As a career adviser (& admission consultant) and career reinventor myself, I know a thing or two about the fear and societal pressure associated with a career change. A decade back, it was not very common in India to have a career change. More often than not, we are expected to have a stable career, if not necessarily a satisfying career. So, still today, folks are very cautious about a career change; especially, if they are already having a pretty stable and successful one.
Understandably, the decision for a career change is not an easy choice. Venturing into the unknown is uncomfortable, and at times, it is scary. But, in the 21st century, the idea of changing your career to something that is more suited to your values, needs, skills, and interests, is getting huge popularity. One such example is Jitendra Chouksey, who managed a 360-degree career transformation.
Academically, Jitendra is from Information Technology (IT) background and he was actually pretty happy with his career. But, after working around 8 years in the IT & Software domain, he started his own venture – SQUATS (now known as FITTR). In this article, we will have a tête-à-tête with him about his career change after engineering and how did he manage a successful career transformation.
Career Change after Engineering
Q&A with Jitendra Chouksey
1. So, tell us a little bit more about yourself and FITTR (formerly SQUATS).
I am Jitendra Chouksey, founder of FITTR, formerly SQUATS (Systematic Quantitative Unified Aesthetic Training System), an online community on Facebook, which has now turned into a revolutionary fitness system. I am on a mission to change the way fitness & wellness is seen in the world.
FITTR is engaged in the business of providing online and offline fitness consultation to individuals/corporate in India and abroad. FITTR is one of the pioneers in the fitness & wellness industry in India.
With 185 certified nutrition & wellness experts on the fitness platform, 5 different business verticals, and a massive community of over 4,50,000 people, our mission is to make 50 million people fit, 3.5 lac of which we’ve already achieved in just 2 years.
2. How or when the idea of SQUATS/FITTR came into your mind?
The idea of SQUATS was basically a WhatsApp group with few people. The journey got more exciting. Social media has become significant, and that’s the reason SQUATS has grown so much. Previously it was just a few other guys from different parts of the world and me, but now we all have come together and formed a community. It’s a fantastic feeling because we all are helping each other.
3. What’s the central vision and services of FITTR?
Currently, FITTR is one of the top-rated fitness and wellness companies spreading across different states. Gently succeeding, FITTR alongside INFS, started by the same group of people has fixed two main challenges of the industry. One is the awareness aspect of it, both online-offline consultancy space, and the other is training & coaching certification.
Furthermore, we envision fixing other quintessential problems and ensure building a reliable infrastructure that redefines fitness ecosystem.
For now, FITTR is determined to make 50 million people fit and create 100,000 jobs in the fitness industry.
Most important of all FITTR is all set to show the world – how easy it is to stay fit!
4. You are from an IT background. You also worked in the IT/Software space for around 8 years. What made you interested in the health & wellness sector?
I was a fat kid and was teased very often due to my weight. A friend suggested joining a gym to lose weight. Instead of losing weight, I got interested in lifting and since then am in love with it. Now, I’m mixing good old fashioned volume training as well as the more recent light weights baby approach for optimum hypertrophy. From competing in Muscle mania, training with Team Wild to pursuing sports nutrition from ISSA, I thought of myself as a nutrition coach and not some heavy-duty guy.
5. How has been the entrepreneurship experience for you personally?
I think it’s very enriching. I see things from a different perspective now. I look at the big picture, and I believe it has made me a better person.
6. What would be your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Well, don’t try to achieve anything, just do things. I was not really looking for success, I was happy with my IT job. Sometimes you find the best things when you’re not looking for them. I wasn’t looking for success, maybe that’s why I found it. The intent should be right, and success will find you. Have good intentions and try to find solutions. Entrepreneurship is all about solutions. No matter how big or small the problems are.
7. FITTR provides online coaching in the space of health, fitness, and lifestyle. What were the challenges that you faced at the initial phase?
I don’t remember any such challenges because everything we were doing was so much fun. So, while we had restless nights, there was a learning curve, we had people coming and going, we didn’t have enough money, and we had no idea how to run a company, but still, we loved the process.
It was like playing a sport, where you don’t know how to play it well, but the process of learning itself is fun. You don’t consider that a challenge rather more of absorbing part of the whole process.
8. Start-ups face a lot of issues with marketing due to a limited budget. Could you please share a few tips for upcoming entrepreneurs?
One of the most important things is- as an entrepreneur, you have to build something that people are looking for. And, people should be willing to pay for that solution. So, at the end of the day, entrepreneurship is giving people what they are looking for and putting it out at a particular value. I think if people fail to relate to the product that you are building, you will have trouble marketing it.
Building something relatable is the essential tip. Rather than focussing on marketing, focus on the product itself.
9. You had a 360-degree career transformation. What would be your advice for the folks who are looking for a career change?
I wasn’t looking for a career change, it just happened. One of the best things that people can do is be open to changes.
Opportunities always come knocking your doors, but it’s up to you whether you grab them or you just let them go. You know a lot of people are in search of it and they don’t find it, and then many are not looking for it, but the opportunities just fall into their laps – Just like me. So, the important thing is allowing change to happen and be willing to adopt the change.
10. Any career advice or tips for the students?
The whole scenario is shifting from just being able to do a job to be able to provide a job. I believe rather than studying to get a job, study to solve problems. All the issues in the world can be addressed by ordinary people like us. We just need to have the desire to look for answers.
11. Any thoughts on the Budget 2019?
The 2019 budget is pretty good for start-ups and SMEs. The budget is encouraging for the new wave of start-ups. The government is already doing a lot of good work, and people need to be aware of all the facilities the government is providing in terms of funding and connecting entrepreneurs with investors.
12. Are there any current openings at FITTR that would like to share with our readers?
We are looking for people from the background of Robotics. So, if there are people who are really good at robotics, we are not looking for degrees, just skills. So they can apply. Folks can also connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.