4 Steps to Living in (and in spite of) your Startup!


Krithika Nelson of Shopo shares her viewsIt is so hard to find good engineers to work in your startup these days! Either they are heavily paid and working in big companies or they are running their own startups. Looks like a good situation when you first see it, but the part that worries me is that, many of these guys are running their own startup because they believe they can make a quick buck out of it, or because they find the idea cool!

Let me break the bubble people! Startups are NOT about doing whatever you love! It is in fact quite the opposite.

It is about giving up most of the things you love, to do one thing that is a burning passion inside!

It is about completely forgetting fun with friends, time with loved ones, family, hobbies, interests, and whatever else made up your life so far. It is about living with just one concept 24 X 7 in your brains, and in the process, losing health, sleep, friends and any respect or love in the family.

No, I am not ranting or cribbing. Just giving you a sneak peek into reality.

If the paragraph above scared you and made you rethink about your plans to start up on your own, my personal suggestion: Don’t do it yet! Give it a little more time! You are not ready for this now!

Or, if it made you say - “Yeah! I don’t care! I was born to do this and I will!”, then Bravo! Can’t wait to see your startup going places.

This blogpost is my 2 cents to make your lives slightly easier on the route. The top 4 learnings I had the hard way!

1. Pursue Love!

Let me put this to you straight. If there is one person that is going to suffer more than you in the next couple of years when you are busy building your startup, it is your life partner. By that, I mean your boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancée/spouse.

You will be missing a million dinners, at least a dozen marriages, and will not be available when they need you the most. And more often than not, your friends will call your spouse to find out where you are and they will not have an answer to give.

So, be a little courteous. Even before you start working on your startup, talk to your life partner. Explain to them that this is what your life might be over the next few years and why this is so important for you. This preparation is enough for most people. I have even seen some girls pitching in money for their boyfriend’s startups and stuff! Most of them do understand! But missing this step will be a very bad idea. It invariably leads to bad breakups!

That being said, do try to give at least one hour of your day to your life partner. If you are married, make that three! It would mean you have to lose a bit of sleep or work after they slept, but trust me, it is important and totally worth it.

Touch wood. Let this not happen. But tomorrow if by some nasty chance, your startup fails, and you realise you are left with no non-work friends (Which happens as soon as you enter your startup life) and no lover, the blow is going to be harder to take!

And if tomorrow you do succeed and find nobody to share it with, you will be left feeling lonely and empty!

[All you life partners of Start-uppers, I am with you too! That’s why part 2 of this blog post will be for you all! Wait for it!]

2. Pursue interests!

Everyone has some interest or the other which has nothing to do with their startups!

To me it is music. To you it could be movies or books or Xbox or dancing or whatever it is that makes you feel good.

Spend at least 2 hours a week to pursue your interest. Trust me. Nobody will blame you for it. The emptiness and guilt left by not pursuing it distracts more time out of you than pursuing it for a couple of hours a week.

3. Keep a watch on your health!

This is probably the most difficult one of all the steps in here. Apart from haphazard sleeping hours, the stress levels in a startup invariably leads to lots of junk food.

Obviously we don’t find time to exercise being in startups! The 10 min break for every 1 hour idea is total bullshit when you don’t even know where the last four hours went! But one thing you CAN do is keep a watch on what you are eating!

Snack on fruits as much as possible! Keep a large bottle of water next to you! Will subconsciously make you drink more of it. Go for black tea (we have these amazing fruit teas that are available these days! Tastes absolutely blissful! And yes there is Organic India’s Tulsi Chai which is a miracle in a cup!) instead of coffees and aerated drinks. And if possible, get a cook to make homemade food and drop it at your office for lunch! Far better than pizzas and burgers and a lot more variety too!

Or if you choose to walk around with an ugly belly at 25-26, your call dude!

4. Live!

Yeah! Live! It is ok to be friendly in office, even if you don’t make real friends in there! (The latter is generally a very bad idea!) Even within your office, please laugh at times, crack jokes, go out for team lunches, gossip (Guys! Don’t deny you do it too!) and play the fool once in a while! Eases your pressure down and makes you more comfy with the people you spend the maximum part of your life with!

Trust me. It helps. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a proverb that’s as true as it can be!