The journey of a self made Entrepreneur

Gijo Vijayan (Author, Blogger, Entrepreneur – India)

Dear Entrepreneurs

My name is Gijo Vijayan, I am a blogger, author and entrepreneur from India.

I am a former engineer from Reliance Petroleum Ltd, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India.

I did my schooling from prestigious Sainikschool Kazhakootam, Kerala and later completed B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from MA College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, Kerala in 1996. I worked in a small Company in Kerala making metal fabrication products, then I shifted to a company in Coimbatore making stone crusher and later worked as an apprentice in Kochi Refineries Ltd from where I got selected to Reliance Petroleum Ltd, Jamnagar, Gujarat. I was a part of the construction of Jamnagar Oil refinery from 1998 to 2002, a 5 billion usd project. It was the largest grassroots oil refinery in the world.

I visited Srilanka and Singapore in 2003 and spent 2 years in a hill station called Munnar in Kerala just to see the hills. For 2 years I was just eating, sleeping and wandering in the hills of munnar without any aim. I loved nature so much. Dancing in rain is my hobby. I speak 4 languages fluently and understand 2 more languages. I am the author of 3 books, all of which are available in amazon for sale.

Currently I stay in Samastipur in Bihar, India. I am the director of 2 private limited companies and run recruitment cum training business during day time and an IT Company in the evening. This is my introduction.

I am writing this blog for a special reason. I am an encyclopedia of failure. From 2002 onwards, after leaving Reliance, I have faced thousands of failures both in professional and personal front. I have lost friends and love. I have come to the ground several times from 2005 , lost lakhs of Rupees in business. I shifted my office from Bangalore to Delhi and then to Samastipur in a period of two years. Once I had a flourishing business in Engineering recruitment with 25 staff and later I faced my waterloo with zero staff. It took years for me to come out of debt and during those horrible times I have literally seen hell. In Bangalore, I was even kidnapped by some employees for not paying their salary in time. The girl I loved most married a stranger and broke my heart for ever. For my family members, I was a useless guy for many years, my neighbors and friends looked at me as an institution of failure and I was the most useless guy in their knowledge. After I relocated to Samastipur, I reworked my business again and with the help of my Bihari Business Partner, I picked up myself from Scratch. Now I am reasonably successful , running 2 small companies employing about 10 people. I lead a simple life and enjoy what I do.

I am writing this blog for special reason. This is to help all budding entrepreneurs all over the world. If there is an Oscar award for failure, it will go to Mr.Gijo Vijayan, because I have failed thousands of times from 2005 onwards. I hold a Phd in failure in business and personal front for many years. Now I have reached a stage where nothing can hurt me, nothing and nobody can make me cry except my mother, who always stood by me in times of severe failure. I have lived in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Bihar for more than one year.

When I look back I feel like laughing for many blunders I committed in my life, sometimes I feel I was the most foolish and unlucky person from India. As a person who has failed in many fronts, I want to mentor entrepreneurs from all over the world. Now I know how a business and person can fail. From thousands of small I big failures and humiliation I faced over the years, I have become an expert in handling stress, failure, loss of love, treachery etc.

I have taken up a massive mission to help and mentor 10001 entrepreneurs all over the world to become successful in business and handle failure in multiple fronts. My foolishness of the past can be an eye-opener for budding entrepreneurs anywhere in the world. The foolishness I committed, nobody must commit, the pits in which I fell, no one must fall. This is the reason; I want to advise budding entrepreneurs worldwide. This is my 13th year in business. All my knowledge is practical and life taught me a brutal lesson via failures. I want to list some of the pitfalls in business that start-up companies will face every time. Here are some of them. The following things I write are from my own experience learned over the years. I am sure it will help your business in a big way.

Knowledge is more important than money.

Do not start any business with half knowledge. It can fail anytime. For example, if you are a web designer and want to start a web designing company, I suggest you need to have at least 5 years working experience in the same and must have worked in at least 2-3 companies in India and abroad. You must know a to z of web design, latest trends and technology. If your knowledge is weak, learn more and update knowledge every day. Do not start the business depending on money and marketing skills, even if all your employees run away, you must be able to handle the company technically, success lies in your knowledge more than capital.

