A few years ago, when Amit Jha (Name changed) was working as a clerk at a jewelry store in Bihar at his family’s behest, little did he know that soon he’d be making a fortune by selling rolls on the road.
The clerk gig was bleak unlike the jewelry shop and Amit had little ambition, much less the motivation to work hard. Soon, he left the job, and begrudgingly joined another job, just to keep his engineering background family happy, but soon left that too.
He was disowned by his family and left his home soon, trying to figure out his life and future course of action. “When everyone in my family and the extended family had recognized and certified me as a blot on their family which consisted of numerous engineers over decades, I decided to quietly slip to somewhere far.” Amit says. With about a lakh in his bank and a friend who offered him shelter in his home for a month in New Delhi, Amit hit upon the idea of starting something.
From a little experience in making chapatis at home, and observing the needs of the office going crowd for cheap, easy to eat food, was born the idea of selling “Kaati rolls” (Indian bread stuffed with fillings.)
Number of rolls sales per day: 250
Average margin on each roll = Rs. 30 ($0.46)
Monthly income from sales = Rs. 30 * 250 * 28 = Rs. 2,10,000 ($3231)
Rent for the place: Rs 20000 ($308)
Salaries of workers = Rs 48000 ($739)
Other expenses = Rs 10000 ($154)
My income = Rs. 1,30,000 ($2000) approx.
Amit’s family still hasn’t accepted him wholly and disapprove of his choice of business, unaware of how much he earns. “While I sit and watch all the IT crowd come and eat at my joint, I remember some of my family “grown” engineers. I earn much more than them.”
Do people respect him and treat him like a normal English speaking 27 year old urban professional? The answer unfortunately is less encouraging. “I smile. I always do. Some people are rude. But most of them are good. But you don’t get respect. They call you “Roll-walla” when you meet them outside. Once, I went to a disco and saw a group laughing at me. “Aren’t you the one who sells rolls out there?” The saddest part is all the girls calling me ‘bhaiyya’.”, Amit says.
But Amit should have little to complain. Without following a conventional 9-5 life or struggling the better parts of his life trying to set up a tech startup, this man thought of a basic idea, however small, worked on it, hired people and made a respectable living out of it.
“In two years I have seen so many up and downs. I have enough money in my bank account. I have bought a flat. And planning to start another roll joint soon (expansion of business, you know). “
Amit also adds that while so far he hasn’t needed to pay taxes, this year onwards he would. He has the following words, wise beyond his age, to share about entrepreneurship.
In any venture of yours, you require courage to start at the first place. Hardwork and dedication are some other must-haves. But you can’t ignore the role that LUCK plays. It is a tremendous motivator. Your own luck, your own fate. When you start something and all the things start to fall in place, you are motivated to do things with more enthusiasm.
And that’s how this non-engineer from Bihar rolls.