Do not just keep pondering around [your idea]. Feel like doing it? Just start.
As a 22-year old entrepreneur, Deep has been named as top 30 game-changers of India. Deep started his entrepreneurial journey at 18 by building a platform that decreased the number of deaths occurring due to unavailability of blood in emergency situations. At 20, after failing another funded startup, Deep started working as a marketing consultant (worked with 30+ companies), Deep became a linkedin influencer with 3M+ reach till date. He has been mentioned in various books and publications on entrepreneurship. Recently, Deep was awarded global entrepreneur in climate changes at an international competition. Now, Deep heads marketing at FinTech School.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea of my first organization came from a sad incident. I saw someone die due to unavailability of blood in an urgent health condition. I took the initiative to come up with something that could prevent this, with technology. Messaging people on WhatsApp groups as well as blood-banks have their own cons. I wanted to build something quick and effective. That I did.
It was an android application where you can go and click the blood group needed to find someone in seconds, keeping in mind a lot other things like location, medication, blood type (of course). We research and it would decrease the number of deaths by 47.7%.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I handle multiple duties being a student, head of marketing at FinTech School, LinkedIner, and consultant to some companies. To be frank, I am no expert in managing time, but what I know is I have to work. From waking up at 8-9 AM to sleeping mostly around 2-3 AM (or late), I have my laptop in front of me. I like listening to Evan Carmichael’s music while working. But, I do not need to take any special measure to make sure I am productive, it’s as simple as – I know I have to work, I love my work so I will work.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Recent experience I want to talk about is at a competition in Mexico where I got selected among 35 entrepreneurs from 50 different countries. I found a great team there and we built a prototype of an app that’d increase Farmers’ income by 100%. We won the competition.
My way of bringing an idea to real-life (from a few products and umpteen prototypes I have built or helped build) –
The root reason of building something is to help someone solve a problem. So, if you have a problem that is real, you have taken a good initial step. After understanding the problem, I would brainstorm the solution. One thing I always keep in mind here is that, never get attached to your solution, you never know when you need to pivot. After selecting top 3 solutions, go to customers and get their feedback. Re-iterate and finalize your solution according to the customers. If you don’t have a team yet, build a rockstar team. Find tools to build an MVP.
Sleep over your idea a few days, be open to suggestions and intuitions. But, do not just keep pondering around it. Feel like doing it? Just start.
What’s one trend that excites you?
While it is not a trend exactly, FinTech excites me a lot. Frankly I wasn’t into FinTech much until I became a part of FinTech School. It blows my mind how cryptocurrency, P2P lending, robo-advisors, etc has the potential and are changing how Finances work.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I don’t think any tool or theory would beat ‘Passion’ here. I do use tools to be more productive, I have never had to calculate my productivity and plan to increase it, as I spend most of my day working religiously. Maybe I am not a productive at my sleeping habit, but my passion for my work allows me to go and do my work.
What advice would you give your younger self?
(Even though I started early, knowing this would’ve helped me and would help young aspiring entrepreneurs)
Start early. Earlier you start, earlier you fail, earlier you learn.
I would tell myself –
“See that entrepreneur just 3 years older than you?
He is not a born entrepreneur, he just hustled hard in these 3 years to reach where he is.
Do you wanna reach where he is?
Start now and be persistent for 3 years.
What if you fail, you ask?
Well, that’s good. Learn from it, move forward and start working on something else. Know that failing is 10 times better than not starting. Not 10 times, say a 100 times.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Many people don’t agree on this with me, or even if they do, they do with less magnitude.
“In business, helping and giving away to people, is a good idea”
For me, I am a giver.
You want some free advice? Here, take what I know.
You want some help? Let me check my schedule and see if I can help you.
Maybe I’ll lose some money, but I’ll make a new connection. And trust me when I say this, these friends has helped me more than I could’ve helped myself. People + connections > money.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to podcasts. I find at-least 1 hour in my day to listen to business podcasts. See, until you know what is new in your industry, you are going to be stuck with what you know believing that’s all there is. Being an entrepreneur, you need to be abreast with the knowledge. And, having busy schedule, reading books has become tough. You learn same or better experiences with podcasts than books. One of the reasons being, something happened today, it could be on podcasts tomorrow, and in the books after a month.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Cold emails. It’s affordable, effective and easy.
Now before you blame me on talking about junk emails, wait for me to complete this. This is not about about buying out a list of 10,000 people and sending them a mass email. Not only it will piss the readers off, it won’t even work. I insist you not do it. Only if you knew how many of these spam emails I get from hosting companies that I have marked spam to gmail.
When I talk about cold-email, it’s about searching for 20 potential customers who might be really looking to buy something similar to what you are selling. Understanding what they do, finding what are their problems that you are solving and then crafting a very personalized email to connect with them. Now this, this is something different. This actually looks for a mutual benefit. And it doesn’t have red-bold-underlined sentences without a formal-structure, it’s rather a warm connection request that asks the receiver if the product would help them. The only similarity between both the emails is that the receiver doesn’t know who the sender is.
Also, cold-emails are not only for startups and entrepreneurs. If you are a student or a speaker or just want to connect with someone, going through a real legit process of writing cold-email would definitely be more beneficial than any other mode. For me, it has opened doors I might have never imagined.
A tip – Make the mail a bit fun. As said, formal doesn’t always mean boring.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I got attached to a solution. As a mentioned earlier, don’t get attached to a solution instead get attached to a problem. See, as ideas are you mind’s products, it feels hard to leave them after growing on them. I felt the same. I built a whole product on based on my view of the solution, where I was not considerate to potential customer’s needs. Ultimately to find out, of course, no one is buying it. So, you want to solve a particular problem – good. Be flexible on pivoting your solution according to the trends and what the customers are looking for.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I see AgriTech growing in coming years and there’s a huge gap in what we can do there. In developing countries, farmers are underpaid. There’s a lot that could be done to increase Farmer’s income, give them a satisfactory lifestyle while on the other side making sure that the food cultivated is green and clean.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Best $100 I spent was to start a business. I had started an ecommerce store which cost me just around hundred + some time I learned the skills. After trying to make it a sustainable business, I failed and stopped working on it eventually. But, the skills I learned still aids me at each odd step.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Notion. Having to work on multiple things, I need to keep noted what to when + I need to take a look at my near-term, short-term and long-term goal. I love using notion for that.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Tools of Titans is a book that I have read multiple times and gifted to multiple people. In include interviews of expert-matters in many fields which will blow your mind. Even a random single line of the book has the ability to change your life.
What is your favorite quote?
“Just do it” – Nike
I don’t like sitting idle. I like execution part of working. Though I plan, but I believe execution is the real deal.
- Starting up? Just do it. Worst – you’ll fail and learn (which is also a win)
- Marketing your startup? Try cold email
- Read – Tools of Titans and listen to podcasts
- Don’t get too attached to solutions