The most influential person in Varun Agarwal’s life is perhaps Anu Aunty, who is also his fierce critic. She used to thwart him whenever he did something. Today, Varun has turned his biggest adversity, Anu aunty herself, into his greatest strength. There was a time when each step Varun took in his life amassed the ridicule of Anu aunty and the people around him.
But now things have changed for Varun. His successful journey flagged off when he began to hate that one word most of us consider sensible – THINK!
Varun’s parents, like most of their counterparts, had only one plan for their son- make him an engineer at any cost. However, Varun was deeply influenced by the fascinating world of cinema when he was in school.
He wanted to become a filmmaker. But it seemed more like a distant dream as his parents turned him down. They thought films would never give him a future worth mentioning.
It was the beginning of Varun’s bitter part of life. When he was forced to think regardless of his inner call, he ended up in a engineering college.
Varun and engineering were like chalk and cheese! A boy who loved filmmaking was made to sit in the butt-numbing lectures of engineering. He felt almost alienated in college, as if he were thrown into an unknown territory.
He failed in exams despite being an above-average student in school. According to Varun, the one word that failed him was “THINK”! His parents, friends and family advised him to think before doing anything. They thought engineering would earn him his bread and make him a self-reliant person.
But the failure turned out be a blessing in disguise for Varun. It was then he listened to his inner call and embarked on a journey to fulfill his passion.
The failure had drowned his fears. Instead, it became a moment of success that allowed him to act freely without pondering over anything. He didn’t have to prove anything before anyone anymore!
Stop Thinking Start Doing!
Varun revived his passion for film-making during the third year in college. He launched his brainchild, Last Minute Films, in YouTube in 2006.
The movies he shot with his handy-cam were uploaded on Youtube and they got critical acclaim from different circles.
He directed a music video for the band Pentagram, which went viral on YouTube. Varun instantly shot to fame with that music video.
His directorial skills were appreciated. Soon he got a job offer from a Mumbai-based production company. But he had to refuse the offer as he waited to complete the course.
Later, Varun joined the company to start his career in the media production industry. It was indeed a challenging job for a youngster like Varun. He directed a handful of productions under the company’s banner.
But the day that changed Varun’s perspective towards life was when he directed a promotional video of music maestro AR Rahman. During the production, Varun got to spend some quality time with Rahman, who advised him to listen to one’s inner call always.
After spending a year in Mumbai, Varun came back to Bangalore to start something of his own. But he wasn’t sure about anything. Meanwhile, Anu aunty and co still continued to hurl criticisms at Varun.
The Eureka Moment!
One day Varun was relieving in a bar in Bangalore along with his friend. After a few shots, they were returning home. On the way they came across a student who wore a t-shirt bearing Bishop Cotton school logo.
That’s how the idea for a his business popped up in Varun’s head! He decided to supply customized merchandize for school and college students.The business plan was jotted down in a piece of tissue!
The feasibility of his business was a concern. Varun’s family and relatives were still doubtful of his new venture. Heaps of criticism came in his way.People often called him a t-shirt salesman. He bought customized t-shirts and hoodies from Tirupur.
Varun officially launched his t-shirt store, Alma Mater, in 2009 in Bangalore. His earlier customers were students from top colleges of the city. Varun ran the business in his garage for first few months. His business expanded through the word of mouth.
The business flourished within a year as the demand for Varun’s merchandise skyrocketed. Students from every nook and corner of the country thronged his store to buy their own unique merchandise and memorabilia..
Varun successfully brought some investors on board to pump in more cash into his business. Alma Matter turned out to become a trendsetter among the student community across the nation.
Now Varun sells a range of products, from customized t-shirts to accessories. Moreover, students get a chance to design their t-shirts and place orders at once. His clientele now includes students, entrepreneurs and even corporate biggies!
Varun has recently launched Grades Don’t Matter, an initiative that helps people learn all the necessary skills to excel in life irrespective of their academic background. According to Varun, he intends to bridge the gap between the gap between degrees and skills through this innovative concept.
Becoming a best-selling author
Varun Agarwal’s life was no less than roller-coaster ride. So he decided to share his story to inspire his peers and budding entrepreneurs.
In his intriguingly titled book, How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-founded A Million Dollar Company, Varun vividly depicts his entrepreneurial journey, which was full of roadblocks.
The book was named after his greatest critic, Anu Aunty and she seems to be happy now!
The book is going to be adopted into screen by Dangal’s director Nitesh Tiwari.Varun is also in pursuit to inspire the younger generation. He has delivered over 100 talks. Moreover, Lenovo, one of the leading electronic brands in the world, has chosen him as their brand ambassador!
Varun Agarwal faced many hurdles that could have discouraged him from starting his own business. However, he wasn’t ready to give up. He decided to stop pondering over other things and plunged into his idea right away.
So sometimes, as Varun rightly put it, the best thing you could do is to act rather than to think! Because overthinking builds an unnecessary fear, which stops you from exploring new possibilities. So shrug off your fears and get ready to take your idea to the world!