Startup Survival Podcast

Episode 12 - Local to Global: Expand your Entrepreneurial Horizons

June 27, 2021 Peter Harrington Season 2 Episode 12
Startup Survival Podcast
Episode 12 - Local to Global: Expand your Entrepreneurial Horizons
Show Notes Transcript

What mindset and skills are required to start a business and grow it globally?

In this fascinating episode, tune into Vikrant Shaurya and learn how this young, gentle but highly focused publishing entrepreneur transformed his own life and started a business that has become a global success story.

Vikrant shares the struggles of not being truthful with his family and how his early business failure led friends to laugh at his misfortune. He also talks about how he worked hard, discovered his entrepreneurial talent and used customer feedback and deep competitor analysis to exploit market opportunities.

Ultimately, you’ll discover that as long as key building blocks are in place, technology now provides all entrepreneurs with the ability to start and grow a sustainable business that works across borders.

Learn more about Vikrant at the foot of this post. For the benefit of all, a transcript for this episode will be made available.

A bit of Podcast background...

UK-based Peter Harrington set up his first business following graduation in York in 1989. He has since started and grown several companies in various sectors including research, marketing, design, print, educational software and consultancy. Over the last 30+ years, Peter has employed over 1,000 people and experienced many highs and a few lows including burglaries, floods, fire and of course the most recent pandemic.

As well as being the CEO with the SimVenture team, Peter is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at the London School of Economics and London South Bank University.

Big thanks to LSE Generate, the SimVenture Team and Seajam Moths for supporting the Startup Survival Podcast.

Find Guest details and all Reference Sources

The full podcast series together with additional materials, guest details and hyperlinks to all episode reference sources is available on Peter Harrington's Blog 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to Entrepreneurship'.

Speaker 1 (00:11):

Greetings. How are you? Welcome back once more to the Startup Survival Podcast with me, your host, Peter Harrington. If you are only just tuning into this second series, you should know this podcast is all about helping people to get better and go further on their entrepreneurial journey. Whether you are studying the subject, actively nurturing ideas, or have already taken the plunge into the bath of startup uncertainty, this series is for you. And then this rags to riches episode, I'm going to be sharing a story from India. A story about a young man who beat the odds and within a decade, turned shattered dreams into a blockbusting business. Hopefully, you managed to tune into Martin Hutchins in the previous episode and were able to capture the keys that will unlock your future sales success. Martin talks so much sense in that podcast and showed how all ambitious entrepreneurs keen to build long-term relationships with clients should approach the subjects of sales and selling.

Speaker 1 (01:21):

And if you have ambitions to scale a business and sell beyond borders, I know you are going to enjoy listening to this episode’s, my special guest Vikrant Shaurya. Like Lisa comfort in episode four for Vikrant has a compelling story to share. And I'm sure that woven into his words will be priceless lessons and learning. As Vikrant, tells his story, I'll be doing my very best to dig for and highlight the key lessons and learning points. So as I prepare for the heavy lifting, why not get a drink, sit back and make yourself comfortable. 

Speaker 1 (02:02):

Based in Pune near Mumbai, Vikrant Shaurya is the CEO and founder of best-selling book.com. A lifelong lover of books, Vikrant has created a company helping thought leaders to become established writers. Working with a growing global team he has already helped more than 500 people to become best-selling authors. And he continues to be an industry trailblazer. Now 28 Vikrant has been his own boss for 10 years, but this story is not about his international business success. Rather it concerns his journey and the lessons learned from very humble beginnings, and you need to hear it from him. So thanks to the dumbfounding dexterity of the digital highways, the 5,000 miles between us is simply an irrelevance. Talking off-air to Vikrant about his entrepreneurial journey I'm aware it all started when he dropped of his college engineering degree, when life was a search for relevance when life was far from easy. So Vikrant, what was happening back then? And why did you drop out?

Speaker 2 (03:12):

I decided to drop out of the college when I was in my college library, reading this book, like somehow I found this book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki in the self-help category. And so of course I was not liking the engineering in college. Everything was extremely theoretical. Although I was making some really great friends over there, like my social life was amazing, but I knew that my career is going to be reduced if I'll be just doing if I'll be continuing or if I'll be pursuing, pursuing engineering. So I read this book by Rich, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And it completely changed my perception about finance, about what to do in your life and your life. And so the thing is like the very same day I dropped out of the college. And so yeah, like of course till that point, I had no idea what I'll be doing, but I decided that I'll be doing something of my own. I was still not quite clear on exactly what I'll be doing, what kind of business I'll be creating. But I was crystal clear on this, that engineering is not for me.

