I am an average 20-something university student from a middle class Indian family. In my final year of university, I was bitten by what they call the “startup bug.” My batch mates around me were applying for jobs feverishly. On the other hand, my co-founders and I were working on our startup idea without respite. And with the decision to not apply to jobs, came its fair share of fears and insecurities. I’ve said this a million times over – I think the most difficult part about being an entrepreneur is “deciding” to take the plunge.
Especially so when you come from the average Indian middle-class background. Most of us have seen our families struggling to meet ends and understand the importance of money and a regular paycheck. We are scared that we are throwing away the promising future we have created for ourselves in IT companies, consulting firms and investment banks by the virtue of an undergraduate ‘engineering’ degree from a good college. The risks seem too high, and it seems to be a more prudent decision to do a Masters degree and get some experience before starting up.
Personally, I went through moments of deep insecurity when I decided to take a plunge. I have made frantic phone calls to my best friends searching for support and validation, more than once. In this post, I’m detailing some of the stray evil voices that floated through my mind screaming, “Don’t do it. Don’t do it” and how I applied some logical reasoning to quiet them.
Voice 1: I need to get a safe and respectable MNC job out of college as that is what I am expected to do
Well let’s get this straight; startups are not the most “safe” investment of your time. Basically, working for someone else who promises to deliver you a paycheck every month is a much “safer option.” It is the difference between putting your money in a safe fixed deposit for a 1.5x return and gambling it in a Poker game for a 10x return.
But is this completely true? Maybe 20 years ago, an MNC job was the safest route to a comfortable lifestyle. But it’s not really the same anymore. I spent the summer working in an Investment bank, and in the 2 months I was there – 4 people in my department were laid off. (People at a vice-president level having worked in the company for at least 5+ years, nonetheless). You could be the next one to be fired, no?