The freelance economy \u2014 with an increasing number of gig-workers and entrepreneurs \u2014 is seeing a massive upward swing in India. \u00a0With roughly 10 Mn freelancers, the country not only takes the cake for having the largest number of freelancers globally, but it also is home to an impressive growing startup community with a 39K active startups currently. Work-life balance, a chance to pursue one\u2019s passion, and a sense of fulfillment are the main reasons why more and more workers are moving towards building independent careers by following their calling.\r\n\r\nIn Inc42\u2019s recent webinar \u2014 How To Make A Career Of Your Calling: Learn From the Experts \u2014 Taniya and Sujata Biswas, cofounders of SUTA, spoke about how they quit their successful corporate careers to follow their passion and build a startup. SUTA is a Mumbai-based design studio with a focus on blending traditional and contemporary art and design.\r\n\r\nThey were joined by Deepa Madhavan, Director, Global Data Governance & Regulatory Technology, PayPal who shared her views on how PayPal enabling freelancers and small and medium merchants grow by offering them a convenient and safe payments solution and also spoke about PayPal\u2019s focus on diversity and inclusion.\r\n\r\nFrom Corporate Jobs To Entrepreneurship \u2014 The Journey Of SUTA\r\nEngineers by education, the Biswas sisters spent their initial few years working with reputed corporations. But a thought which often lingered in their minds was to do something which they were passionate about that could also impact lives.\r\n\r\nWith this passion, they decided to follow their calling \u2014 a love for handlooms \u2014 and founded SUTA in 2016 beating all odds. Today SUTA has an annual turnover of over INR 5 Cr with 30 members and 780 weavers across India.\r\n\r\n\u201cInitially, our family was skeptical, because in our entire family nobody has been in any kind of business. It's a common mindset that only members of a business family can start a business. But now our father works for us, our entire family supports us and we have a big support system in them,\u201d said Taniya.\r\nBeing Women Entrepreneurs & Workers In India\r\nWomen founders still account for only 13% of all startup founders globally. And more often than not, the reason for that is the lack of a proper support ecosystem. For Suta, the experience has been both good and bad. There were a lot of challenges for the cofounders initially, mainly due to the common mindset that women quit their startup or careers after marriage or having a baby.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen we were initially looking out for the vendors, we were cheated because people believed that as women entrepreneurs we will not last long,\u2019\u2019 stressed Sujata.\r\n\r\nBut Taniya and Sujata took things in their stride, fought the taboos and turned every obstacle into an opportunity for growth. What they faced as women founders became a reason for them to give a platform to other women, which is evident from the gender ratio in their team with 60% of the employees being women.\r\n\r\nAs women entrepreneurs who have seen the corporate story as well as the startup environment in India, their tips for anyone wanting to build an independent career are simple.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe first thing you need to do is find an idea. There are a lot of things you have to take decisions for, many a time you might question yourself about whether your decisions are right or wrong; but if you have a vision, even if you're wrong now, you can just correct yourself later. So never get disheartened or lose faith,\u201d said Sujata.\r\n\r\nThe other doubt which often crops up in aspiring entrepreneurs is competition, to which Taniya said, \u201cNever think that the market is already cluttered, don't think that there's no space for me. There will always be a customer base who will actually appreciate your hard work. You should believe in what you're doing, you should believe in the product that you're making.\u201d\r\nPayPal\u2019s Quest To Support Independent Workers\r\nOne of the key reasons that many startups and independent workers have been able to taste success is the accessibility and rise of digital payments. Digital payments enablers like PayPal have helped many companies expand their customer base, protect users and build trust.\r\n\r\nWhether it is through invoicing, website payments or simplifying the FIRC process, \u00a0PayPal is one of the companies leading the way in empowering freelancers and small and medium businesses.\r\n\r\n\u201cOne of the flagship offerings that we have is Seller Protection. Not getting paid or having a delinquent client who is delaying payments is the biggest fear that freelancers or SMBs have,\u201d said Madhavan.\r\nPayPal\u2019s Commitment To Empowering Women Within The Organisation\r\nPayPal is fully committed to empower its employees, especially women, through its inclusive programs and initiatives to bring diversity and inclusion into the organisation.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe have a program called \u2018Girls In Tech\u2019, a flagship initiative which offers young girls a hands-on experience with programming making it fun, meaningful, something that is accessible and not something to be afraid of,\u201d emphasised Madhavan.\r\n\r\nPayPal also has an outreach program called \u2018Recharge\u2019 designed to increase diversity in technology while also giving individuals who want to return to work an opportunity to expand their experience and network. \u201cWith Recharge in India, we want to encourage women technologists who\u2019ve taken a break to think about getting back to work and equip them with what they need to take this step. At the end of the program, we want to give some of these women the opportunity to work with us at PayPal to build next-generation payment solutions,\u2019\u2019 signed off Madhavan.