Speaker 1 (04:28):

For context Vikrant. Exactly. How old were you and where were you living?

Speaker 2 (04:31):

So I had just turned 18 at that time. And my hometown was like, there was a small town over here in India called Putna. And, but I like, I shifted to New Delhi to pursue my engineering. And this college is nearby New Delhi called Greater Nada and where I was pursuing my college. So yeah, of course it was around 12 to 14 hours distance. Like of course, when we used to go from train to, from New Delhi to my hometown.

Speaker 1 (05:08):

And when you dropped out, did you tell your parents?

Speaker 2 (05:12):

No, of course I didn't have the courage to talk to my dad about this matter. So the thing is like, I want, I want you to imagine the situation is my dad was very much supporting for very much supportive for what I was doing, right. Like when I just graduated from my high school, he asked me that, what do you want to become in your life? And I didn't want to sound dumb. So that's why I just told him that I'll be an engineer because all of my, all of my friends, they were taking an admission in engineering college. So he sold his land and he got my admission in an engineering college. And when I went over there in the city, like he used to call me every evening and asked me like, Hey son, how was college. Every evening? Right. It was a kind of a routine for him, even for two minutes or three minutes that he used to ask me every day.

Speaker 2 (06:07):

And then when I dropped out of the college and still, he was calling me every day and I didn't have the courage to tell him like his hey that I have dropped out. So he used to ask me every day that how was your college? And I used to tell him, like, it was good, it was fine. And I had a, kind of a very big guilt on my chest. Because of course I didn't have the courage, so yup. For six months I was lying. Like I didn't have the courage. I, I was not able to tell my dad that I had dropped out of the college because I knew that it will be very difficult for him to know that his son has dropped out.

Speaker 1 (06:51):

Okay, so you've read the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you've dropped out from college and for six months you're keeping the truth from your family. So what were you doing in this

Speaker 2 (07:01):

Time? So what I was doing is I dropped out and for one or two months, I would just exploring for business ideas, like what I'll be doing. I was reading more and more books. I was also reading so many articles on internet, on exactly what kind of business I could start. And then, then I got this business idea and I started this business and I took some money. I lent some money from my friends, relatives, my colleagues, my my seniors. Right. And I started this business. 

 

Speaker 1 

Okay. And what business was that? 

 

So the company's name, which I started, it was investment Linkup, Investment Linkup, where it was kind of a portal where entrepreneurs and investors can meet. So an entrepreneurs can share their ideas with investors and investors can find great business ideas to invest in, in those companies. So it was a really great model.

Speaker 2 (08:03):

And but thing is that I made so much mistakes in that business. Like I was still not very much clear on exactly what would be my financial model, how exactly I'll be making money, but still like within just first month of starting the business, I hired, I guess, seven new employees. And I want you to imagine this, like I was 18 and most of these employees, they were in late thirties or forties and I was instructing them exactly what to do. And they had nothing to do because of course, some of them, there were content writers. Some of them, they were designers with some of them, they were website creators. But I didn't have the vision completely dial in, in my mind that exactly what the business is going to be all about, what will be the structure and all of these things. So made bunch of mistake. But within six months it failed, right. I had to shut down the business. I had to fire all the employees because I completely ran out of the money. I was in a debt of around five to $6000.

Speaker 1 (09:05):

Right. So, so let me get this straight. At 18 years of age, as well as dropping out, you've started and closed a business, hired and fired a bunch of people and found yourself in debt to the tune of several thousand dollars. Is this the point you decide to come clean with your dad and your family?

Speaker 2 (09:25):

So, yeah, of course, like I didn't tell my dad after I fail in my business, like I did it during, when I was running the business, it was just three or four months. So when six months happened and I was still running the business and of course to offer two months, the business is going to be shutting down. But still I thought like, I really can't lie to my dad anymore. And because he used to call me every day. And so what I did is I took the train. I went back to my hometown and then I told my dad that this is what happened. Like I dropped out of the college. And what did he say? So, yeah, I want you to imagine this, but he is a person like he was in military .He is very tough, like very strong person and, and always motivating people.

Speaker 2 (10:21):

But the thing is when I told him that I had dropped out of the college, I saw him crying for the very first time. And it was very heartbreaking for me. It felt like that my entire my entire dreams had shattered in a moment because of course I really respected. I really used to respect my dad. And of course seeing him crying was very painful for me as well. And he locked himself in a room for two or three days. He was not eating. he was not like, so yeah, the thing, it was like, it was very difficult. My mom was crying. My, like I have younger brother and sister, they were also in kind of a tension. So this is the situation which happened. And then after two days I had to come back to New Delhi to operate the business. I told him clearly that, that I really think that engineering is not for me.

