Today’s generation is different in so many ways than the youth of yesteryear. Today’s youth think and act out of the box and the new generation of entrepreneurship has popped up all over the country. Viresh Vazirani is one of the finest examples of this phenomenon. He began his journey from college days and today has established himself as a Growth Hacking entrepreneur in the State of Goa.
Viresh doesn’t come from a business family background, he thinks outside the box & has established himself in Goa’s business industry. “My dad comes from a Government background, he works for the PWD and my mom works as an architect in the private sector. I have an understanding of that lifestyle and know what that means,” said Viresh adding that although his immediate family does not belong to the business community, his extended family has a tryst with business.
Did you know that most of the big ideas and enterprises have been set up to fulfil market demands and Viresh identified his domain when he finished with college? Like many of the younger generations, once he graduated from National Institute of Technology(NIT) Goa in Electrical Engineering, he did not identify any job opportunities in Goa that matched his interests. “There weren’t any great Growth Hacking companies in Goa at the time that I could join or be a part of. I had heard about a few great companies outside India and realised that there is a huge growing gap in Goa in this space. That is what got me into creating this team today,” he said.
Viresh may have done his graduation in Electrical Engineering, but he did not have just a single vision in this field while planning his career. “People around me believe that I am doing something completely different from my core engineering background and they are right. I am working in a space which involves Marketing, Creativity & Analytics which is different from my degree,” said Viresh adding that he had an inclination towards enterprising activities since college. “While I was in college, I formed the first NIT Toastmasters club and started working on extensive promotions for the activities in the institute. This is how I created an opportunity within the college. This helped me build skills that were extremely critical at that point .”
According to Viresh, there are two ways to look at any difficult situation or problems. One way is to accept it and complain about it. The alternative is to change it by diving into it with your own ideas and turn the tables. “I did the same thing. When I joined NIT, there weren’t any active clubs in college, unlike other established NITs or IITs. I looked at it as an opportunity to create something for my college and that is what prompted me to build Goa’s first College Toastmasters club at NIT Goa and create history. The club set up back in College is equivalent to the team I have today at my company,” said Viresh.
The formation of the first club by Viresh at NIT Goa paved his way later on in his life when he fished the college and entered into the world of business. “Forming the club was not only the task in front of me then but I had to convince the students to pay their membership fees to keep the club running, extensively promote it. This taught me the PR and Marketing skills & shape my communication and leadership skills,” said Viresh. According to Viresh things were not spoon-fed to him but he had to go out and figure out himself as to how these things work. I looked for mentors, so in the end, I think those areas really helped shape what I do today,” he added.
Viresh’s journey of learning continued and he learnt many things on his journey, he learnt how to drive the people to get the job done, he also learnt how to run the organisation without money in the hands. “I was also a part of an NGO in the education space”, said Viresh adding that the NGO naturally operates without any funding. “Here I learnt how to bring people together for the cause and a mission. If money is the only motivation for working then the team is never going to be passionate about what they do, so once I figured out how to help people identify what motivates them & drive them, I encourage them to double down on that in a way that it adds value to the entire team’s output & productivity .”
Viresh derives inspiration from different things in life. According to him when he was in college he has driven the formation of the first “Toastmasters club” in NIT Goa. “This way I would look up to the people who achieved great leadership, and communication skills. I would seek inspiration from the people who were more reachable to me because if I needed some work done or needed to network with them and in this way there would be growth in terms of knowledge and understanding, I’d certainly mention few names like Ashley Lobo, Jervis Pereira & Farida Dias from the Toastmasters community in Goa who always helped me & guided me in building my leadership skills” he said.
There is no entrepreneur in this world who has always been only successful. Those who fail are the ones who become leaders in the end. Viresh also had to face failures in his journey to success. The name and brand “Growth Gravy” under which he launched a project in the third year of his Engineering degree had initially failed. “I had my first paid employee whom I ended up paying salary, however, the failure didn’t put me down but instead I figured that one project did not work and I needed to try something else,” he said, adding that after he got out of the college he was approached by one his friend who needed help in promoting her father’s local business. “I decided to take up the challenge and worked on the landing page of their business which resulted into 300 new inquiries within the first month itself and that gave me the confidence to take them up the more projects and the rest is history,” he said grinning.
