Everyone has some goals to achieve in life, some leave them after meeting failures, and some learn from their mistakes and stick to their target. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of PayTm, falls in the second category. From being a bright student in the school to becoming a backbencher in college and even then reaching the heights of success, Vijay’s story is one that you shouldn’t skip reading.
“Success can come to you by courageous devotion to the task lying in front of you.”- CV Raman
The Inception of Mastermind
Born in Aligarh’s small town, Harduaganj, Vijay was good at studies, and his bright marks always reflected the same. His father was a school teacher and mother was a housewife. Though he was a bright student, most of his schooling was done in Hindi and little did he know that this particular thing would land him in a spot of bother in the future.
“Build a strong base. The journey to peaks of excellence requires a strong base camp.”- CNR Rao
The English Trouble
After finishing his school, at the age of 14, he hardly knew how to read and write in English. Vijay realized that it was necessary to learn the language to get into a good college. Since he completed his schooling at an early age and was still to reach the minimum age required by engineering colleges for admission, he thought of utilizing this time. He borrowed English language books from his friends and read them as a vivid learner. He also got magazines to help him out. When he realized that he was still unable to understand the language, he thought of a new idea. Vijay started reading two books, with the same content, one in English and the other in Hindi. This proved to be a masterstroke as he cracked the entrance exam (which was in English) of the Delhi College of Engineering in 1994.
“Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place — that is, the unique you. Have an aim in life, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, and have the perseverance to realize the great life.”- APJ Abdul Kalam
The Struggle Continued
Vijay had thought that the English nightmare was over, but he was proved wrong when the fear came back to haunt him. Everyone in his college was more fluent in English than him. So, the frontbencher in school soon became a backbencher in college, and this led to a decline in his academic performance. His attendance fell, so did his marks. One thing that grew was his interest in entrepreneurship.
“Discover yourself; otherwise you have to depend on other people’s opinion who don’t know themselves.” – Osho
One Man Army
Vijay took inspiration from the advent of Yahoo and the stories of people from Silicon Valley and began a journey of his own. His college hostel room became the office, and a nearby shopkeeper’s phone became the office landline, he found a partner in one of his friends and his first company- XS Corps started its operations. Meanwhile, he cleared all his examinations.
Just when everything was looking good, a sad thing happened. For his company, Vijay had taken a loan of Rs. 8 Lakh, and he was conned off 40% of that amount by his friend himself. This shattered him, and he took a while to recover, but he overcame and decided not to stop until he reached his goal, that of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
“Want something? Then go out and make it happen because the only thing that falls from the sky is rain.” – Sahil Khan.
Soon after that shattering event, Vijay started One97- the parent company of Paytm. He put all his hard work into that company but still one problem remained that of money. One97 grew bigger so did the requirement of investment. The company took some loans to expand the business as Vijay’s money ran out. Whatever money the company earned went into paying the rents and salaries. There was a time when he could not even pay the rent of his house, searched for the cheapest food available to eat, did part-time jobs to earn something which he would invest in One97. This was a tough phase, but one day he coincidentally bumped into the owner of Polar Software, Mr. Piyush Agarwal, who requested his help. Vijay couldn't refuse him and took things in hands which inturn impressed Piyush a lot, and asked this young mastermind to become the CEO of Polar Software. Initially, Vijay declined the offer since he had his own company to run, but later circumstances forced him to change his decision. Now he was the CEO of Piyush’s company and had his own company to run as well.
“Don’t look back and think what you have not been able to do.” – Ratan Tata
All Problems Have Solutions
Though Vijay now had an additional source of income, there were still many loans to repay. He asked Piyush for some money to get the loans repaid to which Piyush declined and instead invested the same amount in One97. This was a good deal for both of them. Vijay later pushed the idea of a mobile wallet payment application which he named Paytm, and the rest is history.
The Success Of Paytm
Vijay’s idea of starting this application was a massive risk in India since people here are mostly happy with cash exchanges. But without risks how could he become a successful entrepreneur? The idea found acceptance and people were happy to use the app. Vijay’s focus was to be customer oriented throughout, and he offered 24x7 grievance handling and customer support which further made Paytm a viable option for customers. Now Vijay and his company are both successful.
“He who can listen to the music amid noise can achieve great things.”- Vikram Sarabhai
Well, quite easily, the success of Vijay lies in his determination of sticking to his goal. He had the grit and the courage that it takes to be on top. Any bad situation will not stay forever, there’ll always be a way out, but you have to wait for it with utmost patience and strike when the moment comes. Vijay did exactly that and never stopped working hard. This is the reason behind him becoming one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs.