around the world. I've done quite a lot of travel myself for the pandemic, but I've always wanted to have that, that [00:15:00] longer term break in a way.

Amardeep Parmar: And it's like I said, a lot of people don't get this opportunity because I talked to many people who are still in corporate jobs. And they're always really busy and all like they stress out was busy season. It does seem like to me, it's always busy season for people. Um, some of the corporate roles and it's different with me now, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Because I work myself, I am busy and I've got a never ending to do list. And that's the difference of when it's working for me is that anything I don't do is stopping my own goal or was slowing down my own goals, but I always make time to make sure that I have this space and to meet people and to make time for people because at the end of the day, to me, that's what's really important is the people around me and there's relationships and that's what gives me the most value in life.

Amardeep Parmar: And. When you came back from your travels, how, how was that initial process of building the companies? Was it because you already had some stuff from before on the side, but [00:16:00] was it scary? Were you like, at that point you got back, you were just so confident what you're doing. You knew the alignment within yourself that this was the right thing to do.

Amardeep Parmar: Or was there still that moment of, like I said, where you got a degree before you went into entrepreneurship of, do I still just stick with my, my career. Do I still stick with the mainstream idea? How much doubt did you have? 

Indy Hothi: So when I, when I got back, when we got back from sort of 12 months of traveling, we were quite clear, actually.

Indy Hothi: So at that point, a lot of confidence in terms of direction we wanted to go in. And interestingly enough, the three business areas were, you know, were different stages of maturity. Um, But most of them didn't have too much sort of credentials or experience on the back end. It was, it was experience and credentials.

Indy Hothi: We both carried as individuals. So it was a little bit daunting, but I think the educational sort of rigor gave me that confidence and just my experience. And I think just having not been sort of drowned out by external influences or just the day to day grind, we came back really enthused. So no doubt.

Indy Hothi: And to your point, you know, I think [00:17:00] entrepreneurship sometimes over glamorized and there's so many different vehicles for having creating a living that lies to your values and being innovative and disruptive, whether that's in an organization, creating your own organization on the public sector, not for profit sector.

Indy Hothi: However, uh, For us, we've felt entrepreneurship or setting up our own businesses were the starting point. So actually at the beginning, it was really exciting. We had set up a consulting business. So future arc consulting, which was with a number of sort of former colleagues in the big four environment. So I met, met them through sort of shared networks of colleagues and friends.

Indy Hothi: So what, uh, so my co founders, Wyndham Plumptre and, uh, Dave McGehee, we, we, we met. We had the shared vision of what consulting and what digital transformation could look like. And we set off for our first client project. So that was really, really exciting. 

Amardeep Parmar: Can you explain what FutureArc does for the people listening who maybe aren't familiar with it?

Indy Hothi: Sure. It's a, we are a boutique strategy consulting firm that supports clients with this, what we say is a coming digital [00:18:00] economy, right? And so supporting clients in the public sector, private sector. Uh, to understand, um, digital transformation and digital technologies. But within us as an organization, we really believe in the talent of people and the power of people and of entrepreneurship.

Indy Hothi: So our model is quite different in the sense of we've got a consulting part of our business, but we've also got a venturing part of our business where every year we spin out, Hey, start up a venture. So our consultants also get an opportunity to work on an entrepreneurial venture idea. It's a really exciting environment, really innovative environment.

Indy Hothi: And the big focus for us, the organization is on leveraging and supporting talent development, talent of people, and how do you really give them the breadth of experience and training to be the best versions of themselves? So that's the vision to do things in a very different way.

Indy Hothi: Entrepreneurial way, but give you consulting experience and entrepreneurship experience. And this is a huge value to our clients as well, because, you know, they'll work [00:19:00] with us and recognize we bring something completely different to the table and our on our people operate in a very different way, very innovative way, and we can help them solve some of the issues that they're facing.

Amardeep Parmar: So you've  also got testimonial memory here, you've got Masonwood Group, and obviously you work with your wife Jaspreet about behind the Netra. So could you give us the lowdown on all of those briefly? And then I'm going to ask you how you manage all of that because it seems like a lot. 

Indy Hothi: Yeah. Some  very good and pertinent questions.

Indy Hothi: I think if I give you the overarching view, I mean, me and Jaspreet decided to go down this route. We thought about our lives and how we want to structure it. So there was a big part of myself enjoying the advisory environment. I moved into consultancy. I enjoyed supporting clients solve challenging issues and also working with some great people.

