I’ve never tried bungee jumping and I don’t intend to, ever! However, being an entrepreneur has given me an adrenaline rush like nothing else.
If you have never attempted the startup adventure, at some point you have wondered, “Should I do it?” or “Could I? You watch the news or know of someone who took the plunge and made it big and you think – “I wish I could do something like that.” This is especially true for many who are, mid-career, and want to do something different and bold.
Prior to starting Linkstreet, Vikram (my co-founder) and I had worked in large companies for many years. We were at a point in our lives in what I would call as a relative comfort zone – the work was good, the jobs were secure, our families were settled in after we’d both returned to India from the West and life was chugging along. But we happened to chance upon an area that married our passion for education with my fondness for tech, and here we are. But, I’ll save our startup story for some other time.
In this post, I would like to focus on some of the learning I’ve gained as an entrepreneur. This will be useful in case, ‘starting up’, has been on your mind.
In the four years since setting up Linkstreet, the company has had several pivots; it almost seems like I’ve lived an ENTIRE lifetime in these few years. By no means is our journey at an end; in fact, it’s the opposite – we are only at the beginning of what promises to be an even more exciting, grueling, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes frustrating time in my life and the lives of my team.
When you start a race, there are tens, hundreds, and sometimes thousands of participants who believe they can win or compete at that level. However, there is only one winner in the end. Every participant knows that, but it is their hope that they can be that winner and this keeps them coming back to participate, to prepare and to practice hard (sometimes the preparations go on for years on end, as Olympic athletes would testify). But wining is not the only thing. After all, it is the participation, the journey, and the opportunity to train and qualify for such competitions that most of us cherish.
Starting something new is perhaps like that. We know it may not succeed, the journey maybe hard, and the venture maybe an opportunity to try something which you may have wanted to do for a very long time. Entrepreneurship is indeed quite an adventure and it can be that adrenalin rush as you plough through perils, everyday, feeling like a battle-hardened conqueror. However, do remember that before you embark on this adventure that: a) it is really hard; b) it can be really long; c) it impacts everyone around you – especially your family; d) make sure you are absolutely prepared to accept the ‘worst-case’ scenario.
Before I took the plunge, I think I was quite clear about the chances of success/failure and had come to accept at least some of these aspects. If it didn’t succeed, I felt I would have at least tried and fulfilled my wish to do something on my own – I was prepared for the ‘worst case’. I felt I would have surely learned something and I could always go back to my career of working for a company in case things didn’t work out.
The ride so far has been thrilling and scary. Like a bungee jump. And, I am even more certain it will continue to be. But, in the end my entrepreneurial journey is something I cherish greatly and will tell my grandchildren about – regardless of the length of my dream.
About the Author
Arun Muthukumar is a technology entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of experience in the USA and India. He is the Co-Founder & CEO of Linkstreet (www.linkstreet.in). The Linkstreet platform helps businesses, organizations and individual experts, collaborate and learn, and counts amongst its clients IIM-B, ISB, Portea Medical, Columbia Asia, and noted wildlife photographer - Sudhir Shivram.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)