Lessons from my Entrepreneurship Journey
Its been about 3 years since I decided to venture into Entrepreneurship and wanted to share my experience during the last three years. After trying my hands on B2B Ecommerce and things not going my way, I am currently focussing on a OmniChannel B2B Solution & Engineering Consulting.
First things first, being an Entreprenuer and running your own business sounds very exciting and may look very lucrative from the outside but on the inner it is entirely a different story and I am sure its pretty common for the most of the Entreprenuers out there. The initial struggles of company set-up, hiring employees, setting up the Team & business process, getting Early revenues, working towards breakeven stage, getting some salary or profit along the way – all these are extremely challenging and nerve-breaking stuff to setup and establish. On One side you want to pursue your dream at any cost and on the other side you see the bank balance drying up faster than you thought. You keep shuttling between conflicting thoughts if you did do the right thing, managing expectations from family & friends , prioritizing sales or profits , being compliant with local regulations and more. There is whole lot of stuff one has to deal which is very hard to comprehend or plan for before taking the plunge.
Prior to making the decision I had a full time job with pretty reasonable salary, 5 days a week work, well balanced work life, clear & focused Work, good Managers, Co-workers & Mentors, regular international work trips and most importantly stress-free secure life for the most part. But once you are an entrepreneur the whole equation changes. Everything that you had just goes for a toss. During the initial years you are working or thinking 7 days a week about your business, how to structure your work, do multiple jobs, lack of guidance & mentorship and continuously stressed about how to make the decision work.
So now after three years of going thro the grind I should say I have barely scratched the surface of Entreprenuership, burnt some money, learnt lessons about life and business that would take decades otherwise and slowly but surely reaped some low hanging fruits along the way. Here are some very important things to follow which I felt that has helped me during the course of my three years.
1. Support from Family – I think this is very very crucial. Having unconditional support and backing from the family helps one wade through the initial very tough days until you get the hang of it. It is important to have this balance while you go through restless days & nights and stressful moments.
2. Financial Backup – Doing business these-days is not at all easy. There is so much competition so it may take a while to get some grounding and attain a basic level of business stability. This make take anywhere from 1 to 3 years. During this period one should be prepared not to expect any salary or profit at all. It is essential one has the necessary finances to back themselves and the family during this early period. I would say plan for 5 years atleast by then you would know which direction you would eventually head.
3. Like- Minded Partners or Co-workers – As an Enterprenuer your bandwidth gets stretched beyond imagination. The last thing you need is having partners or co-founders who don’t share the same thinking or a team which is not aligned with the direction. One should spend time here while choosing both. Once this is set in place some portion of the bandwidth can be offloaded while you do the thinking and business planning.
4. Frugal Thinking – As the finances get really tight both at work and personal life, Frugality is the only thing to follow. Keep the cost base extremely low, spend only for good people, business promotion and basic frugal day to day living. Forego most of the luxuries that you enjoyed in your previous role. Nothing of that sort will be initially possible. Just focus on the core absolutely necessary stuff and keep the money in the bank as much as possible.
5. Stay Healthy & Motivated – As an Entreprenuer it is very very important the personal struggles that you are going through does not show up in office or at home. It impacts both the places big time. You have to find ways to keep yourself motivated, energized and more importantly staying healthy. The internal mind stress is very dangerous and kills you silently from the inside. Its critical to keep ourselves fit and healthy.
6. Networking & Keep Connected – You will start to realize that most Business deals are done by recommendation & references. We have to find new ways to network, meet new people & maintain connection with your old pals. New opportunities will come through new connections.
7. Self - Learning – Once we are out of a job and setting our own path it is important to keep ourselves updated with the latest in the business area. You could gain knowledge thro attending some conferences but mostly it is all self learning. We need to find avenues to learn and keep ourselves on par with the industry.
These are some of the thing which I felt is essential to know and share while pursuing the dream. In the last three years I have learnt so much which I could have never imagined during my work life. Three years hence there is definitely that feeling that I now know the direction I should move towards but again in Entrepreneurship things change so frequently. I am still not out of the woods but I m totally willing to keep on going for some more time before I think otherwise. The satisfaction of establishing & running your own company is totally worth the pain it brings. There is this inner happiness which is hard to put in words.
I finish with this post with one of my favourite quotes on Enterprenuership
Entreprenuership is like a man riding a lion. People think, 'This guy's brave.' And he's thinking, 'How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?"