Speaker 2 (11:24):

I really don't want to be an engineer. I'll doing something of my own. I'll be starting my business. And over here in India, like it is kind of a taboo, especially 10 years ago. If you would say that, like, I want to start something of my own, then people don't trust you actually. And if you are not a doctor or engineer, they see you as a failure. So this is the kind of a society thought pattern. So yeah, like I went back, this is like, I just told my dad. And then I went back to my hometown

Speaker 1 (12:02):

For Vikrant to share this difficult history. So openly and candidly cannot be easy. Let's be honest. Everybody makes mistakes. And from time to time, we are all drawn to untruths. Except most of us hide this part of our lives from the public gaze. But because we Vikrant has shared his story, it's possible to pick out some valuable lessons already. As a young man, Vikrant clearly knew he was made to be an entrepreneur. He has terrific drive and focus. And whilst his business failed, he did at least read around the subject and study competitors before he started. Yes. He made a lot of mistakes in that first business. But as Tim Harford's book, title says, success always starts with failure. The key issue is to learn, adapt, and keep going. So I wanted to know from Vikrant having failed his family and in his first business, what was the trigger? The inspiration to start the next venture.

Speaker 2 (13:03):

So, yeah, so I went back and then I discovered that this business is not going to be surviving. I didn't have the, the money left to pay my employees. I asked them like to stay, but of course they were not, of course I totally understand their situation as well. They also had a family to take care of. So I had to shut down the business. And now I'm in this situation where I used to live in a single room apartment. And of course the situation was not good over there. I was there with a broken laptop. My, the, if you, if you see that, like the there's a fan inside the laptop, like, which keeps the laptop cool. It was completely broken right due to which I used to have a container in the container. I used to have some kind of a water.

Speaker 2 (13:55):

And then I used to keep the laptop on the top of the container just to make it cool. Right. And the battery was completely dead. Even if for a few seconds, the, the light was gone. Then the, like, I was not able to, like my laptop used to shut down. Right. So it used to plug 24 7 in the charger. So, so this was a kind of a situation. It, I was having a 2g, 2g internet speed, and then I still had an option to go back to the engineering college, but I really didn't want to go to that part. So I was searching online how to make money online with zero investment definitely because of course I didn't have the money left. And then I discovered self publishing. That I can make, I can write and publish books. And then of course I can create some royalties. And of course, then I started writing my books and this is how I discovered this new idea which helped me took my, took my career in an, in a new direction. 

Speaker 1 (15:00):

OK. So before I ask you more about this latest idea, what's there, anyone around you giving you moral support or, or helping you at all?

Speaker 2 (15:09):

My girlfriend was there, but of course it was a long distance relationship. Like she used to be in my hometown and I was there. Like, she was there with me since I was 14. And so yeah, of course I know her since then, but the thing is that she used to support me on the call, but apart from her, there was no one else. Like my family was not talking to me. My mom used to call me maybe once or twice a week. Right. Just to see whether I am alive or not. And my friends, they were not talking to me. They were making fun of me. All of those friends, like who are my batch mates in college, they were making fun, some fun of me that like, like I have completely destroyed my career. So yeah, there was no one else apart from my girlfriend.

Speaker 1 (16:01):

So you've, you've got this new idea to go into self publishing. It's not a revolutionary idea and many people try it. How did you get started and make it work?

Speaker 2 (16:12):

So I discovered self publishing and just because I had nothing to do at all. And my landlord used to call me every day because I didn't pay the rent for three and four months. So tenants used to come every day just to see the house. So it was kind of a very difficult situation for me to convince my landlord to please wait for a while for give me a few months chance. But of course, like he, he was also not trusting me. He thought like, I'm just here. And I'm not never going to be paying. And so yeah, so the thing is like now I just wanted to make money as soon as possible. So when I discovered self publishing, I got a book idea. I started writing about it. I, and of course English was not my English is not my first language.

Speaker 2 (17:08):

And since the beginning, I used to get the lowest marks in English and I was not a bright student in that. But the thing is that still just because I had to make money, I somehow, but in a bad English writing skill, I written, I wrote the book within 21 days. 

Speaker 1 

Ah, and what was the book title? 

Speaker 2 

So the book title was 19 days to sell your house. And I wanna, I want you to imagine, like, I didn't have any experience about selling homes and selling house, but, but still like, just, and of course I, now don't recommend to anyone to write about any topic, but you don't have experience about, but still just, I wanted to write a book. I really want to make money. I chose a pen name. And if you're going to still Google ‘19 days to sell a house’, you will not find the book.

