The hard thing about starting a start-up
How difficult is it to start a start-up? Whatever you think, double that, and you still might fall short. The point is, you will never know unless you try. What is a start-up? It is 40 years of work compressed into 4. That ratio comes at a very high cost, monetarily and emotionally. The risk is high, but the returns? Higher, definitely higher. But it is not the prospect of returns that fuels your fire daily, but simply the want to create something that the users want and more importantly that the users like.
It is safe to assume that you have the right idea, an idea you think will someday soar high, and will give back everything that you asked for. And you begin work, with all the enthusiasm that is necessary, and then you realise, wait, this is not how I wanted it to be. It will go never go as planned, never, because you expect too much. We watch movies and documentaries and read articles of how young entrepreneurs made it big, it was because they started small, and all of us have to. And if there is one thing I have realised about starting small, you are going to face every problem, firsthand. It's not your company that suffers but it's you, and eventually your company, if you let it.
I had this idea while still in college about an app for professional communication. I got together a team of a designer, and 3 developers to help me build Quorg. This was relatively easier considering it is BITS Pilani, an engineering college. That is where I realised I should have struggled more, perhaps invest more time and energy. Just months before our product launch, when the development was mid-stage, the developers decided to quit. Not because it was difficult and intensive, but because they got internships elsewhere. Yes, however depressing that sounds, it is. We failed to qualify for most of the startup competitions, but you know, if you aren't failing then you aren't innovating enough. To have stable internet connection, to have a small office space where a few of us could cut the bullshit and work, it was a struggle. I lost interest in all academic-related things, scored poorly last semester. I cut down on my extracurricular and devoted all my time to Quorg, and the product still hasn't been developed thoroughly. I tried to avoid late night parties, get togethers, family functions, and it wasn't enough.
"Somewhere there's someone planning a night out and someone planning an empire". I asked myself, which one do you want to be? Because life always isn't about the answers you get but the questions you ask. Moreover, my father began forcing me into joining the family business. It is almost like a job which you cannot quit, that's how I looked at it. However interesting any job maybe, I think while we are still young, we can dare to do something different, to take the risks at almost no cost, and to reap the benefits when it matters.
All of the struggles, however small they might seem in the long run, lay the foundation for the next set of problems. Which made me understand a much more fundamental truth, not everyone is built for a life like this. A life full of heartaches, betrayals, rumours, criticisms and lonely days. But nobody said it was going to be easy, and it isn't going to get easier.
So my advice to my fellow founders, get ready, to work harder, to hustle,to learn and accept that you will feel like quitting every day. Before you give up to your circumstances, whether it's the team or the idea or the product or the market, ask yourself, "What if? What if this idea actually works?" It is this question that will define your struggle, and will determine the future. Because if you really want to find out the answer, then you got to try, no alternative there. Don't give up on your vision because your expectations ditched you, stand up to your dreams and put yourself out there.
Always remember, if it were so easy, then everyone would be doing it.