Interview with Rita Sheth, founder of The Many Sides and MERCURY DASHA
Find out how Rita Shet balances her career in law with her businesses, The Many Sides and MERCURY DASHA.
What’s your career background?
Shortly after my degree and spending a little time working for an investment bank doing PR and government relations, I went on to qualify as a solicitor. I have since worked in a variety of roles from private practise to in-house doing all sorts of legal work in diverse industries.
I now balance my career with entrepreneurship. I have a future inspired urban fashion brand, MERCURY DASHA, and also a coaching and personal growth platform, The Many Sides. So, I have a pretty diverse range of interests!
Where did the idea for each of your businesses come from?
My idea of the fashion brand, MERCURY DASHA, was inspired by the idea that we are moving into a future that has all sorts of challenges and exciting prospects and it almost seems like science fiction is becoming our reality. I am quite excited by this idea and wanted to draw on some of these themes in the design aesthetic, so my collections are inspired by themes such as nature, science, tech and spirituality.
With The Many Sides, my coaching and personal growth platform, the idea grew out of me setting up a community during Covid to connect with likeminded women.
From there I started a blog, talking about subjects from entrepreneurship to spirituality and personal growth, and sharing my experiences. Coaching private clients came about as a natural extension of the community I had built and the fact that the lessons I shared resonated with other women.
How do you move from idea to actual business?
I am a doer – so for me developing an idea is always an active process. I find that the best way to test and develop an idea is just to start something even on a free/unpaid or test model. That is the only way you can even see whether what you are doing resonates with a certain audience and it’s a great way to get feedback, on which you can build.
What’s your USP as a coach?
I think what makes me unique is that I had years of diverse life and work experience, an established career and been at the coal face of business and entrepreneurship before starting to coach people. It gives me a commonality with the kind of women I coach because I have been where they are – whether it’s as a senior professional in a demanding industry or a new entrepreneur transitioning away from a corporate job and building a personal brand.
I think it makes a big difference when you are coming at problems having experienced them yourself rather than relying on abstractions or theory. I prefer to combine an intuitive approach with pragmatism.
Who’s your ideal coaching client?
Generally, I love to help women that have already achieved a certain level of success but are now looking to answer the question: What’s next?
I like helping women who are going through transitions, whether they are going back to work after a break or they are looking to move out of corporate ladder and start a business, or are looking to start to increase their authority as leaders – what they have in common is they are looking to have more of a sense of fulfilment and agency in their life and they want to put all their talent and passion to use, maybe in a new way!
I also love helping people find their passion and help them carve out their true direction.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest obstacle is to balance and do justice to all my various interests. Juggling two businesses and a demanding job can be a challenge and you therefore need to really get clear on your highest value goals and tasks that are going to make the most difference to achieving those goals and focus on them. There is not much room for wasting time on the wrong things.
And your proudest moment so far?
I am very proud of the fact that I have stepped out of the box that society places many professionals In and makes them think that if they are analytical, for example, they can’t also be creative or entrepreneurial.
I am proud of taking risks to explore and express these other sides of myself because some amazing things and experiences have come out of that -including a creative business and the opportunity to create art and design myself.
For my coaching work, every client I help that has an ‘ah-ha moment’ is a proud moment – because each of these breakthroughs is potentially life-changing for them, which is great to see.
Why is work so important to you?
I love to create things and I take pride in a job well done. For me, work is a way of creating meaning in my life and expressing and sharing my unique contribution with other people.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by creatives and makers who are operating from an emotional and authentic place who try and further culture in some way. Because I love fashion as an art form, I am inspired by the work of fashion designers like Virgil Abloh and designers like Molly Goddard. They are so unique and recognisable and bring a new perspective.
How do you balance your work with your personal life?
It’s very difficult but I think you have to ride the peaks and lows in terms of busyness and when you have a quiet period to make the most of that time to focus on other things. I also think that it’s important to have days off – so nowadays I try and work less on weekends and at least have one complete day off with no laptop.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Build in a proper runway because it may take longer than you think to start to reap rewards from your business
- Have an authentic story and genuine mission-led reason for creating the business because this will come across in everything you do
- Develop relationships built on mutual respect because positive relationships foster long term good will.