Speaker 2 (17:59):

I have unpublished that book, but still, you will find some reviews on ‘Good Reads’ the saying like how the brilliant the book was or something. So say the book was really great. And I wrote that book within 21 days. My girlfriend helped me with editing and proofreading. Like she was really great at academics and she was a university topper as well. So she finished the book and I was able to then publish the book. And when I. Right, within the first month, I made it on $27 from the book. And I know like of course $27 was not a big amount, but still it was a very, very big deal for me. I still remember that when I saw the royalties payment in my KDP dashboard, like KDP stands for Kindle direct publishing on Amazon. I saw that royalties. I remember that I was jumping on my bed at around 12:00 AM.

Speaker 2 (19:04):

And but still like, I want you to imagine that Amazon doesn't pay you for 60 days. So if you're getting sales this month, then they will not pay you for 60 days. So of course I still didn't have the money in my bank account. I had the money in, in my KDP account, but I didn't have the money to, in my bank account. So, but still I was seeing some progress. I knew that this is going to work. And then next time I published, like I wrote another book, which was a short book which was around 50 to 60 pages book. And within just three days, I just wrote that book in three days and publish that book this time. I also did some marketing. I was learning so many things about marketing the books and I marketed both of the books and this month I made around $440 or something. So, so yeah. Now of course I was having a clear picture, clear roadmap that exactly what I'll be doing. So yeah, this is how I discovered that.

Speaker 1 (20:07):

Ok, so by doing this work and learning by trial and error, you must have discovered you were really good at something, your unique selling point or USP, so to speak. You might not have known how to sell houses, but there must've been something in your writing. What do you think that was?

Speaker 2 (20:24):

Back then I didn't know about this skillset, which I had, but now whenever I think back, and of course now I can see it in my business in anything which I do, is I'm really great at creating systems. And, or you can say making complex things in a very easy way. So if you're talking about, like selling house, then there are millions of articles on online, right on Google, like how to sell your house. Right? And of course I was going through all these articles. I was going through all the different kind of a YouTube videos, but the thing is like they were talking about specific thing, but they were in most cases in 99% of the cases, the step by step action was not there. What I did was the book was written ‘19 days to sell your house’. And it was written in such a way that what you have to do on day one, then day two, day three, and all these days became chapters.

Speaker 2 (21:27):

So there were total 19 chapters. And then of course I was exactly telling them, giving them all the things, which they need, of course I researched all the all the articles, all the videos out there most of them. And then of course I compiled them an actionable step by step things to do, which can really help them sell their house. And back then, right. I also got a thank you email from one of the readers somewhere. Like he found my email and he told me that he was able to sell his house just by following the book. So it was kind of a really great thing to know that, of course I was making money, but with those books, I was also help was able to help or support someone who needed that to solve the problem.

Speaker 1 (22:19):

You may have heard me reference the late great, Sir Ken Robinson in episode one of this series. And if you've tuned into his famous 2010 Ted talk entitled, ‘Bring on the Learning Revolution’. You'll know he highlights a global talent crisis because many narrow minded test focused education systems prevent people from finding and making best use of their skills. But here is Vikrant who is instinctively and bravely searching for something that resonates with his spirit, something that makes him sing. And in his Ted talk Sir Ken Robinson says our talents are not lying around. They are often buried deep, and most of us have to work hard to realize who we are in order to understand the unique talent we possess. Success typically starts with failure, but don't let this put you off. By doing things and working hard. You are mining for your talent. And as a result, you are far more likely to find the gold you seek. So let's get back to the Vikrant and the green shoots that are beginning to appear in his entrepreneurial journey. Vikrant, How did you turn this local business into a global publishing powerhouse?

Speaker 2 (23:33):

Yeah, so the first step is when I started promoting my books on Facebook and all the different places, there were some entrepreneurs in my Facebook list and some of them there, they were from States. They started reaching out to me that, Hey, can you please help me write and publish the book? And what I did is I added a coaching fees. Like it was a very minimal quoting fees. And I started offering them on advice and our weekly coaching on how exactly you can write and publish and market the book. So I created a system for myself, like how I could write and publish the book very, very quickly and start making money out of it. And then I used the system to help other people as well. And within that one, one and a half years, I was able to create dozens of courses, eBooks and programs around how to write and publish a book. And I launched it in international market there are platforms like JB zoo and WSO forum, Warrior Plus. I was able to launch all of these products over there, which helped me get thousands of thousands and thousands of students. So with those courses, with those programs, I was able to support thousands of people internationally, turn their ideas into a published book. 

Speaker 1 (25:00):

Okay. So use of technology clearly underpins your global growth. Can I ask the Vikrant, how much did you have to learn in order to be able to use these technologies?

