My Journey through the bylanes of entrepreneurship!
My name is Dilip Kumar (DK in short) I prefer using "DK", on the internet because it sounds like a "Big Guy Name".. :) Actually that is easier to address and hence I thought I will use it.
I am an internet marketer, social media buff (using a lot of alias names), niche blogger, mentor and an internet surfer, in love with my laptop. Two of my primary blogs are the one that you at and another one at http://bpodiary.com. I run a domain and hosting business at Stores 4 Domains and a few other small companies in web designing and development.
That picture that you see is very close to my heart because the one I am holding close to me is my biggest motivation to this entire internet marketing thing..
I am an internet buff and love exploring the internet. But at times I feel that, in doing so, I compromise on a lot of time that belongs to my wife and my daughter. And they are absolutely right in complaining.
Off late, I have managed to change a lot of that, thanks to being more organized and planned.
My wife used to tell me that she is in fact my second wife and that my laptop is my first wife, which I had no choice but to agree because of the fact that I would spend more time with my laptop than I did with my wife. That too, I have been able to change thanks to being more organized.
The Early Days!
My family was a typical South Indian family and just like most South-Indians, my dad struggled working with Private Companies for measly salaries. He was brilliant, but his brilliance was of little value when it came to counting the rupees that he had to be paid at the end of every month.
Working hours was an "irrelevant" term for him, because he was working all of his time, so categorizing his day into working hours and non-working hours would have been a ridiculous exercise to do. He would leave at around 7 in the morning and come back tired at around 10 at night. He was given fancy designations, which in turn meant an increase in his working hours, yet his salary never increased.
My parents had a dream - to live in their own house. While I was in college, they took a bold step to go and achieve their dream. Their eldest son was capable of supervising the construction and my dad could manage a bank loan. And they felt, they had enough to build their own house.
I learnt my first lesson at that point. When you set out to fulfill your dream, you need to have all required resources + 10% additional and never entrust your dream to anybody else, even if they are the closest ones to you.
Even before the construction could start, my dad decided to loan out the money he had kept for the construction to one of his relatives out of sympathy (which I think we were more eligible for) on his situation and on his assurance that he will return the money in a month, as soon as we started the construction. It was never to happen and he never returned with the money.
The rest of the story was a struggle of 4 years with staying in an incomplete house without doors and windows, struggling to repay loans because of my dad losing his job and the 3 of us brothers, having to set out to find jobs.
My family included 2 younger brothers. And what we were told as a kid by most of our relatives was to grow up, study, get a degree and then get a government job and your life is secure. To some extent we realized that it was true, given the nature of all the government jobs in India, but it all depended upon your definition of "Secure".
After seeing my dad slogging, I was not willing to be content with "secure". Or, rather my definition of "secure" was much more than the dictionary definition.
How it Started?
I was always interested in entrepreneurship. Business was what I wanted to do. But since nobody in our family ever ran a business and because of the unavailability of any capital to start one, I was always advised not to think on the line of running a business.
It was the summers in 1998. Globalization has set in and India started to see a lot of multinationals investing in some of the bigger cities. Since the city that we were in was one of the smaller cities with only a government run Steel Plant to show off for an industry, there was no new investment in our city.
That was when one of closest friends approached us with a business opportunity. It was a Network Marketing Company that was into a variety of products, primarily FMCG. When our sponsors showed us the business plan, we found it extremely good. Best part of it being the fact that there was no upfront investment except a minor joining fee.
We jumped in, me and my brother. We followed everything that our sponsors told us but were never really able to take off. People who saw the business plan, never saw the business opportunity. They felt we were trying to pull them into a money-chain. And what influence could 2 college boys have on people who had spent years slogging and were of the opinion that -
If it existed, they have seen it and if they haven’t seen it, it was never there.
We struggled for about 2 years and finally decided to take the advise from people around us and look for a job.
The problem was that we kept trying but were unable to get people to think like us. It was only after 6 years of quitting the business, that we realized that we were doing it wrong. All that we had to do was to find their pain area, show them how similar we were and how the business fit into the scheme of things and helped us. Then we just had to prepare our business presentation according to that.
Nevertheless, that was our first failure at business and there were lessons that I learnt from it which later helped me when I got into Internet Marketing.
Moving cities was not my thing but I had no options but to do that because the city that we lived in had nothing to be called as a job. So I moved to a metro city in India - Delhi, to find a job. And find I did, after 7 months of struggling to survive. A job that would pay me only enough to spend on the travel to office and back. Since I found sustaining on that salary a joke, I started to search for something else.
Another series of rejections followed, some for very lame reasons. One organization even said that I am overqualified for the job. That's the first time that I learned that good education can also be a reason for not getting jobs.
Finally one company recognized my potential and hired me. Thus I got my first job in a call center.
I grew up the organization pretty fast, thanks to the many experiences I had before I even started working. I learnt a lot of things, including business interactions, people management, contingency planning, drawing up business plans etc.
One of the things that this job taught me was computers and that set my foundation to what I am today. Until 2002, when I got into this job in a call center, I had never touched a computer. I did not know how to boot a computer, let alone the technical aspects of it. Fast forward to 2005, and I was a complete computer pro, who could tear down a system and reassemble it. I could program and was more than proficient with codes.
As a professional I was successful and after my first job switch, I was working with a Fortune 100 company in a respectable position. But the business bug kept pinching me all the while and I knew my goal was something else.
The First Online Search
It was 2005 and I was searching the internet for something when Google showed me a suggestion, "How to make money". There started my internet marketing journey. I clicked on one of the links and it took me to a page from where I downloaded an ebook, "Affiliate Project X". By the time I had finished the book, I had searched for a thousand different terms related to internet entrepreneurship and making money on the internet and gathered every little information that I could on the various kinds of business run on the internet.
I knew I needed some money to start off with and I arranged that by cutting down my expenses so that I could get a personal computer. As I finished reading the book - Affiliate Project X, I was ready with my first affiliate website. Traffic started as a trickle and I started making money.
My first dollar was from Adsense though. A site that I had put up with some crap content and some adsense code on it. It was getting traffic and people were clicking on the ads and I was getting paid. But that did not go on for long.
Suddenly my website stopped getting visitors and so did the earnings. But by that time, my affiliate website had picked up and I was making a few sales every month.
When I look back at those days, I realize how easy it was to rank on Google and get traffic. You had to do very little in terms of SEO or, backlinking and yet could get ranked.
At this point I should also say that back then, I never realized the fact that internet marketing was going to change and that there were a lot of challenging and exciting days ahead of me.
Today as it is
I made a lot of mistakes in my journey over the last 10 years. My biggest mistake was in not building a list. There were thousands of visitors who came over to my websites and a few hundred of them even bought the products I was recommending on my websites. But I never captured their emails. I never realized the loss I was incurring and today when I think of the blunder I made, I regret a lot. So if you are starting off today, then take this one advice from me. If you are to be successful; you need to start capturing email addresses immediately and start building a list.
Another mistake that I did was in opting for services that were cheap. Autoresponders, hosting service providers and designers... I went for the cheap ones so that I can save on a few dollars. But in the long run I ended up paying a huge price for these decisions. Crashed hosting servers with no backups, lists vanishing along with the autoresponder companies and designers never coming back with revisions after they got their first payments etc.