He wasn’t born into poverty but a series of events brought his middle-class family under a mountain of debt and his stint with poverty began. His comfortable lifestyle, friends, outings, movies, education and even quality food, everything was at stake. Amidst all difficulties hope for a better tomorrow was his only motivation. Every other day he fought with a new adversity hoping it was the last but the biggest blow came his way when his girlfriend dumped him for his on-going financial crisis. She was his biggest support and her exit from his life left him devastated and broken. He lost the hope of better tomorrow.
He had a normal childhood where he had access to good education, video games and yearly holidays to Disneyland. Happiness was in abundance. His sister got married, father booked an apartment and he entered engineering – all at the same time. However their happiness was not well-planned. His family could not maintain adequate income to pay for this pool of expenses.
To cope up with their situation he had to make drastic lifestyle changes. He had to give up using transport and began walking to save money, stayed away from anything recreational and one of his prime duty became guarding his mother from the bouncers that came to his home for recovering EMIs. Loosing out on hope after seeing the daily survival there came a time when he decided to quit college and begin earning to lessen the debts but his father advised him against it.
He sat for BPO interviews but was rejected, he hoped to get some part-time jobs but was turned down, he applied for teaching jobs but was shown a door. nobody wanted to hire a shabby looking guy who did not have a graduation degree. There came a time when he had only Rs 10 in his pocket in the name of ’emergency cash’. He managed to find a data entering job where he got Re 1 for filling one form. This way he could make Rs 80-100 everyday but it was nothing in front of the amount of debt they had.
His heart broke every time his mother deliberately missed to go on a family function. His father had permanently parked his scooter in the garage to save on the fuel cost. His sister sold her jewelry and he sold off their home furniture. On many nights for months he cried locked inside the bathroom desperate to end his miseries.
His girlfriend was the only one who made him feel a little better, made him smile. But she slammed him for being poor and dumped him at a time when he needed her the most. “I had died many deaths in those two years but this was the hardest blow,” he recalls. “I remember our last meeting. It was raining and we were standing below an asbestos shed, enjoying an alpenliebe as that was the only thing I could buy for her.”
“You yourself are in trouble and without a job. How will I present you in front of my family?” his girlfriend said and dumped him.
With darkness all around he had nothing more to lose. But people who have nothing to lose have everything to gain. This was the time for a new start for Vishal Roy (name changed on request).
The animal inside him was coming out and he began evaluating his options. Nothing except business could save him from dooming but he did not have any money in the first place to start one. It was way back in 2008 when internet based businesses were the talk of the town. Low investment and complete dependency on skills prompted him to venture into the online world. But here too he neither had the money to buy a domain neither knew abc of web technologies. But as it was the only thing he could do at that time he mustered all his courage and bought his first domain on credit.
Started off with absolutely zero technical knowledge, he spent hours locked in a room googling and trying on his own. He made a first website which flopped. Then made a second which failed as well. He coded the third which didn’t work either. He was devastated but he chose to cross mountains of failures and believed that this time will pass.
Vishal’s first success came when he earned $1.29. The second month he made $8 and then $21 in the third month. Like a wolf who has smelled blood he became all the more aggressive with coding and generated $40,000 within two years by making several websites and working as a freelancer. His key projects included Am*****nt and Te***e B**z. The best part was that he did everything on old computers given by others. He paid all his debt and pulled out his family from the crisis.
His business got him the money to clear his debts but it wasn’t sufficient to pave a path for a bright future. However, these businesses polished his skills and made him a total expert at his work. Without a fancy MBA or IIT degree, he got a job at SlideShare and then at LinkedIn. The only thing that set him apart from everyone else was that he put his heart into what he really wanted to do.
A life full of struggles and later experience with leading IT firms developed his entrepreneurial abilities. In 2015, Vishal co-founded a company that raised an amount of $500k as a seed capital.
When going gets tough, tough gets going
Although Vishal has reached a comfortable level in his life now, he still holds close the first ever payment that he received from Google in the early days of his blogging. Every effort, every struggle and every loss that came his way has made him the person he is today and we salute his journey and undying spirit.
In a situation where youngsters break down and give up on their dreams for minor setbacks, Vishal is an iconic example of converting difficulties into strengths.
PS: This post is based on journey of a real-life character. He had shared his account on Quora which became very popular. This is a re-written version of that post. We have changed the person’s name on his request