From Part-time Labourer to Award-Winning Entrepreneur | Sharanyan Sharma
Sharanyan Sharma – Founder & MD of Extreme SEO Internet Solutions and 4 other ventures – shares his story of thinking so out of the box.
Sharanyan Sharma’s journey in Colombo began as a part-time labourer and driver, during his first semester studies in a BSc in IT from SLIIT, graduating in 2008.
Prior to starting his business – Extreme SEO Internet Solutions, in Vavuniya, (2008) – the local area was sans proper infrastructure or guidance, particularly in the IT and ICT sectors. “I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what to do. I was a driver, adept at doing poojas, that’s what led me to study at SLIIT.”
Sharanyan admits that he fell in love with the subject that encompassed the digital medium, but found it hard to focus, even interrupting his friends and colleagues in class. “I couldn’t do a typical education. Teachers explain and we observe, but as a student, I failed O/Ls and A/Ls because I couldn’t cope with traditional learning. I later realised I was more of a kinesthetic learner”.
The Entrepreneur who hails from the north of Sri Lanka was always quite adept at observing, but required the practical experience too in order to turn that learning into gold. It was during one fateful day, that the self-proclaimed ‘class troll’, asked his Teacher “how do commercial transactions happen through digital platforms?” , to which he was told to stick to what he needed to study for his exam, that led him to make that first-time trip to his college library to find the answers to his query. Thus, started Sharanyan’s love of all things digital marketing related – “This was my breakthrough moment, and I am quite glad that the teacher humiliated me instead of giving me an answer because it led me to where I am today”.
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Sharanyan has overcome a range of personal and professional challenges, that he believes have inspired and pushed him to trust in his gut instinct to overcome any obstacles, littered along his entrepreneurial journey. “I was inspired by my lecturers and colleagues when they told me that I couldn’t. I was inspired by the word no, to do more and be more”. Sharanyan confesses that this is both a strength and a weakness and that when he commits to doing something, that he will forge ahead. This is the exact culture embedded in the DNA of Extreme SEO Internet Solutions and its members. “I learnt what e-comm was and how it was improving other businesses and how SEO was important in optimising digital platforms”.
Providing comprehensive and managed digital marketing services, Extreme SEO Internet Solutions have a 92% customer base from the US and Europe with only 8% from Sri Lanka. With the brand’s products and strategies aligned to the global market, Sharanyan explains that Digital marketing is now obsolete. “2013 to 2016 was about digital marketing; 2016 to 2017 was about inbound marketing, then it was growth hacking and omnichannel, but now performance marketing is the current trend.”
Concluding Sharanyan shared his advice to young, budding entrepreneurs “You need to know what you’re passionate about. We have been conditioned through systemised education not to take risks. Nobody is asking you what you want to achieve, instead, they push their own thoughts and aspirations on you. So express yourself and know your passion. Don’t settle, challenge yourself. Really think far out of the box. Don’t follow someone else’s footsteps. Don’t become a clone. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be an innovator. Aim to be an icon!”
Sharanyan is currently in the process of starting his 6th company and expects in the next 5-6 years to diversify into a different vertical.