Indy Hothi: And so I felt that that would be a great area to continue. And I met like minded people in that space and wanted to grow that consulting business. So that's one part of the puzzle. And that was very, very much [00:20:00] for, you know, uh, me leveraging my existing skills from a big four environment and actually doing something slightly differently.

Indy Hothi: I felt the industry needed to change it, innovate a little bit. So that was that space. Another area was arts. And that's how me and Jaspreet met. She's a fantastic teacher, but also a spoken word poet writer. And I always valued the power of the Um, creative industry in the arts. And I see myself as a patron of the arts and we worked on many projects and I've worked on many projects at EY and many other different guys in my non-exec roles.

Indy Hothi: And we both said we can make something of this. We can do something to help people and use art as a medium to support emerging artists. So we set up that business with the aim and hope of, of launching Jaspreet's career first, using that as an example, and then to help. other emerging artists. So that's been a fantastic experience.

Indy Hothi: You know, I've co founded a business with my wife and it's opened up a whole new aspect to our relationship because we get to work together. Um, and I appreciate her so much more [00:21:00] because I get to see her in a very different way and we work together. Right. So that's been a beautiful experience and we've got to work on some really exciting projects and I've got to support her and fulfilling one of her dreams, which was to become an author and navigating.

Indy Hothi: I guess the commercial side. And I brought that piece of how do we pitch an idea? How do we mold the idea? And how do I work with creative to think about the broader strategy vision, but also the sort of operational day to day. So bringing my consultancy experience there. Masonwood Group is a real estate group.

Indy Hothi: We help with the design, build, construction. We work with investors. We work with homeowners. And again, I've had some experience in that space. My father was involved and dabbled in property a little bit. Um, but that's a, that's a business that I run with two other co-founders, um, Kam Chhokar, who leads a construction business and Gurveer Choda, who leads our design business.

Indy Hothi: And again, had a, we recognized, and this is for my sort of own financial literacy, another part to our business was, [00:22:00] you know, I want to make sure we're always investing. I am completely bought into equities and investing in equities, but also recognize that real estate is a very, very important vehicle where we can add our own value.

Indy Hothi: But also I could, I could flex some of my, um, design. Um, um, design experience. 

Amardeep Parmar: Where did the design experience  come into it? Because if you were working at EY, a lot of people don't naturally associate that with design and architecture. 

Indy Hothi: Yeah. And that was just through our own homes. Um, my, my, my father had a few rental properties over the years.

Indy Hothi: I would think about sort of, you know, design aesthetic. How can you create some home that is someone's proud to be in and wants to be in? And so you pick up so many different design aspects and also in consultancy, a lot about how you present ideas. It's about the design, how you communicate. So there's a lot of crossover, right?

Indy Hothi: Um, and so I would very much say I'm a hobbyist in that space. If you speak to Gurveer or you speak to Cam, they do this day in, day out, But ultimately, it's a [00:23:00] piece around financial independence, financial literacy, and I felt I can add value in the real estate space as an investment class in equities because I just wanted to invest, um, in sort of passive low index funds.

Indy Hothi: I recognize I want got to be in the market. I'm not trying to beat the market. So that was my my thought process. And the final piece of the puzzle is also my non executive career. So my non executive career with Carl to aid as a, as a trustee, my non executive career with ICAS on their council, and now the president of ICAS, which effectively means I represent the profession, the accountancy profession more broadly, but I'm also chairman of the board of, of, of, of our council.

Indy Hothi: And that gave me a whole new perspective on how organizations are run and the importance of governance within organizations. So there's many different aspects to my life now, and all these businesses are different stages of maturity. And it's definitely what I call a portfolio career. So portfolio [00:24:00] interest in different areas that I get to grow and build, um, over time.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And all of that sounds insane. It doesn't seem like one person can do all of that. And also, as you mentioned, you've got different co founders and the different projects that help out. But where would you say, do you have a, average week split or is it like all over the place? Like one week is how you focus on this business.

Amardeep Parmar: Next week is how you focus on that business. And it really kind of depends on what's going on. How do you, how, how does somebody live a life where they've got all of these different roles and also making sure that you're bringing your full self to them and making sure you're present? 

Indy Hothi: So really good question.

Indy Hothi: And I think it's a balance and I'm still on that journey. The first few years, you know, Um, I, I focus on some businesses more than others and I take that spotlight approach. So I might look at a year or a period of two years and say, well, these two ventures or these two businesses, I'm going to have, you know, 80% focus.