Speaker 2 (25:11):

Whatever I have done in my life and my business specifically, like whether it was writing my first book or launching my first product, creating my first course or whatever it is, I didn't have any experience at all. But the thing is like one of the best thing about me, like, which I've discovered is I'm a very fast action taker. So whenever I learn anything, like I try to implement it as soon as possible, if it is really great for the business. So when I saw that, okay, like maybe there's an opportunity out there, like how I can help them turn the ideas into a published book. And then I discovered JV zoo and these different platforms, there are thousands and thousands of videos and articles that explains how to launch your product over there. How to find affiliates, how to talk to affiliates, how to have your website ready to launch your product, right. And how to create a dashboard, how to create a download page, everything, whatever I was seeing it, I was starting, I started doing it. So I didn't have the technical knowledge or any sort of knowledge before that. But every step, like I started learning this and I started implementing that in my journey. 

Speaker 1 (26:26):

So you've discovered what you needed to learn and clearly the growing success of your venture provided purpose and motivation. Can you share Vikrant how the business has grown and where it is now?

Speaker 2 (26:38):

Of course, like initially when I started this company called, the company's name was before best-selling book.com, it was the Books Factory. Right? So I, so some of these people, like I was working as a student, like these people, they were my students in my program. Some of them, they started reaching out to me that like, we really don't have the time to write the book. Can you please help me write the book for me? Right. Can you please do the writing part for me, or editing or publishing? Then I did some research and found out that there are so many people out there really wanting to write a book, but really don't have the time and skill set to write a book. So I assembled a team of writers, editors, publishers, marketers, and started offering the ‘done for you’ services to these people.

Speaker 2 (27:26):

And initially the company, his name was the Books Factory, right? Because of course we were producing books, but most of the books, which we were producing, almost all of these books, like they started becoming bestsellers. Right. And down the line. Now we also have, we also help people get on USA Journal or Wall Street Journal bestseller as well. So the thing is like since the time when I started this done for you book publishing company, we have helped around 300 people, right. To go from the book idea and turn it into a best selling book. And they're, I guess more than 500 of clients, like who chose specific individual services, like some of the clients they just needed just the cover design or just needed the editing services. But yeah, like there are hundreds of hundreds of clients who needed the entire package, like they just had the book idea, but we have a team, we have process, we have a systems in place which takes their book idea. And right when we write the book for them in their voice and we turn it into a best-selling book within just six to eight months.

Speaker 1 (28:39):

Okay. And you mentioned your team, how big is it and where are people based?

Speaker 2 (28:44):

So the company is incorporated in States as bestselling book.com, Inc. And but the, the entire team is global. Most of the in-house team members, they are from Philippines. So currently we have around 40 people on payroll, working in house, right? Like who takes care of take care of the entire operations. We also have like there are around thousands of writers, editors and proofreaders in our circle of influence. And they've worked with us on a project basis. So if a client comes, we reached out to them and of course, if they are fit, then we match them with the, with our client and then they start working together. So if you talk about the specific number, they're 40, there’s aroundn 40 people working with us like in-house including the, the writers, editors, publishing managers, designers, and all the different like marketing team. And then there are writers and editors. Most of them, they are from States. They are thousands of them in our influence.

Speaker 1 (29:54):

One of the things I've noticed as we Vikrant talks is his knack and ability to tune into and solve client problems as they emerge, his business has grown globally because he has listened to and learned how to offer attractive solutions to problems his prospects and customers face.  Flip side is the fact startup businesses often fail because the owner runs out of energy, pushing their own idea and trying to persuade others to buy into it. So moving on keen to find out what Vikrant has learnt over the last 10 years. I want to ask him about the skills he feels people need to have. If they want to take a business from local to global.

Speaker 2 (30:34):

I guess the first step, or you would say the number one skillset would be to always start small, but think big, right? So let me explain this. So one of the mistakes which I made in my first business, which failed was, I was of course thinking big, but at the same time, I was taking really big steps as well. So in the first week itself, like I hired seven new people I really had didn't have the ideas and all these things, but still I was working on I was trying to work on a bigger scale. Now, if you are just, maybe if you are just starting out, if you are just local or now you want to take your business to the international, then the first thing is like, always start small with some, take baby steps, but have some vision in your mind.

Speaker 2 (31:26):

So, so what I was doing, like when I started writing my book, it was all like, I started writing for myself first and then I understood the entire process. And then of course, when I started launching it, I started launching my courses and programs. I still didn't hire anyone. I was a kind of a one man army doing all the things. Writing was still not my forte. Like I really was not, I really was didn't want to invest in having a copywriter or a content writer. So what I used to do is I used to review some different competitors' website. And then of course I used to get some ideas from their inspirations from there. And then I started, I used to write some copy from there. And then there are some tools out there called Grammarly, which helps you fix the grammar and proofread all of these things.

