Since he was young, Indar Gill (TCFS 2002) knew that he wanted to run his own business. Indar admits that building a business is not easy, as every business is different so there’s no secret formula. ‘The satisfaction of building something from scratch in the way that I want, structuring my time in a way that lets me be around my kids as much as possible, and helping people unlock their potential is emotional rewarding and fulfilling,’
Since he was young, Indar Gill (TCFS 2002) knew that he wanted to run his own business. When he was a teenager he came across a book titled ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’. His key takeaways were that if you wanted to own and run your own business, there are two things you need to know. One is what you can and can’t do, which law can really help you with. The second is to understand the flow of money, profit and loss statements and the balance sheet, which studying accounting can assist with.
With that goal in mind, he chose Trinity – the most straightforward means of entry into the University of Melbourne. With focused dedication he was able to get good enough grades to study Law and Commerce at the University of Melbourne in 2003.
In 2007, when he finished his degrees, job hunting was extremely challenging, as companies were unwilling to consider anyone who wasn’t a permanent resident (including those who were eligible to become one) but he was lucky to have found a supportive manager. ‘My first job was with a large IT company called EDS and it was in a commercial contractual management role,’ says Indar. ‘My manager said to me at the time that I was over-qualified for the role, but said if I could stick with it for 18 months, they would support me to move to a different part of the organisation.’
Eighteen months later, EDS was bought by Hewlett-Packard and Indar decided to move into the consulting space. ‘I felt at the time that if I worked in consulting, it would give me a breadth of experience: sales, operations, IT, legal, and also the breadth of sectors: services, pharmaceutical, health, financial services, and that would enable me to increase my exposure and ultimately figure out what sort of business I’d like to run one day.’
He continued to work in his day job but also found a consulting team within the company that he could support after hours. ‘It didn’t work out initially with the first team but then I found another team and worked with them for about 18 months before moving into PwC,’ he says. His ‘don’t take no for an answer and don’t give up’ attitude paid off.
Indar was at PwC for almost seven years, helping large organisations unlock the potential of their people through workforce planning, organisational design and change management. He gained and sharpened his consulting experience by working across government departments, banks, universities, utility companies and other large corporate organisations.
Despite having a successful career in consulting, Indar hadn’t lost sight of his original goal of running his own business. ‘I didn’t want to become a partner, which is the pinnacle of working for a big four firm. As foolish as this might sound, I’d like to think I have the capabilities of becoming a partner, but I wasn’t sure if that was what I wanted for my life.’
When he and his wife were expecting their first child, Indar did an audit of his life – career, social, health and habits and asked himself ‘am I role modelling the types of behaviour that I would like to see from our kids?’ In some areas he thought, yes, others, no.’
This then led to some difficult decisions for Indar. He had to make some choices around how he lived his life so he could be a role model for his kids.
By the time they were expecting their second child, Indar was ready for a career change. In 2016, he started his own business Workspired, with the objective of helping others identify and pursue their passion. The original target audience was mid-career professionals but his business model evolved to focus on helping high school students with their career choices.
Indar admits that building a business is not easy, as every business is different so there’s no secret formula. ‘You can read all the books, watch all the Ted talks and podcasts, but the challenge you have is to build a formula that works for you and your business,’ he says. ‘This means lots and lots of failings, so you have to be quite resilient, but the reward makes it all worthwhile.’
‘The satisfaction of building something from scratch in the way that I want, structuring my time in a way that lets me be around my kids as much as possible, and helping people unlock their potential is emotional rewarding and fulfilling,’ he says.
Reflecting on his own experience, Indar’s advice to students and young alumni is to ‘follow your energy, whatever it may be’.
‘Maximise the time that you have, indulge in your interests and explore as much as you can,’ he says. Indar uses Steve Jobs’ passion for calligraphy as an example. Steve didn’t know there was any practical use for his interest and knowledge in calligraphy until he designed the first Mac computer, which now has the most beautiful typography of all computers.
Indar Gill will be the guest speaker at our TCFS Alumni Drinks in the City this October. The theme of the October drinks will be Reinvent Your Career.