This is a guest post by Hong Kong based entrepreneur Mikaal Abdulla. After working for 15 years the corporate world, Mikaal cofounded 8 Securities where he is the CEO. His journey has taken him through Silicon Valley, New York, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and now Hong Kong. Mikaal holds an MBA from both Columbia University and the London Business School.I got an email few days back from a young software engineer from Pune. He picked up my email from the company website and asked my advice on whether or not he should start a company. Made me think just how many people are considering taking the plunge into startups but don't take the step. This made me write the below post:
I am new to the startup world. It's been only 18 months and I have proven very little thus far. However, one thing is clear in my mind, I will never work for someone else again. The liberation that starting a company affords you is simply an amazing experience. The freedom of unconfined creativity and limitless possibility is something I wish everyone could experience. And this experience is invaluable.
It's a tough economy out there. I know. I know I speak to at least 90% of you when I say you either have a job and are unappreciated, unenthusiastic or simply unhappy. Or you don't have a job and feel like you are fighting a losing battle to find a company that values your skills. In either case, I beg you to try to start a company. Whether it succeeds or fails does not matter because its about empowerment.
I am Asian but my attitude is 100% American. For everything I love about Asia, the one thing I loathe is the culture of entitlement. The rich get richer and the well connected get all the breaks. 99% of people simply do not get a fair shot. But take my word that technology has the power to disintermediate EVERYTHING. It has the power to change nations (the Arab Spring). It has the power to change politics (the anti corruption movement in India). It has the power to change industries (take your pick). It has the power to change your own path if you don't like the current direction.
Never have the barriers and cost to starting an internet business been so low. You don't have to be rich, connected or technical to do it anymore. 90% of what you will need to run an operation is free to get started. Launch a website on WordPress or Tumblr. Build an inbound marketing campaign through social media and learn everything you need to know on the Kiss Metrics Blog and HubSpot Blog. Manage your customer list with MailChimp. Keep track of all of it all with Google Analytics. Yes, it's all free and delivered as a web service instantly. No infrastructure and no boundaries. You know what else is free? Good ideas and ambition.
Be brave. Take a risk (more thoughts here). Work night and weekends if you have to. What do you have to lose?
I will give $1,000 USD to the best idea explained in 5 sentences or less to help you get started. Just send me a private message from my blog. And if you can turn your idea into real customers and a little revenue I promise I will give you a chance to pitch my investors (who are amazing). All I want in return is for you to pass this message to anyone that has the guts and ambition to try. Go for it!