The founder and CEO of Sasto Deal, Amun Thapa says “ An entrepreneur is a doer, one who makes things happen.” He is also the co-founder of Sasto Book and Anthropose.com, Proprietor of Chhahari Production and Irish Pub. He is the role model for many youths who wants to start or do something on their own. He didn’t think of being an entrepreneur but the problem he faced in Nepal made him come up with the solution and he started online business.
Here’s an interview of Amun thapa sharing experiences of his entrepreneurial journey.
Q. What scope did you see in the e-commerce business in Nepal?
Ans: For the two approaches in finding new businesses, A: you have to go with your guts. When I started an e-commerce, everyone including my own friends, they said, “it’s a foolish thing to do. You are wasting your time. Why do you wanna start a business like this where there is no online industry?” That was a general vibe where I spoke to. But I stood an other way around. If there is no scope, somebody has to step up and start an industry. So, that is my approach. Whenever people say it can’t be done, that motivates me. And whenever I find an opportunity and nobody is doing nothing about it, I am very passionate about creating that side. Same has to do with “Sasto Deal”.
Q. Did people support your idea?
Ans: Well, it’s very difficult. This is not really what people have to say. If you start listening to different people, you cannot satisfy everyone. Different people have different feelings and values. The best thing you can do is listen to suggestions. If you are passionate, you can achieve or create anything. If there is no robotic plant in Nepal and if you think Nepal can have robotic plant, you can do it. When you tell that to people, and they be like there’s no infrastructures in Nepal, no light and you want to create robotic plant in Nepal. Obviously, people will find flaws in it. But if you feel so, it’s good for you.
Q. What problems did you face in your family?
Ans: I started SastoDeal when I was 24. I just got back from US. The problem related to family is they want us to work for somebody else and have secured career in world banks, NGOs, INGOs. But I had to protest. I don’t like to do such work. I am gonna start something very new, something challenging. And everybody has that challenge. Specially in the country like Nepal, we still have a very conservative society. We are not open minded. People offer doctors, engineers, pilots. Yeah, those are very good professions but there are thousand other professions that will aid help Nepal economically. I am not protesting a doctor field but why do you wanna become a doctor when you have thousand other professions to choose from. In Nepal, it hasn’t been started yet. For example, we call ourselves agricultural nation but in today’s generation how many are studying agriculture? People consider agriculture as just a farmer working in fields. You can actually introduce new technology, new system, new way to manage and produce crops. So, it’s a different profession. You don’t have to be a doctor. You can have a lot a money there and you can have a reputed profession there. Similary, entrepreneurship is just a profession. You are actually well freshup but at the end you make the career.
Q. How easy is to be an entrepreneur?
Ans: It goes both ways, I have to be very frank. It’s not wrong to work 9 to 5. People have their own goal in life. But for someone like me, I like challenges. I like to do things in my own way. That is where I find satisfaction. But there are people who work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. And they have a chilled vacation Saturday Sunday, spend time with their family and friends or go for a trip. That might be happiness for someone else. The goal of his life may be just to live a happy life. So the first question is what kind of life do you want? That’s the most important question. If you want to create a wealth, if you want to be highly recognized, if you like challenges, if you like struggles, then this is your field. There is immense stress, you’re working 24-7. You think about business even when you are in vacation. Wherever you go, whenever you have time, you think about your work. This is your work. This is your life. You find satisfaction in it. But if you are not a that kind of person, if you want to live a happy life, then this is not your field. If you want to relax, this is not that kind of life. But I am not saying that is wrong, this is right. Happiness is the ultimate factor. If you want to live a happy life, you need to choose between these two groups in which you will satisfy and which one will you lead to happy life.
Q. Share about your startup phase.
Ans: We started from a very small office place. It was like a garage and I should be be the first person in. I had stolen the furnitures from NGO. We didn’t have a cash to start a promo businesses. In fact, we had to think 10 times even to print a brochure. We started from that level. Gradually, we added employees using our profit, shift offices and came to this place. But we still have a long way to go. That’s how we got started. One thing is very important for everyone to start small. For example, we started in 2011 and we had a big investor in 2013 who wanted to spend five crores in our company. We ignored that much money at that time because you need to learn. As a CEO and founder of this company, I can tell how exactly they are feeling and how is their work going. Initial 2-3 years, even now I go personally for delivery to my customers. So, I know how my employees feel while working, how to deal with the customers and all that. I worked in customer service, contents, products by myself so that when they come up with the questions, I know how exactly it started, how it goes and it’s state. But if you have money initially, you are not involved and haven’t done a single deliver. You’re planning to hire a lawsuit manager but you don’t know what to tell to lawsuit manager because you don’t have experiences. So, it’s very important to start small and get involved in every department. Actually as a CEO, you have to create every department so that you know what’s happening in each department.
Q. What problems did you face while starting up Sasto Deal?
Ans: First and foremost , Sasto Deal is a new idea and business for Nepal. So the first challenge was to create a culture. Nepalese people understand all kinds of business but online business is still hard for them to understand. So, you have to educate both the customers and those whose products has to be featured. I had to convince people to sell their products online. Who sells products online? We used to get such questions. So, we had a very difficult start convincing both side that online is the platform. And today, it’s been very easy. People have understood the meaning of online. Many people approach us rather than we approach them. Customers has started using online facilities themselves. So, that education and culture was the most challenging one.
Q. Suggestions to young entrepreneurs?
Ans: First, we have to be very bold. You mustn’t be under other’s opinions, feelings and dominance. You have to speak for yourself. Women, men, regardless of age, you have to stand up and fight for your values. If somebody comes and says you have to work at a bank and if you think working at a bank won’t do you good. You are not passionate about it then, you have to stand for yourself and say that is not what I want to do, I want to do this. And secondly,the level of jobs are determined in Nepal. For example, a plumber in the US is equally respected as just like any other engineers. But in Nepal, people points out the professions as plumber, engineer differently. This is very wrong. All the professions are equally important. It’s just that what impact you make in that profession. It’s all about setting benchmarks. The thing that matters is the existing situation of the industry when you enter and the level of industry that you can take it upto. Let’s get things better and better, not just for yourself, not just for industry but for entire economic. Thus, improve our benchmark and let’s not be narrow minded. One of my favouite saying is “Billions of people have millions of ideas but only a few can execute those ideas.” You have to be the one who’s gonna execute those ideas because in Nepalese society, we talk about lot of things, we complain a lot. So listen to those complaints and start professional execution about an ideas. Anybody can have idea. Whatever idea comes, just google it up, lot of people are already there. And it all comes down to execution. It’s just because somebody else started doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You have to start it but how to take the benchmark to next level, it should be your main focus.
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