Speaker 2 (32:18):

If you are not good at design, maybe you can design your logos of social media banners on Canva, right. If you're not good at marketing, like I would highly recommend it. Do all of these things yourself first, and you have some kind of a systems. You have, you understand the entire process, then it will be very easy for you to see whether, whether your company is really making profit or not. So the thing is like, when we are small or when we are just local, we have very limited budget. We have a very limited amount of money we have, and we have to survive on that. And the, the first responsibility of yours as a business owner is to safeguard that money, which is left because you also have family and really don't, you really don't want to quit. Right. And that can only happen if you have a positive cashflow going on in the company. So always start small. Maybe just start with only you, right. Just one person as a team. And then once you start seeing some positive ROI and some cashflow, then you can hire people from there, right? Like then you can start small. And then of course take some baby steps.

Speaker 1 (33:32):

And Vikrant, what have you found is the attitude of mind that leads to success?

Speaker 2 (33:38):

So there are so many things, right? Like in, if you really want to succeed. The thing is that I would say that the best or the number one thing would be seeing things as it is. And of course, people don't talk about it. Like people talk about persistent. People talk about hard work. People talk about smart work, but they don't, they don't think about, they don't talk about understanding. They don't think our talk about seeing things as it is. So let me explain exactly what it is. So if you are in a situation right, where you are trying to help someone, right. But if you really don't know what kind of problem they have, if you really don't know what kind of pain and a deep rooted problems they're facing in their life or business, you really can't offer your product as a solution to their problem.

Speaker 2 (34:38):

And to understand that, like you have to really understand deep down exactly what kind of pain they  are facing. I know, like from what kind of pains and problems these people face, because of course I've interviewed several people, right. And down the line. And I really understand what kind of challenges they face. So if you really start seeing things as it is, like, if you are talking to any client, if you are talking to your employees, if you're talking to maybe your potential partners or collaborators, then see exactly what do they need. And if you can fulfill those gaps or fulfill that need, then they really want to work with you, whether it is your team member, whether it is your partners, whether it is your clients. So yeah, this is, I guess, like one of the best thing, if you really want your business and take it to the next level.

Speaker 1 (35:34):

OK so what you say links perfectly back to the previous episode where Martin Hutchins talks about the importance of questioning curiosity, and he ultimately recommends the book ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek. And you also mentioned hard work. They have a crowd thinking back over the last few years with bestselling book.com. Can you share with listeners when and where you have had to work hardest to make your business a success?

Speaker 2 (36:00):

They are kind of a mixed answers for this. And honestly speaking, like there's no specific answer, like from my opinion on exactly how much people should, like whether they should do hard work or whether they should work less and do some kind of a smartphone over there as well. It completely depends on their situation. If you, if your priority is to pay bills and really support your family, because you are not having you don't have any many money left, your number, one goal should be to make money. Right. And of course you can only do that by just focusing on your business, just focusing on your work, maybe for that, like you have to work 10 hours, like in the 18 hours as well. Like I used to work 18 hours as, as well in a day. And it was only, I was able to do that because of course I had to pay bills.

Speaker 2 (36:55):

I had to pay rent. I had to really take it off my living code as well. Right. So there were times like when I didn't have the money to, to eat. Right. So, and if you are into that situation, like the, your number one goal is just to somehow make money. Now, if you're into the situation where, where you are making some good amount of money, then you have to always, you also have to think smart, right? So you have to, don't do so many things. Like you have to list down all the things which are essential in taking your business to the next level, and then just choose 20% of the things. Maybe like if you have list of 10 items, just work on two items, which are going to be giving you 80% of the results, right? So 20% of these tasks, like, which is going to give you 80% of the results. And if you can do, if you'll do that consistently, it's going to give you the maximum result and output. 

Speaker 1 (37:55):

That's great. Thank you, Vikrant. Now we've looked back at your journey to where you are now. So what does the future hold?

Speaker 2 (38:05):

Yeah, for me, the next is going to be like, as I mentioned, that we have expertise in helping our clients turn their ideas into bestseller and bestseller In terms of Amazon bestseller, Wall Street Journal, bestseller USA today, USA today, bestseller. Now our next goal is within one or two years. We also want to offer this service very, we'll be helping our clients with New York time bestseller as well. And it's going to be kind of a big goal for us because to hit a number one bestseller on Amazon, you have to get around 500, 1000 sales in a day. If you have to hit a bestseller on Wall Street or USA today, you have to get around 6,000 to 7,000 sales in a week. And if you have to hit bestseller New York Times, then you have to get around more than 15,000 sales or 20,000 sales in a week. And of course, that's our next big goal for the company to offer that service so that we can support our clients with New York Times bestseller as well. 