Do not start a business without a mentor.

Many start-up companies fail all over the world not because of lack of capital, but lack of knowledge. Do not start a business without a mentor. After 5 years of working in web design companies, you finally decided to start a web design company. Always keep 2 mentors with you, who have more than 20 years experience in web design and try to employ them part time or full time. Take their advise seriously in business. When you have 2 mentors with you with 20 years of experience and your five year experience, in effect your company has 45 years of experience and this is the biggest capital of any company.

Try to keep away friends and relatives from your business.

When you start a business, do not expect any business from friends or relatives. When you become successful, you will have more enemies. Do not reveal your business secrets and plans to anyone except your co-founder and not even to your wife. Too many opinions can spoil you. When in doubt , consult your mentors and take professional advice. A terrible incident happened to my friend who run an IT Company. He had 3 offices and a successful business which he developed from scratch. He hired his classmate as a developer one day. After two years, there was a difference of opinion and his friend literally split his well running company taking away more than 40% staff and 60% clients. Till now , my friend has not fully recovered from the shock he got from his close friend.

Never expose your weakness or tell your problems to everyone.

As an entrepreneur, you will face problems in business and personal life every day. Sometimes you may face severe financial loss or lose of love. Never let the world know your problems, people will laugh at you. Try to manage the situation and take help from someone very close to you. One of my friend one day came and revealed a terrible secret, he became HIV positive. His family kicked him out of the home and he had nowhere to go. I helped him to get married to a girl who was also HIV positive, and now he is leading a happy life. No one knows about his illness except me. Imagine what would have happened , if he had exposed himself.

Never start a business alone, you need a Co-Founder

In business, never try to manage everything alone, I suggest you need to have a co-founder. Always expect the worst situation and make plans in advance, how to handle crisis. Horrible things in business happen unexpectedly all of a sudden an you must be prepared for a rainy day. A good co-founder is one who is ready to stand with you and work with you in any horrible situation. Fortunately I have a strong o-founder who stood with me always and that is the reason, why I could handle failure many times. Now I am partially successful –financially. A good co-founder is one who can support you morally and financially when you are in crisis and never let you down in any situation.

Learn every day.

If you are in business, you must learn every day. Make notes on latest trends and technology in your field, attend seminars, fairs and meet experts from your business and learn as much as possible on emerging trends in your business. Sometimes you need to unlearn and re-learn to stay competent in the market. Any company that will not change with times will collapse. Nokia and Kodak, once the giants in their own fields literally vanished from the market because these companies never changed with times. They failed to adopt to latest technology and market trends and refused to re-invent themselves. This can happen to you also, as an entrepreneur. So always be ready to learn, unlearn and accept changes and challenges in business every day. Remember, a lightning can strike you anytime, so be prepared.

Learn from Failed people, not from anywhere.

Most entrepreneurs look at always successful people in their field, I suggest the reverse. Learn from the failures of people in your business area. This will help you to avoid pitfalls and problems in future. Meet as many people as possible in your field of business and try to understand how and what they do. To learn new skills, you must be willing to work for free. Knowledge is more important than money.

Unknown people will boost your Business.

In the initial days of your business, sometimes your own family may look down upon you; your friends may run away from you and may not give any business help. All the successful business you will make initially from unknown people. Once you become successful, and then throw a party, everyone except your unknown clients who made you rich will be present praising your achievement. You will suddenly see, the whole world wants to be your friend.

Do not Expose your wealth and trust beautiful women.

What I am going to write may be partially true for you, but it is 100% true for me. Never expose your bank balance to anyone. People will try to exploit you, your friends and relatives will try to take money from you, if you refuse, they will become enemy in future, so be careful. Always follow marwaris. They look simple, sometimes look foolish. They work quietly and do wonderful business, they come in scooter, stay in rented homes and even never own a luxury car. But in real life, they are the smartest and wealthiest people in India. They never expose their wealth. I have seen hundreds of such people in Gujarat who are trading diamonds and gold. If you expose your wealth, it can be a threat to your life also.

