HOW TO START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE: INTERVIEW WITH 19 YEAR OLD ENTREPRENEUR FROM MUMBAI, INDIA
Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello! This is Chirag Dodiya, 19 years old young entrepreneur from Mumbai, India. I am currently a student of Business Management from Mumbai University. I have loving family and friends. I am currently involved in more than 5 businesses. When I was 16, I launched my first venture, Eprobe, to provide IT solutions to my friends and people in my network. I launched Plorez when I was 18 which had two sides — the first side was that we worked with corporate companies by providing IT solutions to them, and on the other side, we worked with young entrepreneurs who wanted to build and expand their own business. This second part was basically for students who had amazing ideas but didn’t have the resources and knowledge to make it real. I also got involved in a youth organisation called “Global Youth Forum” where we worked towards empowering the youths of India and providing them with a platform to showcase their talents. Six months later, we collaborated with an international entrepreneurship organisation, Open Enterprise Space, to bring India’s first entrepreneurship school where people will be able to learn entrepreneurship in real time. Currently I am glad to work with the team at Consulting Leader UK firm as the CTO and collaborating with their team in doing some big projects. It inspires me every day to work hard and make a change.
Tell me how you initially got into business.
I started my career when I was 15 years old and just got off 10th grade. I didn’t have much idea about what I should do at that time, so I took up a small job as a telemarketer in an e-commerce company. After a while, I got much interested in the world of internet, and started learning online. Eventually, I started my career in the field of Internet Marketing. Some local clients were willing to pay me for marketing their products and business online, and it just got started. After a while, I decided to launch my own brand, Eprobe, for providing IT solutions on the professional level. Thanks to my awesome mentor and friends; the business got traction. We started working with big event companies, and eventually it just got off.
Tell us about Young Entrepreneurs Mindset.
As I said, I had to start my own business by doing loads of research on the web, and have done it all by myself. That process takes a lot of time because you make tons of mistakes, and learn things eventually. The process is tedious, and I don’t want other students to go through the same. That’s why I launched Plorez to help young entrepreneurs launch and build their own business. But the problem again was to understand the mindset and the ideas of young entrepreneurs. I needed to learn their mindset, so I decided to go forward with Young Entrepreneurs Mindset which is a campaign to find the coolest young entrepreneurs in India as of now. The campaign is focused towards young achievers who have done some great things at a very tender age. What makes these young achievers special? What are the things they do differently? These are questions I always had in my mind. To find out, I am connecting with young entrepreneurs all around India, talking to them, and sharing their stories on our official Web site. At the end of the campaign, I will be sharing the book which contains all the mindsets of these young entrepreneurs from whom I have learned so much.
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the World Wide Web?
When I was 14 years old, my sister got us the first computer. It was a second hand computer running a version of Win XP, which was already around 3 years old when I got it. But I consider myself very lucky that I got one at that time. That was the first computer ever that brought the curiosity in me that you can learn a lot on the web, and eventually build a whole business off it. I still have that computer, and it works fine. Later, I bought a Lenovo laptop from my own earning at the age of 18.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
I always wanted to do something, even If it was small. I just wanted to test myself, and know the inner talents that I had. I eventually got into the business that provided me with enough challenges to move forward every single day, and that gave me the confidence I needed to do the things that I do today.
How did being a young entrepreneur both help and hurt you?
Entrepreneurship has always been about passion and doing what you love. But also being a student of Management Studies, you have to juggle between both of them to keep the balance. There are days when you have to sacrifice your social life and work towards your life. There have been, for me, things that helped, and other things that hurt me.
Tell me about the early days; what was the hardest part of starting the business?
In the early days when I was 17 and just got started in the work of business, the most important thing I had to do was finding potential clients and leveraging the network. The finance was a constraint, but that came second in my list. The hardest part was to keep up with the demands of clients, and providing the best service in less time. Being a one man army at that time, you have to be pretty dynamic with what you offer and the service you will be able to deliver.
How do you manage many different projects at once?
There are times when you are working on more than 5 projects at a time, and it becomes so hard to manage them all. But I have one simple rule for managing all my work. If it’s not going to fire you, it’s not your priority. That’s it! Doing the most important thing should be the first on your list. People spend so many hours doing things that are not important and can be done later rather than doing things that can impact the future. That’s how I prioritise my work. For the things that require double labour, I prefer to outsource it. More or less, that gives me time to think about things that matter, and helps me to stay on track.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
My entrepreneurial journey has been totally amazing so far, but I would still say that it’s just the beginning as we are collaborating with international firms. In the highlight, I have learned 5 years of knowledge in the past 6 months. Things have changed exponentially, and we are still going strong.
Who is your biggest inspiration in business?
There are many inspirations. Some of them include: Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg. Richard has taught me how to manage multiple businesses at a time and perform your best in each of them. Mark, on other hand, has taught me about how to focus on one thing long enough to make it a success. Both of them run on their own mindset, and I try my best to learn from them.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Every young entrepreneur I have met so far has said one thing only: “We don’t have enough finance”, or they are not much sure about their business ideas: will it work or not? I have only one thing to say to them. If you don’t try, how will you know if it will work or not. Don’t think and just go for it. Money can be made once you walk the path.
What do you think about Under35CEO.co?
Under35CEO.co is an amazing initiative by Yinka Brand and his team, making impact by connecting with young entrepreneurs all around the world, and sharing their mindsets and knowledge on what they do. It’s really great to read the success stories of people who live on the other side of the world but still share the same passion.
It’s been a great opportunity for me to share my story with Under35CEO readers. I will be glad to answer more questions in the comments section.
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