Bullied intensively & threatened by classmates, having no friends to hang out with, rejected from a job interview at Mc-Donald, dropped out from high-school at the age of 16, Gurbaksh fought against all odds to start & sell his own advertising firm at the age of 18 for $40 million.
In his book “The Dream: How I Learned the Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship and Made Million” he talks candidly how his journey actually started.
His Dad was so stressed on formal education that when he showed him a check of $100,000 earned through his own advertising company, a funny thing happened.
Hesitantly I showed him my bank statement—the balance had edged north of$100,000. My father’s hand flew to his chest, like a man on the verge of a heart attack.
“W-what is this? W-where did you get all this money?”
He turned toward the kitchen and hollered for my mother. “Gurbaksh is going to jail!”
My mother came running from the kitchen, eyes wide with alarm. “What did you say? To jail? Who is going to jail?”
“No one is going to jail!” I said.
He was bullied immensely in the school. Nobody wanted Gurbaksh as his/her friend.
Unfortunately, my fears were immediately confirmed. The class was full of Latinos, blacks, Asians, and a scattering of whites, but no Indians, so I was the one, true outsider. Turban-head! Conehead! Papa Smurf! And that was only the beginning.
“They call me Gandhi!” I told my father, wailing.
“So what? Gandhi was a great man. You should be proud.”
“Nobody wants to be my friend!”
“Why would you want to be friends with children who call you names? You don’t need such friends. You have your
“I don’t want to go to school!”
“What? Not go to school! You are here to study, boy, and that’s what you will do! And I expect good grades from you— the best!”
His grandmother helped him to resolve the issue.
While talking about his ventures, he says “I still remember the day DoubleClick went public. When I saw their IPO, I knew I wanted to be involved with online advertising. Click Agents ran out of my bedroom, and it competed with DoubleClick. Shortly after launching it, I dropped out of high school. Three months after I turned 18, I sold it for $40 million. I started my second company, BlueLithium, and by the time I turned 25, I had sold it to Yahoo! for $300 million.“
When asked about his advice for entrepreneurs Chahal offers numerous tips based on his experiences. He often speaks to groups of new entrepreneurs and says the biggest thing he stresses is to take risks. “Nothing is perfect. Stop perfecting it. Put it out there. See what happens. If it fails – go back to the drawing board. If it works – execute the heck out of it.”
He also advises “For entrepreneurs who are starting out, they should be ready to get bitten up, get slammed.”When he started his company he thought just because he was an Indian, Indian entrepreneurs would help him but that equation doesn’t work.He thought just because he had a business that was making money , people will want to know more about it, but that didn’t work either.The dynamics that changed for him was realizing that if you change the whole perspective the way you do the business & make people realize that there is something in it for them or create a perception that something in it for them then a whole conversation changes.”
His other advice includes having a killer instinct; adjusting your attitude to believe in yourself; figuring out what you’re good at; trusting your gut; and taking chances.
In the end he shares ” Never let failure even be an option. If you have passion ,objectivity & logic is at right place, use it as an inspiration to realize that sometimes you have to deal with rejection but eventually it is going to be yes. And that one “YES” outweighs all rejections.Life is never rosy. You have more crap days than good days but one really good day when you were able to overcome all the obstacles makes it up for all.”
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