After you become successful after years of hard work, you suddenly see a changed world. All of sudden people are interested in you, everyone wants to be your friend, your name sells. Lot of beautiful women will start chasing you. They are not looking at your beauty but your contacts and money. No beautiful women will ever chase a person who is broke. If you have a loyal girlfriend, who stands with you at the time of crisis, you are lucky. So learn to keep away poisonous people from your life. Always remember that many beautiful women are poisonous snakes who aim at extracting your money and contacts for your selfish aims. Also never trust men and women who do over-makeup and expose their wealth in public.

What to do in Crisis?

If you are facing crisis, trust your mother, trust your god and close friends, who will never let you down. Take a break from business, go for trekking in forest for a week and refresh yourself, pray to god everyday –if you believe in god. Miracles can happen in your life. If you believe in god with all your heart, miracles will happen. Years back one such incident happened with my friend. My friend is an ardent believer in KAALI MAA. He wanted to buy a piece of land, but was lacking the funds. He had some funds with him. All of a sudden a miracle happened, in one of the billing he did to his client, the client overpaid the bill 50% cash by mistake. After the cash was deposited in his company account, he consulted me. I told him, god has sent you this money, now purchase the land, you have all the money, I said. So as per plan he purchased the land. Later the company found out that they overpaid him in an audit conducted after 6 months and recovered the amount from him via another bill. This was indeed a miracle. I do not know how it happened. But I warn you that in your business never depend on luck, but always depend on hard work.

Watch YouTube Videos every day.

If you want to improve yourself or your business, watch one youtube video everyday and learn new things in life. Learn new tricks about personal development or your business from credible sources. It really helps.

Always aim high and think Big

Even if you are big zero today in business, never stop dreaming. Low aim is a crime, learn to dream big. Follow the great son of Bharat and former President of India, Dr.APJ ABDUL KALAM, always make big plans and try to dream big and execute your plans. Believe strongly you can do it and god will help you realize your dreams. The best example before me is Late Shri.Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance group of companies, who built a massive business empire from scratch. He was working as a clerk in Yemen and later started trading business in yarn and then went to open textile mill (Vimal) then built oil refinery and petrochemical plants. It was Dhirubhai who gave millions of Indians mobile phones for Rs.501 and created telecom revolution in India. Now his son, Mr.Mukesh Ambani is replicating father’s success through Reliance Jio, providing fast internet access to millions of people in India at Cheap rates. Every success starts with a big dream. People may laugh at you, but never mind. Make a massive plan for your business and try to implement the same. I was fortunate to meet Shri.Dhirubhai Ambani two times, when he came to Jamnagar to address Reliance employees.

Stay simple and humble when success comes to you.

Now after years of struggle, you became a massive success in business. Suddenly you became an important person, people who once ran away from you will start chasing you. This is going to be a new phase in your life. Never trust 3 Cs (Chamchas, chelas and Cronies). Never trust people who praise you too much all of a sudden. Stay simple and humble. Never rest after your first success, keep working hard, keep a low profile. If you fail after attaining big success, more people are waiting to crush you under their feet, just remember that.

Keep genuine friendship.

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey, I faced many challenges. Now also I am not fully successful as per my plan, I am only 10% success according to me. I have to cross 90% more. Even when I came to streets without any money , there were people who helped me with food , clothing and money. I have a very good friendship with a very rich man from Kochi, we are very good friends past 15 years. He is 20 years elder to me and trade in real estate and diamonds. When my business collapsed I lived in slums in Kochi city in Kerala for one year. My friend used to call me to his home and he arranged feast for me along with costly liquor on many occasions. After h came to know about my business failure in 2004, he offered me Rs.1 crore with a condition, stay with him and work with him, float a business that I like and nurture the same. I flatly refused the offer, because I never wanted to loose my friend. As soon as you take huge amount of money from anyone, you may loose friendship and later you may become his slave. For this reason, I refused his offer. By god’s grace we are still very good friends till today. His respect for me increased several times after I refused the big money offer.