Speaker 1 (39:10):

And I imagined Vikrant that you are always on the lookout for anyone in the world with a great story to share.

Speaker 2 (39:16):

Exactly. So we have worked with so many clients with really beautiful life-changing stories, which has not only help my clients. Like when I read those books, like it, it completely changed the way I think. And of course, this is what I really like working with these clients. So the thing is like these, the book which they are releasing, of course it is helping them. It is helping them establish their brand or establish their authority or get them more clients, grow their business. But the thing is like the book they are releasing is also helping the readers. So we are not only helping our clients. We are also helping the readers who are going to read those books. And that is very kind of satisfactory for my team and I to, to know that.

Speaker 1 (40:08):

Yours is a great story of Vikrant. And for me, the circular learning that underpins everything you are doing makes your venture even more meaningful and important. Sadly, we are coming to the end of this roller coaster story that you have so kindly shared. But before we close, let me go back to the beginning. if I may. You mentioned your dad's tears and how difficult everything was with your family 10 years ago. I can only imagine back then you felt as lonely as your father who locked himself away in that room for three days. Can I, can I ask about your relationship with your dad now?

Speaker 2 (40:47):

Now he's a proud dad. So of course for several months he was not talking to me, but with some of the effort from my mom, I was in kind of talking terms with my dad after one, on one or two years. But still of course, like there were things not good, but when he started seeing that I started getting some success then of course he started believing me. So the thing is like, I need you to imagine over here is in India. Especially like if you have an online business, like people still think that it's completely scam and cops are gonna come in your home and you will be in prison in any time. Right? So that's where, like even I told him that this is what I'll be doing. I'll be starting my business. This is the reason like he was not trusting me because there's a kind of a generation gap.

Speaker 2 (41:44):

So when he started seeing me that now I'm a, I'm an author. I started making some money. I I sent him like, you wouldn't believe it like the first money which I got the, the first royalty, like $440. I asked him like, Hey dad, can you please give me your account details? I want to send you this money, this entire money. I still had the ramps and all these things. He told me that I no, no son, that how difficult situation is for you. Please take that money and use in your business and take it off your your life over there. So he refused to take money over there. And of course it was, but then left, of course, things started changing when he started seeing some really great thing. I also help him in building his house, right. We used to live in, on rent, even my, in my hometown. So now we have a home over there. I have a home over here in Pune where I'm living. And so yeah, now he is really happy. And when the, one of the best part is, he himself is an entrepreneur now. He and my sister has started a business over there in my hometown. And yeah, they're making some money as well. So it not only changed my relationship with him. He also became an entrepreneur himself. So it was kind of a really great thing for me.

Speaker 1 (43:11):

Great news. That's fantastic Vikrant. I'm really pleased for you and your dad, in fact, your whole family. And one final question, if I may, you also mentioned earlier that one person believed in you through those most difficult of times, and indeed helped you with your English when you were writing your first books. Are you still in touch with the girlfriend from all those years ago?

Speaker 2 (43:36):

So, yeah, like my girlfriend, like I knew her since when I was 14, right? So it was, I guess, 14 years ago or something. So this is when like when we became friends and then of course she was really supportive. And then we came into a relationship. And of course, as I mentioned, that she was the only one who supported me. She also helped me with my book writing and things. And for my few business, she also helped me in doing some kind of a things, right? Like some technical work as well. But the thing is like, of course I tried really, really hard to convince her parents. She also tried very, very hard. And her parents came to my house just to see whether the the guy is a good fit or not. So again, like they used to live in my hometown, they took the train, they came over here and they saw me, they saw my condition. And of course they saw that the condition is not at all good. And they completely rejected me. They went back to their home and they, they told her their daughter that like, this is not the right guy to marry. We'll get you a really great guy. Maybe someone who in, in government job. So the thing is that it took me four years to convince them. And finally, they allowed me to marry her, marry their daughter. It's really beautiful living with her. It's kind of a dream come true.

Speaker 1 (45:09):

Lovely story Vikrant. And, and can you share your wife's name?

Speaker 2 (45:14):

Sure. Her name is Rimpi.

Speaker 1 (45:21):

Well there you have it. Dreams really do come true. Vikrant. It's been delightful to have you here on the show, sharing your life with us. Unfortunately, I have to let you go, but before you disappear, I have one last request. As someone who is widely read and heads up a global publishing company, can you share a recommended read for our entrepreneurial listeners?

