You are a rockstar, and don't let losing your job make you think otherwise
Saturday September 02, 2017,
7 min Read
If you have been laid off and ever wanted to do something other than coding, this is the best opportunity you could have got, and if anything, you should be thanking your manager for it.
Over the last two years, there has been a feeling of doom and gloom in the Indian IT sector, especially on the job scene and it seems that the bad news will not stop anytime soon. Well, the laid-off employees can either feel sad about their situation or take matters into their own hands. I personally feel that an IT union or protests about the layoffs are a bad idea. If you have been laid off and ever wanted to do something other than coding, this is the best opportunity you could have got, and if anything, you should be thanking your manager for it.
First things first; most CEOs, excluding a few like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, are regular folks, just like you and me. They neither have the IQ of Einstein nor were they child prodigies. A small percentage of them went to the IITs and IIMs, but the majority of them are from average colleges. If you don’t believe me, please read this article published in Harvard Business Review. You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start a new company and create new jobs, and who knows, maybe even hire the manager who fired you.
From my own perspective, the most important skill to start a company is NOT coding, but the ability to sell yourself, your vision, and your product. It is critical to learn how to sell, as you will need to sell yourself to investors, employees, and potential customers. If you do not know how to sell, you might want to learn how to do so before starting a company.
When I was in college, I sold advertisements for our hostel magazine. I faced multiple rejections, but I was able to get more advertisements than any other hostel secretary. I give the entire credit for that to a senior who told me that I should start thinking backwards whenever I want to accomplish anything. Instead of going to shopkeepers in December when every hostel secretary was doing it, I went in November. I made multiple rounds of a shop when he/she showed interest. This is a not a great story, but I learned my lesson, and I still try my best to plan backwards to accomplish my goals.
The path to success for any business is tricky, and everyone, including your parents and your better half, might discourage you from taking this step. Once you have decided to take the plunge, you need to answer one critical financial question — do you have the funds to survive for the next two years? If you have a home loan, you might want to sell your home to save monthly EMI payments. Please do not expect a high-flying VC or angel investor to fund you. You will not get a loan from a bank or a fintech startup. You might need to break an existing fixed deposit or ask your family/friends to give you funds.
If you do not have funds, then it is better to get a job, instead of embarking on a superficial entrepreneurial journey.
The grass is not green on this side
There is a 50 percent-or-higher chance that you will fail in your entrepreneurial journey, but you will need to take the plunge, similar to the red pill in The Matrix, to find the answer. It would be better if you can get a good mentor, who has successfully built a company from scratch.
I suggest that you avoid wannabe entrepreneurs, especially who are working at big MNCs, or me-too VCs, who do not have the guts to make investments but have all the time in the world to write posts/Tweets and whatnot on social media. Most of the talks by motivational speakers are full of BS, and you would want to avoid them as well.
Instead of that, I recommend listening to Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and a few other successful entrepreneurs on YouTube. If you get a co-founder, your life will be much simpler. In India, a simple Marwari or Gujarati opens a shop and makes enough money for himself and his family. If he does well, then he expands his business and makes more money. You are a graduate with a fancy degree, and you know English and coding. You are more skilled than most business owners, and the only difference between you and him is the guts to make a bold decision to start a business and live with this decision even in case of failure.
I personally hope that you understand what you are getting into. My friend Srikanth started a business by using his wife’s jewellery as collateral; the business did not work out and he is now separated from his wife. I know a good number of individuals whose parents do not talk to them, as these entrepreneurs decided to leave fancy jobs and start a new business.
Your girlfriend/boyfriend might leave you as you do not make enough money and you do not have enough time. You will need to work roughly 12 hours at this new gig, leaving little time for your kids/spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/parents. If you have suicidal thoughts, you might want to take up another job because the entrepreneurial journey might push you over the edge if you are not mentally strong. With the number of sacrifices, you will be required to make, the grass is definitely not greener on this side.
What if you do want to start a business?
If your passion lies in some hobby or charity work, you might want to pursue that for some time. If you are passionate about food, you might want to learn cooking from experts and start your own YouTube channel. If you have the looks, you might want to try acting. The Gates Foundation pays really well, and you could join them and help the needy. You might not get a fancy Mercedes, but for a change, you will love your job and be happy. There are now enough options apart from becoming doctors or engineers. If nothing else, you might want to do an MBA, and give yourself 18–24 months to figure out what you want to do.
I cannot promise a billion dollars in your bank account, but there is a good chance that you could buy a BMW, and hire managers to run your business. The choice is yours — do you want to keep applying for new jobs even after getting fired, or do you want to turn the tables and start hiring individuals? The entire country, including our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is rooting for you, and they want you to succeed. Even if you fail in your entrepreneurial journey, you can keep your head high, and at least you won’t have to live with the regret of not having tried. The choice is yours and yours alone. You can either leave your destiny in someone’s hands or take matters in your own and march forward.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)