How far would you be willing to go to achieve your business goals if you had to start from zero, had no investor, no sellable skills and no desire to pursue a degree?
Would you think of watching hundreds of YouTube videos and reading hundreds of Quora answers to teach yourself the vital skills you direly needed to kick off your business? Would you be willing to learn social media marketing, website development, search engine optimization (SEO) and every other expertise your business needs because you had no money to hire anyone to help you out?
Well, here’s Vishal Jain, a young entrepreneur who did just that. He started out as just another freelancer, worked through thick and thin and is now the founder and CEO of Sunshy Digital Media Agency.
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I’ve interacted with him a couple of times and found him an inspiration for millennials, especially those aspiring to entrepreneurship. I had an enlivening chat with Jain to learn more about his story.
Interviewer: Why did you drop out of college?
Vishal Jain: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never had the mentality of taking a job and working for someone else, so going to college and getting a degree didn’t appeal to me but it was hard convincing my parents to let me quit higher education. They asked me to get a degree and then decide what I should do further in life but I already knew what I wanted to do and I was very clear about it, so after doing freelancing for a few months I decided to quit college and was out of the rat race for good.
Interviewer: Interesting! So how did you get started doing business online?
Jain: I wanted to start my business all on my own with no financial help from anyone. I started searching on Google for ways to make money online. I ended up on a few freelancing sites and started selling virtual assistant services there. After seeing the huge demand for social media marketing (SMM) services, I learned it watching YouTube videos and afterwards decided to start my own SMM business. I had no money to pay a website designer to create a website so I learned and made one for my business. I had no money to pay a marketing person to advertise my services so I learned it myself and started getting clients. My biggest resources were free information on YouTube and Quora. I have not spent a single penny till date on any online courses. All I invested was $25 on a domain name and hosting to start my business. The process of doing it all on my own with no financial help made my business what it is today as I could now provide website design services and SEO services in addition to the SMM services. I quickly turned my brand from a social media agency to a digital media agency.
Interviewer: I understand the core of your business is built around Instagram. Why Instagram? How does this make you money?
Jain: When I started my social media agency, I used to get many of my clients through Instagram. It appeared to me that not many marketing specialists at that time were using Instagram as a potential source to get clients. So I used that as my unique selling point and started my second company, Realstagram. Instagram is the best way I know for a brand to build an organic audience and it’s only getting better. I market my clients’ accounts with the best Instagram features including everything from hashtags and power likes to targeted comments and influencer marketing. So I make money by helping my clients make more money and increase their brand influence.
Interviewer: What potentials does Instagram hold for brick-and-mortal brands and also Internet brands?
Jain: The biggest misconception people have is that Instagram marketing is only for brands that ship worldwide but this is not the case. Ninety percent of my clients have a local clientele and Instagram marketing works well for them. Instagram has been such a profitable channel for some of them that they now spend all of their social media marketing budget on Instagram. For internet brands, I don’t know of anything better than Instagram as you can reach out to big influencers and get your products and services in front of millions of people for a competitive price.
Interviewer: Tell me two of the most embarrassing mistakes you see brands making with social media
Jain: The biggest mistake brands make on social media is not spending enough. They still spend most of their marketing budget on traditional marketing and use only what’s left for social media. With today’s reality, they should be doing the opposite. There is so much for every business on social media right now that they should all be jumping on it. But most of them are not and so the companies using it are getting far ahead of the rest.
The second mistake they make is buying fake followers. Just 100 engaged fans or potential clients are better than 10,000 fake followers as these fake followers won’t engage or buy anything from you. They will only destroy your brand reputation.
Interviewer: What's your single most important advice for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Jain: Thinking that you need money to start a business is fine but thinking you need someone to give it to you is not. You can make the money you need yourself by learning a few skills for free on YouTube and working as a freelancer on websites like Fiverr. Don’t give the excuse that you don’t have enough money to start it, you can just start hustling a little and make that money in no time. So don’t be an excuse giver, be a doer and get started as soon as possible. There will never be a better time than now to start a business with little to no money while still having the potential to make millions.