Indy Hothi: I try not to split my days because I think life doesn't work like that to say, well, Mondays I work on this business and Thursdays I work on that business. I don't think it necessarily works like that, but there's a spotlight of [00:25:00] focus that I can, that I need to employ. So that's number one. Number two, you've got to have a lot of discipline.

Indy Hothi: You've got to have discipline with your time and with your calendar. And I think that's, you know, some of the learning foundational learnings come from my time at EY in the corporate world. You know, you're very disciplined with your time. You're working to deadlines. Got targets, you very clear on what the outcome is.

Indy Hothi: So that's helped me massively in terms of how I structure my meetings, structure my time. I think third and probably the most important is working with like minded people and working with really talented people. You've seen every single venture I've mentioned, I'm working with other people that are absolutely fantastic and leaders and what they do.

Indy Hothi: So in future rock, you've got, we've got Wyndham, you've got Dave who are inspirational leaders in their own right. Wyndham is a truly free thinker, very, very lateral thinker and is leading the business and the ventures in into some great places. And Dave is a [00:26:00] great people leader and he's been building really high, you know, really powerful, high impact teams within, within the organization.

Indy Hothi: You've got Jaspreet, who's an inspirational individual. I would say that she's my wife. 

Amardeep Parmar: She also called you the  greatest feminist she knows.

Indy Hothi: Oh, wow. That's, that's, that's a, that's a, that's a great title, but she's honestly one of the most inspirational people I've ever worked with. And it's a pleasure to be working with, with your, with, with your wife.

Indy Hothi: And I, and I'm so, so, so glad to be working with her on a daily basis. On Masonwood. I work with Kamand Gurveer, who are amazing with people who, who, who can deliver projects into high pressure. Kamis fantastic at doing that. He's great working with people, building out designs, making people's dreams come to reality and Gurveer, it's just so fantastic.

Indy Hothi: He is an absolute wizard when it comes to design and coming up with really creative ways and thinking, thinking really thoughtfully about how people live and creating spaces [00:27:00] that are not just beautiful, but are designed exquisitely well. So you've seen all these spaces. You cannot do this alone. If I wanted to build a portfolio, create someone thinking about, about it.

Indy Hothi: And they've got multiple interests. I would really think about joint venturing or partnering or working with people that share your values and building it that way. 

Amardeep Parmar: So some people listening right now might be like, that sounds great, but how do I find these people? How do I find the right co-founder to run my business with?

Amardeep Parmar: And well, one of us is very lucky because it's your wife. So some people might not have that. But the other people, you said you worked with them before, but let's say somebody who doesn't have that background, maybe they haven't met anybody that in their lives already they want to be a co-founder with.

Amardeep Parmar: What advice would you give them? How would they try to find that person? 

Indy Hothi: Sure. And I think, um, and I, and I take this from the learnings of entrepreneurship. There's no such thing as luck, but there's serendipity. Serendipity is sometimes people say you're the right place at the right time. That's not lucky.

Indy Hothi: You've put yourself in that. So you've given yourself the exam question that sits in your [00:28:00] subconscious. I'm thinking about starting a business here. I'm trying to find a co-founder who has these skills or has these values. Great. And then you've got to put yourself in those environments where you might find someone like that.

Indy Hothi: And it's very easy to say networking, right? But it's much broader. You've, you've got to look in those spaces where those people are, you know, where you've got those interests. So for example, in the consultancy environment, it was just, I'd always be open to having conversations with people that I've worked with, or go to events that are relevant to that area of expertise.

Indy Hothi: And I just met people. Wyndham I, I hadn't actually worked with, he was a friend of a friend. And we had a conversation about it. You know, our thoughts in the consulting industry, we had a coffee, we had, we, we, we shared thoughts around what does the future development people look like? And we ended up working from there.

Indy Hothi: And that's an interesting example. So I think you've got to put yourself out there, but you've got to have the exam question in the back of your mind. And it's amazing what your subconscious will, will, will do and help you with. As soon as you have a conversation, you realize, well, actually, yeah. We share, we [00:29:00] share values here.

Indy Hothi: Let's, let's maybe try working on a small project together. For example, the last piece of sort of operational advices in that space would be, don't just jump straight in and say, we're going to start a business together. Maybe work on something on a bit smaller scale. Maybe it's a small project. Maybe it's a charitable project, or maybe it's just a little side project that you guys both want to work on and build that relationship from there.

