“Doing what you love is the cornerstone to true abundance in life” This is the credo I have lived by all my life.
I joined the Army, despite my parents objections at the time – and what followed was 23 wonderful years where not a day seemed like work.
After leaving the Army, I started a Software Services company in Noida, again despite knowing no software, because I was fascinated with Software and wanted to be part of this revolution. Yet again, what has followed has been 4 years of fun with each day more exciting than the last.
In the same vein some time back, I was looking around for a home wine making kit, to revive an old hobby and found that none were available in India. So I decided to make one.
It took a couple of months and lots of research, visits and networking – supplies were sourced from Sadar Bazaar, Tilak Road, Khari Baoli, etc (areas of New Delhi that have been bustling bazaars since Bahadur Shah Zafar and beyond); for materials, I contacted suppliers as far away as Jaipur and Pune; for yeasts, etc. I banked upon my brother in the US. What I could not find anywhere, I made myself. Like the humble air lock (used to isolate fermenting wine from microbes in the air), which I initially made with glass tubing heated over a gas stove.
The results were most gratifying. I used the kit to make my own batch of wine. In parallel, we launched the kit and started getting orders almost immediately. We also kept working on our product, which improved with each iteration. For instance, we now get beautiful airlocks manufactured, to our design.
Over the last 1.5 years, we have sold hundreds of these kits and probably made a few lakhs in the bargain – not a fortune, but a nice warm sum nevertheless. In fact, I calculated that 10 such products could easily earn us 30 – 50 Lakhs per year.
The next venture was a Home Beer Making Kit, another old hobby, egged on by interest and demand – as I write this, this one is near completion - and we have orders in hand, even before the labels have dried!
At the moment, my friend and business partner, another maverick, is making a Treadmill desk – something he needed anyways, being something of a fitness maniac. The working prototype is already ready. Once refined, this too shall hit the market.
There is lots more to share on this front, but some other time for that. For the moment, there are 4 clear learnings to share, which stand out like beacons:
Work and fun can most certainly be combined. (Please read The 100$ Startup, for more on this).
If you enjoy doing something, your chances of success in it increase manifold.
- There are 100s of opportunities, waiting to be grabbed, in a developing economy like ours!
Last, not the least - The best way to start something, is “to start”! All else follows. The start might be less than perfect – it hardly matters. If one persists, iterations usually produce great results.
Each one of you would have come across ideas by brilliant people, across an evening cuppa – ideas that were sure to succeed. Years later, some of those would have remained ideas, or perhaps someone else with enough industry would have done something about them.
What holds us back from giving shape to our ideas? Indecision? The fear of failure? Or the possibility of not ending up perfect the first time around?
The alternative is much more likely to succeed – just start. If you have a hobby horse, now is the time to ride it. At worst, you shall have loads of fun. And at best, you might also land up with a world beating product!
In the next post next week, I'll share ideas on fascinating niche products which users in India might be waiting to buy. Meantime, if you have liked or disliked this post, or have ideas to share, please pitch in with your reply!
Sir, am interested in your Wine toolkit. how do I contact you
Dear Cdr Gandhi, Thanks a lot. You may email me at email@example.com or call at 9958795916. Sunil
it is really inspiring.all the best for ur future innovations