Do you need a college degree to be successful? How can you start making money online? How can you take what you love and make it your business? What to do if you have no mentors around you? How can you be the next success story?
When I first came across Vishal and his article on Forbes, I did a double-take to confirm whether this guy is really 22-years old or were my eyes playing tricks? He owns 5 businesses all in different niche, has written an E-book, is a social media influencer, has a blog and he is just 22 years old! He is a role model for young people like us. I went behind-the-curtain to get to know Vishal and learn alongside him.
Let’s dive into the conversation.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up in India, in a family of four. My dad had a good business until tragedy struck when I was 12 years old. Dad suffered a stroke, he missed his health insurance renewal by a day, and before we could blink, all our savings depleted overnight. He couldn’t work for 18 months, and as you can imagine, survival became tough. The whole family shifted to a new city, trying to rebuild our lives.
At the tender age of 12, I learned 3 of the most important lessons in my life: (1) Money is one of the most important thing in life, you can’t survive a day without it (2) the head of the family should always try to make the dependents independent in case something untoward happens in future; and (3) always have an emergency fund.
These three realizations were an eye opener for me. Not only it made me mature in thoughts and aware of the circumstances around me, it laid the foundation to my future.
Your blog says that you are a college dropout - why did you take that decision? Isn’t a degree important?
College didn’t had the subjects I needed an education on. I wanted to learn how to start and run a business, how to build a passive income, how to be financially free and the college failed to educate me on any of those. They are making employees not employers. So I took the decision of dropping out of college, my mom was really supportive and I was out of the rat race.
The degree is good for people who want to specialize in a particular field of their interest. For example to be a doctor or lawyer you need a degree because the government has set laws like that for those professions but if you have no desires or goals like that and you are studying just for the sake of your parents and society then you are making a poor decision by going to college. You will just waste 5 years of your life for nothing and rest of your life will be wasted doing a job you don't love which will make your entire life miserable.
How were you introduced to the art of making money online? Talk about your first dollar online, how you earned it, and where.
What really propelled my online journey was a quarrel with my dad. He challenged me saying it would take me 10 years to earn $750 (Rs. 50,000) a month. The comment really riled me up. I started looking for ways to make money on google and in the process found out a freelancing site called fiverr, where people were selling services they were good at for $5. I didn’t have any major skills but I needed to make money so I started working as a virtual assistant. My first online job was on Fiverr, transcribing a 30-minute phone call, and it paid me $4. The first month I earned $44. I learned Logo designing, Photoshop, SEO and Social media marketing through Youtube videos and Quora answers and started my own company Sunshy Digital Media Agency after doing freelancing for 6 months. I took no holidays or vacations for 3 years, worked 18 to 20 hours everyday.
How did you become an influencer on Instagram and how has it helped you in building a successful business?
Initially, Instagram was just another account among other social media handles. I started to take it seriously after a couple of months when I started to notice that Instagram was performing better than Facebook and LinkedIn ads. By this time, I was already into digital marketing on a full-scale, and this was an opportunity too hard to miss. I observed that organic Instagram exposure yielded better results than paid ads. My digital strategy clients were too impressed as well. I was getting 10x better results then other platforms.
Moving on, I began to take Instagram seriously in terms of building a personal influencer network plus a business channel. I own multiple accounts and cumulatively, there are 5+ million followers. As an influencer, I got many bloggers, artists, and business personalities as my clients who wanted me to handle their Instagram channel. The work involved growing their accounts and keep it engaging.
I created and mastered a couple of Instagram hacks. Bolstered with confidence, I created an Instagram marketing agency. Companies began to contact me to become their brand consultant to promote their products through Instagram. See, with Instagram, you cannot have a single stream of revenue. Within the platform itself, you have to put the eggs in different baskets.
I have explained all my strategy and tactics in my eBook named www.journeytoamilliondollars.com The eBook has only actionable and implementation-worthy tactics, no content puffery. Following them, anyone can become an Instagram influencer and start generating income.
Who is your mentor and why?
I couldn’t find a mentor in my surrounding but got many on YouTube. Patrick bet david videos thought me everything I needed to know about entrepreneurship. Dan Lok videos helped me price my services better, it felt like before I was working for free for my clients. Gary vee's confidence and insights on social media made me believe that this is not just a thing for few years, it is here to stay for a long time which helped me get the confidence to scale my business. Reading answers on Quora by experts in the field helped me a lot to learn and develop new skills. I wouldn’t be what am I today without these people motivation and videos. Internet changed my life, I wouldn’t be close to what I’m today if it was not for the internet.
You are an inspiration for many like me, what is your message to the young generation who want to be successful like you?
You don't need to have rich parents to make it big in life, you just need to believe in yourself, have a vision and work as hard as you can till you achieve all you want. I will like to advice young people to not waste their youth chasing love. It's your time to do something, to make something out of yourself. You are young and energetic now, you don't have responsibilities, you are fearless, you can conquer the world, but if you are giving away all this precious time chasing someone, to find your one "True Love" then you are just wasting away your youth! That special one will come in your life when the time is right, don't rush into it. Make a career for yourself, be mature, learn to handle things, be responsible and then go get your one true love but till then focus on what's more important. Stability and Financial freedom is the key to a happy life! Do whatever it takes to be financially free.