Sandeep Maheshwari is the Founder and CEO of ImagesBazaar.com, the world’s largest collection of Indian images. He is one the most successful entrepreneurs of our generation. He also gives motivational seminars (for which he does not charge at all), where he speaks about his success story. He holds the Limca book of records in photo shoots by taking more than 10,000 shots of 122 models in just 10 hours and 45 minutes. Simply, he is the model for success in the Indian youth.
Luckily, I started listening to his motivational videos quite early on my life. However, I couldn’t grasp the full scope of his seminars. Every word related to career and success from him came from his own experience. And, mind you, he had many experiences in wide range of fields. Most of his lectures are about passion, what you love to do, as opposed to what others think or expect of you. So far it was all good and easy. We knew the importance of passion, which was already firmly established in our minds after me and my friends had once obsessed over the movie 3 Idiots. An important thing that I missed did cost me huge losses in terms of time and money. I, like everyone else, believed that success is possible in limited number of career options. For example, you had to be entrepreneur, doctor, engineer, etc. only then you could have a luxurious career. We never know how such untested assumptions affect our perceptions, and make us take wrong decisions. I knew passion is important, but the money, luxury, whatever was making me believe that I was passionate about something that I was not.
Here Sandeep Maheshwari came to my rescue and made me realize that it does not matter what the current market says about any stream or career path, if you are passionate about anything and work at it and keep at it, you’ll do far more success and live a far better life than you would have otherwise. This simple insight just flipped my switch. It is how Steve Jobs puts it: “I would rather gamble on our vision than make a me-too product.” This gave me so much confidence and courage in what I’m doing, and kept motivating me to do my thing.
The second most important lesson he taught me, which is also related to career, is honesty. It seems quite strange even to talk about honesty because we think we know all about it. I mean honest is just a virtue. Right? Wrong. It is much more than this. Can honesty be used to improve one’s business sales? I thought it was impossible because we have been led to believe implicitly that rich people are somehow bad people; atleast that was there where I grew up. The only way you could become rich fast is by wrong means. The dishonest and the corrupted people are the only successful ones. At last, I got over it and saw there is hardly any truth in it. Sandeep Maheshwari used ‘honesty’ in his work- he spoke out truly and clearly what he was doing in his business, where were his profits, what were the sources of his revenue, and so on to his customers. This is what he calls building trust. He believed in absolute transparency. He kept on doing that right from the start of his entrepreneurship career. I was blown by it — seeing the connection between the honesty and business. Is this real life? Somehow, I knew he was right. So, I applied that rule in all walks of my life, not just related to money, and the result was you build huge trust among your colleagues, customers, and every person you meet.
Those are the major two for me. There are many other such great lessons that he instills from his life anecdotes, which others have claimed that affected their lives. To each his own. I owe a huge portion of my sense of direction in my career to him, and this article is my memoir of me thanking him.