Starting Vedam Herbals (Sarva Vedam)

My 100to100k Challenge has been on a break. I haven’t gone to college in months, except popping my head in a few times, nor have I made any serious effort to sell my books when I went out of the house otherwise. I will get back to the challenge, but I wanted to lay the foundations for a source of income.

My primary goal here, is not money, although I do want to create a source of income, my primary goal is to learn branding and marketing so that I know what to do when I actually start something for money in the future. There are some herbal products that I use at home, which I feel can reach a greater audience. My father buys them from a small manufacturer in Chennai (a city in the south of India) every time he goes there. I feel that there is a market for these products because my father gave some of these products to his friends, and they all seem to want more.

He asked me if I can set up a website to sell these products, and I was interested in doing more than just making an e-commerce website. This was a great learning opportunity for me, so I decided to go ahead with the following objectives in mind.

Learn Branding & Marketing

Branding and Marketing
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I have been following some entrepreneurs online. Gary Vaynerchuck is one them, and I learnt the importance of branding from him. His style, of doing business may be different from that of others, but I believe his strategy works in the long term, and I am playing the game for the long term. Gary Vaynerchuck talks about providing value, often for free, to customers. That does not mean giving away your products for free at a loss, but creating content that would help people, regardless of whether they are your customer.

For those who are my customers, I want to learn how to delight them (as said by investor Warren Buffet), and make them so happy, that they would never want to choose any business over mine. In other words, solve their problems better than anybody else they know, can.

Create a Source of Income

Money
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Since my late teen years, I have had an urge to be independent. That includes financial independence. I don’t like asking for money from my parents when I want something, especially when I am capable of earning money. I understand when people tell me that I should focus on my education right now, because it will pay off in the long run. I don’t deny that, but I feel that the opportunity cost of giving up work for studies is too high for me. I have worked on a one month contract for ₹50,000, and I feel I can get at least that amount of money for the skills that I have.

That is why I want to do something that will be worth giving up that money. If I start a business now, along with my studies, and can get it to pay me some amount of money, without me having to work full time on it, and learn some important skills during the journey, I feel it will be worth a lot more than just a college degree at the end of 3 years.

Promote Traditional Medicine

Image from Wikipedia

India is famous for a lot of things. A part of what India is famous for, are its systems of traditional medicine. India is home to Ayurveda, and we also have other systems of medicine in Unani, Siddha, and Tibetan medicine. I have personally seen cases where people have been cured by traditional medicine, when allopathy and mainstream medicine had failed.

I feel traditional medicine has not been given the attention it deserves. Many people turn to it as a last resort, after doctors tell them that their sufferings cannot be cured. I believe that people don’t trust traditional medicine. We need clinical trials, with control groups to verify the efficacy of these systems of medicine.

With Vedam Herbals, I will be starting with herbal products that are in use in some places of India. The herbs that I will be selling, are talked about in texts of Ayurveda, which I will be referring to for developing more products.

Support Small Communities

Image from Wikipedia

I am sourcing some of my products from a small business in South India. If my venture does well, I would be able to work with communities that have been making herbal products for several years. To know that my work supports such communities will be fulfilling.
I also intend to invest profits back into these communites, for research and development (which this field lacks) , and uplift the standards of living for people involved in the work.