‘Women hesitate to talk about their achievements, but as an entrepreneur, you have to sell yourself’
How Saloni Anand, a mom of one and the founder of Traya, manages to stop multitasking
“Keep work off WhatsApp and WhatsApp off work.” That’s entrepreneur Saloni Anand’s mantra for managing a successful start-up while parenting a young child. Easier said than done when you’ve been added to a fourth WhatsApp group just this week. But Anand’s point is really about leaving the phone in your bag and focussing on one task at a time.
This businesswoman co-founded Traya in 2019 with her husband when he started experiencing hair loss. Born from a desire to help women and men who are dealing with hair fall at an early age, Anand now helms a wellness company backed by science that treats over 2 lakh people struggling with hair loss.
Find out how she manages to stay on top of everything in this latest edition of our CEO Moms series, where we ask women who seem to do it all so effortlessly what it actually takes. The formula for looking like a success story isn’t one size fits all, but if you feel you’ve been pulled in too many directions lately, you might find some inspiration in Anand’s journey.
CEO Mom Saloni Anand gives 100% of her attention to every undertaking
How do you get through a busy day with your sanity intact?
Morning workouts are a non-negotiable part of my routine because I lose my sanity whenever I skip one. I weight train three times a week, and on the other days, I do a mix of breathing, meditation and yoga. I meticulously organise my daily schedule, which is accessible to all the Traya members through my calendar. But I try to reserve a two-hour interval each day for undisturbed concentration by arriving at the office two hours early.
What’s the one area you’ve seriously improved in from when you first became a mom + entrepreneur?
Execution. I’ve gone from procrastinating to being a super-productive mompreneur.
When I initially started out, balancing the demands of motherhood with running a business seemed overwhelming.
I’ve learned to prioritise my tasks and set clear goals for both my business and family life. By creating a schedule and sticking to it religiously, I can allocate specific time slots for work, family, and personal activities. This structured approach helps me maintain a better work-life balance and ensures that I can be fully present for both my child and my business.
How would you describe your approach to efficiency: multitasking, focusing on one task at a time, or delegation?
I harbour an aversion to multitasking. I need to give all my attention to every task I undertake, so that’s how I schedule my time. I also realised that I couldn’t do everything on my own, so I started delegating tasks to others. Whether hiring help for household chores or outsourcing certain business functions, delegating has allowed me to focus on the most important aspects of my role as a mom and entrepreneur.
One thing an amazing boss taught me is that delegation is about communication. My recommendation to any leader or manager would be to invest time in delegating and not just randomly assigning tasks. I prefer breaking down the tasks so that the person doing it has complete clarity and can deliver the best result rather than getting caught up in how they will achieve that result. The point of delegating is to make your life easier, not to waste time getting anxious and micro-managing someone else.
What’s the one thing that you still struggle with?
Maintaining my mental health is a constant fight, and I work every single day not to get overwhelmed. Running a business requires perseverance, resilience, and the ability to handle various pressures. At the same time, being a mother involves emotional and mental energy. You can never be fully prepared for what you will encounter in either situation.
It’s crucial to find ways to recharge and take care of your own well-being. I try to practise self-care, establish clear boundaries between work and family time, seek support from loved ones, and stay organised to manage my responsibilities better.
How important is the role of the spouse in being able to do what you do?
He is a cheerleader, and one needs that. Fortunately, my partner is the co-founder as well; his journey is what inspired me to do what I am doing. The idea of introducing a research-based hair fall brand was conceived by us in 2019 while sipping coffee one evening.
It’s motivating to have a strong relationship with your partner that extends to your professional and personal spheres.
How do you balance your ambitions with working parent guilt? Where do you draw the line on how you spend your time?
Quality over quantity — one to two hours every night is for my baby. I don’t answer any work calls, and in fact, I leave my phone on the shoe cupboard right at the entrance. I put my baby to sleep and then handle the world. Sundays are for him, too. I stay away from socialising unless I am allowed to bring him along. I choose work and baby, and everything else comes later.
Do you carve out time for yourself as an individual? How do you spend that time?
Cleaning and organising feels zen to me, so I park a few hours on Sunday for that. It gives me so much happiness when things around me are organised, it reduces the chaos around me and within me. On a daily basis, my morning routine is “my time”. I love my drive from home to work — I put on my favourite songs and use that time to unwind and connect with myself.
What are the advantages and disadvantages, in your experience, of being a CEO Mom in India?
Don’t compete. You cannot compete with at-home moms. They are super-moms, so instead of feeling guilty, learn from them. I am blessed with mom friends who tell me all about the field trips, homework or projects. Because I definitely am not reading the chatter on mommy groups.
Invest in a good nanny. We’re lucky to have lots of help available in India, and all CEO moms have identified that. I have a nanny who is the most important person in my life because, to a large extent, she is raising my kid. I delegate a lot to her, from running the house to reading books to my baby.
Your brand is appreciated by a lot of women who experience hair fall. How important is serving women to your ethos, both personally and professionally?
The life of a woman is complex. Our brains are complex. We undergo many hormonal changes and still handle all the challenges like warriors. A lot of motivation came from the young female professionals in Traya, their clarity of thought and dedication.
Do you feel women in India are treated differently in the business world, especially after they get married or choose to start a family?
Maybe, but I have always been fortunate enough. I had the luxury of starting a company and planning a baby together with investors who did not doubt me. Having said that, I am here building a startup where women are given an equal platform. Traya is a 300-employee company, with more than 50% being women.
How do you want your kid to view you, and what are the ways in which you’re establishing positive gender roles in the home?
I love this question. I hope he sees a fearless, hard-working person.
Both my husband and I have divided roles which are very gender agnostic. I am responsible for all hospital visits. He is responsible for all things school. So even if it’s a cooking contest, my husband will go. We did it deliberately so that, as a mother, I take care of finances while my husband takes care of homework and schoolwork.
What’s the one piece of advice you learned the hard way that could help other professionals?
Women hesitate to talk about themselves and their achievements. But as soon as I got over that fear, everything changed. How can we expect anyone to know what we have accomplished if we don’t tell them? The more you talk about your achievements, the more real they become. Don’t be afraid to own them.