Roti, Kapda, and Makaan – the entrepreneur’s trilogy


Entrepreneurship can be a scary step, especially for first-generation entrepreneurs. With no background in doing business, they rarely have a mentor to guide them, funding is an issue, and in some cases, there is little family support.

It’s like taking a deep dive into and then traversing The Drake Passage - the roughest stretch of water in the world. All you have is an idea, a belief in your abilities, and loads of optimism.

The question here is, is that enough? Those of us who feel it isn’t, never take the plunge and the ones who feel it’s good enough go ahead and dive in headlong. So, what is it that holds people back most of the times?

I know many smart and intelligent folks stuck in dead-end jobs that they complain about all the time. They talk about stress at work, about politics, and about nepotism. Rarely have I heard anyone saying they enjoy their work and want to do it for life. Many also talk about entrepreneurship, and how they want to explore it, someday.

According to me, the biggest challenge to take the plunge into entrepreneurship is ‘Timing’. Timing defines everything for an entrepreneur, and that is when the Entrepreneur Trilogy (Roti, Kapda, Makaan) plays the ‘Devil’. And this devil holds solid cards to keep throwing at the aspiring entrepreneur and keep hitting home the ‘timing’ of his/her venture.

Roti: I have recently got married and need to feed my family. I can’t leave my job now. I might be able to survive on an empty stomach, but how do I do that to my family when they are dependent on me and I am the only breadwinner in the family? In other words, according to the Devil, it's bad timing.

Kapda: We have been blessed with a baby, he/she is my priority now, I need to give the child my 100 percent. The child means more food, and clothing, for the little one as it grows. It also means more expenses. How can I deprive my child of a happier and more stable future when I have the means to provide one? I can’t start a new venture now and leave my secure job. In other words, according to the Devil, it's bad timing.

Makaan: My home loan EMI is due. What if I fail as an entrepreneur? How will I pay my EMI? How do I tell my family that they might lose the roof over their head if my venture fails? Can I really ask them to take this risk? Can I move in with my parents at this age? Is it worth taking the risk? In other words, according to the Devil, it's bad timing.

After some time, the devil comes back in the form of a car loan, credit card debt, personal loans, school fees, college fund, second home etc. It has many tricks up its sleeve, and can keep us going for a lifetime and convince us that entrepreneurship is not for us. But if you believe in your idea, and can make a case against this trilogy, you would have beaten the devil. And yes, the trilogy can be defeated - you just need the courage to do so.

When I meet my friends who have been in the corporate sector all their life, I wonder if they are actually working for the bank (where they are paying their EMIs) and not for the MNC they talk about.

Here’s why we must overpower the devil and take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

The timing might not be always right. In the initial years, sometimes the roti will suffer, sometimes the kapda will, and sometimes the makaan. But most entrepreneurs have gone through this. It’s like a rite of passage that either strengthens their belief in the idea, or helps them realise that they are not cut out for it.

Either way, you would have gone through the litmus test. If it doesn’t work out you always have the option of going back to work for the bank … sorry … MNC.

According to a report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, India will become the world’s youngest country by 2020, with 64 percent of the population in the working age group.

Will the job market grow correspondingly? The answer is, most likely not. Either people will be forced into entrepreneurship, or the smart ones can start now and create jobs for as many as we can. Entrepreneurship is liberating. Once you have survived the initial few Drake Passage years, you will learn to manage your time more productively and start seeking ROTI again, only this time, it means ‘Return On Time Invested’.

You will realise that beyond a point, it’s just more stuff - more Kapda and more Makaan, it doesn't really bring joy. You will delve deep into the purpose you want to serve, and you will find it.

What will really bring joy is when you know you are instrumental in changing the lives of your team members. Joy comes from being self-reliant. Joy comes from being innovative when life throws you in the deep end. Joy comes from building meaningful relationships, having happy customers, finding opportunities when faced with challenges.

So why not choose entrepreneurship? Think about it as I leave you with this quote...

"Entrepreneurship is like living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t" - Unknown  

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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