A person who earns part time working in KFC or runs a tuition centre, walks among the rest but still apart from them, branded as ‘self-made’ by the rest. It is at the back of the mind of every responsible teenager to support his/her family and excel in studies as well. Though it is common in Western countries, in India it is still as rare as an honest autowala. But what does it actually take to work and study as well? We from YourStory talked to some of these ‘Self-Made’ who actually follow Nike’s caption, ‘Just Do It!’ Excerpt of some of the conversations we had with these young heroes.
Dhanshi, a final year MA Lit Student talks about her ‘small, yet worthy business’:
‘I had always wanted to finish my college quicker to support my family financially. But when I got into Post Graduation, I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I spend my spare time earning, rather than being on Facebook or Orkut?’ With my brother’s help, I set up a small tuition centre with the primary purpose of helping out ‘working moms’ with their kids’ homework. What started as a small idea, picked up pace and now I support my family and earn my pocket money as well’.
Has this affected her studies? ‘Definitely not!’ she says, ‘I won the Gold Medal for Topping the University this semester after-all!!’
Kailash, a freelance software engineer and a final year IT geek:
‘My stimuli for earning part-time were my friends, who did nothing but nagging me over my creaky old bicycle. Later, I got engaged with CompSoc of my college and learnt PHP, Python with the help of seniors and started looking for projects which I could work online and make money from home. I found few clients during the semester holidays and the best part is; now I am the proud owner of a black R15!’
Though offered a conventional job at a MNC, Kailash says, ‘I think I will continue do this after graduation instead of being a slave for money. I will be my boss and earn double the salary although I will be working one-fourth the time as a ‘9-5 job’!’
Sindhuja Shankar, a pre-final year student based in Madurai:
‘Be Different’ is my mantra. I started looking for online jobs that might help me earn something significant to support my monthly expenses. I came across online startups which required critics for certain products. Though it required an initial investment, which I borrowed from my friends, it helped me earn as much as to pay back the capital and my mess-dues.
It is not much, but still, I am proud to say that I am independent.
Jagadheesh, a Chennai-ite, final year engineering student:
Since childhood, technology has fascinated me and that obviously I chose to pursue Instrumentation at a reputed college in Tamil Nadu. I was looking forward to work on small projects which involved ‘Mechatronics’ (A combination of Mechanics and Electronics) when I got into college. Unfortunately, though I had the interest, I lacked funds. One day, a junior approached me, seeking my help to complete a project for demo purposes at a symposium. That switched on my ‘idea’ bulb and I started my own startup helping engineering students on their mini-projects/projects.
But clients? Ajay has an answer, ‘I have won quite a few contests and that brings me ‘potential clients’-the students who witness my skills!’
Lenin, a Post Graduate student and a budding social entrepreneur:
Having done schooling in a government supported institute, not a single day had passed in my life without the thought that I deserved better mentoring for English or Computers. I managed to get into a premiere institute and at some point of time I felt that someone else shouldn’t feel what I felt a few years back. So with the help of my friends and juniors, I organized free evening tutorial sessions at a couple of government aided schools within my locality, after college hours.
Now this is carried on every week, with 4 weekly sessions on English and Computers with a growing number of volunteers. I think this will someday grow to make a difference.
These ‘heroes’ are living proofs to show it doesn’t take Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg to become entrepreneurs, who picked off from grad schools. Anyone can make a mark touching many lives as well. The question is, ‘Have you got what it takes?’ and once you have a positive answer, you will grow to be the other "Self Made"
Interviewed by Praanesh on behalf of YourStory