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Become an Entrepreneur

As the coronavirus sends the job market in a tailspin, do not wait for employment opportunities. Be your Boss.

This is the story of Nakula Kumar, co-founder of Cashify. It talks about how he survived a job crisis similar to the one we are in today.

The year 2009 is remembered for the global economic recession, perhaps the deepest post world war II. And it was in 2009 that Nakul completed his MBA from MDI Gurgaon. The economy was in very bad shape and there were no jobs in the market. So what did Nakul do? He became an entrepreneur.

Well, it was not as simple as it sounds. The success of a business depends on its execution. There might be many who would have thought of starting a ridesharing startup but the one who was able to execute it; is Ola. So, let us find out how Nakul founded, established and ran a successful business.

Two are Better than One

Nakul says that he had very clear objectives in life from the beginning. Right from entering student politics so that he can organize college fest to turning down well-paying engineer jobs because he wanted to get into sales; he had clear goals. But this is easier said than done. As a young inexperienced student, you hardly know your strengths and weaknesses; let alone setting defined goals. This is where you need your close confidants. An extra pair of eyes that sees things from a different point of view. For Nakul, he had his parents to bounce ideas, seek favour and a friend turned business partner to ride the entrepreneurial journey with.

There is a Winding Path to Success

Soon after graduating and briefly working for a company, Nakul and Mandeep zeroed upon the idea to set up a product disposal plant. There were two huge problems, they had no experience in waste management and no money to start the business. It is quite interesting a story of how they hustled their way to setting a one of its kind waste management plant in North India.

Initially, Nakul and his partner became self-proclaimed management consultants and attended every waste management networking event in the town. No money also meant that they could not pay for the registration fees, so they used every trick in the book to get a free entry. They posed as students, asked friends or the organizing company for help.

Once they made it to the event, they milked the opportunity. Nakul says that they would ask a lot of questions at the event. It was better than a one-to-one meeting because this tactic made them popular among the waste management ecosystem and later fetched them real consultant projects.

Go to any Lengths to Learn

Learning does not come easy. Apart from attending events, they made use of the reading material provided at the event and visited every possible product disposal plant. Nakul and Mandeep even travelled for 3 days in a passenger train to Hyderabad for a plant visit. And for doing so they posed as students researching for thesis. While going from one plant to the other, Nakul hit gold. They found a technology that was new to the north of India.

Do Not Give Up

Nakul emphasizes the importance of being strong-willed to become an entrepreneur. In India being a founder means that you have to fight against all odds. Nothing came easy for Nakul. Their loan request was rejected from several banks before a bank agreed to grant one. Dealing with government offices for permissions, handling people, and identifying system loopholes were all challenges that taught him more than any book could ever teach him.

Nakul set up his plant in 2010 and in 2012 the business was churning decent profit but this is when he sold the plant and founded his current company. Why? because there is no end to the entrepreneurial journey.

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