I was asked by a few of my friends and well wishers to write a bit about GyanLab completing 5 years as a start-up.
I really don’t know where to start or where to end. All I know that this has been a superb experience for me — all the highs, all the lows, all those moments where I felt I am making a difference in lives of many other, and all those moments where I realized I am learning so much from others.
I am damn sure starting up as a college kid was the best thing I ever did. It has taught me a lot of really valuable things I know today.
Probably, I will use this post to write about the most important lessons I have learnt in this journey as an entrepreneur.
- The art of humility
I have been guided, mentored and advised by some of the most amazing people I have ever seen or known. Shekar Sir (M Chandrasekaran, Corporate Advisor, Manipal Group) & Luis (Luis Miranda, Former Chairman, IDFC PE) have been father figures to me during this time. They are huge names, they have done some huge things — started up PE in India, advised some of the largest companies, have been successful entrepreneurs themselves, and they are advising us at every step where we need their help. The biggest lessons I have learnt from them is being humble, being true to myself and enjoying my work.
2. Learning from mistakes
Every mistake that I have made over the last 5 years has been a huge learning. And, I have made a truck-load of them. I am not sad that I made too many mistakes, I am content that I am learning from each one of them and becoming better at doing my job everyday. We have pivoted a couple of times, opened new products and have shut them, hired right and wrong people, spent money where it could have been saved and many a times didn’t speak up when it was needed to. But, every mistake helped me learn valuable lessons that I am using today to do what I am supposed to do.
3. Impact, not investment
We have not raised big funding. We are as old as Ola, older than most high-flying hyperlocal or services start-ups but we are not in the business of raising money. One big lesson I have learnt over time — we are in the impact business and as long as we keep making headway towards a solid profitable path, we will survive. Whatever money we have needed to keep going at it, we have received it from people who believe in us, and it is a huge validation factor for me. I am always going to keep my head down and work — because impact is what will keep me motivated.
4. Being motivated at all times
I started GyanLab due to a personal problem with the education system. I have always wanted to build things that make learning an enjoyable experience for kids — it is the biggest motivation factor for me. What I have realized over the last 5 years is that work without motivation is a dead end. Every morning I wake up, I wake up with the same zeal that I had on the day we started up with GyanLab. It is what drives me — one day I am sure that I will build something that would truly revolutionize education for all kids.
5. Pay it forward
This is a lesson I have learnt from Shekar Sir. I have been helped by our mentors and many others during this wonderful journey — which has helped us stay on course to build a valuable education start-up. During this time, I have also got opportunities to help some other people running start-ups or willing to start-up and I have tried to help each and every one of them in any way I could. I will keep doing as much as I can for others because I believe that it is the collective goodwill of so, so many people that has still kept us alive and kicking.
To sum it up, my life and all my experiences make me who I am. Although it is just the start for us, we will keep pushing ourselves harder everyday so that one day we may achieve our goals. I am a tiny part of a beautiful ecosystem and I am grateful that I have got this opportunity to be a part of it. It has been a beautiful journey and will be surely even more colourful going ahead.
All I need, is your love and good wishes. I am sure, one fine day, I will be sitting on a rocking chair looking back in time and saying — My life has been a sum total of my experiences.