While trying to figure out my life in college, I chanced upon some very valuable life advice from Reid Hoffman, the Founder of Linkedin. In his book, The Start-Up of You, Hoffman suggested that the best way to find your purpose was to use your “competitive advantage” to add value to the world. He explained that “Your competitive advantage is formed by the interplay of three different, ever-changing forces: your assets, your aspirations/values, and the market realities, i.e., the supply and demand for what you offer the marketplace relative to the competition. The best life direction has you pursuing worthy aspirations, using your assets, while navigating the market realities.”
Those words stuck with me. In-fact I tried to use them as a litmus test to assess different career and life choices in college. However, truthfully I never fully grasped their meaning. I never objectively applied them to come to certain self-realisations that would eventually make me happy. Ironically, I just used those words to justify mainstream career choices; choices that were meant to be questioned by those very words.
It is only in the past one year through my struggles as an entrepreneur that I have discovered and grasped the essence of Hoffman’s argument. It has also helped Abhimanyu and me define the purpose of our business: what it means to Feel Mighty?
Worthy Aspirations- Passion
Feel Mighty in essence is about You. It is about people and their inherent desire to look good, to be confident, and to feel powerful enough to positively impact the world around them. Abhimanyu and I started this company because we genuinely like to help people grow. We absolutely love it when people crush their goals or overcome adversity and do well. Whether it was helping out juniors in college with career advice, or correcting a beginner’s form in the gym, or providing a supportive ear to our heartbroken friends, we were the guys who always cared.
Furthermore since boarding school, we both have been passionate about sports, fitness, health and nutrition. While Abhimanyu was a National level Basketball player, I played Tennis Nationals in High School. Apart from our respective achievements what really makes us passionate about health and fitness is the fact that both of us suffered horrendous injuries that hindered our sporting careers. While Abhimanyu had major shoulder injuries, I developed a chronic back problem. These injuries taught us a tough lesson about the importance of fitness and health. In our own respective ways these injuries made us committed to improving our health and fitness.
Market Realities- Need
There is clearly a surge in health and fitness consciousness amongst Indians, especially young people. Whether it is a new workout like Crossfit, or a new diet fad like a keto diet, or an obsession about Aamir Khan’s training regime in Dangal, Indians clearly want to be fit and look good. And this makes sense. We are the 1991 Post-Liberalisation generation and just like our Western counterparts we are not happy being mediocre. We don’t want to just survive, we want to thrive and feel better. Therefore we do not want to be “thin and healthy” but we want to be fit and strong.
And the data clearly supports this. According to a joint study by FICCI and PwC the Wellness market was valued at approximately Rs 49,000 Crores in 2010. Growing at a robust rate of 12-15% CAGR, it had ballooned to Rs. 85,000 Crores in 2015 and is expected to get to approximately Rs. 150,000 Crores by 2020.
So clearly there is a market need; Indians are aspiring to look good and feel good. But unfortunately this is an unmet need. The Indian Consumer lacks the choices that her Western counterpart can avail. Not only does the Western customer have access to quality and trustworthy brands, she also has easy access to information that helps her make better health decisions. Indian consumer on the other hand is often misled and misinformed by the stakeholders in the fitness industry.
Abhimanyu is an accomplished lawyer, who graduated from NLU Jodhpur, with a Bachelors in Policy Science cum LLB (Honors) degree in Business Law. Through his work he specialised in commercial litigation. I did my undergrad in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) with a minor in Leadership from Claremont McKenna College in California. I later focused on Economic and Business Consulting.
That is what our resume reads in brief. And on paper it showcases our core assets: Business Law for Abhimanyu and Economic Consulting for me. But apart from this what really makes us want to be entrepreneurs is our “bold” mindset; our willingness to take risk to do work that really means something to us. Both of us have tried to do different corporate and mainstream jobs. And while there is nothing fundamentally wrong with such jobs, after all they provide livelihoods to millions of people, we just did not find them to be fulfilling and enriching enough. We were leading what Thoreau famously described as “lives of quiet desperation.” We yearned for some adventure, for some meaningful work, for the feeling of actually contributing and achieving.
Feel Mighty is the labour of this yearning. It is a life pursuit that allows us to use our core skills and mindset to fulfil a market need, by doing what we inherently love to do; to genuinely help people feel happy and good. That makes us Feel Mighty.