Shunning rat race for dance

Runjhun Gupta — Founder, ZipOut

Moved by the all-pervasive stress that is a fallout of our fast-gear lifestyles, high-paying & highly mobile jobs, and sensing a business opportunity to help people mitigate the risks associated with stress and pulling them out of the impasse, Runjhun Gupta started ZipOut. An alumnus from the premier B-School, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and an exponent of the renowned Tanushree Shankar and Anand Shankar’s dance academy, Runjhun was clear that she wanted to help people achieve a state of utopia through dance and thereby make life a celebration.

Once clear about her aim, the next steps seemed to be like any other ‘start-up’ formula — quitting a high-paying, secure job at Bank of America, starting modestly at one retail centre and slowly growing into a multi-centre project. ZipOut till date has touched more than 10,000 lives which includes both, retail and corporate clients who have started living the celebratory life which Runjhun envisaged.

Based out of Noida, ZipOut provides therapeutic dance classes in an interactive and fun manner, for relaxing individuals both at the corporate  and individual levels and simultaneously operates as a dance academy to hone dance skills of passionate dancers (www.zipout.in). “Every student whether he/she is looking to de-stress or towards dance as a professional career, or as a hobby, or just for fun is welcome and nurtured accordingly. The student’s overall journey and above all their satisfaction is important to us,” says Runjhun

In five years of starting ZipOut, clients range from 4 years of age to 60. They are various programs for kids, teens, youngsters, corporate and housewives too. With unique and targeted corporate programs to curb work-related stress and increase employee engagement levels, ZipOut has been successful in conducting workshops of more than 400 employees in one day!

A strong believer that happiness comes from within, Runjhun developed a program called ‘Feel Beautiful’ that has helped lot of her clients in terms of their personality development, confidence level, and has been successful in creating a positive and happy environment for them.

“The journey has made me evolve as a dancer, as an entrepreneur and above all as a teacher. And to be recognised for these achievements further keeps me motivated,” she adds. She firmly believes in the concept of “you live only once”, and hence is totally focussed to spread happiness to as many lives as she can, through her creative specially designed programs at ZipOut.

After completing the Executive Program in Finance from IIM Calcutta, her first job was at Futures First, as a derivative analyst and then in an MNC. This is where her journey from Finance to Dance commenced.

High point in career

“My high point in career was when I got admission in the best college of Delhi University, Sukhdev College of Business Studies. Then, the next high point was when I multiplied revenue from my venture, ZipOut five times in one year.”

Most challenging assignment so far

“I think most challenging assignment was given by turn of events in my life, when in 2008, while working in a MNC I fainted in office and I decided to leave the corporate world forever. After six months of taking this bold decision, I decided to make my passion, dance, as my career and that was the most challenging assignment. I had to overcome my own fears, had to prove myself and that the idea is worth it. I feel it was that utmost level of commitment, to make ‘me’ happy and make money out of it that kept me moving forward. I am glad to have made business out of my passion today.”

Greatest inspiration

“I have different inspiration models, for different aspects of my life, at different stages as well. My father is my greatest inspiration, who always reminds and encourages me to keep on learning, in order to widen the horizon, and also to have a positive outlook. I am still learning from my mother, to look at the good side of everyone. I have even drawn inspiration from my younger brother, who believes in the idiom ‘to each his own’, and I must mention that it is one of the most powerful one. I also draw inspiration from the works of Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, and many others. I believe that if we know what we really want in our life, we will find people, situations that can inspire and teach us along the way.”    

Most important milestone in life

“To pick up one milestone is a challenge in itself. Within a year of starting my venture, ZipOut, I had 2-3 decent media coverage, but not by a leading newspaper till then. I vividly remember, I had set my eyes on a particular newspaper, which happens to be the most read newspaper in India. After two years of working diligently on my venture, delivering the best quality, innovating a much as I could, I finally got covered by that very same newspaper, in the very same space that I had my eyes on. That is one milestone that not just makes me happy, but also reminds me to keep up the faith in my wishes, and to realise and believe, that if one wants something really bad, the universe will give it to you. Just keep doing the work.”

Women are the better halves. What does it mean?

“Women are the better halves. Women are emotionally wired in general and have the capacity to look at the same thing from different perspectives. This helps them to be good with people-management and are able to take holistically informed decisions. But, women tend to seek approval and tend to give their power over to men, which makes them feel less confident about their actions. My message to women of today is that you don’t need to prove yourself to be equal, for you are unique and gifted with beauty, grace and high emotional quotient. It is time to understand that no matter how much we want someone to come and fix us, only you can fix yourself and you will be surprised to know that the world is waiting for you to unleash your inner power.”