Betting on a woman’s multitasking abilities is a no-no debate because, while it may seem obvious, it is a fact in many cases, according to studies. Apart from those studies, I think many would say that women are generally born with the ability to multitask and do not need to train or force themselves to do so.
Women those days were frequently seen juggling work between their house chores to taking care of their children. Things have now advanced to the point where they have included a career option in the mix.
On that line, let us have an insight into the life of Dr. Preyaa Arunasalam, who is a mother of three as well as a passionate painter. Preyaa, 36, owns a clinic in Semenyih, as well as an aesthetics clinic. When she decided to leave a steady government job in 2016, she opened her own GP clinic. Prior to embarking on this big venture, she worked in the government sector.
“To be honest, there was a huge uncertainty surrounding my decision, mostly from myself. But the excitement of venturing into the unknown gave me a sense of sheer determination.
Just like every individual, Preyaa found it exceedingly difficult to operate a clinic as a solo doctor for the first two years without any aid from locum doctors.
“The patient load was heavy, but I had to make sure the patients who visited my clinic trusted me and felt comfortable coming there.
These sacrifices she made in the beginning of her career paid off, and she is today considered as a successful person in both her job and her life. Varnam had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Preyaa in order to further enlighten us about this very special journey of hers in order to push ourselves to strive for what we want.
Varnam: Could you please share your experience with us regarding the process of establishing your business?
Preyaa: As business started to pick up at the clinic, I had this feeling that I could be doing more. The success that I found from my first venture gave me the confidence to go even further. So, I decided to expand my skillset. I studied and eventually obtained a diploma in aesthetics. I also got a certification in hair transplantation from a course I did in Agra, India.
In 2018, I started Thaara Medisuite Beauty Spa where we treat and handle skin related complications, pigmentation, acne issues, hair loss and weight management. A year later in 2019, I founded Thaara Skincare and brought in my own skincare products. In late 2021, I also opened Thaara Saloon and Thaara Nail & Art Studio.
Varnam: Typically, people do not pursue this type of career. What made you decide to do this?
Preyaa: The aesthetics industry has a very niche market in Malaysia and there was demand for quality skincare clinics back then. I eventually came up with the idea and founded Thaara Medisuite. My father and my husband were a huge influence in my decision making at that time. They have been extremely supportive throughout the years and constantly inspire me to reach for greatness!
Also, I guess the spirit of entrepreneurship has always been a family trait as my family are business owners back in my hometown. My father is the best role model I could have asked for. His business acumen is unmatched. His guidance has helped me on many occasions in navigating through the nuances of the business world. So, it is probably safe to say that I may have always had it in me to pursue a career in business.
Varnam: How do you manage your professional life while raising three children? Is it as difficult as society once thought?
Preyaa: The idea of being a working mother is still a terrifying notion for many women out there. But the world has changed so much. I personally believe that, entrepreunership is a man’s world, is an obsolete school of thought in this day and age. To me, it is all about finding the right balance.
It is important that you do not pile the pressure on yourself, and focus on the right things at the right time. I have been very lucky in the sense that I have some of the most amazing female presence in my life. My mother and mother-in-law are my rocks. When my work demands more of me, they have always been there to take care of the family.
Varnam: What other interests do you have aside from this job (aesthetic that focuses on beauty)?
Preyaa: I am an avid painter! I have been painting for as long as I can remember and I paint a lot of art in my free time. I find it to be the perfect form of physical and emotional outlet for me to pause, release and relax.
Varnam: Was your business jeopardised during COVID-19? How did you manage at the time?
Preyaa: Yes, it was. There was a significant decline in revenue. We dropped down to seeing 20% to 30% of our practice/ daily number of patients. Patients were generally afraid to come to any healthcare associated settings as they had a believe that there was always a higher risk of contracting covid even though this is not entirely true as we always practiced strict SOPs.
We also did not furlough any of our employees as that would have been very unfair to them and their families at a difficult time. I managed by sometimes providing teleconsultation whenever possible and also reducing locum slots and covering the clinic by myself day and night. Allocating extra time and effort for conducting PCR and RTK tests was helpful albeit being tiring. But it had to be done to maintain the business and income.
Varnam: What were the challenges you faced in your business that you would like to change?
Preyaa: When I started the business, self doubt and fear were probably the biggest challenges I had to overcome. Is my idea going to fail? Am I making the right decisions? What are people going to say if I don’t succeed? These are questions that formed a mental block and constantly drained my energy. Being a mother to 2 toddlers and a newborn at that time, juggling between my family and singlehandedly operating two different clinics, took a heavy toll on my emotional and physical wellbeing.
There have been days where I dreaded getting out of bed and nights where I have cried myself to sleep. To any aspiring entrepreneurs out there, my advice is to not be afraid of these emotions. They make you human and it is important to not neglect them. It is critical for us to understand that, if used in the right way, these are extremely powerful tools when you are striving for excellence. It is also important that you give yourself the gift of knowledge.
Always make time to read and study materials to understand your business better. Enrol in courses to constantly evolve and improve yourself. Improving yourself can only mean improving your business. If there is anything I would like to change from my formative years in the business, it is to be bolder. To trust my instincts and make more affirmative decisions.
Varnam: Do you have any plans to expand your business in the future?
Preyaa: Sky is the limit as they say! Why settle for less when you can always be doing more? The idea is to branch out and open more clinics in the future. But perhaps I will take the time and steady the ship at home first as my children are not yet independent. Family will always come first and it is important to acknowledge that.
Varnam: Given your current position, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Preyaa: To not be afraid of making mistakes as every mistake is an opportunity to learn. Doubting yourself is normal, but don’t be too hard on yourself and just do the best of what you can each day. Be it your family or your business, they are all dependent on your energy. Always take the time to look after yourself and everything else will fall in place.
Nothing compares to the perseverance of a striving individual who has experienced significant ups and downs in life. This journey of Dr. Preyaa should not only inspire you, but also provide a guiding light to help you take the next step without reluctance.
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Telegram for more updates and breaking news.