Indy Hothi: 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And one of the things we're going to be doing as well. is hosting our own events to try to get people to meet these kinds of people. And I think the best thing to do is you're meeting people because you just find them interesting or because you want to learn from them and then later on down the line, because you've met all these interesting people, that would be the perfect person to start business with.

Amardeep Parmar: And I think you can do that well in advance before you actually have your idea of what your business to be. You do that work early. You meet people, you meet interesting people, you put yourself out there. So that when it comes time to like, okay, I'm ready to do my own business or my own side venture, you've already got those people in your life, rather than waiting until having the perfect [00:30:00] idea, because you can relate to each other on your values rather than necessarily the final idea.

Indy Hothi: Completely agree. So I was going to jump in and say, I wonder one of the big learnings for me when I went on the entrepreneurship course was this whole piece around, you know, you're not that mad scientist is working on this idea and isolation in your room, and it's got to be perfect before you put it out there.

Indy Hothi: Actually, you got to talk to people about what you do, share your vision. And actually, that's how ideas form. Ideas aren't aren't aren't created in a vacuum and developed in a vacuum. I think that sometimes there's a perception of, well, someone's going to steal my ideas. It's, it's, it's, it's so important.

Indy Hothi: The reality is someone's probably already thought about the idea. It's about the execution. It's about the people that come together. So to your point, I think perfectionism is a very dangerous road, um, to go down. It's, it's just about getting started and building that momentum, which is probably much more important.

Amardeep Parmar: So I could talk to you  for hours, but I can see the clock and I'm trying to make sure I, I touched on this as well. It's your work with Khalsa Aid because obviously they're huge in our [00:31:00] community and what they've done around the world. And if anybody listening hasn't heard of them yet, which I don't know how that would happen, but it's going to be people out there maybe don't know about the work you've done there and the work that the team is doing.

Amardeep Parmar: Could you just touch on that and like how amazing it must be to know you've had a small part in what they've achieved and what they're doing around the world.

Indy Hothi: Yeah, sure. So, I mean, Khalsa Aid, for those who aren't aware, is a humanitarian NGO that provides humanitarian aid in disaster zones and civil conflict zones.

Indy Hothi: And they are based on the Sikh principle of recognizing the whole human race as one, sorry. So not there to propagate the faith, but actually share the, live the values of the faith of recognising human race as one and supporting people regardless of their background, caste, color, gender, creed, faith, beliefs, whatever.

Indy Hothi: We're there to help people when they need it the most. And we deliver humanitarian aid with compassion. So my journey with them, I got involved as a volunteer. I then very quickly became a [00:32:00] trustee, recognizing that some of the skills I had as a professional in strategy in finance was was important at a governance level, so I've been a trustee with them for about 5, 6 years and supported their some of their strategic growth and humanitarian operations.

Indy Hothi: I've then had a very interesting journey with them, actually working as a director. So I'm not I'm talked about this much in the public domain. But in 2020, the founder and current CEO Ravi Singh had to get a kidney transplant surgery and was undergoing that. So I had come in as sort of a interim director CEO to help run run the charity.

Indy Hothi: And that was a very, very different experience. So all of a sudden now I'm here supporting the operations and the running of this charity, working on finance, sort of back, uh, back office operations, let's say, sort of marketing comms and the infrastructure and building sort of a high performance team there and working with a fantastic individual, Gurpreet Singh, or calling Gursevik Singh, who leads all the [00:33:00] humanitarian, uh, aid operations and working with all the international chapters.

Indy Hothi: And that's been a wonderful experience. In many different ways, it's opened my eyes to the importance of humanitarian aid invention, intervention, sorry. It's opened my eyes to the power of delivering humanitarian aid with compassion. The, the importance of fostering and building relationships at short notice, you know, there could be a disaster in a country that we've not operated in.

Indy Hothi: We've got to build relationships with the government, with key stakeholders, the community and deliver aid all within hours, you know, space of hours. So you're working two minutes. And so it's really highlighted the importance of that and allowed me to give back throughout my career because I always felt quite uncomfortable with this view in the corporate world of, you know, you become a success, you make your money or whatever, and then you give back.

Indy Hothi: And I thought to myself, well, no, you should be giving back throughout, right? And that was my way to get involved. And during my time at the directors, it was, um, probably one of the most [00:34:00] challenging times, you know, working through the pandemic, but also giving back so much. And we, you know, you're in the eye of the storm of the COVID 19 pandemic and the charity supporting local councils, the NHS and providing aid in the UK.

