We hear of people switching careers when they realize their true calling but jumping from computer graphics to wildlife photography is certainly a big and bold leap. But that’s exactly what daring Jayanth Sharma is all about. Formerly a multimedia specialist website creator working for the likes of America Online and Accenture, Jayanth realized his true calling – the ‘call of the wild’ and decided to pursue professional wildlife photography instead.
Transforming His Passion into A Career, While Countering Challenges Along the Way
Jayanth is the co-founder and CEO of Toehold Travel and Photography Pvt. Ltd., a company that specializes in photography tutoring, touring and training services, and the rental of photography equipment, while coupling all this with one’s love for travel and exploration. But building this company from scratch wasn’t easy for Jayanth. Firstly, entering a market that was still nonexistent in India was very daunting. Also, finding equally talented business partners that shared the same passion for photography as well as entrepreneurship wasn’t easy either. Jayanth also had to find the right team of people who could contribute productively to his unique business idea.
To coexist in a team is always a challenge as creative ideas are intimate and solitary most of the time.”
In addition to all of this, Jayanth coyly admits that neither he nor his teammates hailed from a business or finance background and were just a bunch of IT guys. So for these novices, the entrepreneurship learning curve was rather steep but that didn’t sway Jayanth from pushing past all obstacles.
The Turning Point That Made Toehold “Click”
While working in the IT industry Jayanth visited various national parks across India in his spare time. Living out of a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru made traveling that much easier for him. His traveling escapades allowed him to meet many different people who shared similar interests. He slowly built himself a reputed name in the wildlife community.
Jayanth then went on to design his own website that featured his immensely visceral wildlife experiences. The next couple of years saw the rise of a highly talented and widely published wildlife photographer whose main aim and passion was to create awareness of the notoriously depleting population of some of India’s most treasured wildlife. He wanted his photos to highlight how critically important it is to conserve our precious and depleting Indian wildlife.
Jayanth won himself an award in the Sanctuary Asia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest in 2007. This pushed him to quit his uninspiring IT job and bring out the traveler in him. He visited many different international destinations while concurrently working on a fresh idea when Toehold finally saw its inception.
Jayanth went on to become one of the most renowned wildlife photographers in the country and was invited to many lectures and seminars including TED-X talks and symposiums held across the country. He has also judged several photography competitions and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. He has been granted the prestigious ‘Associate of the Royal Photographic Society (ARPS)’ title as well. Just to mention a few of his many achievements.
Among other talents, Jayanth is also a trained vocalist in Carnatic classical music and has performed in many regional and national shows. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling solo and exploring new places.
Words of Encouragement from The Bold to the Budding
It’s important not to get carried away by an idea that strikes like an epiphany. One needs to maintain a balance between passion and rationale.”
Fair enough, but Jayanth still believes in the good old excel-sheet style of business planning. He believes that it helps in maintaining coherence in the way a business functions, including the minutest details of it.
Rather than imitating a business idea that appeals to you, try and come up with original ideas that can solve problems that aren’t yet addressed by a business.”
Jayanth calls this the ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’. By this, he means that not only is it important to push the limits of a business idea geographically or the limits of other practical details that entail it, but also to break the norm and to stay away from the philosophical clutter that can possibly deter its potential. We couldn’t agree more with Jayanth’s bold and fascinating entrepreneurship strategies.