Speaker 2 (45:44):

I would recommend two books, not only one book. If you are serious about business. So the first book is going to be the One Page Marketing Plan from Allen Dib. So last year when COVID started, I found this book on Amazon. And when I'd read this book, like I was extremely fascinated by the knowledge of this author and the, the way he structured the entire content in a very easy to understand. So I reached out to this person, emailed him that no matter what your coaching fees is, I just want to work with you. And then we jumped on a call and he mentioned like his coaching fee says $300 for a minute per month. And I just say like, I really want to work with you. And of course he was he was my business coach for six months right last year. And it really helped me in my entire marketing of, of my business.

Speaker 2 (46:41):

So, so yeah, that book is definitely useful. Even if you just print it out, that one page marketing plan is going to really transform how you operate your business. One more thing is once you are on a certain stage of a business, then you really have to systemize and have a proper process in your business in order to take your business to the next level. And that's where I would recommend this book, which I read last year called Systemology, which is by Dave Jenyns. And this is all about how exactly you have to identify and create systems and processes in your team, which can make your life very, very easy. Right? So after reading the book, like, again, I, I went to the author's website and I found that like, he also offered some kind of a software, which helps people create system. Like the software is called systems hub. But yeah, like I subscribed to that software and now we have the entire systems on that platform and the company. So yeah, definitely these two books, one book, ‘One page marketing plan’, if you are starting out and the second book Systemology, if you are on a certain level in the business.

Speaker 1 (48:01):

Fantastic Vikrant they are terrific recommendations. And finally, finally, I'm sure many people will be inspired by bestselling book.com. Is that anything you can offer listeners?

Speaker 2 (48:14):

Yeah, sure. For your audience. I have something to offer as a gift and it is a tech list which we use for our clients to turn the ideas into a best-selling book, like the entire process from book idea, to writing, editing, proofreading, designing, publishing, marketing, all the steps, all these sub-steps that you need is going to be in the checklist. So I'm going to be offering this checklist to your audience for free. They can simply visit Bestselling book.com/checklist, and they can download this, print it out, place it on the wall, which makes the entire publishing journey very, very easy. And over there, they also find the blueprint, which explains how exactly to use this tech list step by step. So simply they can visit best-selling book.com/checklist, or if they are, if they think that they want to hire a professional team who can take it of the entire book, writing, publishing and marketing journey, then they can simply go to bestselling book.com. Schedule a call with one of our author strategists who is going to come on a call and then they can start to work together from there. 

Speaker 1 (49:23):

Vikrant it's been an absolute pleasure, but sadly, we have come to the end of our time together. Thank you so much for joining me on the startup survival podcast. Doubtless listeners will act on your advice, all of which you have shared. So generously throughout this episode.

Speaker 2 (49:40):

Thank you so much feature for asking those amazing questions. Like it was really, really great remembering the past memories and as well. So thank you so much for being an amazing host. It was pleasure to be on the show.

Speaker 1 (49:59):

I think from this point forwards, I'm always going to ask the guests to recommend a book. They are so much better at it than me. And if you want a reminder Vikrant suggested you buy the one page marketing plan by Allan Dib and Systemology by David Jenyns. Hopefully you will enjoy reading these gems as much as you've enjoyed listening to our special guest Vikrant Shaurya. And my wish is that this get better go further podcast gives a better idea as to how you can look beyond local horizons and work to scale your thinking and of course your business. And before I venture on to the next episode, it's important to take a moment and recognize our special guest. Vikrant, thank you so much for sharing your inspirational story of highs, lows and all points in-between. You have provided invaluable insight into how tough entrepreneurial life can be, but also shown how rewarding it is too. 

Speaker 1 (51:02):

And for his relentless work in the background, thank you to Duncan, my producer, who never fails to deliver on time, despite the demanding deadlines. I set him and thank you to Chris for your research. And another shout out to the music sponsors see jam moths. Finally, without the support of LJ at the London School of Economics, as well as the SimVenture team who allow me time out to do this, this podcast would not be possible. In the next episode to be published on Thursday, the 15th of July, I'll be talking to a Paris based business woman who will be helping me to negotiate negotiation. If you want to know the secrets of working with people and striking deals that will make you smile tune in to the next episode. I know you won't be disappointed. Until then your podcast feedback is not just welcomed. It's needed. Share what you really like. And let me know the truth about what needs to be improved. And of course, whatever your listening channel of preference, please remember to rate, review and subscribe. Until next time.

Speaker 1 (52:07):

My name's Peter Harrington, and this has been your Startup Survival Podcast.

Speaker 3 (52:12):

Go well, stay safe. And thank you.