He sold paintings, collected cow dung, worked in a saloon, and now runs a business with turnover in crores!
“Rich men have dreams. Poor men die to make them come true.” ― Glen Cook, Water Sleeps
Poverty is the greatest tragedy in anyone’s life. Some people accept it as their faith and lost the battle of life without participating in it. However, some have the courage to take poverty as a challenge and work to become rich. Today we are going to talk about one such person, Gaurav Rana. Gaurav is the founder of Calipso, a beauty services start-up with 11 crore turnover but the true story of his success has been achieved with some unimaginable struggles.
Struggles have been part of his childhood
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."- Frederick Douglass
You never know what time will bring for you and it was the same case with Gaurav as well. Gaurav was growing up in Bahadurgarh, a town near Delhi-Haryana Border. Gaurav Rana, now 25, was in class 3rd when his father went into deep depression after being infringed upon by his father’s partners in well-established crockery and transport business. After this incident, Gaurav’s family was forced to shift to their ancestral village Sonf in Haryana’s Bhiwani district.
From that day forth Gaurav started developing his business instincts. He was good at paintings so he used to sell each painting for Rs 20 each when he was in class 6. He also suggested his grandfather, also his best friend, to try selling and buying 50 pairs of a shoe but only to bear the loss in this engagement. From collecting cattle dung to make fuel cakes for the fire to prepare food at home to joining the barber’s shop, he did try a lot of things.
Excellence in every work
“Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude” – Ralph Marston
Gaurav always believes in excellence. He was really good at studies. He cleared the class 10 as the state topper with 96 percent marks in 2008. However, he did not want to go for regular classes till intermediate so he took admission in one of the reputed colleges of Agra, Dayalbagh Educational Institute to pursue a Diploma in Automobile Engineering. At the age of about 18, as soon as he completed his diploma, he got a job as a Technical Apprentice Trainee in VE Commercial Vehicles, a multinational company in Preethampur in Indore. Gaurav soon became the Junior Manager as a recognition for his excellent work. He was also getting a good amount of money through the company’s referral scheme. He also completed his B.Tech through a correspondence course.
Although he was one of the best employees in VE, he was unexcited about the job and always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He was always good at making connections.
“I always wanted to learn something new and different. And have a good understanding of everything that was happening. That doesn’t happen when you work at large corporates; you are asked to restrict yourself to the boundaries of your work, and I wanted more.” – Gaurav Rana
He went on starting his event company named as Vocano Events in 2012. He worked all night in the VE Commercial Vehicles as a Junior Manager and took care of his startup’s work in the daytime. He organized corporate functions, fashion shows, anniversaries and other events in the next three years. He was earning Rs 10,000 for a small event and up to Rs one lakh for a big one. His earnings reached to around Rs 2 lakh every month by the end of December 2015 so he decided to quit his job.
The worst new year eve and rebuilding by Gaurav with a great Team
Everything was working fine for Gaurav and his startup until the new year eve on 31 December 2015. Gaurav was supposed to organize a very big event V-15 on New Year eve and everything was in place. However, nature has some different plans. It started raining very heavily on New Year’s Eve and around 3,000 guests were present at the venue.
When the program was canceled due to rain, the furious crowd started breaking tables and destroyed everything.
Gaurav had to suffer a huge loss and consequently, his startup was shut down. Disheartened with what all had happened, he did not lose the hope as he knew that his destiny is to be an Entrepreneur. He got the idea of bridging the gap between the service providers and customers in Beauty services. He got this idea by seeing her mother who was a beautician but only a handful of people were in her circle of service. He launched his beauty services company Calipso and tied up with salons, independent beauticians, and freelancers.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" – Helen Keller
This time Gaurav created a great team to confirm his success. One of the important members of his team was the Calipso’s co-founder Shubhra Shrivastav, wife of Aditya Shrivastav, VP of VE Commercial Vehicles. Shubhra had 25 years of experience and great business knowledge. He roped in the best and trustworthy people in every field. For instance, accounts and administration handled by brother Mohit, Love Bhatnagar headed the Sales and Marketing and last but not the least was the Vinod Sood, startup mentor and Managing Director at Hughes Systique as his mentor.
Within the seven months of his opening, Calipso claims to have already completed over 3,000 services with over 950 customers. The surveys have also shown the 60-70% retention of customers. The total turn out of Calipso has reached to 11 crores in 2016. This all has been made possible by the hard work and zeal to face any situation moving ahead for your goals. Gaurav is simply a great inspiration for our youth and a true icon for Startup India.
“If you born poor, it’s not your mistake, But if you die poor it’s your mistake” – Bill Gates