Like you, I've always wanted to be successful in my life. I've achieved success now, before my 31st birthday.
My parents wanted me to be a rich and well-known person - a“bada aadmi” - so I studied hard to get a decent job. Like many others, I also thought that a job in an MNC IT company was key to heaven. I would get money, position, respect and, one day, retire as a rich CEO.
It looks scary when I think of myself from a few years back. What the f*ck was I doing at my job?
- Getting ready in the morning before the meeting time
- Wasting time in useless meetings
- Accepting work I did not like
- Preparing reports nobody cared about (except my manager)
- Filling up fake time-sheets (so my salary would get processed)
- Doing work late hours because my company offered so-called flexible timings (company laptop for work-from-home was a curse)
- Missing get-togethers and parties with friends because late evening meeting were scheduled with my American client (as they work in their morning only!)
- I was a weekend worker because I had to be a responsible employee (actually, a promotion aspirant, so I had to be better than others)
- Always waiting for my salary to appear in my account (single biggest reason I spent seven years there)
- Thinking of starting a bigger company than my current employer
As you might have guessed, I hated my job. I could never be successful in that work environment. I never wanted to become like my manager or his boss or his boss. There was no inspiration or motivation for doing great work.
Related Read: Why you should not start a startup
Then, I started working on ideas with my friend. We were in a hurry to start a company (not a startup, but a big company). I wanted to do something in the education field. We hired one person to develop an online platform for schools. When we gained traction, I left my job in February 2014 to build my first startup in the education domain.
We made a lot of mistakes; we wasted a lot of money; we lost direction. My startup failed in six months. It was mainly because of conflicts with the co-founder, but there were more reasons of our failure.
Most important learnings are a collection of failed experiences.
My co-founder joined a lavish job, but I was determined to startup. The whole experience of failure was an eye-opener for me. My dream was broken.
But a dream must be broken to wake you up from sleep.
I was looking to work with other startups as an employee or partner. I still had the capacity to take risks (minimum salary + equity). It was more important to find founders with similar mindset than high profiled ones.
I met with the Founder of The Morpheus Accelerator, who connected me with his portfolio companies in Delhi. I ended up joining another startup in education. I found exactly what I was looking for - a visionary founder.
We worked hard; we experimented; we changed our marketing and product. Some things went well, some fell apart. We were progressing towards our goals, but without earning any income. We had to pivot to make money, but we could not figure out where our mission matched with VC expectations. Soon we had to put our work on hold.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill
This is a period of struggle most startup founders go through. I am no exception. In this journey, I discovered myself -- the real me. I am so glad that I said 'NO' to my well-paying job.
It was freedom from gold handcuffs.
Now, I work at my home, enjoying my successful life.
I wake up whenever I like. I don’t remember when I last used an alarm clock. Some days I work till 2:00 AM, but other times, I don’t feel like working beyond 9:00 PM.
It’s the freedom of working.
I go shopping on weekdays when there is no crowd. I don’t have to get frustrated in traffic jams; I don’t have to line up in billing queues. It saves my time and energy, which I use for creative purpose.
Also read: Top 10 reasons why startups fail
I don’t have to live by rules defined by someone (often known as the Manager or Boss).
It’s my life. I decide what's good for me, and I decide whether I should refine my skills in technology or testing or excel sheets.
I do things that I am not qualified for.
I used to get a ‘C’ grade in English language (and I am still bad at English), but I love writing articles these days. I don’t have a marketing degree, but I'm doing digital marketing.
I always loved studying financial material, but never got the courage to explore it as a profession. I am taking that risk now. I am determined to make my profession around personal finance, like investments, payments, tax savings, banking and credit cards.
As Steve Jobs said beautifully:
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
I was average in my studies, and I always avoided reading books. I never read story books when I was in school, or fiction novels when I was in college. But now I love reading books -- see what I am reading here.
It’s like my re-birth. I am living my life more sensibly. I take care of my physical and spiritual health.
I am doing work that is meaningful.
My work is to touch human lives in positive ways. My first startup was to help education institutes (teachers, parents, students), while my next startup was to help students in learning science.
I love building products; I love coding; I love learning new coding languages. So I'm doing what I love. I'm now learning Ruby on Rails to build world-class web applications.
I spend four to five hours daily with my son. I play with him, cry with him, fight with him and occasionally teach him something. There is more to learn from children than to stuff their mind with knowledge (garbage).
I always dreamed of this life. I wanted to stay close to my family, and now I'm living my dream.
Earlier, I worked for Aricent; now, I work for my family.
Oh! And I forgot to tell you- I'm not rich yet.
Rather, I am poorer than I was last year. But money does not explain success to me -- it is a must to have for buying survival and luxury. Survival supports life system, and luxury gives us happiness.
I have both life and happiness.
I know I will be rich one day, but I am successful today.
You may read Pardeep's blog on personal finance.