The Goa Government’s MSME friendly policies gave a big boost to Viresh’s startup. “I applied for a tender and we won it, and once that happened we realised that it was definitely a big project for us to get onboard, showcase our skills and we ended up totally exceeding the expectations of the clients that we had on that front as well,” said Viresh. Soon Viresh started taking up bigger challenges. The website of IFFI (International Film Festival of India) was created by Viresh’s team at Growth Gravy. “Due to the experience of being able to handle large traffic websites, we had our way through the process.”
As discussed at the beginning of this article about how the necessity becomes the mother of some of the biggest inventions something similar happened in the case of Viresh too when he was in the first year of his engineering. When Viresh was in the first year of college along with his two other batchmates, Viraj Naik and Dwayne Almeida wanted to go to the EDM festival but they had no money in their pocket: a gripe many his age have! So they decided to make a website blog around EDM and connected with the organisers to get the free Media passes. “Just two weeks before the festival we sat at a coffee shop in Panjim and we launched a website “EDMofy” and we wrote a lot of content on the same and reached out to the festival’s marketing agencies,” said Viresh adding that those days there were hardly any EDM blogs out there. “with our content on the website we reached out to the PR Agency and approached them on how we could cover the event and share our experience on our blog. We decided to carry on with the same, by putting in more efforts with time.”
Today Viresh is running a very successful company but nothing comes easy in life to anyone and Viresh is not different. “I vividly remember that during the lunch breaks, I would sit and finish the posting work on the site and Facebook for EDMofy and all my peers and friends from college would ask me why am I always so busy with all these activities, and that I should take it easy. Those were really the times where I pushed myself and made a real effort needed for this hobby project of ours, and we built that blog to a subscriber base of 1 lakh users on Facebook and 4 lakh website visitors.,” said Viresh.
The efforts put into the earlier projects helped in paving way for Growth Gravy, which has scaled up to a big organisation from the small 15 sqm office to the entire top floor of the building converted into the office of Growth Gravy. Today Growth Gravy has a huge client base right from real estate, to automobile dealers to food & fashion industry. “The thing with our generation or the millennials is that a lot of us are motivated enough to start something new or work towards it, but at times due to the excitement or the heat of the moment or lack of results they give up easily too soon. But the key is to be persistent, because I know if I had given up on my first month and walked away I wouldn’t have had this talented team today working alongside me,” said Viresh adding that people have a notion that his company is funded some venture capitalist but the fact is, he is self-funded and the only investment that his dad made on him besides providing him food, shelter and education is the investment in the laptop which cost him 80 thousand rupees.”
“I would suggest that just because a lot of people are getting into starting up, this is not the only option out there. Everyone needs to identify where they fit in, and it is ideal to be part of a company who you look up to, to see where you fit and how things work. Starting a company requires you to be at it 24/7, and there are huge workloads and this way it is important to understand both sides of the work spectrum, with self-awareness being the key. Even I worked as an intern, during my college before figuring out what I want to do in the long term. The earlier you realise where you belong the better you’ll be at what you like. There will be a time when you fail, but that is the beauty of it because we all learn at some point in our lives, without the downs the up means nothing,” he concluded with these words.
Today Viresh is a successful young entrepreneur and handles a big team of employees where he spends most of his time (24X7!) towards the development of his business. But many of us want to know how Viresh, being the CEO of a company, spends his time. Let’s see what Viresh has to say about this. He suggests that he loves giving everyone in the team big responsibilities, bigger than what they feel they can really handle, as this is something that his clients had done to him.
“When everyone is given a big responsibility and you let them work and make the decision as to what would be the best, sometimes it may not be the best but if we give an individual an opportunity to fail at their own decisions, this is where they will learn to make better decisions tomorrow. When they reach that level, they will have automatically reached great learning out of what they have done”.
According to him, instead of failing at someone else’s decisions, it is advisable to fail on your own decisions. “This is the best way, but as far as me managing my time and schedule, I wouldn’t say that I am totally a very organised person. There are times when my calendar is well planned and sorted out and there are also times when it is entirely a day of spontaneous meetings and so on. I personally like investing time on projects; like I would step in and see which areas or which one of my team member’s needs assistance, or so on. I believe that relationships are really important, in this space of work or anybody,” said Viresh.
Having a good and flexible relationship with your ex-employer or teachers or competitors is also a great tip as it builds character and is always a necessary trait to have and this goes a long way. “Someone might give you hell when they talk to you, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same to them. You can always be nice to the person and ignore what you feel is not important, and cut out the hate because being positive is the way forward in any sphere of life,” he added.