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Sharan Hegde: The Ultimate Finance Club Founder of The 1% Club and Finance with Sharan, Sharan Hegde who through Instagram and other social media channels educates people about finance and investments joined us at our annual Tech and Innovation Summit in Bangalore aka his "favorite city".

By Kavya Pillai

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Sharan Hegde

Founder of The 1% Club and Finance with Sharan, Sharan Hegde who through Instagram and other social media channels educates people about finance and investments joined us at our annual Tech and Innovation Summit in Bangalore aka his "favourite city".

Technology has been a major component of Hegde's master lectures and courses on his edtech platform. It has aided in creating a group of like-minded individuals, where he has occasionally been able to hold master seminars with up to 5,000 attendees. Hegde's interest in personal finance dates back to his early years when his mother would teach him and his sister financial lessons.

The conversation took off with Hegde reflecting on his early days developing content for the digital space. Chuckling about not having any professional equipment to shoot his videos he said, " The start was me in my parent's house, in my bedroom, shooting videos in my bedroom. I had a Nexus Five phone and a broken phone stand from my sister. And I had the natural sunlight coming from the window (for lighting). Back then, I did not know the names of any professional videography equipment. My shooting time was two to 04:00 p.m. Because during that time, the sun was at the right amount of brightness to shoot."

He explained how he had not charted his course, "Most people would assume that it was all a plan. Like everything that I've done so far, I envisioned it two years back, but everything is on the fly. The initial motivation to start content, as most of you would know, was to improve my MBA application." Once he applied for Columbia Business School, Hegde assumed his content creation work would take a back seat. "All of a sudden, I had about 100 to 200K followers. Never really thought this number could go beyond. But then, it reached a million followers in like eleven months!"

Hegde then wore his analyst hat and looked at the cards he was dealt with, "Columbia MBA is going to cost me two crores, right? And I'm making just about that kind of money over here as a content creator. So why would I want to give this money to Columbia MBA and give up this income-earning potential?" It was not an easy decision. He consulted many people. "I had to speak to one guy who had both an MBA degree and is a content creator. He turned out to be Akshay Srivastava. Another famous finance content creator on YouTube told me to go. He said it's important to get your MBA degree because you never know when content creation can end," he said. Now, the true fans know Hegde did not follow suit, he shared, " I decided not to go and instead started the 1% club again."

Coming to the growth of the 1% club, Hegde said, "So firstly, it was called the 1% finance club. It started as a simple finance course. That is what most education content creators do." He shared, "What content creators realize a little bit later is that brands are not your friends. A brand might reach out to you by email saying, we love your content, we want to work with you, and let's pay for one of our brand sponsorship. And you think that brands are your best friends? They're not. They're only there as long as you are relevant and as long as you're getting views. So this is something that I realized a little later, but much before most of my peers." "I need to build something of my own, something which I control. And even if I am not relevant again in the future, this something that I create will last beyond me and make me money," he added.

As for how he approached his content he said, "Because I was a personal finance content creator, I ventured into a personal finance program. And back then there was no personal finance course of this magnitude. Everybody was selling stock market courses, swing trading courses, futures and options trading courses, because these are easy to sell because people are hungry for money. People want quick growth just to give you some context, the number of crypto accounts in India is more than the number of DEMAT accounts opened in India. That sort of should tell you how money-hungry people are. We just want options, which make us the most money." "Nobody wanted to learn how to do asset allocation, how to do insurance planning, how to do tax planning. All these are considered very boring topics. But I still took it upon as a challenge because that's the only thing I knew. I didn't know swing trading or option futures and options trading. So I had to make something out of personal finance itself. So that's how it began. And on day one, I still remember I expected maybe 300, 400 people to come up for my first live master class on Zoom."
"I had just taken a Zoom subscription for 500 attendees. I put up a story on Instagram saying, hey, I'm conducting this master class tomorrow. It's 499 rupees, please come. I posted that and I went to sleep. When I woke up, I expected, okay, maybe 300, 400 registrations would have come. Let me open and see. It was 5000, 5000 registrations in 24 hours straight away, 25 lakhs in one day. I could not believe it," he exclaimed.
Currently looking at how far his work has come, Hegde revealed, " We've just gotten SEBI registered. I've never said it out there. And the next step is to get into fintech and offer financial services." As for his advice for people when it comes to personal finance he shared, "Firstly, look at money as your source of freedom. So when you're giving your money to somebody else to manage, you're giving up your own freedom. Right? So why should you be answerable to somebody else whenever you want to buy something, right?" "So my first advice is, learn it yourself," he concluded.


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