In this article, I have summarized the business as well and personal breakthroughs I have achieved so far. You will also see how personal and professional life ties with each other and how you can be successful if you apply these simple lessons.
The story goes as follows:
Coming from India, I had a typical IT job in one of the biggest software companies in the world. Working 12-15 hours was pretty common and was getting pretty annoying with work happening also on the weekends from time to time.
My girlfriend at that time and I had a long distance relationship (she moved to a different continent) and this didn’t help my personal life either. I was around 21 and stupid enough to think that I could make some easy money and start my own business and travel the world. Instead, I landed up in the world of gambling where I lost around €25,000 in no time. That was a huge amount of money for me because my salary was hardly €500/month. Needless to say, I lost all my saving and had to borrow a bunch of money from my parents and friends to repay all my debt. I took complete responsibility for my actions. I was motivated enough to make this right and decided to take my “last gamble” which was an education loan and I came to Germany to pursue my MBA.
I successfully finished my MBA and was hired by one of the best automotive companies in the world. Within 2 years, I was able to pay off all my debt. I was finally able to have a clean slate. I took a step back and realized that a desk job was not something that I was enjoying and the work environment was getting really toxic and therefore I started to check my options.
Looking at what my priorities were (traveling, freedom of working from anywhere and being my own boss), I entered the online marketing world and started a video marketing agency. It wasn’t s easy since I didn’t have any idea about videos and video marketing other than the fact that I loved cartoons. From there working my brains off and 3 years down the line, I have a 6 figure business and the lessons learned are priceless.
Here are the 7 most crucial lessons so far:
1) Change your perspective toward things in a positive manner
The fact is that you will have always have lows in your life. So did I when I lost everything in gambling. I was in a bad place but the only way to get over it was to see the things as they were and make positive conclusions. I realized that there is nothing called ‘quick money’ in this world. If I wanted to succeed then strategic planning is a must. you MUST derive positive lessons from the worst mistakes you make or the lows that you face in your life. This was the first business lesson that I took and subconsciously registered in my brain and still apply it each day.
2) Take complete responsibility for your actions
This is so crucial and a game changer and blends very well with lesson one. In my second job, I paid all my debt and the office environment had gotten toxic. Now I had two options; First was to find another job which in the long run was not going to make me happy or then start working on something that I liked and enjoyed. I didn’t wait this time around and started building my video marketing agency. Looking back at it, this was completely worth the struggle in spite so many unknowns like not knowing if I will succeed, how will my family think about it, friends laughing at me and so on. If you look at it, these are really the excuses that we keep on giving ourselves. If someone else has done it, then so can you. No one can help you unless you want to help yourself so standing up and facing the music is the best chance you can give yourself. The temporary pain is worth it and can shape your life for the better good.
3) Invest in a mentor who has done what you want to do
There is no free lunch in this world. You can learn everything online by yourself with today’s internet driven world. But you can only go to a certain point by having the do it yourself approach which might be necessary if you are bootstrapping. If you really want to go ahead and cut the learning curve, having a mentor is an absolute must. Someone who holds you accountable and has done it and knows how it is to be in your shoes. When I started my business, I had a mentor who helped me set up things and taught me the basics of internet marketing. I got to the intermediate level and stayed there for a long time and felt stuck. This is when I realized that I was able to learn things so quickly in the beginning because of my mentor. I went all in and hired a new mentor who helped me with my business journey and the results were incredible. Although the investment was pretty significant at that time, I knew that this is going to help me. I backed myself to apply all the learning. This helped me 4x my business within a period of 2 months. Out of the first 5 months in 2018, 4 were record-breaking months in terms of sales.
4) Niche down your business
This was the first piece of advise that my mentor gave me. As cheesy as it sounds ‘The riches are in the niches’. I was super scared when I heard this and couldn’t wrap my brain around this. All kind of bad scenarios ran through my mind but I was convinced that I needed to try this new approach. What I was doing currently was not what was leading to where I want to be. I niched down my business and solely focussed on a particular kind of customer base and it worked! There is a great value when businesses look at you as an expert. This is where people started slowly recognizing me as an authority in my space. I was able to raise my prices and the business took off. A specialist is preferred over a generalist on any given day.
5) Avoid the negative people in your life
This might sound harsh but when you are going to try something new, you will face many doubters and this might include your family and friends. There is already enough going on inside you and the last thing you want is to have this external noise. If your family and friends care about you and then they will support you. Period! If this doesn’t happen which it won’t many times, you have to make a decision. Either you will have to tell them strongly that it’s your life or then avoid them completely. The fact is that they are projecting your insecurities on you and you have to be aware of this or you might end up in the downward spiral.
6) Build a circle of like-minded people around you
This is such a crucial aspect of growth. Back when I landed up in the world of gambling, I was influenced by certain people which led to that downfall. I don’t want to blame them for my actions but when everyone around you is doing something, that you start asking yourself, why shouldn’t I? And especially if your personal and professional life is messed up, you start looking for an escape and this can act as a fuel and you can easily destroy your life. Entrepreneurship can get pretty lonely because you are trying to achieve something that most of the people won’t do. It is therefore ideal to surround yourself with like-minded people and it’s even better if they are more successful people than you. This breeds confidence and expands your comfort zone. You start to normalize new things and you can feed off each other energy in a positive way. You can attend local meetups, masterminds or create a facebook group yourself. If you really want to meet successful people then paid groups are the best ones since most of the people there are serious entrepreneurs and not want to be entrepreneurs or wantrepreneurs as you call them.
7) Money is always a byproduct and NOT the driver
When I started in 2015, I thought that I am going to make a lot of money, buy a car, house, blah blah. Now, this is fine to a certain extent but soon I realized that this is not going to make me happy. Because money is almost always a byproduct. You need to focus your attention on creating value and influence. What makes me happy is when a customer tells me how much we were able to help them achieve their goals and produce results. Once I made this small shift and starting leading by value in the form of connecting people who might be a good fit for each other irrespective if they worked with me or not, providing them a lot of free value if they didn’t have the budget at that very time, etc. the real magic began to happen. I got referrals, connections and most importantly their trust. Once you have someone’s trust, who do you think, they will come next time when they need something? Of course, it’s you! 🙂
Hopefully, these you learn something from the lessons that I learned so far in my path. By no means am I saying that I am perfect or I have achieved everything but these are the lessons that help me on a daily basis. Being conscious of them and applying them has helped me keep my value system intact. I am excited for each day when I wake up.