On my way to an entrepreneurial journey: My pain is your gain (Part 1-The Beginning)
Almost everyone sees a dream to be an entrepreneur but not everyone has those guts to take a ride on this rough road. Today if you talk to 100 people out there especially in India, 99 out of them will come up with a common response such as:
Yes, since sometime I am also thinking to do something of my own because I am sick and tired of serving others. I am not interested to do job anymore...
Not getting proper growth in position or salary. Let me either get a good job or otherwise I will do something of my own...
Let me settle down few things in my life and then will explore into something of my own...
God knows what is that "SOMETHING" which everyone is exploring. I want to remind all those who thinks in a similar line that becoming an entrepreneur is not an option that will put you ahead of all your troubles at day one, it has to be your first choice and if it is not then better do not enter one way. Start walking clueless under the influence of others or seeing successful entrepreneur’s making million won’t be a good choice. Entrepreneurship needs sacrifice, dedication, patience, pain, acceptance and lot more then just words.
We have seen extraordinary entrepreneurs who accepted the challenges in life and created history either by winning the battlefield or by leaving behind traces of their failure for others to learn. And this is what keeping an entrepreneurial spirit means in real sense.
I have also started my entrepreneurial journey last year with dedication, enthusiasm and a lot of sacrifices and a plan to start the journey on a exiting note. But what we expect at times from life is not what it has planned for us. I was left with two choices either to accept helplessly whatever life had planed for me or I should stand again and give it a fight. Though it took me a while to overcome the shock but I choose to go with the second option. I believe this is how life tests our strength. Right?
I am still going on with many ups and downs everyday but have no thoughts of giving up until I will win or set examples for others. While going through so many challenges in last few months and also experienced some setback earlier, I came out with few points that I believe should be taken care off before one starts it’s entrepreneurial journey. I am sharing my pain with a purpose to make it a gain for others.
I am thankful that I came across all those troubles that made me realized how tough I am and what I am capable of doing which definitely a comfort zone wouldn't have had ever taught me:
1. First and the most important point: Never give control or allow anyone to play with your thoughts or life. You are responsible for your success and failures. People will come and go but it should not impact the objective of your mission. It’s your decision to walk on this entrepreneurial journey, so do not expect it to be a smooth ride and if it is then feel yourself lucky (one out of a million). It's not the end of 9-6 job but it's a beginning of 24*7*365 working.
2. Take an entrepreneurial step ahead considering the worst-case scenarios but be positive & optimistic. That means, take a step ahead only when you are capable of walking alone on this rough path till the end. Definitely, team is of utmost importance and will help you to achieve objectives efficiently but the idea is your baby and you should be willingly doing whatever it takes to nurture it.
3. To sustain for a long, keep the backbone of your idea healthy so that you can stand straight independently. If you or your idea is depended on too many of if’s and but’s then it might be a tough call.
4. Never trust people too soon. Create a scale and give people a chance to prove their worth.
5. Follow legal way of engagements from day one. At least a rough write-ups or any other documentations, agreement for future records. Simple matters sometimes taken for granted may turn out to be a pain at later stages.
6. WARNING: BEWARE of these kinds of co-founders. They come in bulk and capable of ruining your entire game plans. Do not engage with a co-founder who wants to join your journey as an option against their existing priorities or jobs. They may disappear anytime because they are confused completely and have no control on themselves and their mind. It's a marriage, make sure you choose the right partner or the life will either be a hell or ends up in divorce (If you hear anything like- if this concept get success then fine otherwise I am already having a monthly income Or I am finding a new job and I thought meanwhile I can jump into your initiative Or I am planning to do something and thought why not to join you…close that deal immediately)
7. Long distance relationship at a very early stage of a startup is quite hard to manage between co-founders (At least in major cases. Good option is to hire people and let them bring their expertise with full dedication). You have to be on the ground to experience the pain.
8. Clear the picture with your cofounders on day one about your goals, timeline, equity scenarios, investment, commitments, roles/responsibilities etc and understand his personal traits (But this is still not a proof of ever lasting relationship)
9. There is always a room for discussion (Discussion will lead to new solutions and ways to solve the problem. Keeping silent, not sharing thoughts, always doubtful and writing mails or messages on whatsapp won’t work). Remember, if the discussion is consider, as a waste of time by other’s then better don’t engage. Give a chance to listen and share you feelings. Be professional in your terms because business understand only professional language.
10. Be transparent with each other as much as possible. Hiding things for no reason may result in a split. Build a sense of trust and understanding between each other and the team. Motivate when ever you find time to do so. Prove your leadership as and when required.
11. Dedication and commitment is really important from all cofounders. Fake excuses and reasons should be avoided. Create a rating scale and deliverable points to examine each other inputs and value proposition.
12. If a cofounder joins with an aim to become your boss then better not to engage further. This may ruin your entire dream for which you have sacrificed but for the other it’s an option. Cofounder should be rubbing shoulders with each other at all times rather then controlling minds.
13. Always acknowledge the values bring in by other’s in the business but to an extend that it should not influence the objective. Appreciate the efforts and point out the mistake professionaly.
14. Having no cofounder can make things difficult to execute but joining hands with incompetent co-founder may result in complete annihilation of your idea, time, effort and your soul. Walk alone rather carrying a dead man on your shoulder.
15. Be ready to expect anything to occur at anytime and take decisions sometimes from your gut feelings and real life experiences. Nature has the answer for most of our problems. Seek for it. (Not everything is mention in books. See around and you will find a solution)
16. Do not expect too much from anyone/everyone. Too much of expectations leads to unnecessary dependency on others. Accept common human behavior to react differently on different situations and be ready for any surprises.
17. Remember; if you can do it once, you can do it again as well.
18. You cannot keep everyone happy. Remember, your customer is at the topmost priority and do whatever it requires to keep them happy
19. Whatever is going on whether it’s bumpy or smooth ride, this is all related to time and it will pass-by. Remember, “ The end will always be on a good note and if it is not then it’s not the end”. In any case nothing will going to bring the end to this world. So take it easy sometime and refresh yourself by doing whatever you like and spend time with family or friends.
20. Try to do something different in your life at least once and have faith in yourself and destiny. God has something somewhere good for us. Either we will win or will learn. Never quit because of others mistakes.
21. Beware of self proclaimed mentors. They may damage your dreams. Check past, present and mentorship traits before choosing any mentor. Mentoring is a noble profession but unfortunately it's been widely misunderstood.
22. You can choose to be among the 1% or 99%. The choice is yours. Properly plan your entrepreneurial time line and give your best.
Everyday its a new challenge but I have built enough strength to tackle them and will keep sharing my experience from time to time. Part-2 (The Challenges) is coming soon....
“An Engineer by profession and a chief thinker by interest”
Note: The above listed points are based on my experience and has no obligation of any kind with any entity or individual. Those are just my personal thoughts.