Entrepreneurs, You Don't Have the Time to Get Hurt!
In the last 3.5 years during which I have been running YourStory, I have seen a metamorphosis in my personality and I thought it’s a good time to share some of the changes and learnings with all my fellow entrepreneurs and especially all those who plan to startup.Earlier when I started, I was sensitive to everyone and everything around me. The way people banged the phone and the way most of the so-called experts and influencers refused to give time for even a short meeting. In fact one incident which I vividly remember is (and which I keep reminding my team whenever they say something is tough) this: Once I had gone for interviewing an entrepreneur (a large multimedia company based out of Mumbai), facilitated by a zealous PR person. Maybe he was informed wrong or he understood it wrongly. He thought I have come to interview him from CNBC. As soon as he got to know that I have come from some complete non-entity called YourStory.in at that point, he told me exactly in these words: "Please show me your ID proof. I have never heard of this site and I refuse to be interviewed for such a platform. You don't know about our size and what status we have. We cannot stoop down to give an interview to people like you." Honestly, I was devastated. Maybe it hurt me so much, because I was used to the pampering which came as a CNBC employee, most doors warmly opening up to you not necessarily because of who you are, but from where you come. With an embarrassing tear in my eyes, I left the building with a strong determination that I will build a platform which one day all the entrepreneurs will know and respect. I will do whatever it takes and ensure that people who work with me eventually will not face the same situation ever again. When they call and say “I am from YourStory.in”, there is a recall value (even if vaguely). I cannot say with full confidence that I have achieved that as yet, but we are on the way.
For every well-wisher, there will be 5 people who will doubt your intentions, if you are as romantic as I was and say, "I am doing this because I genuinely want to help and solve xyz problem". Trust me for every pat on your back, you will have smirks and raised eyebrows. Intrinsically we are political people and we cannot ever take anyone at face value. We love to doubt, criticize and dissent till we do a complete post mortem of a new idea/product/or an over enthusiastic soul! My advice is: Enjoy it till it lasts. I don't know when it happened but it did. I don't bother with smirks, predictions of my downfall, criticisms behind my back and rumours any more. Yes, I value criticism (wouldn't have grown and reached anywhere without it), but that's it.
I feel this is the beauty of our eco-system, if you plan to startup, trust me you will become a stronger, mature and better person. My only bit of advice if one may say, for lack of better word, to my fellow entrepreneurs who are all building their ventures against such tides is, you are definitely not alone and a bad day at work is going to give you very good returns. Just remember: you don't have the time to get hurt, every hurt will build you into a better and bigger person!
Also the age old saying really holds true for all of us "What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger."