Lessons learned from my first failed venture

The logo for my the company

Being Observant:

While in B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology) first year, I noticed students were facing trouble getting notes.That made me think about introducing a website where one can upload the notes in PDF format and others can easily access it. After collecting all the notes of different engineering branches, I uploaded them with the help of one of my friends who had some knowledge of web development. And that’s when I got my first laptop.

First step towards my startup rather failure journey:

My first venture was a Virtual Reality(VR) gaming zone. Though the VR headsets and PCs required in these high-end game was quite expensive, we used to provide the service in affordable prices. The reason behind it was to introduce VR technology to people while we could be one step ahead by owning a franchise.

How I Got My First Idea:

As a tech-savvy person, I’m always vigilant of the latest tech trends in the
market. VR reaction videos were then quite the new entry and I, as a usual
enthusiast wanted to know all about it. Since it was too expensive, no one
really could afford it but luckily one of my classmates had it. He explained to me about google cardboard and how it can work on mobile phones. There I got to know about VR roller-coaster apps as well. This idea grabbed my attention and my brain was flooded with new ideas.

Materialising My Idea:

After getting good reviews of google cardboard VR and roller-coaster videos
from my friends, I was convinced that I could earn a fortune if I could introduce them to others. And that’s how I started…

A representation of people enjoying VR in a fair

Starting Small:

Being a college student, money was the first hurdle that I had to face.
However, it wasn’t such a big of an issue as I was hell-bound to manifest my
idea into reality. Luckily, every year in our city an annual fair used to be
held, and a great number of people used to visit it. So, I thought why not
grab this opportunity and introduce a VR roller-coaster there.

The VR box I ordered online for the show in fair

Be sure what you really want:

The first step in determining the goal is to see if that is what makes you wake
up in the morning. If it excites you and gets you out of your comfort zone to
achieve it. Well! When I was deciding my career goals, my classmates had
already decided and were busy preparing for the GATE exam(An exam in India for engineering graduates). Doing so was the ideal way to get a “respectable” job in India, however, that wasn’t the path I was trying to tread. Not my cup of tea!

People will try to pull you back:

There will always be people who will doubt your capabilities even I was mocked many a time for my ideas but that didn’t stop me. You know what you are capable of not them. Maybe you will fail initially but don’t you think it is better to fail than regretting not having ever tried.

Money wasn’t the only hurdle:

Being a student in India, it is obvious that we are not financially independent.
We still have to depend on our parents. I tried to partner with a person to start
my business. That didn’t click and I had to ask my parents for financial help. At first, they were reluctant but upon seeing my passion and perseverance, they offered me 4 lakhs INR ($5400) that too after selling a piece of land.

The launch day of MAXVR

Never give up:

I was quite passionate about the idea of building my own VR startup.
Undoubtedly, it was difficult in the beginning. I met up with expert start-up
mentors and even joined in some meet-ups with like-minded entrepreneurs. I
even managed to find someone interested in getting a setup, although things
didn’t work out later.

A small boy enjoying VR gaming at MAXVR

Sometimes you feel stuck!

There are certain times when you feel excited and frustrated at the same time.
That’s exactly how I felt just before launching my startup venture.

An advert to get more customers

Careful approach is always good:

After clearing all the obstacles, I was successful in opening my first startup;
MAXVR. However, the vision I had for this startup was to turn it into a
franchise model. Hence, I started diving into all sorts of market research and
collected user feedback as well. But after running the business for about 6
months I realised that it is getting stagnant.

Take expert advice:

Yes, I do agree being confident, believing in yourself, and pushing your limits is the key to entrepreneurial success. But you still need someone who can guide you as well as offer constructive criticism. This is where the role of a mentor comes in.

Conclusion:

Sometimes it is hard to accept the reality for what it is. What you had thought
to be your brainchild venture isn’t guaranteed to be always a great-yet-
practical idea. I had something, in my opinion, a really great idea. VR tech is
indeed quite underappreciated right now and has quite an amount of untapped potential.

About me:

Now I work as a software developer. The story about how I went from being a mechanical engineering graduate to a self taught developer is coming soon.

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Shadab Alam

Shadab Alam

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I’m a self-taught web developer who loves turning ideas into products.