From living in the chawls of Dombivili, 40-year-old Sushil Singh is now living his dreams. “My decision to quit college had induced a sense of responsibility to make something out of my life,” he says.
Meet Sushil Singh, a college dropout from Jaunpur district, Uttar Pradesh, who is today a millionaire technopreneur behind three successful ventures and a non-profit organisation.
From very humble beginnings, the 40-year-old Sushil Singh is today the founder and director of SSR Techvision, a customer services BPO, Deebaco, an international B2C fast fashion e-commerce platform, and Saiva System Inc, a global IT consulting firm.
“When I was about three, my family moved from our village in Jaunpur district to Mumbai in search of work. My father worked as a security guard in a bank, while mother oversaw affairs at home. We lived in a chawl in Dombivali, a township on the outskirts of Mumbai. Admittedly, we didn’t have a lot, but at least had a roof over our heads. My parents were trying their best to make sure that we lived a better life. I have fond memories of childhood with my two siblings. I loved it in Mumbai,” says Sushil, speaking to The Better India.
Studying in a Hindi-medium school run by the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation for low-income families, Sushil claims his academic performance until Class 10 was ‘quite good’. High school, however, was a different story as he lost interest in academics. In fact, he flunked his Class 12 board exams once, although he cleared it the following year.
After finishing high school, he joined Allahabad University for his Bachelors’ degree in computer science. Although he enjoyed learning his core subject, Sushil grew increasingly disillusioned with what his professors were teaching him.
“Following my second year in 2003, I dropped out in 2003 after failing in mathematics. In fact, I had only written this exam because my mother asked me to. By then, I had already made up my mind that I would drop out of college. I didn’t want to get into something which had nothing to do with my future career prospects,” he says.
“Now, my parents think that I am doing pretty well, but back then, they were against it. My younger sister and elder brother, however, always supported me. Counterintuitively, my decision to quit college had induced a greater sense of responsibility to make something out of my life. It was a decision borne out of rebellion, but it cleared the way forward because now I had to prove that what I did was right. Unlike many students in India who find a career after their studies, I wanted something else for my life. I wasn’t scared,” recalls Sushil.
Dropping out of college didn’t mean giving up his pursuit of knowledge. Today, he has a library of about 1,000 books at home on subjects ranging from modern history to global diplomatic relations.
“The first job I had was with a telecom giant. I joined them through a third party vendor as a customer service representative. This was my moment to tell the world that even if you’re a college dropout, you can make a better future for yourself. While everyone was working their regular 8-hour shifts, I was working for 12-13 hours a day,” he says.
After his first job, Sushil joined a contact centre.
“In my sales job there, I wouldn’t get up from my work station for any break until I completed my first sale. There were moments when I needed to use the restroom, but couldn’t get up from my work station because of the commitment I had made to myself. I would sit through at least six hours before getting my first sale. This went on for about three-four months, but with the greater experience I would soon complete a sale within the first five minutes at work,” he says.
However, the life-changing experience arrived in November 2013, when he met his wife Sarita Rawat Singh, who was then working as a software engineer. Within two years, they incorporated SSR Techvision in Noida, a customer services BPO, working in partnership with a US-based company.
Sushil credits her for giving him the inspiration to strike out on his own after working for about a decade in the outsourcing industry. “He was motivated by the way the outsourcing industry works and its inherent potential. The thought of starting his own company struck him when he noticed that the company he worked for ignored smaller yet valuable clients and focused on bigger ones only,” notes this profile in Forbes magazine.
After working with his American partners for three-four months, they rented what was essentially a co-working office in Noida. There were eight seats in the office, of which they took four on rent. Within two and a half years, however, Sushil claims that the company ended up buying the entire building in Noida.
Today, it’s a firm with an annual turnover in the millions working across diverse outsourcing fields such as customer support, back-office support, e-commerce, IT, healthcare and more with offices in India and the USA.
“I joined the company in 2015 as an entry-level telecaller and sales executive after finishing my polytechnic courses at just Rs 11,000 per month. Meanwhile, I was pursuing my graduation, which I earned in 2017. When I joined the company, it was basically a startup with just three employees, including Mr Singh. Initially, I wasn’t sure whether this venture would work out or not, but there was no getting away from the fact that I needed a job. Gradually, our company grew, and today we have about 300 employees. During our fifth anniversary earlier this year, employees got a myriad of gifts. Still, he gifted three other long-serving employees and me a car each,” says Pankaj Rawat, the manager of operations, at SSR Techvision, who today earns in six figures per month.
Since starting his venture, Sushil and his wife Sarita have grown from strength to strength. The second venture they founded was Deebaco, an international B2C fast fashion e-commerce platform. However, it’s Sarita who predominantly runs the show here, although they run their operations from the same Noida-based building that houses SSR Techvision.
More recently, however, they opened their third business venture, Saiva System Inc, which Sushil incorporated in 2019. They are a global IT consulting firm, which helps companies recruit the best professionals for their respective job profile requirements. They have emerged as a leading recruitment agency for companies in India and the US.
However, after he started Saiva, Sushil decided to take a small step back in his other two businesses and began investing more time in reading and other intellectual pursuits. At present, he is merely overseeing affairs at both companies while the day to day has been left in the hands of his wife (Deebaco) and other employees.
“What has stood out about Mr Singh is his determination, perseverance and hard work. In the early days of SSR Techvision, he would sit in the office for about 15-16 hours. What I learnt from him is that no matter how many hours or days it takes, if there is a task before us, we need to finish it well. Initially, I didn’t believe I was capable of sitting through 14-15 hours in the office and making things happen. But that changed under his guidance,” says Rawat.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)