#20: Hustling his way into entrepreneurship: Shadab’s journey
Learn how Shadab's hustle paved way for his entrepreneur dreams
Happy New Year! We hope you had a great start to the year. We celebrated our new year’s eve with 30 incredible builders in Goa. In 7 days, we built friendships for life, participated in fun activities, roamed the streets of Goa, and, most importantly, built incredible products. And today, we are bringing you the story of the Hustler who was in Goa with us and has:
🤑 Sold a side-project for $5000
🤩 Got into the highly selective Antler India Residency program
💫 Switched from a mechanical engineer to a full-stack developer
Hustling his way into entrepreneurship: Shadab’s journey
Shadab, like many, had chosen a conventional path and enrolled for a Mechanical Engineering degree. But he always had a passion for solving problems and soon realised that his heart lies in software development. His journey from a Mechanical Engineer graduate to an entrepreneur today is full of hustles and him trying out different ideas to reach his goal.
Being observant and solving the problem of notes in college
Shadab noticed that his classmates had trouble obtaining notes for their courses in the first year of college. To help them, he contemplated creating a website where students could upload notes in PDF format for others to access. He enlisted the help of a friend who had web development experience. Together, they compiled a collection of notes from various engineering courses and uploaded them to the site.
Facing failure & hustling to become a full-stack developer
As someone always interested in the latest tech trends, Shahdab was eager to learn about VR reaction videos, a new phenomenon, in 2016. Although the technology was expensive and not widely available, he was fortunate to know a classmate who owned a VR headset. The classmate explained about Google Cardboard, a budget-friendly option that uses a mobile phone to provide a VR experience. Shadab learned about VR roller coaster apps through this conversation and was struck with new ideas.
He set up a small stall at a city fair in Aligarh to validate his idea. Despite the challenges, the VR roller coaster was a success, and he earned a total of $46 over three days by charging people $0.02 to try the game for one minute. It prompted him to start his VR-based startup. And to take the first step, he decided to open a store in Aligarh. After resolving financial & regulatory issues, he did open the store. But after running it for about six months, he decided to close it as it was not a financially viable venture.
At the time, his degree was coming to an end, and campus placements started. He was sure he wanted to switch his career to software development and applied to the only software company and the only company interviewing non-CS students, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). After three interviews, he was selected from a talent pool of 150 students.
After joining TCS, he kept upskilling himself. He started joining coding communities. He was introduced to a like-minded collaborator, and they started building a book-lending system.
Building products & getting into the Antler India residency program
While the startup job was in line with Shahdab’s career goals, the entrepreneurship bug in him was still looking to solve new problems. He started to get active in indie hacker groups, and in one of the groups, he found a collaborator for a Twitter-based product. The idea was to make it easy to save tweets and organise them.
With his collaborator, he built and launched Tweetflick on Product Hunt (#6 of the day). Tweetflick was well received and initially got around 1000 users. While the product was well built and got initial traction, help was required in design and retention to scale the product further. As both the makers had demanding full-time jobs, eventually, they lost interest and decided to sell it. In a serendipitous turn of events, Shadab and his co-maker came across a good deal, and Tweetflick was acquired for $5000.
Shadab knew he could build anything. He realised that he needed to learn the art of business and find a co-founder to realise his entrepreneurial dreams. He applied for Antler India Residency program. His hustles, side projects and entrepreneurial mindset got him selected. And currently, he is building his startup and has also found a co-founder.
Building at BuildCamps
Shadab was one of 30 builders who participated in the first edition of BuildCamps in Goa. He, with his teammates, built a Slack app to split restaurant bills with colleagues right from the company’s workspace. They got validation for the product from many people, and the output in two days blew everyone’s mind. The product will be launched soon, but you can get a sneak peek in Build Demo Day scheduled for tomorrow.
Hustlers Insight of the Week
Be a risk taker: We have often talked about side hustles being a safe way to explore your interests, but sometimes you can also be a risk taker. Shadab has always been true to his interests and did not shy away from taking risks, be it with the VR store or giving up his job to participate in Antler India residency.
Do not give up: When we face failures or obstacles, we tend to give up and find an easy way out. But to build things that make an impact, you must be persistent and not give up easily. Be it the VR store or finding a software developer job, Shahdab kept at it and achieved his goals.
Keep exploring: Shahdab knew he liked to solve problems, but he did not see how that could be his life’s work. So he kept exploring different interests, and through them, he understood that software development was what could help him realise his mission to solve problems at scale.
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