Can I skip the first boring preview paragraph and lead you directly to the meat? Because I am sure you got an idea of what I am going to talk about from the title.
Chase Passion, Not Money
Wake up Sam. Without the potential of making money your passion is as good as your morning walk. Good for you, and ignorable for the rest of the world.
Yes of course, there are businesses built 100% around passion, but then they stay small, like mom & pop shops.
Startup world is all about scale & money.
VC’s often speaks up about large markets. Here it is to understand that VCs aren’t chasing the large market size to showcase your passion at large, but to make huge money. Also, talking money isn’t bad at all. It’s the fuel. It’s energy. Sometimes money can even show you your passion (Ouch… debatable).
Historically, the most successful company in the world (in annual sales) is Apple. Why? Because it touched 1 Tn in annual sales. See, Money!
Even being an entrepreneur, your top priority should be making money for your business, your employees, stake holders, and for yourself.
The brutal truth about the entrepreneurial ecosystem (at least in India) is that wannapreneaurs get jobs at startups, misleaded entrepreneurs survive only following their passion and the successful ones make money.
Getting Funded Is How You Look Succeeding
Beyond doubt, it’s tempting to see yourself in the media. Delivering interviews, throwing expert comments, speaking at the events, and on top of that, answering the most asked about question – Are you funded?
Being funded is more or less like having a better motorbike for a race; but it’s not “the happy ending”. It’s where the race begins.
Does having better motorbike and a tank full of fuel guarantee you win? No. Though it’s a big support for someone who is willing to win the race at any cost, but such wonderful facilities can’t make a lazy dumb win the race.
The key to a successful venture is a solid organic-engine i.e. the business model. Why will customers love to pay for your product?
If you call yourself the Founder or CEO of your startup, then it’s your job to build a solid revenue model and a growth platform for your company. And then look for funding. That will prove your metal, real success.
As Anand Lunia, Founder of India Quotient said beautifully, “Believes entrepreneur is the king, not the VC.” And I must mention, he is a VC himself though.
The Title “Founder” Makes You Belong To Fraternity
I have learned this the hard way.
“This world doesn’t want “Founders”, it’s looking for enablers, facilitators and contributors to make this world a better place to live.”
The fraternity of startup freaks, meal-missers, night-watchers, and clock-less people is the sum of those who are here to make real business. Businesses that solves real life problems at mass level, makes daily life easy, enables the less privileged, make resources available, and ultimately make money.
I remember one of our colleague’s friend in New Delhi, elaborating his passion (fake… to me) and plan to build a new App for several different industries, since he was an App developer at a software company somewhere.
So if you are looking for a surface to create a dent because you have a hammer, darling, you don’t belong here. Find a real problem. Do some real math. Lay a real plan & execute. There is no easy success.
I know I am being harsh to many. But the truth is this world doesn’t want “Founders”, it’s looking for enablers, facilitators and contributors to make this world a better place.
You’ll Gain Something By Attending Networking Events
My favorite mistake, since I spent lot of money here, to end empty handed.
“Networking events would be the worst place to develop meaningful & long term relationships.”
Needless to say, I wasn’t planned. Being a first timer with limited resource and a world full of people minding their own business, and who don’t give you free advice until they get grey hairs, you don’t get the game. Networking events, won’t give you anything, but Networking will.
What’s the difference?
Networking stands for connecting with people via any medium so that they can help you do better at your business, either by advising on how-to’s, or by connecting you to right vendors, or by helping you raise funds, or by helping to hire right the team at lower cost. That’s real networking.
So do networking for better business. Don’t lose sight. Stay focused on what you need next to grow your business and you will attain purposeful networking.
And did I mention, networking events would be the worst place to develop meaningful & long term relationships. Linkedin, Twitter, Bars, Cafeteria and Offices are great places to connect one-to-one, and to get into a real conversation, asking for help, offering help and actually “Be Networked”.
“Ego is a wonderful thing when sold, but dangerous when bought.”
Let me give you few examples to show that all of us do buy ego, sub cautiously.
Do you see the new add connect on LinkedIn in morning, but you accept the request late in evening? Do you see the email from someone chasing you at 9 am today, but reply at 10 am next morning? Do you think it’s a great way to earn respect looking busy or, unapproachable?
Let me tell you something out of my personal experience. I am a digital marketer, and part of my job is to connect with CXO’s, VP’s, Middle Managers, and sometimes to Secretaries.
The fastest responses I usually receive are from CXO’s & VP’s.
Not because they are free, but because they don’t see who is calling. Instead they focus on what’s incoming. And avoid the state of indecision by quickly giving a yes or no. In fact, I will not exaggerate by commenting that some of the most humble & interesting to talk people you can find exists at CXO level.
They are more than sure that “buying ego” is not for them, and CXO is a very fatal position since every bad performance will be highly visible. So they do their best to make the most out of every small or large possibility by keeping their ego aside, but focus in mind.
While writing this, I am feeling fast blood circulation, since to me, it’s like summarizing my 12 years of entrepreneurship.