When I moved from Aligarh to Australia, I never imagined that I would someday own a venture that generates a revenue of ₹10 crores annually. My journey to the point where I am today is full of ups and downs. When I look back at the mistakes which I have made, I now realise that they have also given me opportunities to learn something new each time.
I belonged to a middle-class family and my father always wanted me to become a doctor. But I didn't make the cut for MBBS. So, I decided to enrol myself in mechanical engineering. However, I was not keen on becoming an engineer. I didn't feel passionate enough about my course, and that led to my low grades.
I vividly remember that one of my professors in college made me stand up in front of everyone in the class and said that I wouldn't be able to do anything in life, given how bad my grades were.
That feeling shattered me. My confidence level was at an all-time low, and everything around me seemed disastrous.
But that didn't stop me from moving ahead in life and regaining my lost confidence. The turning page of my life came in 2008.
I became an active member of college societies and started participating in debates. I won many of those debates and became popular in my debating society. Winning prizes helped me gain back my lost confidence, and it gave me a sense of direction in life.
During the same year, I was struck with the idea of creating a social network platform for my college when Orkut and other social networking sites were gaining popularity. No one took me seriously because I was a mechanical engineering student, and I had no prior knowledge of coding. My friends felt that I was just stuck to a vague idea, and it would never be successful.
Back then, online communities were not that popular and using social networking sites was not as widespread as it is today.
I had a concrete idea in mind, and I knew that I would be able to implement it as well. For the next four months, I taught myself how to code. By the end of the deadline, which I had set for myself, I gained enough knowledge of coding, and along with my friend's help, I launched the social networking website - AMU Live.
Post the launch in 2008, the social networking site had almost 10,000 members signing up in the first week alone.
Within a short period of time, the site had more than 50,000 members. This was when I realised that using technology to solve a problem was what I liked the most, and this was precisely the thing I wanted to do in my life. However, I didn't have the courage to start something on my own at that time.
In early 2011, right after my graduation, I bagged myself a job at Honda in Greater Noida as a production engineer. It was a dream job for many people but not for me. Within a year, I quit my job because I felt like my talent and passion were getting wasted. All I knew was that I wanted to start something of my own, where I could use my skills well.
At the age of 23, I started freelance projects in web designing. One of my clients back then suggested that I move my base to Australia. I couldn't get entry into Australia without a student visa, so I applied for an MBA and got myself a partial scholarship.
I came to Australia with millions of dreams, but the harsh reality soon engulfed my aspirations. I continued to apply to various companies and positions for almost four months and received more than 170 rejections. It shattered my confidence, and I hit rock bottom, but I couldn't afford to give up.
To pay my college fees and bills, I took up odd jobs and worked day and night tirelessly. Juggling two jobs, my MBA course, and trying to establish my business was hard, but I had only one aim - to pursue my passion and establish my own business.
I struggled two years living that life while juggling between two jobs just to earn enough to pay my daily bills. In an unknown land, there was no emotional support as well, where I could be comforted after toiling for hours daily.
At the age of 25, when I got the position as a General Manager in ICT Geelong, I knew I had finally arrived and made something for myself in Australia. It became the stepping stone to start my own venture too.
When I started working on my own business, initially, it was not that easy. I had to go from one place to another to meet prospective clients, and I did not have that much money to spend on my daily commute. I remember spending long hours at bus and railway stations distributing my card and pitching about my company with the hope that someone would be convinced to work with me.
Finally, after a struggle of about four months, I found one person who at least gave me some more time to explain my plan. After I got my first client, I arrived at other subsequent ones through word-of-mouth. In this way, I found my next few customers and gradually, my venture became famous.
I remember there were times when I felt that I would not be getting any new clients, and my business would not flourish. However, I kept on consistently working on my idea and never gave up. My perseverance got me from working two jobs a day to owning my own business in Australia.
Till now, I have already invested up to $80,000 each in eight startups, and I am looking forward to investing in another seven startups. Today my company serves Fortune 500 clients as well.
I followed what I believed in and genuinely pursued what I set out to achieve; that's how I managed to get where I am. To anyone attempting to start something on their own, I would advise them to never be afraid of failures and follow their gut instincts. After all, you form your path with the choices you make.
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