With over 350 million users and worth at USD 10 billion, PayTm is the biggest e-commerce payment system in India. Initially starting with online deals and e-ticket booking, now it is available in 11 languages and has facilities a wide range of activities — such as utility bill payments, event bookings and in store payments.

This success of Paytm can be traced back to one person, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who was born to a middle-class family in a small town in Uttar Pradesh, India. Despite being a brilliant student, he ended up falling behind in his studies due to his weak English, and eventually, dropped out of college. He did, however, taught himself coding and managed to get a job at an MNC, which he quit after 6 months.

Next, he started a business with his partners but got conned in the process. After all these hardships, he co-founded One97 — the eventual parent company of Paytm — and came up with his own product Paytm in 2011 which later flourished into what it is today.

Hence, we decided to come with a few lessons from Vijay Shekhar’s life which you can incorporate into your life.

1. Treat your employees as equals

Vijay Shekhar gave 4% of his equity to his employees which values around 120 million USD. He believes that sustaining success is more difficult than attaining success. So he treats his employees as teammates. He immensely respects hardworking people who share the same [passion as him. Hence, He doesn’t call any of his employees “workers”. This equitable treatment of his employees is one of the keys of his success.

2. Building trust is the priority

“30% of the company’s campaign budget is invested in building trust with the customer. For us it was the single most important factor,”

 -Vijay Shekhar Sharma

The secret behind this steep arch to success is the relationship he established with his clients that was not prioritized by many companies before. When he started his venture of Paytm, he built a 24/7 customer care service to attain trust from his initial customers. Paytm also gave priority to customer care by joining Facebook and Twitter just to respond to customer complaints as soon as possible. According to him, trust is the secret recipe behind his success.

3. Hard work prevails over privilege

Before his success with Paytm and One97,  he worked for a MNC which is also deemed a success from general point of view. However, going back to his childhood, he had no such privilege that helped him rise to such heights. He studied in Hindi medium so he barely had any proficiency in English. He didn’t have any financial backing from his family as he did not come from an upper class family. All of this struggle made him drop out of college but despite all this he did not quit and eventually rose to the top. This tells us how you can overcome lack of privilege by working hard.

4. Don’t give up

One thing anyone will say about Vijay Shekhar is that he is extremely resilient to adversity. His massive success with Paytm and One97 isn’t the first initiative he had taken. In 2005, he raised about 8 lakh Indian rupees only to be conned 40% off that. He had raised the capital to start a new venture with his partners but because he was duped he could not go on with it. This devastated him but he did not give up. He saved money and eventually began One97.

Entrepreneurship is a daunting task to many and understandably so. This is why knowing about successful entrepreneurs can give us many insights into the world of startups. Have you found this article helpful? Let us know.