7 times I failed to establish a business!
My mother told me that some old guy told my father that he will have a boy soon and asked him to name the boy Sekander Badsha.
It was the awarding event of the Annual Science Fair in my school and I was in class 4. I won the first prize for explaining the earth’s mantles with a clay-made model. I had no idea what was the meaning of my name or where it came from. Our school principal explained what the name actually meant and where it came from in front of everyone. He told me on the stage, “Try maintaining the honour of this name”. And since then, his words kept repeating inside my head.
1. Advertising Service (2007)
I was in school and used to work for a signboard and banner-making shop. I learned to navigate through Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop a little when they sent me to the printing shops. They used to take orders, make digital signboards and make profits without producing anything in-house.
I wanted to work as a third party who gets orders from businesses and gets them done from the place I used to work. Because I could not do the fitting or pasting work on my own. I designed my own business card saying that I own an advertising company (which I didn’t) ?
Then printed it and distributed it around Dhanmondi. I didn’t get a single order! Unfortunately, someone sold my phone number to telemarketing shitheads, and I still get calls even after decades! They still think they’re calling the CEO of an advertising company. ?
2. eLearning Website (2009)
I was doing my diploma in Electrical Engineering, and I was not happy with my teachers. I watched tutorials on YouTube and felt that I can do the same! I can make video lectures in Bangla with the best teachers in the country! I can help a lot of students very quickly!
I requested a friend to help me with the platform’s development, but he laughed at me and suggested that I focus on my studies.
I joined a web development course. During the three-month training, I got so much involved in writing code. I felt excited that I forgot about the eLearning portal and started to dream about becoming a programmer.
3. Web Development Agency (2010)
After finishing the web development course, I started opening a profile at every possible freelancing platform and started looking for work. I did get hired to design a website, but my skills were not enough for production. So I thought of having a pause and increase my skills.
4. Domain Hosting Company (2011)
I joined a web development training center to teach people the basics of HTML, CSS, and how to use Joomla and WordPress to create a website. It was the time of the “24.com” boom, and the training center owner wanted to open yet another news portal. When I successfully completed one website, he introduced me to his journalist friends and got 7 new news portals. None of them paid a single penny! On top of that, I was not getting my salary on time. So I left the job, and it was also the of owning a domain hosting company.
5. Apparels (2013)
I was jobless for 24 days, and I thought about what else I can do! I saved 10,000 takas till then, and I thought I can buy plain t-shirts, screen-print some unique designs, and sell them to the shops. I put a lot of effort this time and traveled to at least 10 different printing companies and RMG factories out of the city. Some of them were really far, and I spent 12-14 hours a day traveling to each factory! None of them agreed to sell 100 pieces or print a smaller amount. Also, printing smaller amounts will increase the screen-printing cost a lot. So I realised, 10K BDT is not enough to start a business, and I forgot about this as well.
6. Software Company (2017)
This year, I left my job at weDevs as a business development manager. I thought, “I’m old enough to handle a company of my own. I can gather some developers and agree to work as partners”. In plain words, unpaid developers. Also, seed funding, crowdfunding, startup, angel investors were the buzzwords at that time. I gathered the courage to discuss the idea with some of my ex-colleagues, and they all agreed to join!
I usually try to maintain direct contact with important clients to provide them with priority service. One of the clients from my ex-company sent me a message to get help with a product. Fast forward a week, he agreed to invest in our company. But the final discussion went from investing in our company to owning our company. During the negotiation, we registered the company so that we can legally take partners and sell shares. That cost us a hell lot of money, but none of us wanted to do yet another job. So the investment discussion ended, and we lost motivation to raise a company sacrificing our weekends. Everyone else had a family to maintain!
The developers parted their ways, but I tried to keep that dream alive. I hired content writers from my university. I wanted to keep the blog running to get attention from potential investors. Also, shared the mockups I made with a designer friend. That, too, was quite a significant investment given the amount of savings I had at that time. The content development interns started writing about project management tips and software reviews. Still, it didn’t last long as they were not progressing that well with the topic.
So, the overall situation made me quite sad, and I guess I was going through some kind of depression as well. I kept renewing the domain ManagX.com for years. I really hoped to launch it someday. Because I invested a lot in this and I thought I will make this a reality eventually. The design was obsolete by 2019, and there were a lot of competitors in the market. So, I gave up!
7. Digital Marketing Agency (2019)
I started working with digital marketing in 2015, but I never thought of having an agency! I was quite active in a Facebook group called Brand Practitioners of Bangladesh. A CMO of a national FMCG brand noticed me from there. He offered me to work with him on a project. He liked how I planned and presented things and suggested I look after the social media presence for some of the brands.
I was delighted to get such positive words from an industry veteran! I filed for a trade license and completed all the formalities to get enlisted within the next week! But God was not with me this time as well. The CMO had to resign the same day I submitted the application to get enlisted.
I still have the trade license and bank account. Resident cockroaches are feeding and shitting on those papers ?