From a curious kid to a keen entrepreneur - we grow

From a curious kid to a keen entrepreneur – we grow

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ Do you agree?

Well, for me necessity was what led me to build my product ‘Putler’

How? Let’s explore that a bit later. Let me first introduce myself.

I’m Nirav Mehta, originally from a small village in Gujarat, India. From an early age, I was a curious kid. I always had this insatiable thirst for knowledge. In spite of completing my graduate degree in commerce, I found an opportunity to learn how to code.

Early start

I started off pretty young. 

I remember being 13 and launching my first business venture. Where I  made rocket model kits and sold them in my neighborhood.

At 17, I had my fanboy moment when I won a competition and got to meet Bill Gates.

At 19, I launched what was to become India’s first electronic magazine – MagNet.

Bookworm to Books

Way before technology and business, books were my first love. 

To date, I’m an avid reader more so an avid collector of books.

They are a gateway to different worlds and multiple perceptions. 

I believe every book has something you can gain from. Want to put this to the test? 

Here’s a challenge..

Pick a children’s novel. Go through the first chapter. I bet you will find a value you can imbibe in your life.

My love for books soon translated into writing. I authored and self-published my first book at the age of 14. It was on Model Rockets.

Later, I did two more books. This time along with a publishing house – Packt Pub.

One of them was on mobile web and the other was on open source content management systems.

The first did really well but it was outpaced by technological advances. While, the second gave me my first taste of failure.

Off to speaking

Failure teaches you a ton. But most importantly, it provides you with another chance to succeed. 

And this journey between failure and success makes up for some great motivational content.

I’ve tried imparting my knowledge and learning on various occasions and locations across India. Some of my most recent talks have been at Indian WordCamps – Mumbai Pune, Ahmedabad, Nashik, Udaipur…

I also love talking tech talks, so I participated in early events like Linux Bangalore 2003, 2004. Then foss.in, Gnuify, and a few more.

Being an Entrepreneur

I always had the entrepreneur bug. So at 20, I decided to launch a full-blown web solutions company.

Since I was deeply attached to MagNet, I decided to retain the same name for my web company as well. 

Magnet Technologies Pvt. Ltd had a glorious journey for 15 years. Post that, I was asked to exit my own company.

It felt like a plot from ‘Steve Jobs’ – (movie released in 2015). But this happened, way before the movie was released. 

Jokes apart, I was devastated but I knew I had to bounce back. Even harder.

So, in 2009 I had my first go at my “products only” business – AppsMagnet. In two years, I drove it from zero to six figures in dollars with a team of 2.

Remember we started off with a phrase at the beginning of this article? Here’s the story behind it.

In 2010, I was frustrated with logging into PayPal every now and then. I wanted to check my sales and it was very time-consuming to log in and out just to check the numbers. 

So I wrote a small piece of code that would solve it for me. Little did I know it was something that would help hundreds of Entrepreneurs like myself.

I got a ton of requests from customers that they would pay for solving PayPal’s slow interface issue. And this dire need resulted in Putler.

Hello Putler!

Initially, Putler was built to solve the PayPal slow interface issue. It was 12 times faster and a real sigh of relief for everyone who wanted to check their sales numbers.

Slowly, we built in more detailed reports, added more gateways, and today it’s a full-blown business analytics tool serving tons of businesses each day.

In a nutshell, Putler has grown to become a multichannel sales and insights tool. It goes beyond detailed reports. It provides insights on Products, Customers, Sales, Web Traffic and so much more. 

At Putler, our main focus is to get the job done for business owners. So we have invested time and created features like;

  • Infinite segmentation
  • Forecasting
  • Goal Tracking
  • Trend analysis

And a lot more…

But since Putler is in a very competitive space, my team works hard to retain its uniqueness.

  • We take pride in being the only tool that serves both eCommerce and SaaS businesses. 
  • Putler has grown from catering to a single platform (PayPal) to a multichannel platform. Take a peek at 17 leading gateways that Putler integrates with.
  • It’s one of the few tools that aggregate data, clean it and provide an accurate and big picture of your business.
  • Putler is one of the few SaaS solutions that go beyond Stripe subscriptions. It provides SaaS reporting for Stripe, WooCommerce, Braintree, EDD and Authorize.Net. PayPal subscription is next on our list.
  • Putler is also an excellent tool for anyone having multiple businesses/brands. It can help them monitor all businesses from one single place.

Enough talk? Watch it in action.

Moving to WordPress and WooCommerce

If don’t quit is the first lesson for fellow entrepreneurs. Don’t put all your eggs in a single basket is the next.

To practice what I preach, I started another venture in a completely different domain WordPress.

To date, it is my most successful business venture and it’s called StoreApps.

StoreApps has grown to become one of the leading third-party plugin vendors for WooCommerce. 

It has launched a ton of plugins that help WooCommerce store owners run their businesses with ease. 

It offers a mixed bag of plugins ranging from:

  • Smart Manager – Helps manage and bulk edit WooCommerce products, orders, coupons, posts, subscriptions, bookings…any WordPress post type in an Excel-like spreadsheet editor. Massive time savings and productivity boost.
  • Smart Offers – Helps run targeted one-click upsells, cross-sells, BOGO, order bumps and other offers in the sales funnel and keep minting money on auto-pilot. Also, enable direct checkout with Buy Now buttons.
  • Smart Coupons –  This is an official WooCommerce coupons extension and complete solution for discounts, gift cards, store credits, advanced restrictions, bulk generation, URL coupons, and auto-apply coupons.
  • Affiliate for WooCommerce – Helps set up and run your own successful affiliate program. Track referrals and sales, create commission plans, set up marketing campaigns and make payouts from a single place. Also includes a self-care dashboard for your affiliates.

I also launched another brand Icegram, it has a string of plugins that help Bloggers, and Internet Marketers grow their communities and engage with them. One of my most successful plugins is Email Subscribers. It has over 1 million active installs and it continues to grow a little more each day.

Underlying philosophy

Though all my businesses are created with different niches in mind, they all tend to the same philosophy – Helping others.

The first step in creating a business is identifying a real problem.

Next, understand how crucial this problem is. How many people face it?

How much are people ready to pay to solve it?

Once you have a pretty grave problem at hand, next you need to help people solve it.

Tip: I focus on finding a solution that can help people achieve something valuable.

This is the exact formula that I apply while starting a business/brand/plugin.

I hope it can help you discover the next big thing.

Keep learning. Keep growing.

Though my current businesses Putler, StoreApps and Icegram have my undivided attention. I have never stopped learning.

I keep feeding the curious child inside of me. And I urge everyone to do the same.

Only when you learn do you grow.

So never stop learning. Never stop growing.

Quick takeaways

To summarize, here are my top advice to fellow entrepreneurs-

  • Don’t give up – Every day is an opportunity to grow. You will face failure but your ability to bounce from them will set you apart.
  • Help others – Make a conscious effort and genuinely help others. It will surprise you how you can turn visitors into customers into friends.
  • Stay updated – Gather knowledge in all its forms. Keep an eye on your niche and your industry at all times.
  • Network – Find opportunities to meet people. Surround yourself with people who are better than you. 
  • Stay inspired – Maybe books are not your thing. But that’s okay. It is important to find what inspires you and stick to it. 

I hope my experiences help you on your journey as an entrepreneur. Feel free to reach out to me via the contact pages of any of my brands. My team redirects all the emails under my name to my personal mailbox and I go through each personally. 

Take care. Stay inspired. Keep growing!

MS, University of Tartu Sleep specialist Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.