Starting a business from scratch

Quite recently, I read a contributor article in one of the blogs I am subscribed to where the anonymous author wrote about his situational plight in a post “As I wasn’t born rich” where he enumerated the things he couldn’t do and could not have since he wasn’t born rich and how everything nice happened to people who were. He further went on explaining how he was sentenced to a life of mediocrity and hence could not follow his dreams.

Frankly it only seemed like a lot of thinly veiled whining to me. I know (though my university) a lot of people who weren’t born rich. Our university is state run and ranks the 2nd in the country. Seats are few and you get in through your merit (or in some cases through reservation or if you are exceptional in some way) and once you are in, you pay a meager fee as your education basically sponsored by the state. Apart from that, there are scholarships available as well even though ours is a developing country (and the developed countries have billions of dollars worth of scholarships to award). So crying your way into a piece of paper lamenting the fact that you are mediocre has nothing to do with the fact that you weren’t smothered with oodles of cash but its only because of your laziness and lack of enthusiasm to seek out and try.

I call this picture " Opportunity"
I call this picture ” Opportunity”

If you really can’t match up to others in terms of fees you can certainly make it up in other respects. Speaking of which, there might be certain restrictions and complications in doing so in a developing Asian country, but in the developed world??

This particular article just surprised me beyond belief. Though I could relate to a few things, the ones I did myself like cutting up an old pair of jeans  to make shorts to wear at home due to the fact that they were 1. Comfortable yet old demins I didn’t want to part with, 2. I had a saving goal to reach before I turned 23/24 years old. So I didn’t feel like spending money unnecessarily.

A picture I took in Sikkim
A photograph from my Sikkim trip

And I didn’t take foreign trips as a kid. Most of my friends havn’t. Even though travelling is essential, taking foreign trips when you are a kid is not imperative. All I could manage was short weekend trips or half a week long trips that were planned a few days in advance since my parents were very busy people. And we liked to spend holidays together at home or at my grandmother’s place.

Furthermore, I know that if I want something exorbitant, I must earn it. (I will elaborate on this point on a future article).

If I have start hitting at every line of the article, I can go on all day (since I know a few people with similar attitudes) but honestly, it’s not worth any one’s time.

Now, here is a small write-up on something I gathered from an acquaintance. I call it “ Notes of a Scrap Metal Dealer”. This piece is just one instance of not going adrift when the tide comes in:

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
Harriet Beecher Stowe

This story is about a guy who had to make a living for himself after he finished school. He is now studying civil engineering but he started off working for a friend’s father’s transport company for about 6-7 months when he was 18. He was then asked to join an organization that arranged for meritorious students to impersonate someone else in certain engineering and medical examinations and was offered decent money but it was only for two months during the year and there was a punishment only if you got caught, otherwise you get the money.

on a lighter mood (a picture inspired by a fictional character, Loki)- by team -member Rhea
on a lighter mood (a picture inspired by a fictional character, Loki)- by team -member Rhea

He refused and left for the city of Delhi where he met a friend’s distant relative over a few drinks. This guy owned a scrap metal business and offered him a job at his shop cum warehouse. Since he was considered too educated by a Delhi villager, he started handling all the transactions, the bills and the data. After he understood how the entire business was conducted, he wanted to set up a business of his own. This did not go down well with his employer since after having promised to help him set it up, he went dilly-dallying about it. When the guy finally decided to leave, his employer threatened him. Thus, he created his first enemy.

During his time with his employer, he had formed a list of contacts, it was easy for him to get a small warehouse and he already knew where to get the metal and whom to sell.

After a couple of year of continuing in this manner, he met his old classmate from school who was now studying medicine and they got into a relationship. He had made enough money out of the scrap metal business and for her sake, he left for his hometown, joined an engineering college and set up a consultancy for a construction business with the help of a couple of friends.

I am sure you must have come across stories similar to this one. It may not be inspirational. It’s just an instance of hanging on.

I’ve seen a lot of traffic coming to this site from google for the search phrase ” Being Broke in College” apart from the other economic, scientific, PF and lifestyle and literary articles we have, So I’ve decided on constructing a “Student Series” and post articles 3-5 times a week in this series apart from the usual articles we publish.

You may also like:

Being the Master of my Fate

Maximizing savings through Linear Programming

Self-Sustenance via growing your own food

Game Theory- Determining Strategic Behaviour

Is Innovation the Way out?

What being a writer taught me

Optimizing Time 

Benefits of Rising Early


©The Idea Bucket, 2013



9 thoughts on “Starting a business from scratch

  1. Commendable !
    You should let the contributor read this and see what he thinks.
    As for me, I happen to be on your side.
    PS- you write well. Keep at it


  2. We shouldn’t let our problems or difficulties in life bring us to our knees. We should look at what we have, do not have and what we need and want in life. Then we plan for our future from there.


  3. The race is determined by how you finish not how you start. The article is fundamentally about misunderstanding what money is for. Consider an old story. A man is the sexton at St. George’s Church but it is discovered that he is illiterate so he is dismissed. He takes his scant resources and builds a huge business. Years later when Forbes interviews him, the reporter discovers that he is illiterate and asks, “What would you have been if you could read and write?” The answer, “I would be sexton at St. George’s”


    1. Well, this story does sum up the post. I am glad you took the time to share it.
      Many people really do equate a lack of money with a lack of proper education that finally leads to failure in life. But the fact is, many many successful people out there have no formal education. They are self-taught and self-motivated. Blaming your failures/ lack of a proper education on a lack of money doesn’t serve anybody’s purpose.
      Similarly the best of education cannot guarantee you a successful life (I mean personal success here).
      So, you are what you can make out of your resources by seeking out and utilizing opportunities to the best of your ability.


  4. Someone once told me, “you can make money or you can make excuses, but you can’t make both at the same time.” Granted, I’m not in Asia, yet many who are rise above their circumstances and find the success they desire. It’s comes down to a simple question: What are you willing to do? The person in the blog post you mentioned at the outset was willing to complain, but not willing to do the work necessary to effect change. Sadly, there are a lot of folks like that. I’m glad you (and many others) choose to see life differently!


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