"Let your work do the talking." - Anonymous
Oh hey! This is Ankurman Shrestha. I'm about to graduate with a Master's in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio this August of 2017. I also have a Bachelor's in Biotechnology.
I lived the first 20ish years of my life in India and came to the US in the fall of 2012 with this newspaper cut out of Chris Guillebeau's book summary of 'The $100 Startup' in my pocket that I had picked up during my senior year in college.
I saw graduate school as an amazing opportunity to scratch all the itches I had.
The side-projects that I embarked upon took me to uncharted territories, often stretching me to my limits, unleashing my creative genius, and one of them even requiring me to slay the demons in my head and come out victorious.
Below is a #nofilter glimpse into the experiments I've done during my last 5ish years in the United States as an international student, an immigrant entrepreneur, and a curious child at heart.
My Journey in the United States so far...
Aug 7th 2012 - The day I first walked on the American Soil.
Nov 1st, 2012: Made my first sale in the US within the first 90 days selling 2 vacant parking spots on the lot of the house I was renting which was the shortest walk to campus. An entrepreneur was born.
Semester long parking fees in the university garage were $370. I saw this as an opportunity to supply the 2 spots I had lying around where I was staying.
Made a single page sales copy and sold each spot for $150.
Result: Generated $300 in recurring revenue for 4 semesters with a single sales page.
Lesson #1: Entrepreneurship is about identifying a problem first and then offering your solution to the problem in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Lesson #2: To sell is human.
Bethel Journal's publication on the CEEMS program
April 2013 - I was 1 of the 4 who were selected among the 170+ graduate student applicants for the CEEMS fellowship with a $25,000 award.
The Cincinnati Enhanced Engineering Math & Science (CEEMS) program was a National Science Foundation funded research to inspire high-school graduates to pursue STEM in college. I worked alongside middle- and high-school teachers out of Cincinnati, educators from around the nation, and retired engineers from Fortune 100 companies.
I was awarded with the fellowship for the 2nd year in a row and was tenured until May 2015.
Key contributions I made:
Result: We saw a 27% increase in STEM major enrollment in college for students who were a part of the CEEMS classrooms.
Lesson #3: Human motivation is largely intrinsic and dependent on the triad of 1) autonomy i.e. being self-directed, 2) mastery i.e. continuous improvement mindset, and 3) purpose i.e. seeing the work we do serves something meaningful beyond ourselves.
May of 2013 - Traveled 8 hours on the bus to watch Metallica live in concert
This was the beginning of my vagabonding period in the US. I used couchsurfing during all my travels and stayed with locals while getting to immerse in their environment and get a glimpse of their life in an authentic way.
Traveled mostly on a shoe-string budget and during weekends and long holidays while still working on my graduate research.
Result: Been to 44 US States, Puerto Rico, Canada, and lived a month in Mexico.
Lesson #4: Immersive traveling is a life-changing experience and will melt all cultural prejudices if you're open minded. It can also be a wise teacher helping you to learn how to - build trust with strangers, live a frugal and minimalist lifestyle, manage time to get work done, and live a more fulfilled life.
Metallica in Orion Fest 2013
August 2014 - I embarked on an epic journey on my 2002 Ford Escort ZX2 to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic through my campaign called 'A Drive To Inspire'.
Result: Raised $2,800 via crowdfunding, drove across 40 US States doing pushups and organizing local events, and did grassroots level marketing and fundraising for the L.A. based health non-profit Groceryships. I also discovered my long-term purpose in life.
Lesson #5: Today we live in a world where we have more resources than the King of France had 400 years ago. To make anything great happen, you have to be willing to put in the work to research, gather resources, experiment, and continue doing the work until you get the results you want or invaluable lessons to take from that experience and keep moving forward in life.
Oct 2014 - Launched my first business in the real estate market of flipping houses.
Tried my hands at this for 7 months before taking a pre-mature exit.
Result: Things didn't quite work out as planned and I ended up with a $30,000 debt and homeless on the streets for 2 weeks.
Lesson #6: Sunken cost is a useful metric to make future business decisions.
Lesson #7: When it comes to creating happiness and strengthening mental fitness, gratitude is the undisputed champion.
Lesson #8: What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, faster, and better.
My buddies from the street
Oct 2015 - I interned in Business Development at AMEND Consulting - a purpose driven firm out of Cincinnati whose primary focus was to transform mid-market businesses in the OH-KY-IN tri-state region through their people, process, and metrics system.
During my 5 months at Amend, I -
Lesson #9: Building trust by empathizing with the prospect by understanding their current problems and challenges is the key step to closing deals.
Nov 2015 - Storied Crafts was my first attempt at building a tech company where we envisioned to build an online marketplace for artisans in developing nations to pre-sell their handicrafts by sharing real-life video storytelling.
I picked up the idea during my travels in India where I saw artisans with amazing handicrafts struggling to sell them and were still living disconnected from the online world. I was one of the 3 co-founders.
During the 9 months of trying to get the startup off the ground, I -
Lesson #10: Ship the MVP as soon as possible and start selling! Consumer behavior analysis can then be used to make improvements on the product and pivot if necessary.
Lesson #11: How to solve inner conflict.
July 2016 - After 2 failed businesses, I came back to what gave me true inner joy and also something I had personal experience and knowledge in i.e. health & fitness.
The key question I asked myself - what is the work I would do even if I wasn't paid for it?
My answer - helping people to transform their health & fitness levels by building long-term habits.
With the lesson learned from the last failed startup, I went out and immediately sold 3 $1,000 coaching program. The business was born.
After working 1-on-1 with 20 clients, I've since pivoted from personal coaching to taking the role of an educator and today work to share with the world how we can use research in behavioral psychology, cognitive neuroscience, kinesiology, and evidence-based nutrition to reverse the 4 top health-related killers in the world i.e. heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and diabetes through the website - poweredbyhabits.com.
Aug 2017 - I'm finally about to end my graduate school chapter that has been an amazing roller coaster ride.
I was very close to dropping out of grad school. But now as I look back, I'm grateful for all the above experiences that have shaped me to be who I am today and also helped me to be self-aware of my strengths, values, and what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I'm hopeful of the future and excited about what's next to come as I am in my job search process. My #1 priority is to surround myself with people who are way more smarter, wises, and experienced when it comes to life and business.
Thank you for reading this far. Means a lot!
Since you're reading this, you may as well say 'Hello'. Here's my number: +1-513-223-1217. Would love to get to know you better and see if we can build something together.
With my parents at the graduation walk ceremony