There is no shortcut to success except hard work

If you are in business, failure is bound to happen when you grow, no matter how well you plan. So be prepared to face failure with grace, a person who never failed never tried anything new and he is the biggest fool in this world. In the initial days of your business you need to work more physically and as you mature in business, you need to work more with your mind than body. Managing and keeping people along with you is the biggest achievement of any entrepreneur. One of the reason for the massive success of Shri.Dhirubhi Ambani was his ability to manage and keep people loyal to him and Reliance for long period of time. If you can manage people, nothing is impossible in this world.

True Leadership – the gateway to success.

LEADERS of tomorrow are those people who empower others and create more leaders. If you are leader, you will create more leaders and empower them, this is how top leaders of business and political parties work. In business, if you want massive success, you need to have leadership qualities. You need to have multiple skills both technical and people management as well as in marketing. Simple followers can never become business leaders. So never become a follower , be a leader.

Write down – the worst that can happen to you.

Have you ever written the worst situation you can face? If not, just write it down after thinking for some time. Keep reading the same occasionally. This can help you in making better plans for your business and execute the same. If you have not faced huge crisis in life, you will never grow big. Life of Mr.ELON MUSK, co-founder of Paypal, Tesla motors and SpaceX is the biggest example. Your biggest education is not what you learn from books in schools and colleges, but from real life.

Strive for excellence – Money will chase you.

In any field, if you want to reach the very top, strive for excellence. Never settle with the ordinary. If you are web designer, try to become the best web designer in the world. Your name will sell, when you deliver quality product or service. Good brands sell by word of mouth and they need little marketing. Rolls Royce car and Bill Gates are the best examples.

Make Crazy plans and think out of the Box

If people are not laughing at your ideas, you are not a good entrepreneur. Try to do things that nobody has done. Try to implement new ideas in your field. If you fail, you learn. If successful, you can make a fortune. In any business, sometimes commonsense is more important than knowledge.

Do not start a business without Market survey and expert Opinion.

Now you have a crazy idea, you are excited and want to implement the same. Don’t get excited too much. Do a market survey and find out if your product or service has a demand in the market. If your country has no demand for a particular product or service, do not launch that business there. Try the same idea somewhere else. Never try to sell ice cubes to an Eskimo.

Your biggest asset is loyal people, not money.

The biggest asset of an entrepreneur is loyal people, not money. If you can nurture loyal business partners, friends and clients on long term, you will become successful. Gaining loyalty of people is not easy in this ruthless world of treachery and manipulation.

My Aim:

My aim is to build a 1000 crore IT park in Samastipur, Bihar in India. I am working towards that big dream. Most people and business are afraid to invest in Bihar because of its past bad name. I am determined to make this dream come true, Samastipur need to open its airport also for travelers. My aim is to convert this city as the best technology hub of North India competing with Silicon Valley of USA. Bihari people need employment and better lifestyle. I also want to mentor 10001 startup entrepreneurs before I die. This is my biggest dream. My other dream is to plant millions of trees all over India. I am not working towards fame and money , but for greater public interest.

Change your Mindset

You were an employee till today, once you launch your own company you are an entrepreneur. Now you need to change your mindset from employee to employer, from follower to leader, if you do not change your mindset, success will not touch you. You must control anger and willing to sacrifice your freedom and comforts from a secure job, you must take risks, you must build large team, manage them, you must market, raise funds and chase your dreams and goals day and night. An entrepreneur must always stay alert and hungry for more. You need to innovate and create market, stay ahead of competition. You need to develop a vision and stay focused. Even in times of severe crisis, never think of quitting or committing suicide. Life is a challenge, accept it.

What must be an entrepreneur’s attitude towards Life?

If no one can do it, I can do it, If No one will do it, I will do it.

This one sentence is more powerful that any motivational book.

Final Word:

While living, identify the purpose of your life and existence. You are not supposed to work every day, pay bills and die one day. Work towards a targeted goal everyday and work with a vision and mission in life, chase quality, then money and fame will chase you. Remain humble in the event of success and fight hard when you face failure.

Jai Hind


Gijo Vijayan

Samastipur, Bihar, India