Nishkarsh Sharma is definitely that “Sharmaji ka beta” that our parents are never tired of comparing us with. A successful entrepreneur, he never let his initial failures get hold of his dreams and interests.
An exploring spirit and an unfaltering passion made him lay his hands on Blogging to Digital Marketing to E-commerce and has never made him look back since. He started his E-commerce journey in 2017 with print on demand and today, his various brands have grossed over a whopping $4 million in sales. His love for helping others and business made him start “Digital Dukaandaar”, a coaching platform for all things business which is one of the leading platforms in the business learning field.
Nishkarsh calls himself a kid at heart who finds solace in spending time with his family and running a podcast which he is obsessed with. Read more to discover a creative business mind in this fun interview with Storiyaan.
Questions and answers
When did you first realize your calling for Digital Marketing and how did your Engineering background provide you with an impetus in this journey?
In the year 2012, when I was in my second year of college, I realized that I didn’t want to be part of the crowd. So, I decided to look for other options and that’s how I came across blogging and digital marketing. An Engineering degree is pretty diverse as you encounter different types of subjects. I was also part of the cultural club, subsequently, explored my hand at street dancing and anchoring so my creativity opened doors for newer opportunities.
You started your entrepreneurial journey 7 years back with blogging. How did blogging act as a catalyst in your career?
I started a blog in 2016 called “How to rule online.com” due to which I researched extensively, honed my skills and knowledge about Digital Marketing, SEOs, and the online space in general. It acted as a catalyst because it was through blogging that I discovered my knack for writing and learned to network with others in the digital realm.
Tell us about the challenges that you had to overcome before the establishment of your first e-commerce brand in 2017.
The brand was completely self-funded which did not meet our expenses as we went bankrupt in 1.5 years and had to borrow loans and lost access to any financial resources. So, we started an animation business and made it profitable but my heart was not in the business and I had to shift and look elsewhere. After coming to E-commerce, the biggest challenge was to find my niche in the field and the overload of information on the internet did not help that at all.
What was your research strategy and how did you gather the capital to be invested in your business in the initial stages?
The research strategy was to observe and look out for products that were already doing well in the market, we spied on the market demand and searched for well-performing products. The initial capital was consumed in advertisements and the mentor’s fee but as they were efficient investments, we soon found ourselves afloat and profiteering.
What are some of the methods that you implied to establish your brand image and credibility and what turned out to be the major promotional factors for your business?
Honest customer reviews and feedback were most important for creating a credible brand image – that found mentions in our social media platforms and website; making other potential customers believe in buying our products. For our e-commerce coaching business, it was important to create our voice, so we started introducing our success stories on Facebook groups and other platforms, attended coaching seminars or events, released podcasts, and also employed social media ads rigorously.
What made you choose drop-shipping as your business arena and how did you research the future scopes of the business and implement them to your benefit?
In a drop-shipping business model, the businesses can find considerable flexibility and better, efficient control as the customer growth is looked after by effective advertisements and the products are manufactured and shipped by others and my only area of concern was marketing – this suited my preferences as it gave me the freedom of location and time. Drop-shipping is a very popular business model in the e-commerce business so I did not need to conduct extensive research for it.
How did you first conceive of the idea for “Digital Dukaandaar” and how did the positive feedback for it inspire you?
The whole idea struck us when we realized that there is a need for better learning and mentoring classes for new businesses which will not be pocket-heavy at the same time. Today, we are one of the best in this coaching field and our teaching is bringing results, success, and growth to the people. This positive feedback gives me the constant motivation to continue with our services. They have always inspired, influenced, and moved us and our business decisions.
You have previously immersed yourself in social service where you taught multiple underprivileged children. What in particular drew you towards this cause and what did you find most fulfilling about it?
As someone privileged and financially secure in life, I always wanted to do something for the deprived who finds it extremely difficult to make their ends meet. Helping the helpless was a humble service to all these people on my part. The most fulfilling aspect about interacting with the people who are not as fortunate as you are is that it makes you feel blessed, I am filled with gratitude and I always wish to bring change in their lives through any possible means like education or financial help.
Tell us about some of the life lessons that you took back and the work ethics you have developed while working with companies like Tencent and Letsintern.com?
I noticed that I wanted to serve the people but on my terms and conditions, I wished to have a social life and a personal space so my first life lesson was realizing that I was more inclined towards entrepreneurship than a job-oriented lifestyle. The second life lesson was that I understood the actions or skill-sets that steer you to be the best in the market. So constant improvement and perseverance were some valuable lessons I took back from them.
How far do you think the lockdown has turned out to be a boon for the digital platform and is this beginning of a new era in technology?
The pandemic has made businesses and people understand the importance of the digital space. Some businesses which only had a physical presence had to go under while their peers with substantial digital presence learned to sustain themselves. Although digital marketing or the digital realm is not new, the pandemic has forced everyone to give weightage to it and take notice so perhaps this is a beginning of a new era in technology.
The lockdown has been harsh on most business owners. What were some of the strategies that you adopted to cut down losses and keep your profits steady during this period?
Firstly, we discontinued our physical office which has saved our operational costs, rents, and management costs and also enabled us to focus completely on growing our venture instead of looking after the maintenance of the office space. We also let go of low-performing employees to better our efficiency – that has increased our revenues, profits and reduced our overheads. Rest assured, we have continued to enjoy our peace of mind.
1. Your last read – 80/20 Sales and Marketing – The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall
2. The social media platform that you use the most – Instagram
3. One common myth regarding e-commerce – That you need your product to run an e-commerce business
4. Your greatest achievement – Our initiative “Digital Dukaandaar” has helped our clients receive more than 10 crore rupees in sales
5. When not working, you will be… – Spending valuable time with my family and browsing through Netflix.