Vijay had graduated from an engineering college and had secured what many would call a dream job. He was happy with his life and how it was all taking shape. But hardly a year into his job, he could feel the sheen peeling off. It wasn’t anymore that exciting; he was feeling like just another cog in the wheel. He wanted to do something more worthwhile but he didn’t know what and how.
Just a few cubicles away, in a cozy cabin, Vijay’s boss Suren was glaring into his computer. The calendar was completely jam packed with meetings most of which he knew were stale mates. “We’ll look into this internally and get back to you within a week,” was the most likely conclusion. He wanted a break and a new perspective.
There are many who find themselves in these positions; while some manage to break the shackles, many just sleep over it and walk the road better known. For all those who find themselves in a similar position, one of the key reasons why they can’t escape the rut is because they cannot see that there ways to go past the locked door. And just in case they find a way out, after starting up, the world seems limited. They don’t know the right channels to tap.
And hence, one needs to startup a couple of years before one actually starts up.
This post by no means tries to dissuade corporate employees from what they do or incline them towards starting up but for only those who’ve made up their mind and are looking for options.
As a fresher, what do you do?
If you’re one of those whiz kids writing ingenious pieces of codes to do some really cool stuff, you’re not likely to be reading this post. You may directly jump in (you still might need help later on). But if you’re looking around, the best way to go about it is to setup a base and build a network first. This is one of the biggest advantages of a good b-school, it gives you a strong network. But you can do this without a b-school as well. Some points:
- Attend startup events or other networking event in and around your city. Know more people. One in a month is also good.
- Have an online presence. Be it whatever sector you want to enter, a strong online presence will always help you. Twitter, Quora, Github and the likes are very powerful tools. You might find your co-founders here.
- You can take up a part time job with some startup- be it any designation. A startup always needs a helping hand and this experience might be one of the best you’ve ever had.
- Try working fulltime with a startup preferably for a year or two before you take the plunge on your own, there are many things that you’d never know if you’re doing it the first time.
These are some of the areas you might want to keep in mind as a newbie in the professional life.
And what if you’re a veteran pro about to startup?
There are techies and managers who’ve been in corporate lives for long years but now want a change. They have a few things like a network already going for them, although limited to a sector, they’re most likely to startup in the same field and these touch points come in handy. But, apart from networking and going to events, there are some ways in which they can also setup a foundation:
- Acclimatize yourself with the system. The two environments are completely different and walking in the new person’s shoes might not be something you can handle. It is best to have discussions who have transitioned from your situation and learn from their experiences.
- Attending meet-ups and participating on online forums is obviously a plus.
- Start contributing. Whichever field you may have been in, there will always be publications/blogs/physical forums to whom you can contribute; may it be in the form of talks or articles. This will ensure people know you when you take the plunge.
- Lose your ego. Large corporations often inflate the egos of professionals with chauffeur driven cars, excellent cafeteria food and the perks. The startup world is different; be ready to sit on floors, eat Maggi for meals and never have time on your hands.
By starting up on these fronts before you startup, you get to test the waters and see what is it about entrepreneurship that really appeals to you. And were you to take the plunge, you’ll jump in better prepared. That will make a huge difference to your chances of success.
So, start up before you startup!
You will also love this info graphic from Funders and Founders on “How to Start a Start-Up”