Indy Hothi: And then all of a sudden with the farmers' protest and, and, you know, supporting our class aid team in India, but also supporting that protest. So being in the absolute midst of all of this, you know, activism that's going on. And then with the oxygen crisis in India and this showing the power of communities collaborating.

Indy Hothi: And so we had people donating oxygen concentrators that were being shipped out. Virgin Atlantic British Airways had given the free cargo space to ship those concentrators out. And then the Indian government was supporting us in terms of getting those through customs and out and cleared within hours.

Indy Hothi: And that was a great example of sort of cross, cross sector collaboration, private sector, public sector, governments and the community coming together [00:35:00] for the greater good. 

Amardeep Parmar: You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to get on for an episode just about Khalsa Aid as well. You've done so much already and there's all these different projects you're working on, but what's exciting you most of the moment is anything in the future that's coming that maybe you can give us a sneak peek about.

Indy Hothi: Probably the most exciting thing, and this is a big part of me thinking about my life holistically, is our first child, um, that, that, that's on the way. So first baby coming in spring 2023 and opening up exciting new chapter for me and my wife and our wider family and parenthood. So You know, a lot of what I've done in my workspace is centered around, you know, our, our family environment going forward.

Indy Hothi: So that's probably the most pivotal time in my life. And probably the most important job, uh, that'll be, that'll be taking on. 

Amardeep Parmar: Oh yeah. That's beautiful. It's like, we obviously have, we've had Jaspreet on the podcast as well. So it's like lovely to get you both on together and hear both your stories and how you're such a supportive relationship and you help each other grow and to achieve whatever you want to achieve.

Amardeep Parmar: And we're getting to the final few minutes now. And what I'm going to [00:36:00] ask you is. Who are three people you want to shout out who haven't already shouted out? So not only your co founders, we know you're going to shout out Jaspreet. So we'll skip her. Is there three other people you give? 

Indy Hothi: Well, gotta be clear.I would definitely shout out Jaspreet if I had the option. Um, that's cheating though now. There's lots of people to shout out. I think one person that springs to mind is Azadvir Singh from Wootz. He's a co founder of Wootz, and he currently works with Khalsa Aid, a fantastic, fantastic creative in his own right.

Indy Hothi: So a huge shout out to him. Another huge shout out to Ravi Singh, who's the founder and CEO of Khalsa Aid. He's made an incredible difference to so many people's lives around the world and really has shown. Uh, what compassion and love can do in the power of compassion and love in an environment where I think society is lacking that sometimes. And the third person, I'd like to shout out and I'm going to break the rules, but I think is his Kam Chhokar at Mason because he's a great individual.

Indy Hothi: He's he's building a construction business. That's just different. That's just thinking [00:37:00] about things in a different way and working with clients in a really unique and to give him a shout out. 

Amardeep Parmar: Awesome. So we really want to build community here through the BAE HQ. What's something that people listening right now can message you about, slide into your DMs or with LinkedIn or wherever it would be.

Amardeep Parmar: What should they ask you about? What can they come to you for help about?

Indy Hothi: Yeah, sure. So I mean, if anyone wants to reach out, one thing I'm always passionate about is supporting emerging and developing creatives. So I can help in just talking about strategies, thinking about structure, thinking about finances, operations, I'll be more than happy to help.

Amardeep Parmar: Awesome. And then to flip that around, what's something you need help with right now? What are you looking for? What's something you want to learn about or you need help with? 

Indy Hothi: Sure. That's a, that's a really good question. I think, and I think an area that would love to get some support, insight or advice would be around the, the landscape of TV production and TV financing, uh, which gives away some, some of the areas I'm working on currently, but it's a really exciting [00:38:00] space.

Indy Hothi: Uh, And I would love for anyone who's got any insight or experience in that space to, to reach out. 

Amardeep Parmar: I've got somebody for you on that. They'll tell you about afterwards, but it's been a pleasure to talk to you today. And like I said, we're going to get you on again because it's an amazing conversation. And I feel like there's so many more areas we can touch, but do you have any final words for the audience?

Indy Hothi: Some final words is. If you're thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, go out and actually do it. You know, mindset around this can be really challenging, can be really scary. But as soon as you start taking some of those first steps, you realize that it was all in your, it's all in your head. It's all about just taking those first steps.

Indy Hothi: It doesn't need to be perfect. You just need to take action. 

Amardeep Parmar:  Beautiful. Thank you so much. 

Indy Hothi:  Thanks.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank  you for listening to the BAE of HQ podcast today. In our mission to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.

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